I. In Focus This Week
FVAP submits 2016 post-election report to Congress
Report shows voting assistance efforts work
The Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2016 Post-Election Report to Congress shows that its voting assistance efforts work: FVAP continues to make progress in reducing obstacles to absentee voting for active duty military and has expanded outreach initiatives for voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
"I am proud of the work accomplished by FVAP to support military members, their families, and Americans living abroad throughout the 2016 cycle," FVAP Director David Beirne said.
As was true in 2012, about three quarters of voting Service members did so via absentee ballot. In 2016, FVAP increased outreach efforts, striving to reach all Service members multiple times through channels including email, postal mail, signage and materials on military installations, social media, news media, and FVAP.gov. FVAP also supplied materials to each Service's VAOs, produced a well-received video aimed at military leaders to stress the importance of supporting voting assistance programs, and worked closely with State election officials.
"The post-election data show that military members and overseas citizens are more likely to return their ballots when they use a DoD voting assistance resource — and our 2016 outreach activities were highly effective in letting them know about these resources. However, we must do more, particularly for first-time voters who need help navigating the process.”
FVAP materials focused on helping Service members who want to vote overcome obstacles in the absentee voting process, such as:
- Providing recommended early absentee voting deadlines
- Voting requirements and processes that vary by State -- and change often
- Not knowing how or where to register or vote
- Failing to sign election materials or affidavits
- Missing registration or ballot submission deadlines.
Service members' interest and voting rates (participation) fluctuate from election to election. For the past four election cycles, they have been higher during presidential election years and lower during midterm elections.
“A striking finding from our analyses is the reported drop in participation rate among military personnel in the 2016 election as compared to the general population — but it’s important to keep in mind that fluctuation in voting rates is normal and typically correlated with interest in the election,” Beirne said.
Comparing the two most recent presidential election years, the percentage who said they were interested in the election in 2016 dropped 8 percentage points from 2012; registration was down 13 points; and participation (submitting a ballot) was down 12 percentage points. Fluctuation in voting rates typically correlates with election interest, a measure of motivation.
“The data show that more military members cited motivation-related reasons for not voting and were less interested in the election in 2016 than in 2012,” Beirne said. “We are continuing our analysis to statistically test whether this decrease can be attributed more to the decline in motivation or to barriers to the absentee voting process.”
FVAP will release its findings, in addition to research on the voting experiences of U.S. citizens residing abroad, later this year.
The full report includes:
- voter registration and participation by military members;
- assessments of FVAP activities and usage of voter assistance resources;
- descriptions of cooperation between States and the Federal Government in carrying out the requirements of UOCAVA; and
- findings from post-election surveys of active duty military members, State and local election officials and Voting Assistance Officers.
II. Federal/State Update
More and more states are responding to the request for data, either with denials or compliance, and a few are still undecided.
Security experts have also expressed concerns about the safety of the data and that having all that voter data in one location may create a treasure trove for hackers.
"It's creating more security vulnerabilities in our election system that don't seem to be necessary," Barbara Simons, president of Verified Voting told The Associated Press.
Hawaii: Hawaii is the only state that has left the decision of whether or not to send the requested voter data to the presidential commission up to each county and so far three of the five — Hawaii, Kauai and Maui — have confirmed that they will send the requested information. Oahu, the island with the largest population, has yet to respond although the Honolulu city clerk has said he will not send the requested information.
Idaho: Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has sent the White House panel an official public records request form and a bill for $20. Denney said that commission officials will need to pay $20 for the state's voter rolls, fill out the public records request form and sign a disclaimer promising not to use the data for commercial uses.
New Hampshire: In an agreement reached between the state and the ALCU, New Hampshire will send some of the requested data, but it will come on the form of millions of scanned, in theory unsearchable images of voter data. The agreement is a compromise after the ACLU filed suit to stop the release of the information.
New Jersey: It is unclear whether New Jersey has or will provide the election commission with the requested data. In July, Robert Giles, director of the New Jersey Division of Elections said the request was under review. Media requests to ascertain whether or not the information has been provided have gone unanswered.
North Dakota: North Dakota Democrats have sent a letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger urging him not to share the data with the presidential commission.
III. Election News This Week
Voters went to the polls in several states this week including Michigan where new voting machines debuted in 11 counties and Detroit and in Missouri where the state’s new voter ID had a larger roll out. In Detroit, although there were a few glitches, none of them appear to have come from the new voting technology. The city was not able fulfill its promise of having results in by 10:30pm with five precincts left to report at midnight, but results were much faster than in the past. Also in Detroit, City Clerk Janice Winfrey won the primary with 51.3 percent of the vote. Winfrey will face Garlin D. Gilchrist, II in the general election. Gilchrist was most recently the city’s director of innovation and emerging technology. Officials throughout Missouri reported few problems with the state’s new voter ID law although there is a report that one woman in Kansas City was denied the right to vote.
Last week, when filing a standing request for weekly updates on voter registration information, staff at the Linn County, Iowa auditor’s office inadvertently released the last four digits of Social Security numbers for about 216,000 Linn County voters. The release went to four people, three of whom agreed to delete the data. The fourth email address does not belong to the person assigned to the email so the status of that data is unclear. Auditor Joel Miller told The Gazette that while he has “some level” of confidence the data is not at risk, he wants to make sure the data is either recovered or destroyed.
The Monkey Cage, a political analysis division of The Washington Post recently conducted a poll and found that 52 percent of Republican respondents would support postponing the 2020 election and 56 percent said they would support it if both President Trump and Republicans in Congress were behind it. The survey found that people who believed the president won the popular vote and there were millions of illegal votes cast in the 2016 election were more likely to support postponing the election. The poll also found that 47 percent believe that President Trump won the popular vote, 68 percent believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted and 73 percent believe that voter fraud happens somewhat or very often.
It’s county and state fair time around the country and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is taking advantage of that to partner with the Iowa League of Heroes to create “Be A Voter” trading cards featuring the Iowa League of Heroes at the state capitol. The cards will be available at the secretary’s booth at the state fair. There are nine different cards with one being distributed each day. “I want every eligible Iowan to register to vote and participate in our elections, and this is a fun way to encourage both,” Pate said. “Superhero movies are among the most popular ones in the country, so this is a great way for Iowans to meet their favorite superheroes in person, while making sure they are registered to vote and their voter information is up-to-date.”
Polling places are forced to relocate for a variety of reasons, but we’re pretty sure this is the first time we’ve ever heard about one being forced to move because of a conflict with BINGO. The American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 can no longer serve as a polling place in Manatee County, Florida because BINGO night is on Tuesday. “That’s a first one for me,” Mike Bennett, Manatee County supervisor of elections told the Bradenton Herald of the bingo night conflict. “We used the location year after year after year. We truly understand that that might be their most profitable day.” Bennett is hoping to move the polling site to the nearby Elks Lodge. The move will affect about 1,000 voters.
Personnel News: Tom Connolly has been appointed director of operations for the New York State Board of Elections. The following new elections commissioners have been appointed in the state of New York: Terry Bieniek (D) Montgomery County and Charlie Evangelista (D) Ontario County. Jim Mower (D), an Army veteran is running for secretary of state in Iowa. Sandra Delhaye is the new Danville, Illinois election commission director. Deidre DeJear (D), a business owner, is running for secretary of state in Iowa.
IV. Legislative Updates
Idaho: Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) has introduced a measure that will allow registered voters to keep some of their information private. The measure would allow anyone to opt of revealing most of their data, making only their name and voting precinct available to the public.
Maryland: The city of College Park has postponed a vote on whether or not to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. The city council is now debating whether or not to hold a referendum and allow voters to make the decision.
Texas: This week the House, during special session, has given tentative approval to Senate Bill 5 that would widen the definition of mail-in voter fraud and increase penalties for those who commit it. However, in their move to pass the Senate Bill 5, they also approved an amendment to repeal a law that was approved just this spring during the regular session that would make it easier for senior citizens in nursing homes to vote. According to the Texas Tribune, it’s unclear why the amendment was added, but some speculated it was a way to seek bipartisan support for the mail ballot fraud bill.
V. Legal Updates
Georgia: The ACLU of Georgia has send a notice of intent to sue the Chatham County Board of Registrars and the secretary of state after a resident of Thunderbolt received a letter challenging her right to vote. About 300 people in Thunderbolt have received the letters.
Illinois: A Madison County judge has ruled that ballot selfies are indeed legal in Illinois. Attorneys for the plaintiff had argued that the ban on ballot selfies was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
Also in Illinois, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision and found that there is no evidence that allowing same-day registration in large Illinois counties discriminates in voters in small counties.
Indiana: The Indiana NAACP and several Lake County residents have filed suit against the plan to consolidate many of the county’s small voting precincts. The plaintiffs are asking a federal judge to block the state election commission from adopting any consolidation plans and declaring that the mandate to consolidate is unconstitutional.
Kentucky: The Kentucky Attorney General has released a decision that the Rowan County Board of Elections is compliant with the state’s Open Meetings Act. Following a precinct change in Lakeview Heights Mayor David Bolt had complained that the BOE should do more than “post meeting notices on the office door of the county clerk’s office and should post the meeting dates, times, and location on the county clerk’s website and with The Morehead News.”
Texas: Hart InterCivic, a Texas-based voting machine manufacturer has filed suit in Travis County seeking to block the secretary of state from certifying rival machine makers whose devices produce a paper receipt of votes cast. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the lawsuit asks a state judge to pre-emptively rule that voting machines that produce a paper record don’t comply with state laws requiring the use of electronic voting machines for all countywide elections. [Hart InterCivic is an underwriter of electionline.]
Ohio: This week, the U.S. Department of Justice reversed its position in Ohio voter purge case before the U.S. Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, in their brief, government lawyers say they reconsidered the Ohio vote-purging issue after the “change in Administrations” and they argue that the state’s actions are legal under federal law.
West Virginia: Ten former employees in the secretary of state’s office have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the secretary. The suit claims the employees were part of a mass 16-employee purge, about one-third of the office, after Secretary of State Mac Warner took office. According to the Associated Press, Warner said the firings were part of downsizing, but since then he has hired 22 new employees. The lawsuits allege that 15 of the 16 fired employees were registered Democrats, and 19 of the 22 new employees are registered Republicans. The complaints also note that many of the fired employees, most of whom had between eight and 50 years' experience, were replaced with hires with little or no governmental experience.
VI. Tech Thursday
Kansas: Congratulations to the Shawnee County Elections Office for receiving the iGo Innovator Award for the RFP embedding process the county uses to make it faster and easier to county votes. The county estimates it has saved the state more than $300,000 with the new system.
VII. Opinions This Week
Illinois: Ballot selfies
Iowa: Secretary of state
Massachusetts: Same day registration
Michigan: Secure elections
Missouri: Voter ID
Montana: Secretary of state’s office
New Hampshire: Fair elections
North Carolina: Election dispute
Ohio: Voter rolls
Texas: Voting hours
VIII. Upcoming Events
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.
NCSL Capitol Forum 2017— the NCSL Capitol Forum is the meeting where NCSL Standing Committees meet to discuss policy and set the agenda for the states. The NCSL Standing Committees are composed of legislators and legislative staff who are appointed by the leadership of the legislatures. The committees are the main organizational mechanism for serving NCSL members. There are nine committees that deal with both state and state-federal issues. The jurisdictions of the standing committees are similar to those of committees in the state legislatures. When: December 10-13. Where: San Diego.
iGO Mid-Winter Conference 2018 — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on iGO’s mid-winter conference. When: Jan. 5-10, 2018. Where: San Diego.
NASED 2018 Winter Meeting — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on NASED’s 2018 winter meeting. When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
NASS 2018 Winter Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on NASS’s 2018 winter meeting When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
IX. 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.
Director of Policy Development and Programming, The American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, Washington, D.C. — the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations, seeks an experienced, creative, and detail-oriented Director of Policy Development and Programming based in Washington, D.C. to lead ACS’s “Democracy and Voting” and “Equality and Liberty” efforts. The first portfolio focuses on developing a comprehensive vision of the right to vote and to participate in our political process. The second addresses means of combating inequality resulting from race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and other factors. The Director plays a central role in coordinating and facilitating ACS's substantive legal and public policy work in the areas described above and will: Work closely with constitutional scholars, practitioners, advocates, public officials and law students to formulate and advance a progressive vision of the law that is intellectually sound, practically relevant, and faithful to our constitutional values and heritage; Develop and oversee execution of conferences, symposia and other live programming; and Work with authors to publish ACS Issue Briefs and other publications. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Specialist, Whitman County, Washington Auditor’s Office— the Election Specialists within the Whitman County Auditor Office assist in the preparation and operation of County elections by processing voter registration applications and election ballots. This position is also tasked with maintaining voter registration files, selection and training of election extra help staff and education programs and have a significant amount of public contact requiring effective communication and service to customers. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
President, Verified Voting — Verified Voting Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) and VerifiedVoting.org (a 501(c)(4) organization) are nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations founded over a decade ago by election security experts. We strive to guarantee the accuracy, transparency, and verifiability of elections, so that citizens rightly can trust election outcomes. We are the only national organization with the exclusive mission of protecting the security of elections in the digital age. This is is an exciting time to be Verified Voting President. Citizens and policy makers are finally becoming aware of major security vulnerabilities of our election systems. The President of Verified Voting, who is the Chief Executive Officer of both organizations, will have a platform that can have significant national impact. We are in the initial stages of launching an ambitious nationwide campaign to promote the adoption of paper ballots and routine manual audits throughout the U.S. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Program Specialist II (Election Administration), Montgomery County, Maryland— the Board of Elections (BOE) is seeking an Operations Specialist. This position will serve as backup to the operations division chief and will independently manage multiple key functions of the department, including planning for polling places and other facilities and services; overseeing and assisting with campaign filing and ballot access; negotiating and administering contracts; and coordinating major projects in support of an election such as logistical support for early voting. The successful candidate for this position will have considerable knowledge of election laws and procedures; skill in dealing tactfully, effectively, and equitably with people; knowledge of contract management; proficiency in writing, proofreading and copy editing; strong skills in logistics and supply management; and strong organizational and communications skills with a high degree of attention to detail. Deadline: August 16. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here (search for position number IRC26924).
Project Manager, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced and passionate Project Manager to be based in our Toronto office! This position will be responsible will be responsible for the effective project management of assigned projects throughout the Operations, North territory which includes but is not limited to, scheduling, budgeting, quality, staffing, communication, risk, supply chain, 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 (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.