III. Election News This Week
The Cuyahoga County, Ohio board of elections is investigating why a back door to the BOE’s building was found unlocked by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich had showed up at the BOE only to find the office closed for early voting, but the back door unsecured. Board officials affirmed that they are sure no one could access ballots cast ahead of the Sept. 12 primary election. "We can confirm with certainty that no tampering with voted or unvoted ballots took place, nor any other action that would compromise the integrity of the... primary election," a statement from the BOE. Ballots are stored in double-locked rooms, and those rooms were found to be locked before the close of business, the statement says. Board of Elections staff accounted for all ballots after authorities learned the building was unlocked Saturday, and no ballots were tampered with. The BOE is working with the county executive and sheriff to upgrade security procedures for the building. State Rep. Bill Patmon, who is running for mayor in Cleveland, has asked the state to investigate.
A 76-page audit by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission published in the Federal Register said that New Hampshire failed to get prior approval to use $1 million in federal election money as part of a $3.7 million renovation of to the state archives building. New Hampshire received $18 million in these HAVA grants, and by the end of 2015 the state still had a $10.4 million balance. According to the Union Leader, state election officials said they have been trying for more than seven years to get retroactive approval of the spending.
The U.S. Postal Service has petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission to raise the cost of a first-class postage stamp to $.60. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, that’s the largest one-time increase in the Postal Service’s history. USPS claims the rate hike will help it avoid bankruptcy and improve delivery service. Needless to say, with vote-by-mail growing in popularity, and de rigueur in several states, any increase to the postal rates causes concern for elections officials. “Any government service has costs associated with them, so when the price of poll workers or postage goes up, so do the cost of running elections,” Wendy Underhill of the National Conference of State Legislatures told the paper.
Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel announced that Tim Eyman, who has submitted a statement to the voter’s pamphlet opposing a proposed ballot measure may not use the term “B.S.” in his statement. The B.S. in question does not stand for bachelor of science degree but well, something else. “I believe it is vulgar and inappropriate. There are many other more appropriate words in the English language that could be used to make the same point,” she told Seattle Weekly. Eyman insisted the phrase isn’t profane and that barring its use infringes on his free speech. Weikel said she has sought advice from the county attorney’s office about her decision. “I don’t think I’m being a prude. This is an election publication and I believe voters expect a certain level of appropriate and professional presentation of information,” she told the paper. “They expect a higher level of discussion than what Mr. Eyman has put forward.”
Personnel News: Phyllis Smith has been named the new Cabell County clerk. Bill Rousseau, Sonoma County, California clerk-recorder-assessor said that he will not seek re-election to the position in 2018.
In Memoriam: Freddie Wayne Williams who served as the Giles County, Virginia general registrar from 1983 to 1995, has died. He was 76. Williams served in the 155th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam where he was severely injured when his aircraft was shot down. He was forced to learn to walk again and after doing that he received his Master’s Degree from Radford University. From 1967 to 1983 he served as an administrative assistant in the Virginia Senate.