II. Election News This Week
Montgomery County, North Carolina’s board of elections needs to find a new polling location after the state board of elections told the county it could no longer use the Uwharrie Fire Department because the department flies a Confederate flag above the station. Since the county has no authority to have the flag removed they will need to find a new polling place. According to the Courier-Tribune, the flag became an issue during the 2016 general election when a poll worker declined to work at the Uwharrie Fire Department because she was offended by the flag over the polling place. In the past, the fire department would take the flag down on voting days, but refused to continue that practice. “We are researching other options for the Uwharrie precinct and will have this resolved for voters by the next election,” Amy Robert, director of elections said. “We respect their right to do as they wish on their property, but we cannot have a polling place there. A new place to vote is our only concern now.”
A group of Democratic senators are asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for a “full account” of its work to secure the 2016 election from Russian hackers. According to The Hill, the senators, lead by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also want the EAC to detail cybersecurity challenges facing state and local officials as they look to safeguard future elections. Twenty-six senators, including Independents Angus King (Maine) and Bernie Sanders (Vt.), signed onto the letter.
An investigation by the Ohio secretary of state’s office found that 385 non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in the Buckeye State and 82 of them have cast an illegal ballot in at least one election in 2016. Secretary of State Jon Husted said those 82 voters will be referred to law enforcement for further investigation and possible prosecution. “In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Husted said. According to NBC4i, the 303 registered voters identified as non-citizens who have not cast a ballot will be sent letters both informing them that non-citizens are not eligible to vote and requesting that they cancel their registration. A follow-up letter will be sent to any individuals that still remain on the rolls after 30 days.
Proposed language for the Humboldt County, California voter’s guide doesn’t pass the smell test according to Kelly Sanders, registrar of voters. A con-statement for a special election measure included a fart joke and Sanders objected to sending voters a packed with the joke. According to the North Coast Journal, because the writer of the con statement refuses to withdraw or amend his irreverent statement, and because state law doesn't give elections officials discretion to censor ballot arguments, Sanders has decided to seek a court order to delete the offending words.
Personnel News: Matthew Masterson has been elected to serve as the chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Constance L. Tyler has been appointed the new general registrar and director of elections for Chesterfield County, Virginia. Fleming El-Amin has stepped down from the Forsyth County, North Carolina board of elections. James Baker has resigned from the Cumberland County, North Carolina board of elections. Ken Hugoniot has resigned as the elections supervisor in Clallam County, Washington. Hugoniot resigned after 125 unopened, uncounted ballot were discovered in a courthouse parking lot ballot box. Kevin Kennedy, former director of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has joined the board of directors of U.S. Vote Foundation. Also at US Vote, Josh Greenbaum has been named the new chief technology officer. Michael Calcagno, director of communications in the Oregon secretary of state’s office, has submitted his resignation, effective March 15. Tom Ferrell has been named to the Erie County, Ohio board of elections. Randy Wertz has retired as the Montgomery County, Virginia director of elections and general registrar. It’s official, after 36 years, Chris Thomas is retiring as the Michigan elections director effective in June. Pandora Paschal has been appointed to serve as the Chatham County, North Carolina board of elections director. Parker Holland is the new Lee County, North Carolina elections director.