III. Election News This Week
This week the Fargo, North Dakota council heard public input on a proposal that would move Fargo to an approval voting system — making them the only city in the country to do so. The system would only be in use for city elections. According to InForum, an elections task force looking into the possibility said the city’s elections equipment could handle the switch to approval voting for little additional money.
Residents of St. Paul, Minnesota approved ranked-choice voting back in 2009, but now opponents of the voting system are hoping to put the issues before the voters again this fall. "It promises a lot of things and it doesn't deliver on any of them," says Chuck Repke, who is leading the effort to get ranked choice voting repealed.
Faced with replacing five elected officials through special elections, the South Carolina Election Commission has asked lawmakers for permission to dip into the rainy day fund. The fund, about $255,000, is leftover from other election programs. “Historically, we have a handful of them a year,” Chris Whitmire told The Independent Mail. “This year, we’re already at a handful, and we’ve got about nine more months to go.” In addition to the five current vacancies, the state election commission is concerned there could be a domino effect from those open seats.
Once the setting for many great high school movies, the shopping mall is becoming a thing of the past as large anchors like Macy’s close up shop. But one Maryland county has an idea. Washington County has sent a letter intent to the owner of the Valley Mall about pursuing a contract to lease the former Macy’s space for election board offices and an early-voting site. The county's proposed budget includes $65,000 for annual rent for about 20,000 square feet in the former Macy's space, officials told the Herald Mail. Julie Rohm, the mall’s manager said the Washington County Board of Elections would be a great addition to the mall, where officials love to have small local spaces that tie into the community. The county thinks the centralized location with massive amounts of parking would help with early voting.
Congratulations to Winona State for registering the most students of all four-year Minnesota State University campuses. Winona registered 1,861 students to vote in November 2016 — 24 percent of the total student population.
Personnel News: Jeri Cook is the new Talbot County, Maryland elections director. Mary Bartelson has been appointed chief deputy of the El Paso County, Colorado clerk and recorder’s office. Vicki Vogel has been hired as the new elections administrator for Victoria County, Texas. Shawn Snyder is stepping down as the Bell County, Texas elections administrator. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has suspended Lucas County board of elections member James Hartley. Seth Harp has been appointed to the Georgia State Elections Board. Ray Kostesky has resigned from the Middlesex County, Virginia electoral board. Paula J. Wood has been appointed to the Meigs County, Ohio board of elections.
Get Well: Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced this week that she has been diagnosed with colon cancer. “My doctors have told me this type of cancer is not only treatable, but curable,” Wyman wrote in a statement released by her office. “I expect to make a full recovery after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.” Wyman will continue to perform her officials duties while undergoing treatment, but Assistant Secretary Mark Neary will assume responsibility of the day-to-day operations of the secretary’s office. Electionline would like to wish Secretary Wyman a very speedy recovery!