III. Election News This Week
Laws are always changing and elections officials need to be ever vigilant to make sure that they are up-to-date. A perfect example recently popped up in Delaware. A 2013 amendment to the state constitution allowed most felons in the state to vote upon release from incarceration and a 2016 law allowed ex-felons to vote even if they still have a financial obligation. However, the state registration form and the state election department’s website had outdated information. When the Campaign Legal Center brought this to the attention of state officials, they got right to work. "They are correct," Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove told The News Journal. "And we will be acting on every one of their recommendations." Manlove told the paper she is unsure why the voter registration documents were not updated after the General Assembly passed two new voter eligibility laws in the past five years. "I think maybe we thought our process didn't change, or we just didn't think about it at all," she said.
What do you call it when early voting runs late? According to published reports, millions of Illinois voters could see a two-week delay to the start of early voting due to ongoing candidate ballot challenges. Early voting was slated to start across Illinois on this week. However, due to objections to several candidates' paperwork that haven't been resolved, ballots won't be ready on time, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman Jim Allen told the Chicago Tribune. He estimated early voting will be available Feb. 21, possibly earlier. Officials in Cook, DuPage, Galesburg, Peoria, Morgan, and McLean counties as well as the City of Rockford in Winnebago County were also facing delays.
Elections officials in Texas are receiving hundreds of incomplete mail-ballot applications forcing them to spend time and money to send rejection letters to the applicants. The problem? Voters aren’t indicating whether they need a Republican or Democrat ballot for the primary. Why? Because the mail-ballot applications being sent by the campaign of Gov. Greg Abbott (R) are going to members of both party and voters, many of whom are seniors, cannot read small printed instructions that tell them they must request a specific ballot. “This application is about six-point type. A person of age — such as myself — I can’t read the application even with my glasses,” Glen Maxey, who heads the Texas Democratic Party’s mail ballot campaign told Texas Public Radio.
The numbers are finally in and it’s going to cost St. Lucie County taxpayers $174,000 to repair the damage done to the supervisor of elections office following flooding from Hurricane Irma in 2017. Fortunately, according to Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker, no computers or voting machines were affected. This is not the first time the elections office has been flooded. It also suffered serious damage after Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 and has some issues every time there is heavy rain.
Our good friends across the pond are celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage (sorta) this week and here in the U.S. we’re looking forward to our centennial in 2020. USAToday has a list of when many countries allowed women to vote beginning with New Zealand in 1893 and most recently with Saudi Arabia in 2011.
Personnel News: Mary Ann Smith, is retiring after 37 years as the Pembroke, Massachusetts clerk. Michael G. Adams, a constitutional lawyer has announced his candidacy for Kentucky secretary of state in 2019. Heider Garcia has been hired as the new elections administrator for Tarrant County, Texas. Garcia previously served as the elections manager in Placer County, County, California. Wyoming State Rep. James W. Byrd is running for secretary of state.