III. Election News This Week
This week, the North Carolina Board of Elections took what the News & Recorder labeled an “unprecedented move” and released a set of guidelines for how candidates, elections officials and voters should behave at the polls. “As the 2016 general election approaches, we encourage everyone to help us ensure that all North Carolinians are treated with courtesy and respect at the polls,” Kim Westbrook Stratch, the executive director of the State Board of Elections told the paper.
Officials in New Hampshire and Virginia both expressed concerns this week about the fact that laws in their states allow voters to carry handguns into polling places. Although Virginia law makes it a criminal offense to use a weapon to “intimidate, hinder or interfere” with a voter, local elections officials are concerned about possible Election Day violence. Prince William County even considered seeking a one-day ban on weapons at polling places on private property, but a state legislator told them they did not have that authority. New Hampshire’s Attorney General had to clarify that because the state is an open carry state, voters may in fact bring their properly permitted weapons with them to the polls. And for the first time ever, elections workers in Denver were trained how to deal with an active shooter situation.
The Norwalk, Connecticut registrar of voters had to contact local police after a verbal altercation in the registrar’s office turned to social media threats. When Registrar Karen Doyle Lyons refused to allow a mother to sign her daughter’s voter registration, the mother became disruptive and later threatened Lyons on Lyons’ Facebook page. At the urging of her family, Lyons contacted the police.
A Twitter user claimed to be a postal worker in Ohio and that he was ripping up absentee ballots marked for the Republican candidate. Needless to say some political blogs and the conspiracy theorists amongst us took this Tweet so much as its word that Secretary of State Jon Husted had respond. "When voters hear about someone cheating in the voting process, even if it turns out to be untrue, it undermines confidence in the system. We take allegations seriously because, when it turns out to be false, we can dispel the rumor. When it turns out to be true, we can hold people accountable," Ohio Secretary of State office spokesman Joshua Eck said.
This story should make any cold elections heart grow three sizes! When Medford, Massachusetts resident Kristin Cantu when to vote for the first time in Medford, she was dismayed to discover the town didn’t distribute “I Voted” stickers. So she did what any American would do. She started a GoFundMe fundraiser and raised $385—enough to buy 40,000 stickers for the town. “The stickers really resonated with me because I’ve always been one of those people who just really believes it’s important to vote,” she told Metro.US. “And stickers, for a lot of people, are a fun way to show civic pride, that I care about what’s going on in our community, whether locally or nationally, and I really believe wearing the stickers does help remind people to go out and vote if they haven’t already.” Thank you Kristin Cantu!
My great-grandmothers would be very proud. Members of the Mooresville, North Carolina Centerpiece Quilt Guild will include a historical display at their upcoming quilt show titled, “They Couldn’t Vote, They Got The Vote, You Should Vote.” Red, white and blue blocks named after famous women were made and added to the display along with pictures of great grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers who were affected by the right to vote.
Mike Richison, an artist and professor at New Jersey’s Monmouth University has created a drum machine out of the Votomatic voting machines — the same ones used in Florida in 2000. The Video Voto Matic has drum samples and snippets from politicians. Like the real Votomatic, the machine uses a stylus to punch holes through the voting card – but instead of the candidates’ names, the card is filled with drum samples
Personnel News: Rachel L. Converse has been named to the Assumption Parish, Louisiana Board of Election Supervisors. Wayne Harris has been appointed to the Grundy County, Tennessee election commission.