III. Election News This Week
New Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said this week, that it could cost up to $60 million to replace the state’s 10,000 aging voting machines. Unlike most states where individual counties purchase and control voting machines, in Louisiana the state owns all the voting machines. According to Ardoin, between federal funds and money budgeted there is only about $10 million available. The state will receive oral presentations from three firms next week with the goal to replace the voting machines by 2020.
Perhaps this is where some of our holiday cards have gone. Last month, the New York City Board of Elections received two packages of near 2,000 pieces of First Class mail from the U.S. Postal Service that included hundreds of absentee ballots that should have been counted in the November 2017 election. According to WNYC, on package contained 533 absentee ballots postmarked on November 7 which should have been counted. Another package contained 280 ballots that were received after Election Day. "For some undetermined reason, some baskets of mail that were bound to the New York City Board of Elections were put off to the side at the Brooklyn processing facility and eventually discovered, and upon discovery, delivered to the Board of Elections," New York City Board of Elections Executive Michael Ryan said. In a letter to the NYCBOE, the Postal Service alleges that there was an agreement for the BOE to come pick up the ballots.
With less than a week to go till Maine’s roll out of ranked-choice voting, Maine Public Radio reporter Steve Mistler joined several voters as they filled out their absentee ballot using the new system. Mistler noted the voters seemed less confused about the new voting system than they did about the referendum question about whether or not to keep the new system in place. It’s an interesting listen about how people are making their choices with the new system.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced this week that he was diagnosed with brain cancer in May and is currently undergoing treatment. "We caught it early. I have a treatment plan in place, and I have an exceptional support system here at work and at home," Richardson wrote in a newsletter to constituents. In a video on Facebook, Richardson said: "I'm on the job. I'm going to continue. I absolutely will fulfill my responsibilities." He promised to keep the public updated on his prognosis. We here at electionline would like to wish the secretary good luck in his battle.
Personnel News: Jevon Williams has been sworn in as a member of the St. Croix, USVI elections board. Cameron Sasnett has been fired as the Fairfax County, Virginia general registrar. Thomas A. Nichols has been voted to another four-year term as the Republican St. Lawrence County, New York elections commissioner. Incumbent Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon received the DFL endorsement at the party’s nominating convention. Challenger Josh Zakim has received the Democratic endorsement for Massachusetts secretary of state at the party’s nominating convention. Orange County, New York Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Susan Bahren is retiring on July 6 after 29 years on the job. Diane Ferguson is the new Columbia County, Arkansas clerk. Pat Gabrione is retiring as assistant director of the Lake County, Indiana election and registration board.