III. Election News This Week
Sonoma County, California will conduct its upcoming election entirely by mail. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced the decision after wildfires devastated the area. Elections officials had expressed concerns about being able to secure polling places and enough poll workers. “It just makes it a lot easier for everyone,” Bill Rousseau, the Sonoma County elections chief told The Press Democrat. Electionline reached out to officials in Napa and Sonoma counties to check on them following the fires and while a few staff members lost homes, everyone is safe the elections facilities in both counties made it through.
The West Virginia State Election Commission voted this week to spend $4,000 to help promote a new voter ID program the secretary of state’s office is running. The amount is about 80 percent of the commission’s budget. Under the voter ID program, any registered voter without an ID—about 5 percent of the state’s residents do not have driver’s licenses—would be able to go to their local county clerk’s office and get a free voter ID. The secretary of state’s office will be covering the cost of producing the ads, and so the money from the election commission will go to promotional materials about the new ID law and getting an ID. “We need to get word out to the public that you need an ID to vote, and if you don’t have one, you can go to your county clerk’s office and apply for one,” Elections Director Donald Kersey told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
You’re talking my language! In New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Goodwill Foundation has launched a campaign to hire Russian-speaking translators to work at 20 polling sites in Brooklyn. “We cannot alienate 150,000 New Yorkers from taking advantage of their right to vote, and fulfilling their duty to do so,” Councilmember Mark Treyger told the Coney Island News. “If we are to ensure that the voting process is a fair and equitable one, providing language access for voters is a must.”
Sometimes you have to spend a little money to make money, or in this case, to attract voters. The Douglas County, Kansas clerk’s office spent about $27,000 to send mailers to county voters reminding them of the upcoming November 7 election. The mailers included an application for an advance ballot. The county received about 4,600 advance ballot applications. In the past they have received about 400. “We don’t generally do mailers for local elections, because we don’t know about the cost versus the turnout," Clerk Jamie Shew told the Lawrence Journal-World. "What this shows me is that it was money well spent. The results were far better than expected. Now, the next step is making sure people fill out those ballots and return them.”
Personnel News: Ben Decker has been appointed to the Sandusky County, Ohio board of elections. Clinton County, Pennsylvania has hired Maria Boileau as a part-time elections advisor. Bolieau recently stepped down as the county’s director of voter registrations-elections. Angela Jenkins has been hired as the new assistant executive director for the Galesburg, Tennessee election commission. Mark Meuser (R-Walnut Creek), an attorney, has announced his candidacy for California secretary of state. Congratulations to Fayette Co., West Virginia Clerk Kelvin Holliday for receiving the NASS-WV award for Exemplary Effort to Promote Civic Engagement Among High School Students. Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) has announced that she will run for re-election in 2018. Platte County, Nebraska Election Commissioner Diane Olmer was recently recognized by Secretary of State John Gale with a NASS medallion. With no explanation, the Kentucky State Board of Elections dismissed Executive Director Maryellen Allen and Deputy Director Matthew Selph. Sedgwick County, Kansas Clerk Kelly Arnold (R) has announced that he will run for secretary of state. John Thurston(R), the commissioner of state lands, has announced that he will run Arkansas secretary of state.