IV. Election News This Week
The New York State Comptroller has released an audit of the New York City Board of Elections that highlights problems at the quasi-city agency. According to the report, at 82 sites, about 53 percent, auditors witnessed violations of federal and state election laws and also of the BOE’s own rules. At 14 percent of sites, affidavit ballots were mishandled, and at 10 percent of sites, voters received no assistance when they faced issues. Some poll workers even engaged in electioneering, telling voters which candidate to vote for. “We have uncovered deep dysfunction,” Stringer said at a news conference.
When surveillance video surfaced of a Palmview, Texas councilwoman help voters in a polling site questions arose about why there was a video camera in the polling site. City Manager Omar Romero told The Monitor that surveillance cameras have always been at the library voting site, but the footage surfaced after he received a public information request for it. Although Romero was legally allowed to release the footage and the cameras did fall under state guidelines Councilwoman Linda Sarabia is concerned about the impact the released footage may have. “It’s not about who wins the election, what’s at stake here is our right to vote,” she told The Monitor. “Turnout is low as it is, imagine what it’s going to be like now.”
Necessity is the mother of invention and that’s exactly what happened when Reno County, Kansas elections officials realized they could not get the county’s voting machines into a storage space in a second-story attic. That’s when county maintenance tech Art Miller and his supervisor Jim Arneson came to the rescue. During his free time, Miller built a pulley system to get the machines up the stairs. Miller created the system piecemeal from mostly available parts. “Kudos to Art and Jim for keeping after it, with several designs,” Reno County Maintenance Director Harlan Depew told The Hutchinson News. “The end result is neat to watch.”
Personnel News: Carolyn Fundingsland has been named the new Cowlitz County, Washington auditor. Lillian McBride will retire from the Richland County, South Carolina elections & voter registration office in 2018. Port Chester New York has hired Dr. Lisa Handley to help the city choose a court-mandated voting system by 2019. Laura Brazak is the new Democratic elections commissioner in Oswego County, New York. Kenneth Schweigard is the new Repubilan election commissioner in Schohaire County, New York. John Zawadzki is the new Democratic deputy commissioner of elections in Fulton County, New York. Orville “Bud” Fitch has been hired by the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office to serve as the office’s first attorney. Frankie Rideaux has been sworn in as acting Iberia Parish, Louisiana Registrar of Voters. Ada County, Idaho Clerk Chris Rich has announced his retirement and Phil McGrane, chief deputy has filed paperwork to run for the office. Ray Sexton has stepped down from the Stewart County, Tennessee election commission. John McCarry, executive director of the Brockton, Massachusetts elections commission is retiring after 18 years on the job.