IV. Election News This Week
The Campaign Legal Center and Southern Poverty Law Center have joined forces on a campaign they have dubbed the Alabama Voting Rights Project which is designed to help former felons regain their voting rights. The campaign comes a year after state law clarified the list of felonies under which Alabamans were able to regain their voting rights. “The Alabama Voting Rights Project is going to organize door to door, community by community in every region of Alabama to reach tens of thousands of Alabamians affected by recent changes in the law,” Blair Bowie, Alabama voting rights campaign manager and Skadden Fellow at the CLC told the Gadsden Times.
In other felons voting rights news, the Alaska Division of Elections and the League of Women voters are working together to help inmates register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot. Representatives from each recently visited the Lemon Creek Correctional Center where they spoke with several inmates and helped one apply for an absentee ballot. “I think even if we touch one person, it’s worth that,” Lauri Wilson, elections supervisor for Southeast Alaska told the Juneau Empire.
Fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey, maybe some fancy soaps. Those are the things you expect to find at your local farmer’s market. What you don’t expect to find is a kerfuffle over voter registration. But that’s what happened at a market in Las Cruces, New Mexico when market organizers asked third-party voter registration organizations, authorized by local elections officials, were trying to register voters. It turns out that the city manager had authorized the voter registration drive, but he forgot to include the department that oversees the market in the email.
In response to a letter from the Mississippi NAACP, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi secretary of state’s office is updated its voter registration deadline for runoff elections. While in the past, the voter registration cutoff had been 30 days before the initial election, the new rules will include a second cutoff date for 30 days before the runoff election as well. “A qualified voter who registers to vote 30 days before a runoff election for a federal office will be permitted to cast a ballot in that runoff election,” Mississippi Assistant Attorney General Harold Pizzetta wrote on behalf of Hosemann.
In this day and age, we can all use some good news and we’ve got some for you from Athens County, Ohio. As some of you may recall, the county board of elections has a cat named Pumpkin who lives at the board. Recently Pumpkin needed dental surgery and while that’s something that typically the staff would step up and pay for out of their own pockets, an anonymous donor covered the costs of Pumpkin’s care. The donor had money left over from an inheritance her sister left her to care for her own cat. Now that that cat is gone too, the donor wanted to keep spending it on a cat and Pumpkin seemed like a logical choice. The inheritance also paid for boarding during the May primary — Pumpkin gets a bit nervous on election day (don’t we all Pumpkin) and some other medical needs. “We appreciate it so much,” Elections Director Debbie Quivey told The Athens Messenger.
Personnel News: Cynthia Cepress has retired after 16 years as the Wood County, Wisconsin clerk. Deputy Clerk Trent Miner has been tapped to fill Cepress’ role. Alex Frederick (D) is running for South Dakota secretary of state. Wilson County, Tennessee Election Commissioner Ann Calabria has been removed from the commission by the Tennessee Election Commission. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos was officially named president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Joseph Sobecki has resigned as the executive director of the DuPage County, Illinois election commission.