III. Election News This Week
Commissioners in McLennan County, Texas approved $17,000 to bring a local church into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act in order for it to continue serving as a vote center. The cost is $6,000 more than originally planned and under an agreement reached with the church, the church will have to serve as a vote center through 2024 or refund the money to the county. The county had to stop using some churches as vote centers because the cost to bring them into compliance with the ADA was too high, as much as $70,000 in one chase The county is complying this a settlement agreement it reached with the Department of Justice after the DOJ identified hundreds of ADA violations in 2011.
Lewis County, Washington has added eight new ballot drop boxes bringing the county’s total up to 14. According to The Chronicle, the drop boxes are the result of a new state law that requires a minimum of one drop box per 15,000 registered voters. While the county met the numbers threshold, the law also requires each city, town and census-designated area in the county to have a drop box. The drop boxes cost anywhere from $3,200 to $4,5000 to install. “The cooperation of the cities, fire districts and school district was key in making this happen prior to the upcoming general election,” Auditor Larry Grove told the paper. “Lewis County facilities crew worked diligently to ensure that all site prep work and installation was completed in a timely manner.”
According to AL.com, elections officials across Alabama remain confused over which felons may vote and those that may not after the state changed the law earlier this year. Registrars told the AL.com they were not entirely clear about the intricacies of the law how it applies to their duties. Secretary of State John Merrill told AL.com that he spoke with nearly 150 registrars at a June meeting outlining the new law and that there have been several smaller workshops held throughout the state. Mary Ann Swann, chairwoman of the Henry County Board of Registrars, said her board's members have continued to use their own discretion to decide what crimes are considered of moral turpitude. "We're just now beginning to get into the system where we don't make that determination. We're going to be leaving that decision up to [the Alabama Board of] Pardons and Paroles," Swann said. "We've made that decision in the past month - whether or not [a felony is of] moral turpitude."
Personnel News: Maria Boileau has resigned as the Clinton County, Pennsylvania director of voter registration and elections. Ruth Munzel is stepping down from the Livingston County, Michigan board of canvassers. Jocelyn Benson, former dean of the Wayne State University Law School announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination for Michigan secretary of state. Mark Thomas, the Utah director of elections is leaving the office to become the Utah Senate’s chief of staff. Ben Decker has been appointed to the Sandusky County, Ohio board of elections.