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II. Election News This Week
- Last week, South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant said that he would not create satellite voting offices on three reservations unless the U.S. Election Assistance Commission provides the OK with an advisory opinion. Problem is, the EAC cannot issue advisory opinions because all four commission seats are vacant. This week, Four Directions, the advocacy group that had originally asked for the satellite voting offices filed a complaint with the civil rights division of the U.S. Dept. of Justice. The group had originally asked for satellite voting sites — at a cost of about $50,000 each per election cycle — to be placed in three rural communities. The group argued that many of the residents don’t have the means of transportation or financial ability to make round trips to vote early and register.
- An interesting analysis of voter rolls in Detroit has found that many young people don’t register to vote in Detroit due to the high cost of auto insurance! Many of the young people living in Detroit are actually registered elsewhere because their cars are registered elsewhere due to lower insurance rates. “It’s an unintended consequence of Motor Voter,” Vince Keenan told Michigan Live. “It was very successful at getting people registered, especially in Michigan, because we drive so much. But by marrying the two, we have to think about (the auto-insurance issue), and we shouldn’t have to. For a voter to have to worry about where their car insurance is, is stupid. We’ve made it easier to commit community fraud, where you’re living and working in a community that you’re not voting in, than to commit insurance fraud.” According to the report, Michigan residents pay the eighth highest prices for auto insurance and in Detroit it is even higher than statewide.
- Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has plans to resume a purge of noncitizen voters from the state’s election rolls and county supervisors of elections are concerned. "It was sloppy, it was slapdash and it was inaccurate," Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards told the Miami Herald. "They were sending us names of people to remove because they were born in Puerto Rico. It was disgusting." The state’s initial list of suspect non-citizen voters started out 182,000, but shrunk to 198 before the purge was eventually halted in advance of the November 2012 election. The paper reported that supervisors remain wary of a new removal effort. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, is now creating a new list of suspected noncitizen voters by cross-checking state voter data with a federal database managed by the Department of Homeland Security.
- Follow-up: Last week we (and The Advocate) reported that the Orleans Parish board of supervisors of elections had been locked out of their city hall offices, the victim of a dispute between Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Clerk of the Court Arthur Morrell over office expenditures. Well, the board of supervisors is still out of a permanent home, but they have been given temporary refuge the basement of the criminal courts building.
- Personnel News: Linda Moeller, Floyd County, Ind. clerk has stepped down to become the New Albany city controller. Stephen Trout, director of elections for almost four years in Oregon has resigned. “I have been thinking about making a change for a while, but I wanted to wait until the completion of the legislative session before making a final decision,” Trout wrote in an email to colleagues. “Although I am looking forward to new challenges, I will also very much miss working with all of you.” Gina Zejdlick, legislative director and senior policy adviser will be the interim director until a national search is conducted. Aurora Kelly Smalls has been appointed the new executive director of the Orangeburg County, S.C. voter registration and elections office. Wil Cardon, a Republican businessman from Mesa has filed the necessary paperwork to run for Arizona secretary of state. Cris Meyer, the Phoenix, Ariz. city clerk was named 2013 clerk of the year by the Arizona Municipal Clerks’ Association. Minnesota Rep. Steve Simon (DFL) announced this week that he will run for secretary of state. The New York City BOE finally has an executive director! The position, vacant since 2009, has been filled by Mike Ryan, a two-time candidate for district attorney and a former member of the board of elections. Luke Eggers has been nominated to the final seat of the Watauga County, N.C. board of elections. Jim Williams, Cleveland County, Okla. will be designated at a certified elections/registration administrator.