III. Election News This Week
This week, President Donald J. Trump reiterated his unsubstantiated claim that 3-5 million people cast illegal ballots in the November 2016 election and that he would order a full investigation into the claims. Needless to say, the response from elections officials at both the federal, state and local level, and both parties, was swift and unified in its opposition to the president’s claims. Here is just a sampling of some of the responses nationwide: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
All 15 of Arizona’s recorders have signed on to a letter to Secretary of State Michele Reagan saying that the relationship between the secretary of state’s office and the local elections official is in “dire” condition because state Elections Director Eric Spencer has been “ineffective and disrespectful.” According to the Arizona Capitol Times, the letter said Spencer has been verbally abusive, “rude” and “dismissive” of questions posted to him. Secretary of State spokesman Matt Roberts told the paper that, after Reagan received the letter, she spoke on the phone with Coconino County Recorder Patty Hansen, the president of the Arizona County Recorders Association, and that Reagan is encouraged by their conversation. “(Reagan) is going to communicate with all of the county recorders, as she has in the past,” Roberts told the paper. “And she’s excited about the opportunities we have in 2017 to work together with the recorders, as she always has.” Hansen said the phone call left her optimistic.
What’s that they say about death and taxes? Two things seemingly no one can avoid? Well the state of Minnesota is reminding eligible residents to register to vote when submitting their state taxes. All taxpayers using Minnesota-certified electronic tax-filing software will be see a message prompting them to register to vote online at the secretary of state’s website. Approximately 700,000 eligible residents are not registered and state officials are hoping this will encourage some.
Speaking of voter registration, officials in North Carolina say the number of residents who have registered to vote through the DMV and other state agencies doubled in 2016 after the state was sued for failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act. According to the State Board of Elections, 345,000 people registered through the DMV, local social services offices and other human service agencies in 2012. In 2016, that number had risen to 715,000.
Several Martin County, Florida government offices, including the supervisor of elections office, were riddled with bullets. The shootings happened over a two-week period of time with the supervisor of elections office getting hit this weekend. some people at the Supervisor of Elections building had to be turned away as crews evaluated damage. "It's concerning, of course, whenever you have a situation like that, because my building, the supervisor of elections office, is fronted with all glass windows," said Vicki Davis, Supervisor of Elections.
Personnel News:Elizabeth Black has been named the new Montgomery County, Tennessee administrator of elections. Dave Fisher is set to join the Miami County, Ohio board of elections. Annalisa Stravato is the new Wilton, Connecticut Republican registrar of voters. J.T. Holt has been nominated to serve on the Lawrence County, Ohio board of elections. William VanNess has been appointed to serve as the Queensbury, New York Republican election commissioner. Heather Wheeler has resigned as the Chesterville, Maine town clerk. Gerald J. Hudak Sr. has resigned from the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania board of elections. Robert Saar, longtime DuPage County, Illinois elections director is set to retire on March 14 although he is currently using up accrued sick time and won’t be back in the office before then. Eric Morgan, deputy director for the Miami County, Ohio board of elections has been terminated.
In Memoriam: David Poythress, former Georgia secretary of state has died. He was 73. Poythress was appointed secretary of state in 1979 and then unsuccessfully ran for one full term in office. In addition to serving as secretary of state, he also served as deputy revenue commissioner, assistant attorney general, state labor commissioner, and the first commissioner of the state Department of Medical Assistance. He was commander in the Georgia Army and Air National Guard during the Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnian wars. DuBose Porter, a former legislator and Georgia Democratic Party chairman, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution few can compare with Poythress. “When his nation or community called, he always answered,” Porter said. “He was an accomplished, noble patriot driven by the credo of ‘do the most good.’”