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electionlineWeekly — November 30, 2017

Table of Contents

 IV. Election News This Week

What happens to the DuPage County, Illinois elections commission may ultimately come down to the voters in DuPage County. Members of the county board are planning to put an advisory referendum on the March 2018 ballot to ask voters if they want to dissolve the commission or not. According to the Daily Herald, Chairman Dan Cronin earlier this year was counting on state lawmakers to adopt legislation to merge the election commission with the county clerk's office and create a five-member panel to provide bipartisan oversight of elections. But the measure got bogged down in the Illinois House after being approved in early May by the state Senate. The March vote will just be advisory and a decision must still be made by the Legislature, but Cronin hopes it will help move the process forward. "Let's just fold it into the clerk's office and be done with it," Cronin told the paper.

The election 2017 cycle may almost be just about over, but they are still talking about the May special election in Montana. This week outgoing Missoula County Elections Administrator Rebecca Connors told the county commission about a survey of rejected ballots her office conducted. Overall 91 ballots were rejected with 35 arriving late, 39 with mismatched signatures and 13 with no signature at all. The survey of the voters found that most of those with mismatched signatures were the result of someone in household signing the wrong absentee ballot. According to The Missoulan, a majority of the voters reached said they heard from the elections office about their ballot and got instructions on how to resolve the issue, but many said they were too busy — or lacked easy access to a computer — to make it happen before the election. Also this week, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton told county elections officials in a phone conference, that he’s looked into whether or not there was election fraud during the May special and that he has seen no evidence of voter fraud. According to Montana Public Radio, Ruth Baker president of the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders says that Stapleton has changed how he talks about voter fraud and illegal ballots.  “The choice of words used has shifted a little bit from ‘fraud’ to ‘misconduct.’ The more information we receive and how the process works, the better we understand what goes on. And I think that is what happened,” Baker said.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has sent a letter to the U.S. Post Master General asking the U.S. Postal Service to “take immediate action” to fix a years’ long problem that assigned Iowa addresses to dozens of people living in a sparsely populated of Missouri near the border with Iowa. The situation has caused issues residents from everything to taxes and to voting. Jenny Church, Clark County clerk, said she lists the address of the 30 Clark County residents as the county courthouse. "The notion that Missouri residents have faced numerous hassles for decades because they have an Iowa mailing address is one of the dumbest things I've come across," McCaskill said. "This needs to get fixed, and I plan on doing everything I can to help."

With the prevalence of social media in our every day lives, we’re surprised we’ve not seen more stories like this one. A Cuyahoga County, Ohio board of elections employee has been place on administrative leave due to allegations the employee made personal Facebook posts during work hours in support of a candidate. According to a release from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, four members of the board agreed that the employees actions warranted 'serious discipline.' However, a motion to demote the employee and a follow-up motion to terminate them both ended in a tie vote. To break the tie, the case has now been forwarded to the Ohio Secretary of State for a final decision. 

Personnel News: Jared Smesler-Dearing is the new Kentucky board of elections director and Jennifer Scutchfield is the new assistant director. Sharon Anderson is the new Cass County, Minnesota election administrator. George Darany is the new Dearborn, Michigan clerk. Carla Gomez has announced her retirement as the Saguache County, Colorado clerk. After almost four decades, La Salle County, Illinois Clerk JoAnn Carretto has announced that she will not seek re-election.