II. Election News This Week
The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked 21 states to make public information about 2016 Russian hacking efforts into their election systems. According to The Hill, the request was made in a letter sent last week from Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-Va.). “I do not see how Americans are made safer when they do not know which state elections systems Russia tried to hack,” Warner told The Hill.
This week, Vice President Mike Pence held an organizational phone call with members of the newly established Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission will hold its first meeting in late July in Washington, D.C. "The integrity of the vote is a foundation of our democracy," Pence said Wednesday, according to a White House press release. "This bipartisan commission will review ways to strengthen that integrity in order to protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote." A complete readout of the call can be found here.
Although Massachusetts teens are allowed to pre-register to vote beginning at 16, a recent review by the secretary of state’s office found that many teens aren’t taking advantage of that option. According to Secretary of State William Galvin, only 2,270 teens pre-registered before the November 2016 election. According to the Daily News, that’s slightly more than 1 percent of the 16- and 17-year olds living in the state. “It’s a well-intentioned effort to increase participation,” Galvin told the paper. “But because it doesn’t allow you to vote immediately, it doesn’t get the same interest as other programs.”
The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security has determined that there was no malicious intent from the attempted intrusion into the Georgia voter registration database by DHS. “Earlier today, I personally spoke with current DHS Secretary John Kelly and learned that the investigation is now complete,” Kemp said in a statement. “DHS did not knowingly attempt to breach Georgia’s firewall or hack our systems. Federal officials were able to re-create the event, and they have promised to provide a detailed report for my review.
Vote centers: In a follow-up to last week’s item about vote centers, the Sebastian County, Arkansas Quorum Court finally approved the use of countywide vote centers beginning with this September’s school election. And in Guadalupe County, Texas, the county’s voting center application is moving forward after a resolution was approved by the county commission.
What if we could vote as easily as we order a hot dog? Congratulations to Phil McGrane, chief deputy of the Ada County, Idaho clerk’s office who just did a TEDx talk on the county’s innovative Food Truck Voting efforts. You can watch the almost 12-minute video here!
Personnel News: Sally Williams has been appointed the new Michigan elections bureau chief replacing Christopher Thomas, who is retiring. Williams, who is currently the election liaison division director will be the first woman to ever serve in the role as bureau chief. Mark Rhodes, Wood County, West Virginia clerk, has been appointed to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Houston County, Georgia commission recently honored Board of Elections member Tony Robbins for is 44 years of service on the board. David Dunn, a former Arkansas state representative has been named to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Kansas State Rep. Keith Esau (R-Johnson County) has announced his bid for secretary of state. Joseph Sobecki has been named the new DuPage County, Illinois election commission executive director.
In Memoriam: Ruthelle Frank, the lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s case against Wisconsin’s voter ID law has died. She was 89. Frank was an alderwoman in the Village of Brokaw but could not vote for herself because she didn’t have an ID or the birth certificate necessary to obtain one. "Well, that was just a slap in the face," Frank told Wisconsin Public Radio. "They wouldn't even look at my other papers. I had everything. I had my social security card. I had my marriage license. I had proof where I lived, and I had all the other requirements. The only thing I didn't have was a birth certificate. I don't feel that I should have to have a birth certificate to be able to vote." The lawsuit continues.