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III. Election News This Week
- This week, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill proposed eliminating the state’s elected registrars and instead replacing them with one appointed registrar in each of the state’s 169 municipalities. "We have now had two elections in the last four years where Connecticut has made national news for problems on Election Day, and enough is enough," Merrill said at a press conference. On more positive news for registrars in Connecticut, last week Merrill recognized the registrars in New Haven who processed the most same-day registrationson Election Day — more than 600.
- This week, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission held it’s first meeting in four years with a quorum. The EAC addressed a variety of issues including selecting a chair and vice chair, accreditation of a new voting system test lab, consideration of possible updates to the standards used to test voting systems and updates to the EAC’s voting system testing program manuals. For a complete rundown and to watch it, visit the EAC’s website.
- While several jurisdictions are now allowing 16- and 17-year olds to vote in local elections, Littleton, Colorado isn’t one of them. Which is why it came as a surprise to about 165 underage voters who inadvertently received mail ballots for an upcoming special election. The young people are all pre-registered to vote, just not yet eligible to cast a ballot. Littleton elections officials sent letters to the affected teenagers and the city’s acting clerk Colleen Norton told The Denver Post that her office is ready to intercept any of the 165 ballots should they be returned.
- Citing tradition, the Sunset City, Utah city council voted 3 to 1 to conduct the 2015 elections the old fashioned way — at the polls instead of by mail — as many Davis County jurisdictions have moved to. “I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think it improved our numbers (voter turnout percentages) enough to go all by-mail,” said Councilman Ryan Furniss. “I’m not a fan of the vote by-mail.”
- Village elections in Chautauqua County, New York will take place on a Wednesday this year. What? Yup, because St. Patrick’s Day falls on Tuesday the 17th and a quirk in New York State law prohibits elections from being conducted on St. Patrick’s Day in order to “honor Irish heritage.” Since 1998, when the law was first enacted, St. Patrick’s Day has only fallen on a Tuesday once, in 2009.
- The Rhode Island Legislature is currently debating a bill whether or not to allow bake sales at polling places on Election Day and the state Board of Elections is trying to decide whether to weigh in or not. During a meeting last week the SBOE debated the pros and cons of cookies at the polls. Commissioner Stephen Erickson made a motion to support the legislation, but Executive Director Robert Kando said approving the legislation could have unforeseen circumstances. “May I point out to the board that if this were to become law ... that there will be a group in your precincts over which the Board of Elections will have no authority?” Kando said according to The Providence Journal. It makes electionline sad that there is so much angst over baked goods.
- Personnel News: Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has announced his plans run for U.S. Senate. This will leave the secretary’s seat open and candidates are already lining up including Jay Ashcroft, a St. Louis lawyer who is the son of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Roberta “Bobby” Yaw has resigned as Pine Township, Michigan clerk. Mike Boerman temporarily replaced Yaw, but he was forced to step down and now Barbara Kaaikala is the new township clerk. Carlos Cascos is set to take the oath of office as the new Texas Secretary of State on March 7. Stanley R. Ott, Lois E. Murphy and Richard P. Haaz, all judges, will fill the three vacant seats on the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania board of elections. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has announced that he will seek a third term in office. Joseph Fleckenstein, Allison McCord and Victoria Seitzinger have been appointed to the Harford County, Maryland board of elections. Marisa Crispell has resigned as the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania election director.