II. Election News This Week
The Hall County, Georgia board of elections and voter registration voted 2 to 1 to approve making bilingual election materials available for all elections moving forward. Although Hall County did not come under a Sec. 203 designation, elections board member Kim Copeland told The Gainesville Times that since nearby Gwinnett County had recently been required to offer the materials in Spanish, it was only a matter of time before Hall was too. “Hopefully we can save the taxpayers money from unnecessary lawsuits,” Copeland said.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is doubling the time a voter is inactive before they are removed from the rolls. Previously, a voter would be removed from the rolls if they didn’t vote for five years. Richardson has extended that to 10 years. "This change will protect or restore the voting rights of Oregonians serving our country on military deployments, college students and voters frustrated with the political system," said Richardson. According to the Statesman Journal, Richardson says it doesn't make sense to be adding thousands of new voters through Motor Voter every year, while simultaneously purging thousands from that same active-voter list because they didn't cast a ballot for five years.
We may be in full spring bloom (at least in the warmer climes), but officials in New Hampshire are still dealing with a blizzard—or at least the effects of canceling several elections during a mid-March blizzard. Under the latest proposal, House Bill 329 would allow local elected officials to decide whether elections held other than on election day are legal. Interestingly, an analysis by the Union Leader found that turnout for elections held on the scheduled election day were higher, even with a blizzard raging, than on the rescheduled election days.
New Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is hoping to shake things up in Arizona’s largest county and one of those plans under consideration is to move to all vote-by-mail elections in 2018. Fontes has estimated the cost will save the county about $30 over the next several years. "The old system, (it) is time, in my mind, to move to the side," Fontes, told The Republic. "I don't know anybody that uses a horse and buggy today either." Currently about 80 percent of Maricopa voters are already voting by mail.
In "sad" news, no one in Santa Fe, New Mexico who votes in a special election will be free tacos. A political committee supporting a tax under consideration in the special election had been promoting free tacos for the first 100 “I Voted” stickers. The group cancelled the event after members of the media began to inquire about the legality of offering free tacos. Voters will have to celebrate Taco Tuesday another way.
Personnel News: Sally Garvens of Richfield, Wisconsin has served her last election as a poll worker after 38 years. Lisa Grey has stepped down from the Staten Island, New York board of elections. Michelle Baldwin has formally been appointed registrar of voters in Tulare County, California. Former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has joined The Brennan Center for Justice as the manager of state advocacy. Karen Leader has resigned as the Nodaway County, Missouri clerk. Nancy Heck is retiring as a Hawkins County, Tennessee election commissioner. She is being replaced by Nancy Point. Boone County, Illinois Clerk and Recorder Mary Steurer is retiring after 40 years on the job. Reynaldo “Rey” Valenzuela, a 26-year veteran of the Maricopa County, Arizona elections department has been appointed permanent director of the department.