II. Election News This Week
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Peloisi (D-California) announced last week that House Democrats are creating an election security task force to study how the government can prevent the Russians from hacking future elections. According to Politico, the task force will hold hearings, collect data on state-level election hacks, and interview election officials and cybersecurity experts. Ultimately, the group aims to turn its findings into legislation.
The Madera County, California Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters office has created two new advisory committees on voting/language accessibility. “Elections in Madera County have always been a very open, transparent and community based process,” Rebecca Martinez, clerk-recorder, registrar told the Sierra Star. “The formation of the VAAC and LAAC will further my commitment to involving the community in the planning, preparation, administration and review of all elections.” Martinez is seeking volunteers from the community to serve on the committees. The VAAC aims to improve the overall electoral process, but especially for the elderly and those with disabilities. The LAAC is designed to make the voting process better for those with language barriers.
Although not a move to vote centers, Lucas County, Ohio will be trimming the number of polling places it uses going forward. The move means that as many as 45,000 voters, mostly in suburban areas, will now vote in consolidated precincts and polling places. According to The Toledo Blade, the precinct changes eliminate 20 precincts and 15 in jurisdictions outside Toledo. In addition, Toledo is losing three polling places. the changes affect 45,760 voters, out of 301,049 total voters. :We were directed to do this in 2014,” Board Director LaVera Scott said at the meeting to consolidate. “Vote centers are around the corner. We have to be realistic. That is where we are moving in the near future. We have to be prepared.”
The city of Knoxville, Tennessee has launched a new initiative called Go Vote! Knoxville. The initiative will have six get-out-the-vote meetings in each of the city’s six council districts. There will be pizza and snacks, family games and members of the Knoxville Election Commission will be at the meetings to register voters and provide voting machine demonstrations.
Personnel News: Malheur County, Oregon Clerk Deborah Delong will retire effective August 1. She has been the clerk since being appointed in 1985. Rae Hunter-Havens has been appointed the New Hanover County, North Carolina board of elections director. Wendy Mazza has retired as the Northampton, Massachusetts clerk. Although she was first elected to job in 2004, she began working in the office 1971. Eric Dreiband has been tapped by the Trump Administration to lead the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Doris Schaller has retired from the San Juan County, Washington elections office after 13 years on the job. Hans von Spakovsky has been appointed to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.