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electionlineWeekly — October 16, 2014

Table of Contents

 II. Election News This Week

It was a rough week for ballots.

  • In Harris County, Texas hundreds of mail-in ballots were held at the local post office for insufficient postage. Although the county has an account at the post office to pay for any shortages, according to a local television station investigating the matter, postal workers were unaware of the account. Following the television report, the postal service delivered the ballots.
  • The dog ate my ballot? In the case of at least 8,000 voters in San Francisco — including John Arntz, San Francisco election chief — it wasn’t the dog that ate their ballot it was a U.S. Postal Service sorting machine. The Postal Service is in the process of determining how many ballot packets were destroyed and returning those to the city elections office so they can send out new ballots.
  • Once again this week, early voting was halted due to a ballot error only this time it was in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The elections office sent 108 incorrect ballots with 11 additional being voted in person. Voters will get new ballots and those who cast theirs in person will get an opportunity to revote.
  • Some voters in Maricopa County, Arizona are receiving mail ballots with their address on them, but someone else’s name. The county isn’t sure of the extent of the problem, but is working with the printer to go through all 1.2 million ballots to see if it happened to others.
  • Santa Clara County, California needs to reprint more than a thousand mail-in ballots after several school district races were left off the ballots. “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience that it may have caused voters,” Shannon Bushey, the county’s registrar of voters told San Jose Inside. “The first error was our fault. This one was caused by an error in the vendor’s printing process. The vendor is looking at procedures to prevent this from happening in the future.”

In a formal opinion released this week, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen ruled that election canvassing boards are subject to the state’s open meetings law when they convene to canvass election results. In his opinion, Van Hollen wrote however that canvassing boards “may impose reasonable limits on public access to the extent necessary to protect the effective and orderly conduct” of the canvass.

Say it ain’t so! Controversy has come to the “I Voted” sticker! Tennessee has replaced traditional American flag “I Voted” stickers with new stickers with the shape of the state and Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s name and that’s where the controversy comes into play and has made for some strange bedfellows. Both the chairman of Common Cause Tennessee and the Nashville Tea Party have complained about the stickers. "Putting Secretary Hargett's name and the #GoVoteTN hashtag on the stickers provides accountability," State Election Coordinator Mark Goins told The Associated Press. "If people have questions or comments about how an election was conducted, they know who to contact."

Personnel News: The Washington Secretary of State’s office is making some staffing moves. Assistant Secretary of State Ken Raske is retiring at the end of the year. Mark Neary will take over the number two spot from Raske and Greg Lane, a form television executive has been hired to fill the number three spot in the office.