III. Election News This Week
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is hoping that the incoming presidential administration will reverse the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to classify election infrastructure as “critical”. “I have yet to hear of a single secretary of state from either side of the aisle who is in favor of this designation,” said Schedler. “We all feel railroaded by this announcement and have serious concerns about the way in which this announcement was delivered and its timing. When it comes to election integrity, I am not going to let the federal government have the keys to our secured election system unless they can better articulate their intentions" Schedler sent a letter to the incoming administration requesting the reversal and he also said that he and other secretaries may consider a resolution of opposition at the upcoming NASS winter meeting.
Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), leader of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Inspector John Roth asking about “unauthorized scans” and “unsuccessful attempts to penetrate" the Georgia Secretary of State's firewall from last February into November's election season.
Because it’s never too early to start planning, clerks in Colorado have already starting looking ahead and are exploring the possibility of shortening the amount of early voting time. According to an article in the Kiowa County Press, they would like more leeway when it comes to providing early voting locations. Arapahoe County Clerk Matt Crane told a meeting of the Bipartisan Election Advisory Commission that the data suggests the first week could be eliminated - his county spent $52 per vote over those six days. But he said one option for Arapahoe might be reducing locations for that first week from 11 to just the clerk's office and the four Motor Vehicle offices.
For the second time this year, the St. Croix Elections Board has been forced to cancel a meeting because it failed to meet quorum. According to the St. Thomas Source, on Jan. 5 three members of the board waited for more than an hour for enough members to show up, when they didn’t the meeting was rescheduled for Jan. 18. Once again, not enough members showed up to make quorum. “There has to be a legal precedence that would cause members to attend meetings,” Boardmember Raymond Williams told the paper. The board, which needs to hold an organizing meet, will try again in February.
There’s been a lot of real news about fake news and this New York Times article is an interesting look at how quickly fake news can spread. The article focuses on a false report thousands of fraudulent votes were found in an Ohio warehouse.
Personnel News: Steve Trout has returned as the director of elections in Oregon. Derek Oestreicher is the new director of elections in Montana. Austin Erdman, the San Joaquin County, California registrar of voters is set to retire on March 3. Laura Dees has retired as the Hamilton County, Florida supervisor of elections after 14 years on the job. Margaret Villani and Jamieson Campbell have been sworn in as registrars in Monroe, Connecticut. Tammy Cline is the new Meigs County, Ohio director of elections. Cheryl Karrels, Port Washington, Wisconsin town clerk, has resigned. Marc Hoffman has been appointed to serve as the Fredericksburg, Virginia director of elections and general registrar. Wallace Barton, Jr. is set to be sworn in as the new Andover, Connecticut Republican registrar of voters.