III. Election News This Week
Recount Update: A review by the Wisconsin State Journal has found that while there were numerous mistakes found during Wisconsin’s recount of the 2016 presidential election, there were no major flaws with the state’s election system. According to the review, at least 9,039 presidential votes weren’t counted correctly on Election Night, and only were added to the official results because of the recount. Another 2,161 votes were originally counted but later tossed out for reasons including to square vote totals with the number of voters who signed the poll book. State election officials, told the paper the changes are mostly the result of human error, not a problem with the voting equipment. “Is an election ever perfect? Are there voters that mark their ballots incorrectly?” Eau Claire County Clerk Janet Loomis said. “But is anything ever intentional by either side, I’d say no.” In addition, although the final numbers aren’t quite in yet, it appears that the cost of the statewide presidential recount will come in about half of what was estimated before it began.
Barre Town, Vermont is getting ready to be the first town to test out the state’s new same day voter registration law later this month. According to the Argus Leader, because of a revote on a school unification proposal the town will test the new law on the 31st instead of in March for Town Meeting Day. “I don’t know what to expect at all,” Town Clerk Donna Kelty told the paper. “Something could happen at the last minute where all of a sudden you have a lot of people who want to vote who hadn’t registered and something that didn’t appear to be a very big election could be a big election.”
Although Tennessee broke early voting records in November, the Hamilton County election commission voted this week to limit early voting sites for the upcoming elections in Chattanooga to three, instead of the five that the city council had requested. According to The Chattanoogan, Chairman Mike Walden said the city had not provided any data on why other early voting sites were needed. He also said the request came too late. While those seeking the additional sites pointed to long lines in November, election administrator Kerry Steelman noted that turnout in city elections in 2009 and 2013 was only around 17 percent. The upcoming election will cost the city $192,000. It would have been $222,000 with the three extra sites.
A Republican elector in Texas claims that while he was able to cast a vote in the Electoral College, he wasn’t able to do so at the polls in Texas on Election Day because of confusion over the state’s voter ID law. Chris Suprun told KUOW that he tried to vote, but poll workers denied him because he lacked a photo ID. He sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Romas in late December. “I write this because after not being able to cast a ballot I was disheartened,” the letter said. “I never missed an election in my life until this one.” Suprun, who didn’t have an ID with him, but did have a water bill, cable bill and voter registration card with him, was denied even a provisional ballot. “It needs to be clear, so it’s enforced clearly,” Suprun said.
Personnel News:Joyce Watts, Allegan County, Michigan’s clerk and register has retired after 40 years on the job. At the time of her retirement, she was the longest-serving elected county clerk in the state. Dennis Richardson has been sworn in as Oregon’s new secretary of state. Juan Verdu will finish his four-year run as the New Britain, Connecticut Democratic registrar this week. He will be replaced by Lucian Pawlak. Venerable Leon County, Florida Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho officially ended his tenure in office this week. He is being replaced by Mark Earley. Paul Wilson has resigned as the Miami County, Indiana voter registration clerk. Rick Stream has been tapped to serve as the St. Louis county Republican elections director. Nancy Kimble has retired as the Lee County, North Carolina board of elections director. George Matthews, Victoria County Texas’ first-ever election administrator is set to retire at the end of January after overseeing six presidential elections and seven gubernatorial contests. Sharon Vecchiolla is stepping down as the longtime Democratic registrar of voters in Greenwich, Connecticut. Tommy Doyle was sworn in as the new Lee County, Florida supervisor of elections. Kim Barton has been sworn in as the new Alachua County, Florida supervisor of elections. Alan Hays is the new Lake County, Florida supervisor of elections. Lori Edwards was sworn in to another term as the Polk County, Florida supervisor of elections. Carol Rudd was sworn-in to her sixth, four-year term as the Washington County, Florida supervisor of elections. Deborah Clark was sworn in for another term as the Pinellas County, Florida supervisor of elections. Brenda Snipes has been sworn in for another term as Broward County, Florida supervisor of elections. Peter Handwork has resigned from the Lucas County, Ohio board of elections two months before the end of his term.
In Memoriam: Douglas Hamilton, Republican registrar of voters in Windsor Locks, Connecticut has died. He was 70. Hamilton was a retired vice president of TransAct Technologies, a Republican Town Committee member, and a veteran office holder who won the Board of Education seat running unopposed in November 2015. He was filling the remaining three years of the term won by Gerard Weatherby, who resigned to run — unsuccessfully — for the Police Commission. Hamilton served on the board several years earlier. He also served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Selectmen, was a trustee of the public library, a longtime Little League baseball coach, and member of the American Legion. He had been named Republican of the Year in 2016.