III. Election News This Week
This week, the Iowa secretary of state’s office mailed out 123,000 voter ID cards to residents who are registered to vote but do not have a state-issued ID to cast a ballot under the state’s new voter ID law. “It should be easy to vote but hard to cheat,” said Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) in a statement. “That's what this new law ensures.” Some concerns were expressed by opponents of the law that the IDs were sent during the busy holiday mailing season, but any voter who doesn’t receive an ID or misplaces one may get a new one from their county auditor. It cost the state about $79,000 to mail out the IDs.
Behind closed doors, the Santa Fe mayor and city council unanimously voted to prepare to use ranked-choice voting in the 2018 municipal elections. They also voted 5 to 4 to appeal a court decision forcing them to use the voter-approved system. After the two-hour meeting officials made the announcement to cheering supporters of ranked choice. Some city council members expressed concerns about the impact pursuing implementation and an appeal may have on voters. “I’m concerned about injecting confusion into the minds of the voters,” Councilor Joseph Maestas told the Santa Fe New Mexican. How exactly the city will implement ranked choice remains up for discussion.
When preparing for the November general election, officials in Pierce County, Washington found 150 uncounted ballots from the August primary in a storage bin in the elections office. “The ballots were sealed in a security bag, so they weren’t tampered with or molested in anyway,” Auditor Julie Anderson told the News Tribune. “But the error was that they were not put on the processing table.” Anderson reported the error to the state Secretary of State’s Office, the County Executive’s Office and the Pierce County Canvassing Board. She also contacted local news agencies and others to report the discovery. “We want to be transparent about this,” she told the paper.
Election 2017 Update: A recount in the Detroit clerk’s race got underway this week with at least five of the city’s 100 absentee precincts being deemed un-recountable. When the number of ballots doesn’t match the number of voters recorded in poll books, Michigan law prevents those ballots from being recounted. In all, elections officials are recounting about 41,000 ballots.
Congratulations to Lydia Riehn of Jackson High School in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri for designing the winning “I Voted” sticker for the county. Riehn’s design will be used on “I Voted” stickers in 2018 and 2019.
Personnel News: Congratulations to Kari Fresquez, New Mexico election director and chief information officer for being named Common Cause New Mexico’s Best Government Employee. And congratulations too goes out to Carolyn Newton of the Daviess County, Indiana clerk’s office for being named the Voter Registration Official of the Year for the state. Kristie Blanchard has been sworn in as the new Iberia Parish registrar.