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II. Election News This Week
- Follow up on the news: This week the Virginia State Board of Elections held a public meeting and officially decertified the state’s WinVote electronic voting machines. The board’s decision was effective immediately. While some counties are still trying to determine what they will do to replace their machines, others, like Botetourt have a plan. According to The Roanoke Times, Botetourt County will count ballots from the June 9 GOP primary by hand. Because it was not economically feasible to use the scanning part of the system for the June primary, Botetourt officials plan to have voters take the pieces of paper produced by the ExpressVote and place them in wooden ballot boxes that still exist the paper wrote. The ballots will then be counted by hand after the polls close.
- More follow up on the news: A Superior Court judge ruled this week that the Hartford city council does not have the power to remove the city’s three registrars. Judge Constance Epstein ruled that Hartford’s charter doesn’t give city officials the authority to remove two of the city’s registrars, and doesn’t include a provision that would allow them to appeal a removal. A third registrar resigned on Tuesday after reaching an undisclosed agreement with the city. Republican Registrar Shelia Hall has said she will serve out her term. Secretary of State Denise Merrill said the court’s ruling just underscores the need to change the registrar laws in The Nutmeg State. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra expressed disappointment in the decision but said the city has not decided whether or not it will appeal Epstein’s ruling.
- The Marshall County, Illinois county board is not pleased with the idea of having to spend $76,000 to conduct a special election replace former Rep. Aaron Schock. The board voted unanimously to send Schock a letter requesting he reimburse the county for the costs. According to the Peoria Journal-Star, the letter was sent in a vein similar to a collection letter. “Schock has more money [in a campaign fund] than the county has in its reserve,” said State’s Attorney Paul Bauer. Additional counties are considering following Marshall’s lead.
- When workers for the Mahoning County board of elections visited a Youngstown-area nursing home to provide an early voting opportunity for the May 4 primary, they were faced with an unexpected challenge. A patient in quarantine with MRSA wanted to vote. A nurse working with the patient sealed the voted ballot into a biohazard envelope and the county’s coroner — after the department of health declines — agreed to open the ballot and read the vote to the county’s election director who then made a duplicate ballot. The original ballot was then destroyed. “This was a very rare case for us,” Joyce Kale-Pesta, the county elections director told the local paper.
- Not sure whether to laugh or cry over this item. Someone reported a suspicious object on top of a ballot box in the Sacramento County, California registrar’s office and reported to the sheriff’s department that is housed in the same building. After the building was evacuated and bomb technicians arrived, it was discovered that the mysterious object was actually an old 8-track cassette tape. "We still had to X-ray it and make sure it was safe, " Sgt. Lisa Bowman told KEYT. "But it was just an 8-track tape."
- Personnel News: Jim Vorkal, Middlesex County, New Jersey administrator has been re-elected to serve as the vice president of the state’s association of elected officials. Tracie Thomas is the new director of elections in Transylvania County, North Carolina. Her mother was elections director from 1975-1993. Lisa Adams is the new elections administrator in Guadalupe County, Texas. She replaces Sue Basham who retired in January after 8 years on the job.