III. Election News This Week
Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton said his office has and county officials have agreed how to review questionable ballots. Moving forward, county officials still will try to resolve any conflicts with non-matching signatures, but the secretary’s office and the commissioner of political practices will be notified. It will be up to the commissioner to decide whether or not to pursue cases where someone may have intentionally cast a false vote. “When you get to a point where you can’t de-conflict it, then forward it to (the commissioner’s) office, just like anyone else that has a campaign violation or suspects it,” Stapleton told MTN News. “What we’re looking for is consistency and following the law.”
Gwinnett County, Georgia is required to hire about 350 bilingual poll workers for the May primaries and November election and so this week, Elections Director Lynn Ledford is holding a first-ever “hiring event.” “I want to be optimistic,” Ledford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I have no idea what it’s going to be like.” To-date the county has only been able to secure about three dozen bilingual poll workers. An estimated 171,000 Latinos live in Gwinnett and the county is the first in Georgia to receive a Sec. 203 designation from the Department of Justice.
Following a “B” grade from the Center for American Progress’ election security study, Alaska will no longer allow citizens or members of the military who live overseas to return their ballot via email. In 2016, 8,411 ballots were returned electronically. “Alaska is suspending the return of completed ballots through a web portal in 2018 until a more secure solution is available. The Division will continue to accept voted ballots via fax and by mail,” Division of Elections Supervisor Josie Bahnke wrote.
As students march on capitals throughout the nation, including our nation’s capital, to demand common sense gun laws, many on social media have talked about lowering the voting age. The City of Takoma Park, which did just that in 2013, and in response to some of the commentary on Twitter tweeted out some pretty impressive statistics. In 2013, youth turnout was 44 percent, overall it was 10 percent. In 2015 youth turnout was 45 percent, overall it was 21 percent and in 2017, youth turnout was 48 percent whereas overall voter turnout was 22 percent. While it doesn’t seem likely that too many states will pass legislation lowering the voting age this year, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the 18-24 turnout in 2018.
Personnel News: Kathryne Harper is stepping down as Howard County, Missouri clerk. Her last day will be December 31.