III. Election News This Week
Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support the claims of widespread voter fraud during the November 2016 election, a new poll says that one in four Americans believes the claim. A Politico/Morning Consult survey shows that 25 percent of registered voters say they agree with the president’s claims of millions of people casting illegal votes in November. Of those, 35 percent say it’s more likely that if there was voter fraud that it helped President Donald J. Trump and not Hillary Clinton.
Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey addressed the media for the first time since the November 2016 election. During her press conference, Winfrey challenged allegations of fraud and that old voting machines were the cause of problems. “For the most part, problems that the state identified were human error,” Winfrey said. “Yes, we test every last one of our machines every time.” According to Michigan Radio, state elections director Chris Thomas said this week that it appears poll workers in some precincts simply failed to reconcile vote totals. He also cited “performance issues” at some Detroit’s receiving boards — sites that take in ballot boxes and poll books on election night — saying many did not get proper documentation from precinct workers. Winfrey says she will start training poll worker supervisors quarterly, and also expand an effort to recruit more volunteers, especially younger people.
King County, Washington will use two upcoming special elections to test out pre-paid postage for return ballots. “This is something I’ve wanted to test since I ran for office,” said Julie Wise, King County Elections Director. “Pre-paid postage is another tool to remove barriers to voting and increase convenience – and this pilot will help us understand what it might look like for King County.” Pre-paid postage for the special election will cost the county about $12,000 for both elections. The ballot packets also include an explanation that the return envelopes have been pre-paid.
Hats off to the Newton County, Georgia Board of Elections for being selected as the first Newton County Department of the Month.
And finally, congratulations to the Denver Elections Division for recently being honored by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies for the divisions’ eSign app and its Voter Registration Drive module. The division was honored in the Outstanding Achievement in International Institutional Engagement and Electoral Ergonomy category. “Only two entities from the United States were recognized by the ICPS, and Denver was the only municipality to receive an award,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson in a statement. “All of the other elections offices represented entire countries. That makes this award particularly special to us.”
Personnel News: Dr. Bruce Saferin has officially been appointed to the Lucas County, Ohio board of elections. Brandon Alexander and Chrissy Peters have been appointed co-directors of the Missouri secretary of state’s elections division. Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky was re-appointed to a four-year term as Democratic Commissioner of Elections in Rockland County, New York.
In Memoriam: Newly elected Curry County, New Mexico Clerk Jo Lynn Queener died on January 26 from ruptured brain aneurysm. She was 48. Before assuming the role of clerk on January 1, Queener had worked in the county assessor’s office. “I believe that Jo Lynn’s greatest contribution to our community was her unshakable spirit,” Deputy Clerk Annie Hogland told Eastern New Mexico News. “She had the strongest, genuine spirit and a heart the size of Texas. Hogland will serve as clerk until the county commission appoints a replacement to serve until the next general election.