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Doing a nonpartisan job in a hyper-partisan world
Elections officials work to put job over politics

For 11 years Sherre Toler made sure the residents of Harnett County, N.C. had everything they needed to cast a ballot on (or before) Election Day.

She enjoyed the work she was doing and although one can never tell what the future may hold, she could have envisioned herself retiring from there someday.

But on January 3, 2012 Toler resigned from a job she loved because she could no longer remain impartial. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was set to appear on the May 2012 primary ballot.

In today’s society when everyone seems to wear their emotions and beliefs on their sleeve — or express them in 140-characters or less — how do elections officials put whatever feelings they may have aside in order to conduct fair and efficient elections?

“Not only is it possible for election administrators to be nonpartisan; it should be a job requirement,” said Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California as well as editor of the Election Law Blog.” Read More…

(Editor’s Note: In Focus This Week is a repost from February 2012. Electionline rarely, if ever, reposts stories, but given the fact that this story is probably more true today than it was four years ago — and that we’re a bit under the weather this week — we thought it would be a good idea to share again. All other sections of the newsletter are new this week. Thank you for your understanding.)

Apr 29, 2011

Arizona: Awaiting governor's decision, Tucson's mail-in election hangs in the balance

Arkansas: Election commission reviews '10

Colorado: Meyers, clerks present briefs in Gessler case

District of Columbia: Students encounter problems at the polls

Florida: Voter rights' advocates oppose elections bill

Georgia: Kemp: Election changes will help voters, officials

Illinois: Woman denies vote fraud charges

Indiana: Lawmakers drop plan tied to White case  |  Judge won't halt Democrats challenge to Charlie White  |  Highland saves $32K by not holding primary vote  |  Russian visitor sees vote center

Kansas: Brownback signs military voting bill

Louisiana: Schedler: Reduce number of elections

Minnesota: Senate Republicans advance elections ID bill  |  Minn. Senate passes voter ID on party-line vote

New Hampshire: Committee endorses requiring photo ID to vote

New Jersey: Some sample ballots left behind at post office  |  Postal service investigating delay in delivering sample ballots

New York: FBI probes scope of Troy vote fraud case

Ohio: Tuesday special election in Lucas County  |  County won't force voters to wear ponchos at polls

Pennsylvania: Westmoreland buys more voting machines  |  Pike voting machines get a dry run  |  Montco questions voter affiliations

South Carolina: Early voting bill moves forward

Tennessee: Election commission ponders vastly different budgets

West Virginia: Election preparations continue  |  Early voting begins Friday  |  Accessibility reviewed by commissioner, clerk staff  |  Mineral changes polling places for special primary

Wisconsin: Milwaukee County expects to finish recount on time  |  Rock County halfway through recount

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