V. Election News This Week
Special elections are usually low-turnout affairs, but when one is called in Alaska during the summer, it presents its own challenges. Not only, does Anchorage not typically have elections in the summer, but it’s also the nicest time of the year in Alaska so people are often otherwise occupied. “And it's compounded by the fact that it's summer in Alaska and people are off camping, fishing, hiking and enjoying all the awesome things Alaskan summers provide," Carolyn Hall, education and outreach coordinator for the city elections told the Anchorage Daily News. Hall and her staff have been manning a table at local farmer’s market in order to generate attention and they have planned to have food trucks and a kombucha stand at city hall on election day so people can stop by, grab lunch and watch the mail ballots being processed.
Since the second phase of the implementation of automatic voter registration began in July in Illinois, more than 20,000 people have updated their voter registration information or registered to vote for the first time according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. "It's pretty surprising to me that you have 20,000 new or updated voters," ISBE spokesman Matt Dietrich told the Illinois News Network. "That shows how, number one, it's going to bring new people into the system. And number two, it's going to help the local jurisdictions keep accurate records."
Voter Registration Efforts: Last week we learned about the Broadway cast of Hamilton doing their part to get voters registered for November and this week, Publisher’s Weekly has a story about voter registration drives at independent book stores. Some bookstores have set up tables with voter registration information and others are handing customers voter registration forms with their change. In New York City, elections officials have launched a voter registration in the city’s jails, including Rikers Island. And officials in Las Cruces have finally come up with a way for third-party groups to conduct voter registration drives at the local farmers market.
Congratulations to the Cape May County, New Jersey board of elections for receiving the 2018 Leadership Award from the Advisory Council of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. According to the Cape May County Herald, the Board received the annual award in recognition of their significant and generous support of the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program. For more than 12 years, the Cape May County Board of Elections has donated two voting machines each year to the annual South Jersey 4-H Teen Conference which takes place in various locations throughout southern New Jersey, including transporting and setting up the machines. This generous annual donation enables over 100 South Jersey 4-H youth each year to participate in an election, thereby learning how to use actual voting machines.
Personnel News: Doug Chapin, electionline director emeritus, announced this week that on August 20 he will be joining the Fors Marsh Group as their director of election research. His work at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School will continue. State Sen. Michael Watson has announced his plans to run for Mississippi secretary of state after current Secretary Delbert Hosemann confirmed that he will not seek re-election in 2019. G.L. Pridgen is retiring from the Robeson County, North Carolina board of elections.