III. Primary Updates
Voters in the District of Columbia went to the polls this week and the only real news to report, administratively, was the low turnout, just around 18 percent.
Since there wasn’t really any news from the District (this is a good thing), we thought we’d review some lingering issues from other recent primaries.
Iowa: The June 5 primary saw the first statewide roll out of the new voter ID law. According to the Sioux City Journal, while hundreds of voters chose to sign an affidavit rather than present the required photo ID, the numbers were relatively small compared to overall turnout. Some counties did not track the numbers but others found signed affidavits to represent less than 1 percent of turnout. “We did have some upset voters,” Travis Weipert, the Johnson County auditor and president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors told the paper. “A lot of people continued to say, ‘It’s my constitutional right to vote. I shouldn’t have to show my ID and answer a lot of questions.’” Weipert also noted that the new requirement slowed the voting process.
Maine: More than a week after the election, the results of Maines first-ever statewide ranked choice voting election are finally in. While officials had hoped to have those results on Tuesday, a memory stick issue delayed the count. Once counting finally began, it took four rounds of ranked choice to determine the Democratic gubernatorial candidate and one round of ranked choice to determine a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.
Nevada: Due to an error by poll workers, at least 43 voters may have cast ballots twice in a Clark County race that currently has a razor-thin margin of victory—four votes. “Because the number of discrepancies is higher than the difference in the candidates’ totals, (the registrar) is unable to certify the results of this race and is calling for a special election to resolve the contest,” county spokesman Dan Kulin wrote in a statement. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria and the county board all agree that a new election is necessary. In a redo election, every registered Republican who voted during the primary would receive a mail ballot by July 3. The ballots would be due by 7 p.m. on July 17 and could be mailed in or dropped off in person. The election will cost an estimated $135,000, Gloria told the paper.
South Dakota: South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs told the State Board of Elections that they have until August 15 to come up with a plan to ensure that problems with e-poll books that arose during the primary don’t happen in November. Part of the plan should include paper copies of voter registration lists. At the meeting with the SBOE, Krebs had the e-poll book vendor on hand to explain what happened and to apologize for the primary problems. According to the Rapid City Journal, the state board also recommended legislation for the 2019 session Monday that would require paper backups at vote centers, places where any registered voter from a county can vote.
Virginia: What happens if you throw an election and no one bothers to show up? It certainly makes for a very long and boring day for poll workers and that’s exactly what happened in one precinct in Virginia during the state’s June 12th primary. Montgomery County’s F-3 precinct, which is on the Virginia Tech campus saw no in-person voters on election day. Registrar Connie Viar said that’s the first time that’s happened in at least 20 years. Four people did vote absentee. The F-3 precinct is one of two on the Virginia Tech campus. The other precinct has 11 people vote in-person and six absentee. Viar chalks the lack of voters up to the fact that students are not currently on campus at Tech and she anticipates a greater turnout in the fall. It cost the county $1250 to run the two polling places.