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II. Election News This Week
- Update on the News: A day after electionlineWeekly posted a story about the herculean task faced by California elections officials to recount a statewide race, the candidate who requested the race announced the he no longer wanted a recount. The recount lasted six days and cost approximately $30,000. A campaign consultant for John Perez said that Perez decided to end the recount to avoid interfering with election officials’ mid-August deadlines to mail ballots to military and overseas voters.
- This week, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board rejected a request to ease the state’s ban on cameras in polling places. The request was made by GOP lawmakers in the state and opposed by the NAACP that raised concerns about possible voter intimidation. The board also voted to require that poll watchers show ID at the polls.
- On Tuesday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive requiring all poll workers in the state to undergo mandatory training for the upcoming election. Under state law, all poll workers are required to have training, but veteran poll workers only need to go through retraining a minimum of once every three years. This directive will require that all poll workers, new and veteran, go through training before November. The state will provide funding for the training. Each county will receive an amount based on the number of registered voters in that county. This funding will provide for the mandatory training each poll worker is required to complete under state law.
- For the first time since 1972, not one citizen-led ballot initiative will appear on the November ballot in Montana. Interestingly, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch attributed the failure by groups to qualify to one factor: absentee voting. “Absentee voting has probably changed things,” McCulloch told The Montana Standard. “Signature gatherers usually set up shop outside polling places for school and primary elections, and now there just aren’t as many people around to sign the petitions.” There will, however, be two referendums from the Legislature on the ballot.
- Voters in Tennessee began casting early ballots for the August primary this week and state and local elections officials are encouraging more voter to cast an early ballot due the length of the ballot and fears that it may cause long lines on election day. The ballot includes federal, state and local races and the state is predicting it will take each voter 5 to 8 minutes to cast their ballot.
- And finally this week, state elections officials in Utah are creating a new advisory committee to study online voting. The committee will include legislators, county clerks and technology and security specialists. It is expected to announce it’s finding by the end of the year.