III. Election News This Week
Ten years after being approved by voters, Memphis, Tennessee is preparing to implement ranked choice voting in the 2019 city council elections. By moving to ranked choice voting, the city will be able to eliminate costly runoff elections which can run as high as $24 per vote. As part of the preparation to roll out RCV, the county will organize a large-scale, internal mock election to work out any kinks in the system and the city council will need to approve ordinances surrounding policy questions. “We're going to have to spend a lot of money on voter education," Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips told The Commercial Appeal.
Officials in Mercer County, New Jersey are investigating why more than 100 mail-in ballot arrived a month after the June primary. According to New Jersey.com, Joanne Palmucci, chairwoman for the Mercer County Board of Elections, said the office was blindsided when it received about 130 mail-in ballots on July 6, a month after the state primary. All of the ballots were postmarked by the deadline. There were some from every municipality and both parties. Palmucci said the ballots were not misplaced at the county elections office, but by the U.S. Postal Service. "Somebody messed up, but it wasn't the county," Palmucci said. "It's unfortunate, but there's nothing we can do about it." The USPS has said it is investigating the situation.
The Navy has announced the elimination of seven shipboard collateral duties including Voting Officer. Voting Officers ensure that members of the Navy understand their voting rights and how to register and vote absentee. According to the Navy News Service, the removal of these officers is part of a larger objective to remove unnecessary burdens and distractions from sailors. "It's not just about removing collateral duties," said Moran. "It's about taking a hard look at all the demands we put on our ships, squadrons and our Sailors, and refocusing our efforts on eliminating the unnecessary tasks that ultimately distract our Sailors from their primary duties."
A lot of thought goes into the choosing the perfect location for a polling site and the Washington County, Maryland Board of Elections has decided to relocate one of its early voting sites which is currently in a building near the county detention center. The Board’s Attorney Roger Schlossberg told county commissioners that female voters are subject to verbal harassment from inmates in the yard and that voters will have to make their way through those using the day-reporting center.
Personnel News:Tabitha Lehman has been reappointed to another four-year term as the Sedgwick County, Kansas election commissioner. Will County, Illinois Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2018. She first began working in the office as a high school student in 1975. Derek J. Oestreicher has left his position as director of elections of the state of Montana.
In Memoriam: We’d like to ask for your slight indulgence on this one. On July 22, legendary Washington, D.C. news anchor Jim Vance died. He was 75. Vance, as everyone referred to him, started at NBC4 in Washington, D.C. in 1969 and became anchor in 1972. He was charismatic and smart and a huge part of life for those of us that call D.C. home. He was on the air through every major event in the nation’s capital. Most of us do not remember a time when he was not on our televisions at the dinner hour. He was also very outspoken on many issues and that’s what we’d like to share with you here. This is a clip of Vance’s View from November 2016. In it, Vance reads the riot act to those who were choosing to sit out the 2016 election. It’s good stuff, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on.