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electionlineWeekly — May 18, 2017

Table of Contents

 II. Election News This Week

As reported, last week President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order creating a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Reaction from throughout the elections world was swift. Secretaries of state across the country released press releases about the commission including California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The commission does include three secretaries of state and each have made their own statements to the press include Indiana’s Connie Lawson, Maine’s Matthew Dunlap and New Hampshire’s Bill Gardner. Many in the civil rights community expressed concerns about Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s involvement with the commission and the overall impact the commission may have on voting rights. Researchers too have weighed in including those at Dartmouth who have already studied the voter fraud issue in 2016 and did not find any evidence to suggest widespread voter fraud.

The District of Columbia will spend $3 million to overhaul the city’s voter registration database. Under a plan being put forth by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the city will develop a new centralized, citywide voter registration database as well as an election-management database which will be able to gather more timely information from other city resources in order to keep the voter rolls more up-to-date. “This will actually improve accessibility to voting for District residents,” Kevin Harris spokesman for the mayor told The Washington Post. “The mayor’s request is not a witch hunt for election fraud and abuse that has been proven time and again to be false.”

Well this is a new one to us, and we are pretty sure we’ve heard just about everything. Some voters in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania had to cast their primary votes on emergency ballots when a judge of elections failed to show up. The reason? The judge was in jail facing two counts of assault and two counts of making terroristic threats against his sister and nephew. "This is the first problem I've had in my polling place,” Wilkinsburg resident Dawn Coley told WPXI. “That's weird to have it like that." The polling place also suffered a power outage. Overall though, voting was relatively smooth throughout the Commonwealth.

Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth is writing a nonfiction book about women’s voting rights. According to The Associated Press, the book will include a concise history of the suffragette movement and a look at women’s voting rights in other countries. The book, with a planned title of “Vote” is being published by HarperCollins and does not yet have a release date, although as the AP pointed out, the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment is in 2020.

Personnel News: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has been appointed to the Council of State Government’s executive and international committees. Ohio State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) officially declared her candidacy for secretary of state. Ohio Senator Frank LaRose (R) declared his candidacy for secretary of state.