II. Election News This Week
Since January 1, there have been 559,179 voter registration applications through the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). During that same period in 2015, there were 95,102. The difference? Under direction from the secretary of state’s office and the attorney general’s office, DDS switched from an “opt-in” to “opt-out” policy on how it processes voter registrations. Since the official switch, counties have become inundated with registration forms. Macon-Bibb is now seeing 200-300 new registrations per week. “We’re trying to get to them as quickly as we can, but because of this change it’s out of control,” Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson told The Telegraph. “It’s not just Bibb. It’s every county in Georgia.”
There’s an interesting battle brewing in Colorado between party officials, the secretary of state’s office and local elections officials. In November 2016, residents voted to support two propositions, one that would move Colorado to a primary system and another that would open those primaries up to unaffiliated voters. According to The Denver Post, the controversy has arisen as officials try to hammer out the specifics of putting those two proposals into place. One of those specifics would allow political parties to obtain voter-specific data on who’s voting in each primary. Supporters, including Secretary of State Wayne Williams say it’s necessary to ensure the integrity of the elections process. However, local officials dispute that. “They’re trying to confuse this issue, frankly,” Amber McReynolds, the director of elections in Denver, said of the Republican and Democratic parties. “What they want to know, ultimately, is specific people in the primary they participated in, and that isn’t for canvas and auditing, it’s for campaign purposes.”
An audit by legislative auditors has found several deficiencies with the Maryland State Board of Elections including exposing voters to potential identity theft, ballot security issues, disaster preparedness, contracting and accounting issues. Linda Lamone, administrator of the SBOE said she agree with the report, with a caveat. "We were working on a lot of these things even before the auditors came in," she told The Baltimore Sun and added them most of the issues cited in the audit had been rectified before it was released.
Sometimes you just can’t win for trying and that was certainly the case this week when a voting website set up by the New York Campaign Finance Board for residents to vote on new “I Voted” stickers failed. A spokesperson for the CFB told the New York Daily News that the glitch was a “temporary” issue and it was fixed by Monday afternoon.
Congratulations to the Indian River County, Florida supervisor of elections office for receiving the Judges’ Award presented by the Florida Public Relations Association’s Treasure Coast Chapter. The 2017 Judges’ Award was presented to Supervisor of Elections Leslie Swan and Technical Programs Coordinator Stephanie Nelson for the promotion of their public relations and voter outreach program, “Pop In To Register.” ”Pop In To Register” is a yearlong campaign that aims to increase Indian River County’s monthly voter registration rate by 3.1 percent.
And congratulations also go out to Pierce County, Washington which received recognition from the National Association of Counties for implementing biometric time clocks to streamline the time entry for hundreds of temporary election workers needed during the 2016 general election.
Personnel News: Ernie McCarthy has been nominated to fill a vacant Republican seat on the Lucas County, Ohio board of elections. Susan Campbell has joined the Forsyth County, North Carolina board of elections.