II. Election News This Week
- Several officials, including former President Bill Clinton and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young are encouraging federal officials to include photos on social security cards to help avoid problems with voter ID.
- Sioux Falls, S.D. conducted its first election with widespread use of vote centers and while overall voters like the vote center concept, there were some bumps along the way. Some voters were still in line an hour after the polls had officially closed because of a last-minute rush and there was also a counting delay because the ballots were 17-inches instead of 14. Also, although they’ve been in use for three years, there were some issues with the e-poll books during the election.
- Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has created an oversight committee in “…an effort to address ongoing problems at the Lucas County Board of Elections.” In an April 7 letter to the board, Husted alluded to problems at the board that have persisted even though the board was released from administrative oversight in 2013. “Despite the guidance and support elections officials in Lucas County have received from my office in recent years, it has become apparent that there is a severe lack of communication among board members and between the board and its staff,” Husted wrote in his letter. “I am disappointed to be in this position yet again. I believe it is your sworn responsibility to provide local solutions to local problems."
- With 102 individuals qualifying for local races in Wilson County, Tenn. and with statewide races — including 10 people running for governor and federal races — including 14 candidates for U.S. Senate, voters can expect to see a 14-page ballot during the Aug. 7 primary. “We have 47 local races, not including retention votes and state and federal primary races,” Elections Administrator Phillip Warren told The Wilson Post. “This is going to be as long as the 2006 ballot, but we’re taking steps to speed the process along.”
With the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. at their peak it appears that the winter of our discontent may finally be over…except for elections officials in Lancaster County, Pa. Due to the number of snow days school children in Lancaster had off this year, eight schools will not be used as polling locations for the May primary because class will be in session to make up for the snow days.
- Voters in Miami-Dade County, Fla. might want to think twice about having that venti latte or a bean burrito before heading to the polls next time. In email exchanges between a disability rights lawyer and county officials obtained by the Sun Sentinel it was discovered that voters are not allowed to use the bathroom while waiting to vote. “It’s absolutely stunning,” Marc Dubin director of advocacy for the Center for Independent Living of South Florida, which serves people with disabilities in Miami-Dade County told the paper. “It is a current policy of the Department of Elections. It’s in effect right now.” The policy is not in place in the states two other large counties — Broward and Palm Beach. “Anybody who’s at that site is able to come in and use the bathroom,” Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told the paper.
- Update on the News: Late last week, the Richland County, S.C. elections commission and board of voter registration were officially split into two offices albeit not by the April 1 deadline as demanded by Judge Thomas Cooper. Heading up the new board of voter registration is Lillian McBride, the embattled former elections director. Needless to say, people are not happy. "If there is anyone who had any trust in Richland County Elections before today, I find it hard to believe that they have trust in it after hearing today's news," SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore told WLTX. But that’s not the end of Richland’s problems. On Friday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced that it is officially investigating the agency and Judge Cooper issued a court order threatening to undo actions take by the elections board since his December ruling to that found the board’s merger unconstitutional. In an email, Cooper said he would bring the county into court later in April for a hearing.
- Personnel News: Pat Miller, current deputy secretary of state in South Dakota has announced that she will seek the secretary’s seat. Incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger received the Republican nomination for the secretary’s seat at a party convention over the weekend. Former Cheyenne lawmaker Pete Illoway announced his plans to run for the Wyoming secretary of state’s office. And Murray makes six… Also on Friday, Ed Murray announced his plans to run for secretary of state in the Cowboy State, bringing the total number of candidates to five Republicans and one Constitution Party member. Arlene Castorina is out as a clerk for the State Island Board of Elections because her son, Ronald Castorina, Jr., a commissioner with the board, decided she had to go. Julie Mathis has been named the chief financial officer of Hart InterCivic. Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced that he will step down from his position at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government effective June 30. Tim Claflin has resigned from the Cumberland County, Tenn. election commission in order to run for office.