I. In Focus This Week
Contra Costa County’s 2Vote Program: All the cool kids are doing it
Texting program helps high school students register online
By M. Mindy Moretti
If you’ve spent a nanosecond of time with teenagers these days, you know that they are always on their phones. Texting. Snapchatting. Instagramming. Facetiming. Ignoring calls from their parents. Always on their phones.
So how do you get their attention to do things like register to vote? You text them a link to the online voter registration form of course!
Contra Costa County, California, in partnership with their vendor Global Mobile has added a service to their existing text service 2Vote that allows high school students to text the name of their school to 2Vote (28683) and they receive a link to the online voter registration form.
The service is available for all the county’s public, private and charter high school students.
Paul Burgarino, civic engagement specialist for the Contra Costa County, Clerk and Recorder’s Elections Department explained that since the county was already providing a text service for voters — poll worker sign-ups, checking voter registration status, registering or reregistering to vote, Election Night results, etc. – the leap to providing a service geared towards young people was the next logical step.
Once the key word is received, Global Mobile’s system sends the website link via text message to the student. When the student clicks on the link they can register to vote, check their current registration status, review a sample ballot, or participate in a mock election.
“With their ability to create a Sample Ballot, we added a mock election component, as we want young voters to use this information to become comfortable with the voting process,” Burgarinso said. “By asking questions relevant to their social issues we hope to show the nexus between how voting affects their daily lives.”
The county elections staff has created the questions and the format for the mock election, and they plan to modify the questions on a regular basis to give students another opportunity to participate and familiarize themselves with voting. The county also works with Global Mobile to change the topics on the link that the user receives.
“Global Mobile did most of the technological legwork, while we worked collaboratively to create 50 unique flyers (one for each school) that include the school logo and are personalized for each school community,” Burgarinio explained. “The Contra Costa County Elections’ Civic Engagement Team worked on the promotional side, sharing flyers on each school’s social media site, connecting via email with teachers, principals, superintendents, and students who served as Poll Workers in the June and November 2016 Elections.”
The county is in regular contact with school staff to post flyers around campus and spreading the word on social media. Additionally, many instructors have agreed to include outreach information in their civic educational syllabus activity.
Because the county was already under contract with Global Mobile, the 2Vote program was added to the overhead so there were no additional expenses or outstanding maintenance costs.
Although there have been no concrete plans to share this technology with other counties or statewide, Burgarino said other, nearby counties have contacted Contra Costa and their vendor about the program.
Burgarino said the feedback from students and teachers has been positive.
“They enjoy how simple it is to access on their phones and how convenient it is to use,” Burgarino said. “Teachers and other educators throughout Contra Costa County have advised that they love the idea.”
Even in the early stages of the program — and at the end of the school year when summer is calling — Burgarino said they are already seeing texting and the corresponding increase in voter registrations.
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.
III. Legislative Updates
District of Columbia: The Council of the District of Columbia has voted — again — to move the District’s primary election. The new election date, effective in 2018 is the third Tuesday in June. In the past six years the primary election date has shifted from April to June to September and included a presidential preference primary in February 2008.
Florida: The 2017 legislative session ended without lawmakers approving about $75,000 so Florida could participate in ERIC. The bill was approved by the House with little opposition but died in the Senate. “It’s a shame, with all of the concern about the accuracy of the voter rolls,” Chris Chambless, supervisor of elections in Clay County and president of a statewide supervisors’ association told the Bradenton Herald.
New Hampshire: Following a partisan vote the House election law committee is sending Senate Bill 3 to the full House. The bill would tighten the requirements for people who register to vote within 30 days of an election.
New York: The Young Voter Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope-Windsor Terrace) and Sen. Brad Holyman (D-Manhattan) would mandate that high schools distribute voter registration forms to all students turning 17 in a calendar year.
Tennessee: An amendment to Senate Bill 0925 has stalled in the Legislature. The amendment would prohibit anyone who has been on the losing end of litigation with an election commission is not permitted to serve on that commission.
Texas: Senate Bill 2149 would create a process for collecting absentee ballots at nursing homes — essentially turning them into temporary polling places during early voting.
By a 20-10 vote the Senate has approved House Bill 25 that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections in the Lone Star State.
Wisconsin: This week the Legislature’s budget committee approved funding for five of six staff for the Election Commission although Gov. Scott Walker (R) had recommended that all six positions be cut.
IV. Legal Updates
Georgia: U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg issued an order last week stating that federal law does not prohibit the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law from using a coalition of multiple minority groups to make their case against Gwinnett County in a Voting Rights Act violation lawsuit.
Kansas: Last week, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled that Secretary of State Kris Kobach must provide the ALCU with copies of the documents he shared with then-President-Elect Trump in 2016. Robinson gave Kobach a May 12 deadline to turn over the documents. Kobach met the deadline, but marked the documents as confidential. “It’s just puzzling,” Stephen Bonney, chief counsel and legal director at the ACLU of Kansas told the Courthouse News Service. “We’re looking at what steps to take now and should have it figured out before the end of the week.”
North Carolina: This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reinstate North Carolina’s voter ID law. The high court refused to consider an appeal by the state’s GOP.
U.S. Virgin Islands: The V.l. Supreme Court has rejected a bid to force election officials to certify the results of the April 8 special election on procedural grounds, court documents show.
Wisconsin: Jessica Steinke of Cleveland, Wisconsin was sentenced to 80 hours of community service for committing voter fraud for voting in the 2016 election despite being a convicted felon.
V. Tech Thursday
National Tech: Senator Angus King (I-Maine) wants Congress to allocate $160 million to help state and local governments buy voting machines that are able to be audited. According to the Bangor Daily News, King told leaders of the appropriations subcommittee that deals with homeland security that “in the emerging age of cyberwar, election equipment is a very attractive target. Rational analysis concludes that our voting equipment will certainly be subject to sophisticated cyberattacks that are likely to change election outcomes without detection.”
Colorado: The Weld County commission has approved a $496,496.74 contract between the county and Dominion Voting Systems for new touch-screen voting equipment and ballot counting machines.
Oregon: Deschutes County rolled out its new ClearVote ballot-counting system this week for a special election. Previously election workers had to hand-stamp and review each ballot, now a digital image is taken of each ballot and those that appear questionable are flagged for human review. The new system has allowed County Clerk Nancy Blankenship to hire fewer election-day workers and will get everyone home earlier. “You are saving a lot of manpower, a lot of staff power, with not having to do each and every ballot,” Blankenship told the Bend Bulletin.
VI. Opinions This Week
National Opinion: Presidential commission, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII | Voting system | Design problems
Iowa: Voter ID
Kansas: Kris Kobach
Minnesota: Provisional ballots
Nebraska: Voter ID
New York: Presidential commission
Vermont: Presidential commission
West Virginia: Clean elections
VII. Available RFPs/RFIs
Colorado Secretary of State’s Office
The Colorado Secretary of State wants to engage with individuals or a firm to create a software system to implement risk-limiting audits on a statewide basis. A risk-limiting audit provides strong statistical evidence that the reported election outcome is correct, and has a high probability of correcting an incorrect outcome. In general terms, Colorado will require counties to follow the ballot-level comparison audit methodology proposed by M. Lindeman & P. Stark, A Gentle Introduction to Risk-limiting Audits, IEEE Security and Privacy 2012 (March 16, 2012) (available at https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~stark/Preprints/gentle12.pdf).
The solicitation, called a “Request for Documented Quotes”, is posted on the State of Colorado’s Vendor Self Service website. To view the solicitation, visit www.colorado.gov/vss, click on “Public Access”, and use the search terms “risk limiting audit”. Full information on the solicitation and information on how to submit a quote is available there. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm Mountain Time.
Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles County RR/CC is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) #17-001 to hear directly from vendors about their interest in potentially partnering with the County to bring the VSAP vision to fruition. Additionally, this RFI seeks input from the vendors on partnership models that would enable successful development and implementation of VSAP.
RR/CC would like to receive responses from any vendor who is interested in providing one or more components of VSAP, and encourages vendor feedback on the VSAP project being undertaken by RR/CC.
The components of VSAP are:
- Ballot Marking Device (BMD)
- Interactive Sample Ballot (ISB)
- New Tally System
- Tally System Scanners
- Special Thermal Printers for the BMD and ballot activation mechanism
- Vote by Mail (VBM)
- Systems Integrator Services
- VSAP On-going Maintenance and Support
Disclaimer: This RFI is for planning purposes only and is not an RFP, Invitation for Bid (IFB) or an obligation on the part of the County to acquire any services. Responses to this RFI are not offers and will not be accepted by the County to form a binding contract. The County reserves the right to determine how it should proceed as a result of this notice. Furthermore, those who respond to this RFI should not anticipate feedback with regard to its submission. The information provided in this RFI is subject to change and is not binding on the County.
VIII. Upcoming Events
The Future of Elections: Technology Policy and Funding — Join legislators, legislative staff, elections officials and election administration experts for a discussion on the future of elections technology and how to pay for it. Share ideas on updating voting infrastructure in an era of limited resources and heightened security concerns. In addition to a robust discussion on elections policy, attendees will enjoy all Colonial Williamsburg has to offer. Bring the whole family with you! When: June 14-16. Where: Williamsburg, Virginia.
IaoGO 2017 Annual Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the International Association of Government Officials 2017 Annual Conference. When: July 6-13, 2017. Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
NASS 2017 Summer Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Summer Conference. When: July 7-10, 2017. Where: Indianapolis, Indiana.
Summer Conference on Election Science, Reform and Administration — Hosted by Reed College and Portland State University the goals of the conference are, first, to provide a forum for scholars in political science, public administration, law, computer science, statistics, and other fields who are working to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how laws and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States; and, second, to build scientific capacity by identifying major questions in the field, fostering collaboration, and connecting senior and junior scholars. When: July 26-27. Where: Portland, Oregon.
NASED 2017 Summer Meeting— Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Summer Meeting. When: August 22-25, 2017. Where: Anaheim, California.
IX. Job Postings This Week
Account Manager, Clear Ballot, Boston — we are looking for a talented Account Manager to play an active role in developing and maintaining long-term working relationships with Clear Ballot’s customers. This person should be able to work independently and in partnership with other team members to achieve high customer satisfaction. The account manager will have a regional assignment, with certain customers assigned to him/her. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Data Reporting Supervisor, Orange County, Florida — The Office of the Supervisor of Elections is seeking an experienced GIS Data Reporting Supervisor to join our dynamic team. With minimal supervision, this position maintains accurate street index, precinct map, municipal and district boundaries for the elections office. The position coordinates all activities related to management of census data and redistricting. The ideal candidate would have experience managing GIS data for a government agency, developing and maintaining data reporting for internal and external parties and experience working with Oracle database, forms and reports including development of SQL queries and stored procedures. Preference will be given to candidates with strong supervisory skills, project management experience and prior experience utilizing MapInfo. Employment with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office is contingent upon successfully passing a criminal background check, health screening and verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications, as applicable. Salary: Grade 14-Minimum $56,998, Maximum $85,486. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Warehouse Technician, Yavapai County, Arizona — Under minimal supervision, coordinates all the logistical activities for obtaining and equipping the county's polling locations. This includes assuring that these sites are in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). PLEASE NOTE: This is not a typical warehouse job; no hard hats or heavy equipment operator licenses are necessary. Ideal candidate would have experience in election equipment testing and maintenance, leading a group of seasonal staff, project planning and preparing documents. Preference will be given to candidates with supervisory, project management and Microsoft Office experience. Employment with Yavapai County Government is contingent upon successfully passing a criminal background check and verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications, as applicable. Salary: $35,731-$41,073. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Director, New Hanover County, North Carolina — duties of the Director include managing and participating in the activities of regular staff and large number of temporary staff and volunteers while preparing for and conducting an election. The Elections Director oversees voter registration, records management, and candidacy filing; provides administrative assistance to the Board; interacts with candidates, political parties, civic organizations, and the general public as a non-partisan; develops and implements procedural and technical improvements; prepares long and short range operating plans; prepares and maintains departmental budget; prepares bid specifications for elections services and equipment and enters into contracts with vendors; testifies in legal or official proceedings; develops and conducts voter education and registration drive programs; reports unofficial election results to media and assists the Board with canvassing official results; prepares voting machines for elections; and maintains precinct maps. Salary: $68,256-$116,035. Deadline: May 23. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Division Director, Ada County, Idaho — collaborates with the Clerk of the District and Chief Deputy to plan, oversee, and administer elections for over 200,000 registered voters across 145 precincts. The Elections Director is responsible for ensuring all of the necessary resources are acquired and in place, poll workers are well prepared, and that Ada County’s elections are conducted in an accurate, efficient, and transparent manner that leaves Ada County voters with the upmost confidence in the elections process. The Elections Director is expected to exercise independent judgment and discretion, under the general direction of the Clerk of the District Court & Chief Deputy, to manage the administration of all federal, state, county and local district elections. The Director is responsible for planning, designing, and carrying out programs, projects, studies or other work related to election administration within Ada County. Salary: $65,000-$75,000. Deadline: June 15, 2017. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Full Stack .Net Developer, Dominion Voting Systems, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly technical and passionate Full Stack .Net Developer to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will be responsible for providing high-level technical expertise to design development, coding, testing and debugging of new voting system software and/or significant enhancements to existing software. This position will work on a team utilizing an Agile development environment. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced and passionate Project Manager to join our team in Michigan! This position will be responsible for the effective project management of assigned projects which includes, but not limited to, product implementations, scheduling, budgeting, quality control, staffing, communication, risk management, fulfillment, integration and customer communication. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (Southeast), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Southeastern United States; preferably in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, or Louisiana. The Regional Sales Manager is responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, planning and development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (Northeast), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Northeastern United States; preferably Illinois, Ohio or New York. The Regional Sales Manager is responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, planning and development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (West), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Western United States; preferably California. The Regional Sales Manager is responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, planning and development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Sales Engineer, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a passionate and technically skilled Sales Engineer to be based in either California or Colorado. This position will be responsible for serving Dominion Voting Systems customers by identifying their needs; working with Engineering & Certification on adaptations of existing DVS products, equipment, and services; and this using technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying our products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Technical Trainer, Clear Ballot, Boston, Massachusetts — our small and growing documentation and training team has an immediate need for a new member with intermediate-to-senior experience in: Instructional design, development of learning curricula, production of training materials, and hands-on, customer facing training. Generally, the training department, technical staff, and operations staff provide training at the customer’s site. We need an instructional designer and trainer who can analyze the learners and materials, and establish an appropriately targeted learning program. The opportunity exists to develop computer based training as an enhancement to our learning curriculum. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Engineer, Clear Ballot, Boston, Massachusetts — we are looking for a talented Systems Engineer who has both a technical and services/support background which enables them to quickly assess customer needs and offer value to Clear Ballot’s customers. The Systems Engineer will gain a deep understanding of how Clear Ballot’s products operate and their optimal configuration to build a streamlined installation process of the Clear Vote election system. The ideal candidate for this position can prioritize mission critical tasks and coordinate the implementation and expansion of our systems. They will be able to work directly with customers, display innovation, think conceptually and act tactically to build consensus around system installation and enhancement and meet deadlines. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
System Specialist, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking tech-savvy, passionate System Specialist to be based in our Toronto office! This position will be responsible for a wide range of projects to include end-to-end election simulations, identifying new features for development, coming up with creative solutions to meet customer needs; and documenting procedures and solutions. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Training Specialist, Wake County, North Carolina — the Wake County Board of Elections is seeking a Training Specialist to manage the training program for our 2,500+ election officials. This position will oversee the daily operation of the training program for the department, develop training materials, manage the Learning Management System, schedule and design layouts for training facilities, train and manage instructors and assistants for in-person training classes, identify training needs, and establish plans to address the needs through training solutions, identify innovative training tools and methods to enhance the training program, monitor and assess election law changes and incorporate the changes into polling place procedures, and develop and design election forms, precinct official website, newsletters, assessments, and other communications. Salary: $18.98 -$25.62/hr, eligible for overtime. Deadline: May 31, 2017. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
XI. Electionline Underwriting
For 15 years, electionline.org has brought you all the election administration reform news and information of the day through electionlineToday and of the week through our weekly newsletter electionlineWeekly.
Because of the generosity of such organizations as The Pew Charitable Trusts, Democracy Fund and the Hewlett Foundation we were able to bring you that news and information for free and free of advertising.
In order to continue providing you with the important news of the day and week we are now offering monthly underwriting for our daily and weekly postings (think more NPR, less local radio and television).
Underwriting will be available for electionlineToday, the weekly email that reaches about 4,800 inboxes each week and the weekly newsletter. Underwriting is available on a per-month basis and costs $2,500 per section per month. The underwriting is available on a first come, first-served basis. Each section will be exclusive to one underwriter per month.
We will accept underwriting from a variety of entities in the elections world, but will not accept political advertising.
Job posting and marketplace listings from elections offices seeking to sell/trade voting equipment will remain free of charge.