I. In Focus This Week
A tablet for every county
Iowa program provides tablets and accessibility app to all auditors
By M. Mindy Moretti
It was like Christmas in April when Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate provided all 99 Iowa county elections office with computer tablets.
But these weren’t your average tablet, each of the Acer Tablets included the ADA Checklist for Polling Places Program to help elections officials determine if their voting sites (1,681 statewide) are compliant with the American Disabilities Act.
The checklist provides guidance to election officials to determine whether a polling place has the basic accessibility features needed by voters with disabilities, or can be made accessible on Election Day.
Features of the app include the ability to take photos of polling place structures, and providing guidance for making temporary accommodations. Additionally, it helps counties with polling place layout, reports, and tracking supply needs for individual polling places.
While the state could have just provided the app to each county, an important part of the program was also providing the tablets.
“The tablets are an important part of the package,” said Secretary of State Paul Pate. “They enable auditors to take them to potential polling sites and take pictures with the device. Not every county auditor would already have a device like a tablet to utilize with the app, so it was important to make sure every auditor had one.”
The tablets were paid for with funds from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Election Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities grant.
“We are quite proud of the work that our team here at the Board of Elections has done to develop and share this software tool that is designed to improve the accessibility of our voting locations to those with physical disabilities,” Ed Leonard, Director of the Board of Elections said in a statement.
Franklin County shared the app with Iowa at no cost and officials in Iowa needed to spend only a small amount of money modify the app for use in Iowa.
The Iowa program is part of a Pate's larger initiative, "Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote," which is a finalist for the 2017 Ideas Award by the National Association of Secretaries of State.
“The Franklin County Board of Elections was very generous in sharing the app with us and helping us implement it,” Pate said. “We would be glad to pass on this information with other states and counties, but would refer them to the folks in Franklin County who developed it. This ADA Accessibility Checklist App is a wonderful tool.”
Pate said the feedback from auditors has been positive both from the counties and from the disability community.
“These tablets will enable county auditors to confirm that each polling site meets the current ADA Standards. This new technology will be very useful in assuring that all voters are treated uniformly at each polling location in each election," said Rhonda Deters, president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors and Grundy County auditor.
Rick Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council said in statement that the program is just one more step to make voting accessible not only to those with disabilities, but to all voters.
“The curb cuts and automatic doors that we all take for granted today were intended by the ADA to give individuals with disabilities greater access to the community. Similarly, this renewed focus on polling place accessibility will benefit not only Iowans with disabilities but all voters,” Shannon said.
Another benefit to the program is that the tablets now belong to the county auditors’ offices, so they can also utilize them for other election-related work.
“It’s another step toward modernizing our elections, which is something every county and state in the country should focus on. Making sure all our polling places are accessible to everyone is not just a requirement, it’s a necessity,” Pate said. “I am wholly committed to encouraging and helping all Iowans participate in the electoral process, and this technology is another tool in accomplishing that goal.”
II. Election News This Week
A report by a coalition of voting rights groups called Keystone Vote, charges that as many as 26,000 Pennsylvanians, including 17,000 Philadelphians, were left off the voter rolls for the 2016 election because their voter registration forms were not processed quickly enough. “We are in business of franchising voters, not disenfranchising voters,” City Commissioner Lisa Deely told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I am really perplexed. … We need time to verify what they are saying. Where did they get these numbers?” Ray Murphy, a spokesman for Keystone Votes, said the Public Interest Law Center requested from the Department of State all voter-registration transactions from 2016 and noted whether the application was approved or rejected and when.
A report by the Election Integrity Project found more than 4,300 incidents in 15 California counties that the group believes threaten the integrity of elections. The incidents include things such as failure to ask for voters’ names at check-in, failure to ensure voter privacy and a lack of supplies at polling places. “California has a lot of work to do not only to ensure fair and honest elections, but also to convince the public that there is a reason to participate in the process,” the report concludes. According to the Press-Enterprise, the group describes itself as a “nonpartisan, citizen volunteer organization whose mission is to advocate for fair and honest elections in California.” Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley told the paper he’s not sure of the project’s methodology or where its data come from. “Unfortunately, not having received or reviewed the report, we cannot comment on any specifics,” said a statement from the LA County registrar’s office. “We have a very rigorous poll monitoring program and work cooperatively with individuals and organizations who observe elections – including providing direct access on Election Day to ensure quick response or corrective action, if needed.”
DuPage County, Illinois Board Chairman Dan Cronin said this week that he is prepared to seek voter approval to eliminate the county’s election commission. According to the Daily Herald, Cronin was waiting for the state Legislature to merge the current election commission with the county clerk’s office, but the bill got bogged down. Cronin said he's prepared to pursue a binding referendum to simply return election oversight to the county clerk's office -- power stripped from that office in the early 1970s to create the election commission. "I'm ready to dissolve the election commission and hand over all of the responsibilities for running elections and administering elections to the county clerk," Cronin told the paper.
In the latest round of Reagan vs. the Recorders, Arizona’s 15 county elections officials are at odds with Secretary of State Michele Reagan over whose fault it is that a committee that makes sure the state’s voter registration database is working has lapsed. Although the latest spat is over the state’s old voter registration database, officials who spoke with The Republic said it was really about the proposed new voter registration database. "I think the counties got tired of being pushed around," F. Ann Rodriguez, the Pima County recorder told the paper. Most counties have stopped payments to the state for the existing voter registration system in an effort to force the secretary of state’s office to schedule a meeting about the new voter registration database. “This is probably the biggest meeting of the year for us," David Stevens, Cochise County recorder told the paper. "We’re sort of flailing in the wind.”
Voters went to the polls (or mailboxes) in several states this week including California, Mississippi and New Jersey. Overall turnout was relatively light and the problems were few. In New Jersey, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno pulled double duty by voting for herself in the Republican primary for governor and, as the state’s top elections official, assuring the public of the integrity of New Jersey’s voting system in the wake of reports of Russian hacking. Polls in Morristown opened about 75 minutes late because the head custodian of the polling place location was late. In Wanaque it was ballots vs. basketballs when there was an attempt to move a polling place — mid-vote — for a basketball fundraiser. The fundraiser moved instead. And hats off to Laura Wooten who at 96 served as a poll worker at the same polling site she’s worked for 78 years! In Mississippi, a voting location in Jackson ran out of ballots more than an hour before the polls closed. Voters had to wait in line while elections officials resupplied the polling place.
Personnel News: Christopher M. Thomas, director of elections for the state of Michigan will join the executive board of the U.S. Vote Foundation following his retirement later this month. Berniece Butler of Appanoose County, Iowa was recently presented with the Medallion Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State for her years of service to helping voters in the county. She will turn 100 later this summer. David Karmol has been appointed to the Lucas County, Ohio board of elections. Jennifer Hudon, Manitowoc, Wisconsin clerk for more than 20 years is preparing to retire. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has announced in her newsletter “Wyman’s Wire” that she has completed her cancer treatments. “Now there’s a period of recovery before I learn the results of the treatments,” Wyman wrote in her newsletter. “That will be a challenge, but I’m confident my doctors will help me through it.” We wish her a continued and speedy recovery.
III. Legislative Updates
Florida: Gov. Rick Scott (R) has signed HB 105 into law. The new law will require county elections supervisors to notify voters if their signatures on their vote-by-mail ballots and voter registration forms don’t match. The voters would then be given an opportunity to fix the problem before the ballots are counted.
Minnesota: A bill allocating $7 million for the purchase of new voting equipment has been signed into law. The bill creates a grant fund for counties to replace voting equipment by 2018. It provides up to a 50 percent match between the state and counties for mandatory equipment and up to a 75 percent match for e-poll books.
Nevada: Assembly Bill 519 would provide $8 million to the secretary of state’s elections division for the purchase of new voting equipment.
New Hampshire: The Legislature has approved SB3, a bill that that requires a person registering to vote 30 or fewer days before an election to provide the date they established their domicile in the state. Those who lack the proof would still be allowed to vote, but would have mail or present the proof of domicile within 30 days. Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill.
Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed Senate Bill 5 into law. The new law will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including a voter registration certificate, utility bank, government check or work paycheck.
Also in Texas, the Legislature has approved House Bill 658 that would create a process for collecting absentee ballots at nursing homes and other such facilities. In essence, the nursing homes would essentially be turned into temporary polling places during early voting to discourage others from attempting to collect the ballots. Under the bill, judges would arrive at a nursing home with enough ballots so that any qualified voter there could fill one out. Folks who may have forgotten to request an absentee ballot could fill out the paperwork on site and cast a vote during the judges’ visit.
Washington: Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant is proposing an ordinance that would require landlords to provide voter registration information to all new tenants.
IV. Legal Updates
Federal Lawsuits: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has filed paperwork with U.S District Court of the District of Columbia consisting of a proposed memorandum, a tally vote and a short statement from Commissioner Tom Hicks. The paperwork is in response the court’s request for guidance on agency policy regarding the Executive Director’s authority under the NVRA to add state-specific proof of citizenship instructions to the federal voter registration form.
Georgia: Gwinnett County has filed a new motion in the federal voting rights lawsuit agains them which claims that district boundaries were drawn to dilute the ability of minority of voters to elect the candidates of their choice.
Illinois: Louis Alexander Bertaux of Geneva has sued the Kane County jail claiming that a correctional officer denied his request for an absentee ballot during the 2016 election. "Upon the news of this presidential election being concluded, without my ability to participate, by exercising my Constitutional right to vote, I experienced the equivalent of being murdered inside," the lawsuit states, "like a debilitating gutpunch that deflated my soul, and diminished my spirit, and caused terrible and negative thoughts and feelings so damaging to my heart and psyche, that I've been struggling to uphold my superior state of mind." He is suing the jail for $1 billion (yes, with a b).
Indiana: Inmates in the Allen County jail are suing the sheriff alleging that they were denied the right to vote in 2016. The suit alleges Sheriff David Gladieux “systematically disenfranchised hundreds of eligible voters held in the Allen County Jail during the 2016 general election by refusing to provide them absentee ballots or alternative access to the polls.”
North Carolina: A state three-judge panel has ruled that a law combining oversight of elections and ethics under one board may move forward. The panel did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, rather they simply said they did not have the jurisdiction to rule.
Also in North Carolina, the United States Supreme Court struck down dozens of the state’s legislative districts because they disadvantaged black voters.
Rhode Island: U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. has granted the State Board of Elections motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the board’s former executive director who claimed the board had violated his rights by firing him. Robert Kando, the former executive director, has asked the court to reinstate the lawsuit.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos heard arguments this week about Texas’ voter ID law. The plaintiffs in the ongoing suit argued that the state’s new ID law doesn’t absolve lawmakers from intentionally discriminating against minority voters in 2011.
V. Tech Thursday
As was reported this week, leaked documents from the National Security Agency imply that Russia’s military agency launched a cyberattack on a VRSystems, a Florida-based elections systems company that works with at least eight states. At least one VRSystem employee account was compromised and then hackers sent emails to elections officials at the state and county level. State and county elections officials [Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington] were quick to assure the public that their systems had not been breached, although officials in some states are working to figure out if counties were breached. The National Association of Secretaries of State issued a statement reiterating the security of the nation’s voting system.
VI. Opinions This Week
Alaska: Vote by mail
New Hampshire: Election legislation
New Jersey: Voting system
Ohio: Voting rights
Oregon: Voting system
South Dakota: Polling places
VII. 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 — The iGO Annual Conference is packed with over 24 hours of education specifically for government officials with sessions for election officials, clerks, recorders and treasurers. Get knowledge and concrete learning you can bring back to your office. Visit the iGO website for full info and register by June 23 for the lowest rates. 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.
National Association of Election Officials Professional Education Program — Program includes Course I (Introduction to Election and Voter Registration Systems Administration); Course II (Management and Leadership Concepts in Election and Voter Registration Administration); Course III (Planning and Budgeting for Elections and Voter Registration); Course IV (Election and Voter Registration Information Management and Technology); Course V (Ethics in Elections and Voter Registration Administration). Where: Sanibel Harbour Hotel, Fort Meyers, Florida. When: July 8-15.
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.
National Association of Election Officials 33rd Annual Conference —This year’s Conference attendees will be inspired and energized as we share trending elections and voter registration issues including The 2016 Elections in Review, Technology Advances in Voter Registration and Elections and Polling Place Line Management, to name a few, Also, crucial information from federal agencies to local election officials sharing practical information for day to day election administration operations. This is the also the time to honor and celebrate the winners of the Election Center’s acclaimed Professional Practices Papers’ Program. You will hear the winning presentations and you will take home all of the innovative programs and ideas that were submitted by your colleagues in other jurisdictions around the country. When: August 19-23. Where: Orange County, California.
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.
VIII. Job Postings This Week
Associate Components Engineer, Clear Ballot, Boston — our growing team has an immediate need in our Boston office for an entry-level/early career Associate Components Engineer in our Product Management organization. As an Associate Components Engineer, you will be at the center of maintaining Clear Ballot as the leader of commercial-off-the-shelf based voting systems. The list of materials in our voting systems is broad and dynamic; and you will be accountable for staying ahead of vendor product roadmaps, leading the identification and evaluation of new technologies and products from those vendors, identifying new sources of components, then managing new models and products through introduction, test, internal training and deployment. You may also perform manufacturing engineering duties and vendor surveys. The successful candidate will be managing finished goods and subassemblies such as computers, printers, and scanners- not board level components. 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.
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.
Executive Director, Rhode Island Board of Elections— senior management executive responsible for the daily administration/operation of the agency and staff. Incumbent will execute policies and directives established by the Board; develop and implement agency's strategic plan. Duties include, but are not limited to, budgeting, personnel administration, labor relations, administration of election and campaign finance laws and management of the state assets (building, equipment & vehicles). Oversees the conduct of elections and campaign finance reporting and matching public funds program; assists local canvassing authorities, elected officials, candidates and the general public in election-related matters; serve as the Boards liaison to local, state and federal agencies as well as public and private organizations; serve as agency's representative on various state, local and private boards; initiates and updates voter registration, campaign finance and all election-related programs and the development of instructional programs and materials. Attends all meetings of the Board, including executive session's (unless requested not to participate). Responsible for writing manuals, booklets, informational and education material relating to election and campaign finance publications and procedures. Achieve agency goals and objectives established by the Board. Salary: $112,643-$126,951. Deadline: June 15, 11:59pm. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Program Specialist 4, Washington Secretary of State’s Office — this position is the Election Review Program lead within the Election Certification and Training program. The Election Certification and Training program oversees, directs, and advises county auditors in interpretations of federal and state election law and the correct administration of voter registration and elections throughout the state. The certification and training program reviews county practices for adherence to election law and best practices, provides essential tools for election administrators through official communications and training, and acts as liaisons for the Office of the Secretary of State. This position reports to the certification and training program manager and is responsible for overseeing, reviewing and advising county auditors on the federal and state elections laws and the administration of voter registration. Salary: $4,109-$5,385. 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.
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.
X. Electionline Underwriting
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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.
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