I. In Focus This Week
Electionline.org joins Democracy Fund
By Stacey Scholl, Senior Program Associate and
Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor at Democracy Fund
Democracy Fund has long been enthusiastic about the value of electionline.org as a site for important news and information, which is why Democracy Fund has provided financial support for its maintenance and continuance since 2014. As the partnership with electionline.org deepened, there was space for both organizations to consider what a long-term commitment could look like. We are so pleased to share that agreement was made to bring the site within Democracy Fund as a project.
Over the next year, Democracy Fund’s Elections team will work with electionline.org editor Mindy Moretti to manage and grow the site because we believe it remains a powerful tool for sharing knowledge. We will remain committed to a strictly nonpartisan lens and transparency about the role our organization plays. We know the election administration community only has a handful of places to find curated and organized news relevant to their work. For this small group, electionline.org has been a place for the story of American elections to unfold separately from the political race and campaign rhetoric.
Since 2013, electionline.org has operated independently under the leadership of Mindy Moretti, who joined in 2005 and is the current site editor. The site is now more than 16 years old and former editor Doug Chapin says that he is “pleased that it is bigger, better, and has lasted longer than many people (including me!) expected.”
Mindy shared that “there is a story behind every vote cast. There is a story behind every new innovation or piece of equipment purchased.” She noted that while the site has benefitted from its time as an independent entity, there have been drawbacks — like delaying the creation of new features or modernizing the archives for searchability. In this way, she compares the resource constraint to that of election officials making choices about where to spend and where to save. She is glad that the site will have a home with Democracy Fund where it can thrive.
Electionline.org has its roots in some of the most compelling election moments of our country’s history, and we want it to be around for many more pivotal events and conversations. The need for a website like electionline.org was felt after the 2000 presidential election, when interested groups, academics, and practitioners recognized that there was little to no routine information about the processes, equipment, and ideas shaping elections. Without this information, there might still be no dialogue about what is a common practice or a new innovation.
Today, the site is known for giving context for key issues and elevating the voices of election administrators, many of whom are more accustomed to correcting statements about laws, rules, and regulations than sharing their perspective and work.
Doug Chapin, founding editor of electionline.org in 2001, shared that, as part of its Election Reform Information Project (ERIP), The Pew Charitable Trusts made a grant to the University of Richmond for a website with a goal of creating a common source of knowledge that gives anyone in the elections field a sense of what was happening in their area. The site would share “election administration news only, with an emphasis on state and local coverage that was comprehensive, but not overly inclusive of topics like campaign finance or redistricting.” He recalls that there was a clear effort to “inform to reform.”
Doug explained that through the site, election news was presented in three rhythms: daily news roundups, weekly newsletters, and monthly/quarterly reports. This gave readers a choice for information, so they could read what they had time for and interest in. In 2007, electionline.org became part of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Election Initiatives. Like StateLine, and other important Pew resources, electionline.org developed a reputation for spotting issues in the field before they reached many decision-makers, giving a preview of what to avoid and what new practices are possible.
Mindy will be an essential part of the next phase of electionline.org, remaining onboard as the editor, which entails waking before readers on the East Coast start their day and searching for stories to post. She will also assist with developing plans for the future. “I want electionline.org to be the first place people go to when looking for election reform news and information. We may not be your last stop online, but we hope to be your first.” She has said that continuing to watch electionline.org mature will be important to her given her long tenure with the site.
(Stacey Scholl is a Senior Program Associate for the Elections team at Democracy Fund, where she co-leads efforts to foster a voter-centric elections system by supporting election officials with tools and knowledge. Prior to joining Democracy Fund Stacey worked for the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, State and Local Relations team.
Tammy Patrick is a Senior Advisor with the Elections team at Democracy Fund co-leading efforts with Stacey Scholl. Prior to joining Democracy Fund Tammy served as a Democracy Project Fellow with the Bipartisan Policy center and was Commissioner on President Obama’s Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Additionally, she was a Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department for eleven years.)
II. Federal-State Updates
Late Wednesday, The White House issued a statement saying that President Donald J. Trump had signed an executive order to dissolve the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
The president remained steadfast in his belief that voter fraud was a major issue, but in his statement, the president said: “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”
On Twitter Thursday morning, the president lamented the need to disband the commission and said with the commission now gone, focus should be on voter ID. Currently 34 states require some form of ID in order to cast a ballot.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democratic member of PACEI appeared on NPR and spoke with Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep about the decision to dissolve the commission.
And in an interview with The Washington Post, Dunlap expressed concerns about the decision to move the review to the Department of Homeland Security.
“I think people who are saying ‘the witch is dead’ should be very alarmed by this move,” he told the paper. “I think that’s very dangerous.”
In other news, according to a report in Politico, states wishing to have the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conduct a security screening may have to wait up to nine months for the screening. The nine-month wait is “not a good metric” for states hoping to boost their security, admitted Christopher Krebs, one of the DHS officials leading election security efforts. “We are working to prioritize.”
III. Election News This Week
Fairfax County, Virginia General Registrar Cameron Sasnett is denying voter registration requests from residents who have moved to the county from other Virginia counties claiming that concerns about the way a Department of Elections systems handles requests submitted through the DVM. “I’m going to deny the transfer, I’m going to inform the voter that they’re still registered in [their previous jurisdiction], and I’m going to send them an application so they can fill that out,” Sasnett told WTOP. According to the report, Sasnett and other Virginia registrars are concerned that address updates submitted through the DMV from July 1, 2016 until this fall wrongly appeared when printed out in registrars’ offices to be completely new applications.
Mahoning County, Ohio Board of Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta has come up with a proposed series of changes to how the county counts ballots after an error led to the double counting of more than 6,000 early votes in 2017. Although the problem was caught and an amended final vote report was issued, officials in Mahoning failed to contact the media and others about the error. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a letter requiring the county issue a report about the incident. Among Kale-Pesta’s changes are: Having a checklist for tabulating all votes, assigning the board’s secretary of serve a point person to communication ongoing election totals to the media, training staff to post results on the board’s website in a more timely fashion and only allowing two specific people to scan ballots.
Although Illinois legislators approved and Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation into law that would allow the state to automatically register voters at the DMV, the law has yet to be implemented for a lack of funding. “We haven’t gotten any money appropriated for it quite yet,” Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel Ken Menzel told the Illinois News Network. “There’s a supplemental appropriation request pending with the legislature but we do have staff working on it as best we can. The staff that’s working on it has been updating the board on a monthly basis.” Menzel anticipates the state will need about half a million dollars to implement the program. The law says AVR should be fully implemented no later than July 2019.
NASED Update: Democracy Works will now serve as the organizational home for the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) with Amy Cohen, Democracy Work’s director of government outreach serving as the new executive director of NASED. “Election administrators define our voting experience—from registration and eligibility to the sticker you receive at the polls—in addition to the many responsibilities that voters never see,” said Kathryn Peters, Democracy Works’ Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer. “NASED brings together state election directors nationwide to share best practices and collaborate. In fulfilling Democracy Works' goal to support election officials, I can think of no better partner than NASED.”
Personnel News: Kelly Thomasson, the Virginia official who oversees felon rights restoration will continue in that position under Governor-election Ralph Northam. Daniel Perigo is the new Stewart County, Tennessee election administrator. Dori Munyan has been appointed the new Finney County, Kansas clerk. Billie Iott, Exeter Township, Michigan is resigning after nine years on the job.
IV. Legislative Updates
Maine: A bill sponsored by the secretary of state’s office would ban the gathering of voter signatures at polling places on Election Day. “It’s really not a shadow effort to restrict the people’s right to petition their government,” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told the Portland Press Herald. “That is not our intent.” He said the changes are more a result of complaints from voters themselves and polling place officials who want to maintain orderly and “civilized” polling places. “Sometimes signature gatherers are very, very aggressive,” Dunlap told the paper. “They take things right to the very edge and it causes issues.”
Minnesota: January 1 marked the start of a new law which establishes five uniform dates throughout the year for special local elections. A special election in a city, town or school district must be held on one of the following dates: The second Tuesday in February; the second Tuesday in April; the second Tuesday in May; the second Tuesday in August (state primary date); or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (general election date). A special election may only be held on a different date if it is held in response to an emergency or disaster.
Nevada: The Clark County commission voted this week to end a decades-long practice of automatically mailing absentee ballots to voters in precincts with small populations. The county’s move to vote centers spurred the decision. “There’s no sense in sending out a $5, $6 mail ballot to someone who will likely surrender it to vote on a machine,” Registrar Joe Gloria told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The change will affect about 4,800 voters and save the county $50,000.
New Hampshire: Several elections-related bills have been introduced in the early days of the legislative session including one that would move the state to a ranked choice voting system and another that would mandate poll workers provide information on New Hampshire driver’s license laws to anyone registering with an out-of-state license. Another bill would remove the state from the Crosscheck program and another would give town moderates the authority to delay or change elections due to weather emergencies.
Also in New Hampshire, in a 14-9 party-line vote, the Senate approved House Bill 372 which establishes a new definition of residency in order to register to vote. The bill must now go back to the House to reconcile changes. Gov. Chris Sununu has voiced his opposition to the bill.
Utah: Rep. Bruce Cutler (R) is proposing legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in Utah. Utah is one of eight states that still allows straight-ticket voting. "When you go out to the polls and vote, sometimes it’s nice to check one number. You’ve got a lot of people waiting behind you," Cutler told Fox 13. "But now that we do most of the voting by mail, you have all the time in the world to research and look at the candidates."
Also in Utah. Rep. Stephen Handy (R-Layton) has introduced a bill that would automatically register residents vote when they receive a new or renew their driver’s license. Handy said he has the support of county clerks.
V. Legal Updates
California: The City of Redondo Beach plans to file a lawsuit against the state challenging the law that creates uniform dates for elections. Cities, school boards and special districts had had until Jan. 1 to come up with a plan to streamline their elections. Instead of coming up with a plan, the Redondo Beach city council decided to challenge SB 415.
Michigan: Michael Gilmore, a candidate seeking to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rep. John Conyers has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the 11-month delay in holding a special election to fill the vacant seat is unconstitutional.
In Macomb County, Clerk Karen Spranger has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that three Macomb officials have violated her constitutional rights in a conspiracy with the county’s chief judge, the head of an AFSCME union local and two reporters she claims are biased against her.
Missouri: Cole County Judge Jon Beetum has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and the state’s voter ID law. The suit claimed that the state had not provided enough voter education and poll worker training.
New Jersey: A losing candidate in the Hillside mayoral runoff has filed a suit challenging the election results. The suit alleges that there were errors in the vote count. According to New Jersey Advance Media, the lawsuit alleges illegal votes, destruction of provisional ballots and errors in counting the votes. The suit alleges at least 18 provisional ballots were stolen by the current mayor, her council or their representatives before they could be counted. In total, the lawsuit questions more than 95 votes and lists the names and addresses of the voters as part of an exhibit.
North Carolina: Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway ordered the Pitt County BOE to certify the election of Ricky Hines to the Winterville Town Council. According to The Reflector, Ridgeway said the county board did not have the authority to revoke a certificate it has previously issued.
North Dakota: U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller has granted the plaintiff’s motion to file an amended complaint in the challenge of the state’s voter ID law.
Pennsylvania: An Office of Open Records decision says that state law allows anyone with a valid ID to obtain your voter registration information, but blocks the voter from finding out who’s looking. The decision came after Quincy Twp. Supervisor Kerry Bumbaugh filed a right-to-know request to find out who received copies of the county’s voter registration list in 2017. The county denied the request.
Texas: The Texas Tribune has an article by Alexa Ura on what we can expect in Texas’ voting rights court fights in 2018. It’s a good primer to catch readers up on where we are at this point.
VI. Tech Thursday
Arizona: By a unanimous decision by the state’s 15 counties, Arizona has elected to become the 22nd state to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). “Our participation in ERIC will decrease provisional ballots, as well as reduce the number of voters on the rolls who don’t live in Arizona anymore,” Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told the Eastern Arizona Courier. “Our counties work hard to ensure the registration database is accurate, and this tool will enhance their ability to keep our data as accurate as possible.”
VII. Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Election security, II | Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
Illinois: Voter suppression
Indiana: Voting centers
Maine: Signature gathering
Michigan: Student voting
North Carolina: State board of elections
Tennessee: Voting is a civic duty
Texas: Voter ID
Washington: Washington Voting Rights Act
West Virginia: Voter ID
Wisconsin: Elections commission
VIII. Available RFIs and RFPs
Risk Limiting Audit Software
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has issued a Request for Information for the next development phase of the state’s risk-limiting audit software tool. The RFI is open until January 21.
The RFI is posted on VSS. Interested vendors should visit this website:
- In the middle of the page on the left-hand side they will see a button marked public access. Click here.
- At the top of the page in the middle they will see the keyword search. Have the vendor type in “Risk Limiting.”
- This will bring up both the previously published DQ and the newly published RFI. Click on the RFI details button.
- The attachments tab on the next screen will pull up the RFI and the Exhibit A.
Voting System Development
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) Dean C. Logan released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Los Angeles County Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP). The RFP seeks proposals from pre-qualified vendors to support the development and implementation of the County’s new voting systems. Vendors were pre-qualified during the initial Phase of this RFP in November 2017.
The VSAP is an innovative project launched by Los Angeles County to develop a completely new voting experience for Los Angeles County voters; an experience that focuses on the needs and preferences of the voters themselves – and, that is publicly owned and operated. The proposed new voting experience was designed using a human-centered approach that engaged over 3,500 voters in the design process to result in an experience that is secure, accessible and convenient.
Pre-qualified vendors have until Friday, March 2, 2018 at 2PM to respond. Individuals desiring more information on the RFP are advised to visit the VSAP website at VSAP: Request for Proposals.
Additional information and updates are available online at vsap.lavote.net.
IX. Upcoming Events
EAC Summit: The 2018 Federal Election — Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will host an all-day summit to highlight a spectrum of issues that state and local election officials will face as they work to administer a secure, accessible and efficient 2018 Federal Election. Attendees will hear from keynote speakers and expert panelists who will address topics such as election security, voting accessibility, and how to use election data to improve the voter experience. This event is free and open to the public. Due to limited space, registration is strongly recommended. The summit will be recorded and available at a later date. There is no livestream scheduled. When: Jan. 10 9am to 3pm. Where: The National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Joint Election Officials Liaison Committee — The Joint Election Officials Liaison Committee’s January meeting will include sessions on cybersecurity, pending federal legislation, investing in elections, crisis management and media training, the USGAO’s update on election work and a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. When: Jan. 11-12, 2018. Where: Ritz Carlton Hotel, Arlington, Virginia.
NASED 2018 Winter Meeting — The National Association of State Election Directors’ winter meeting will feature panels with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, regional DHS reps, Senate Rules staff and House Administration staff as well as discussion on ERIC and VVSG 2.0. When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
NASS 2018 Winter Conference — This event will bring together government and industry leaders to showcase secretary of state initiatives and highlight all the latest developments in state and federal policy-making circles. NASS President Connie Lawson and other speakers will focus on many important topics including election cybersecurity and remote notarizations. When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
Election Center Special Workshop — The Election Center’s special workshop will include courses on election and voter registration systems administration and management and leadership concepts in elections and voter registration administration as well as workshops on procurement and contraction, new voting models, IT security, election resources and costs, USPS initiatives and data dangers. When: Feb. 28-March 4. Where: San Antonio, Texas.
X. Job Postings This Week
Account Manager (Michigan)-ES&S — serves as the interface between customer service and sales with respect to the full array of ES&S product lines. Operating as the lead point of contact for any and all matters specific to customers within the assigned territory from initial implementation of new voting systems through each election cycle. Ultimately, Account Managers are responsible for building and maintaining long-lasting customer relationships, negotiating and promoting Account Management contracts and agreements to maximize profit, and acting as the overall liaison between the customer and internal team members. Account Managers partner with our customers to ensure their long-term success. The Account Manager role includes managing a portfolio of assigned customers, developing new business from existing clients and actively seeking new opportunities. Account Management responsibilities include developing strong relationships with customers, and connecting with key county/jurisdiction officials. Account Managers will liaise between customers and cross-functional internal teams to ensure the timely and successful delivery of our solutions and to proactively identify customer needs and improve the entire customer experience. In addition, Account Managers collaborate with our Sales team to achieve sales quotas and grow our business. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Security Officer (Denver) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a senior executive Chief Security Officer to join our team in Denver, Colorado! The CSO will be accountable for the development, implementation, and management of enterprise-wide strategies, policies, and programs intended for the mitigation and reduction of operational, financial and reputational risk relating to the security of our products, data, personnel, customers, and facilities globally. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Relations Manager (Toronto) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a customer focused and passionate Customer Relations Manager to join our team in Toronto! This position is responsible for providing world-class customer service to our customers in order to achieve our core purpose of delivering solutions for the advancement of fair, accessible, and secure elections! Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Relations Manager (Phoenix, AZ) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a customer focused and passionate Customer Relations Manager to join our team in Phoenix, AZ! This position is responsible for effectively and proactively managing the day-to-day relationship, administration and technical/product support of one or more assigned customer accounts. Additionally, the CRM will serve as project manager for specialized projects such as pre- and post-election day support, new product implementations, and/or product upgrades/updates. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Manager, Sonoma County, California — the Elections Manager is responsible for supporting the daily operations and activities of the Registrar of Voters Office, including the development, coordination, and evaluation of division operations and programs. The individual selected for this position will use considerable independent judgment and discretion in the supervision of staff, the prioritization and coordination of mandates, goals, objectives, and the delegation of administrative responsibilities. The Elections Manager is also responsible for: Analyzing, managing, and coordinating projects such as legal and technological changes; Managing ballot production and distribution; Preparing and conducting trainings; Drafting, reviewing, and updating procedural manuals; Assisting in preparation of the division's budget; and Developing professional relationships with public officials, and community groups and agencies. Salary: $7,044.03 to $8,562.41 monthly. Deadline: Jan. 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here:
Government Outreach Lead, Democracy Works — as the Government Outreach Lead, you will be responsible for growing our government program and expanding use of our tools. You’ll be joining a team of nationally respected experts in election administration with deep connections among election officials and technologists at the federal, state, and local level. In 2018, we’re focusing on establishing new relationships and formal partnerships with a variety of offices, all with varying priorities, funding constraints, and power structures. In this role, you will need to immerse yourself in the world of election administration, build relationships with keystakeholders, and think creatively in order to generate revenue opportunities for Democracy Works products and services. Salary: $76,000-$120,000. Deadline: Target start date is Feb. 15. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Payroll & AP Administrator, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced Payroll & AP Administrator to be join our team in Denver, CO! This position will be responsible for managing and organizing of all functions related to payroll administration and accounts payable, including, but not limited to: recording, processing and obtaining approvals; and Processing all matters in a timely and accurate fashion, including following up on items related to the various accounts payable, payroll and month-end deadlines. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Manager, TurboVote — as Product Manager for TurboVote, you will be acting as a product owner and project manager, working from end-to-end— from sitting with our executive leadership to make strategic choices AND down in the details of planning sprints and onboarding partners. In doing so, you’ll be supported by a constellation of software developers; a researcher who brings extensive knowledge of election administration; a partner support team with significant experience implementing across higher education, nonprofit, and corporate environments; and a COO dedicated to corralling the external resources you need to succeed. Deadline: Open until filled. Salary: $90,000 to $120,000 per year. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product & System Specialist (Jamestown, NY) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking tech-savvy and passionate Product & System Specialist to join our team in Jamestown, NY! This position is responsible for delivering internal and external technical support services related to the implementation, operation, repair, maintenance and upgrades of Dominion’s hardware and software technologies and products. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (West), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Western United States; preferably California. The Regional Sales Manager is responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, planning and development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Registrar of Voters, Sacramento County, California — working under the duties required by the Elections Code, the Registrar of Voters plans, organizes, evaluates, and directs the operations and activities of the Department of Voter Registration. This position functions as the appointing authority of the department and is responsible for all divisions within the department including administration, campaign services, precinct operations and outreach, registration, and voting systems which include technology and vote-by-mail. The Registrar of Voters reports directly to the Deputy County Executive--Administrative Services and is exempt from Civil Service. The incumbent is responsible for advising and assisting the officials of the County agencies, departments, boards and commissions with respect to matters assigned to the department. Through subordinate managers, the incumbent is responsible for developing and managing the goals, objectives, and policies of the department. Salary: $134,425.44 - $148,206.25. Deadline: Jan. 31, 2018. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Research Associate, The Center for Election Innovation & Research — the Research Associate will work both independently and alongside other CEIR staff to design research and later clean, analyze, and report on the data arising from that research. Research projects will vary in length. Some research will result in short blog posts (approximately 600-words), while other research will lend itself to lengthier reports expected from traditional studies. For this reason, a qualified Research Associate will be both a proficient researcher and writer. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Manager, Technical Product Support (Denver, CO) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy, passionate Senior Manager, Technical Product Support to join our team in Denver, CO! This position is responsible for strategically leading and developing a multi-state team of election technology software and hardware Product Specialists through a number of critical projects throughout the Western United States. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.