I. In Focus This Week
Report reveals how states use map technology to manage elections
Results indicate need for better coordination between state agencies
Responses were coordinated by state government representatives who focus on the development and deployment of mapping data and systems across state agencies and local governments.
“An electoral system with integrity - enhanced by accurate, authoritative geographic data and presented clearly and transparently - has never been more important,” said NSGIC President Andy Rowan.
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) promotes the efficient development and management of location-based information resources, and advocates for innovative, strategic use of these assets to advance the interests of states, tribes, regions, local governments, and the nation.
“Geo-enabled elections overcome the four fundamental challenges with the existing address list approach to precinct management,” said Rowan. “In the address list approach, no actual boundaries are stored explicitly in these systems; quality control is difficult without a method to visualize precinct assignment using aerial photography and boundary information that can change frequently; there is no efficient method for applying large-scale precinct boundary updates; and the process is usually not aligned efficiently with other state and local address or boundary management processes.”
Key takeaways from the survey include:
55 percent of responding states confirm voter registration addresses against a database of known addresses such as a driver's license or state ID database, a statewide point address set, a master address database used for 9-1-1 call routing, or a commercially available address database.
“The results indicate a need to advocate for coordination between state agencies (e.g. state elections department and the department of motor vehicles) and encourage integration of the voting system and other systems,” says Jamie Chesser, the Geo-Enabled Elections project manager.
More than half of responding states indicated they maintain statewide mapping of precincts. Within this group, 40 percent also maintain a layer of sub-precincts in digital mapping systems.
“There remains a need to develop local precinct data content and procedural standards to examine the relationship between precincts, local and state boundaries, and residential structures,” says Chesser.
82 percent of states keep up-to-date spatial data of city and county boundaries, essential for computer-based mapping of precincts.
“Statewide spatial data - especially city, county, school, and special district boundaries - are essential to mapping precinct boundaries across the state,” says Chesser. “The survey reflected, however, that accuracy of current city and county boundary mapping varies considerably.”
A substantial majority, 79 percent of respondents, confirm their mapping of state-level district-based elected offices are accessible online in a digital mapping format.
The survey was conducted as part of NSGIC’s Geo-Enabled Elections project, which aims to provide the impetus for replacing non-spatial ‘address file’ tables with the visual and analytical advantages of election precinct and voter data in a natively geographic information systems format.
Later this year, NSGIC will release the results of a study probing the spatial approach to elections management from the perspective of state elections officials.
The two-year Geo-Enabled Elections project, underwritten by the bipartisan Democracy Fund Voice, convenes a wide variety of stakeholders to explore ways geographic information systems and related processes can enhance elections management and citizen engagement across the US.
II. Federal-State Updates
State and federal officials testified before the House Homeland Security Committee this week on the current state of preparations for the 2018 mid-term elections. Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and DHS Undersecretary Christopher Krebs testified that the great threat facing elections offices is to the computer networks used by state agencies than to the ballot boxes themselves.
“Voting systems in and of themselves are systems within systems,” Krebs testified according to StateScoop when asked if he was aware of any attempts by hackers to directly access ballot-counting machines. “You also have backend systems that store voter registrations. Just like any IT system, there are going to be vulnerabilities. What we’re looking for is resilience in the system.”
In a separate hearing on Capitol Hill this week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee took voting machine vendors to task on several issues. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) expressed his dismay with Hart InterCivic for failing to cooperate with a security review in Virginia. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (D) went after ES&S for failing to respond to his questions about their cybersecurity practices. And Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) testified about his bipartisan efforts to refine the Senate Elections Act.
“We want to put some processes in place to make sure that we’ve not forgotten the lessons from 2016,” Lankford (R-Okla.) said in his testimony according to GCN. “There are some basic things that could be done while still allowing the states to control their election structures and have flexibility on the type of election machines that they want to have.”
III. Primary Updates
Colorado: According to final numbers, nearly 7,000 unaffiliated voters voided their votes by submitting both a Republican and Democratic ballot. This was the first primary election where unaffiliated voters were permitted to cast a ballot. They received both a Democratic and Republican ballot via mail and were told to cast only one. Officials say the 2.4 percent rejection rate was lower than what they had anticipated. El Paso County lead the state with 1,516 ballots.
Hawaii: The Office of Elections has announced that voters displaced by the ongoing eruption of Kilauea will be able to vote in person in the Aug. 11 primary at a polling place set up in the Pahoa Community Center. Initially all displaced residents would have been limited to voting by mail.
Maryland: The State Board of Elections and the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration have reached an agreement on the number of people affected by the MVA’s software “glitch” that prevented voters’ information from being updated. That number is 83,493. In Baltimore County, only nine votes separated the winning candidate from runner-up state Sen. Jim Brochin. Brochin asked for a recount, which was underway at press time.
IV. Election News This Week
A new study from the Center for American Progress reports that if Florida made voting registration and more convenient, it could increase turnout by as many as 570,000 votes. According to the Sun Sentinel, that big infusion could come from the adoption of automatic voter registration, which would be easier than the current system, which requires that people sign up to vote at least 29 days before any election. The study said that same-day voter registration could increase participation by 478,000 people. The study did give Florida props for allowing pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds, but demerits for the felon voting-rights restoration process.
Early voting is on the rise in North Dakota, and one county, Douglas, wants to make it even easier. This week the county announced the creation of a list, which if people opt into the list, they will receive a postcard before each election asking them to sign and return it to get their early ballot. Voters will no longer need to make a trip to the county election office to request an early ballot. According to the Omaha World-News, county election commissioner Brian Kruse said the postcard is the most cost-effective way to follow state law which allows early voting for any reason but requires that people sign a request for an early ballot. Although other counties in Nebraska offer the postcard option, Douglas has the largest population in the state.
Last week, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill took to Twitter to reiterate his commitment to make sure that all Alabama voters have the necessary ID to vote. He even offered his cell phone number to anyone who needs help! “And if anyone needs a home visit because they cannot make our remote location visits to the festivals or community centers we will go to their homes and give them a photo ID and make sure they are registered to vote. Just call my cell at 334-328-2787,” Merrill tweeted.
Outdoor sportswear company Patagonia announced that it will be closing its doors on November 6 in order to give all its employees the day off to vote. The company did the same thing in 2016 although this time, it’s encouraging other corporations to follow suit. Patagonia chief executive Rose Marcario wrote that “this year, we’re doing it again,” and that other companies should join in “because no American should have to choose between a paycheck and fulfilling his or her duty as a citizen.”
Personnel News: Rebecca Hall is the new Clay County, North Carolina board of elections director. Gary Scott has been named the new Fairfax County, Virginia registrar of voters. The New Mexico GOP has tapped Gavin Clarkson, a Las Cruces professor to serve as the party’s nominee for secretary of state after the previous candidate dropped out of the race. Almina Cook is stepping down as the Hunt County, Texas elections administrator. Santa Fe, New Mexico City Clerk Yolanda Vigil had had her contract renewed for one year. This week, President Donald J. Trump nominated Donald Palmer to serve as a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
V. Legislative Updates
California: Secretary of State Alex Padilla has given the green light for petitioners to begin gathering signatures for a referendum that would, among other things, repeal the state’s new automatic voter registration law.
Massachusetts: The Boston city council held a hearing this week to consider whether or not to allow legal non-citizens to vote in local elections. According to the Boston Globe, there is no proposal on the table yet and if there was a proposal, anything approved would also have to be approved by the state Legislature and governor.
Michigan: Organizers of the Promote the Vote initiative has turned in more than 430,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. If approved, the measure would allow for same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting.
Missouri: Gov. Mike Parson has signed SB 592 into law. The omnibus elections bill included a provision that allows voters to request an absentee ballot via email.
New Mexico: Santa Fe City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth has introduced a resolution calling for a special election to be held in conjunction with the November 6 election. The special election would seek voter approval to amend the city’s charter to shift city elections from March to November in odd-numbered years.
North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that has restored early in-person voting to the Saturday before Election Day, only in 2018.
North Dakota: Backers of an initiative that would amend the state constitution to limit eligible voters to U.S. citizens have turned in almost 36,000 signatures, which is about 10,000 more than needed.
VI. Legal Updates
Iowa: Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano heard arguments from lawyers representing the League of United Latin American Citizens and Taylor Blair, an Iowa State University student, who are suing over the state’s voter ID law. Friday's hearing concerned a motion for a temporary injunction that would only affect certain sections of the law. According to the Des Moines Register, Romano said she would rule “as soon as I can.”
Kansas: Gov. Jeff Colyer announced that the state’s Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, would take over the appeal of Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law. “I think the attorney general will do a fine job, and I intend to win this. I think it’s an opportunity for us to win this thing,” Colyer said according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
Also in Kansas, The Kansas Court of Appeals rejected Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s request for a new hearing to decide whether a grand jury should be called to investigate the alleged mishandling of voter registrations by his office. The secretary of state’s office has already asked the state’s Supreme Court to review the matter.
Kentucky: The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky over claims that the state was not complying with the National Voter Registration Act. Under the terms of the settlement, Kentucky will develop and implement a general program of statewide voter list maintenance that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of registrants who have become ineligible due to a change in residence in accordance with Section 8 of the NVRA and state law.
New York: Essex County is appealing an April FOIL ruling from the Supreme Court Appellate Division to the state’s highest court. The case originated in 2015 when county Democratic Party Chairwoman Bethany Kosmider requested cast-vote records and was denied because county officials said state election law shielded the records from FOIL requests.
Tennessee: The Shelby County Democratic Party along with the Memphis NAACP have sued the Shelby County election commission in separate courts in an effort to open more early voting sites. Shelby County Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins ordered all 27 voting site to open July 16. The judge subsequently ruled that some sites can open on Tuesday the 17th.
VII. Tech Thursday
New Technology: Election Systems & Software (ES&S) today announced the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has federally certified the new ES&S EVS 6000. This suite of products provides a new hybrid voting option that ensures the voter’s intent is accurately captured while providing a paper ballot. The EVS 6000 suite includes two brand new products from ES&S: the ExpressVote XL full-face Universal Voting System and the ExpressTouch electronic Universal Voting System. The ExpressVote XL displays the full ballot on a 32-inch touch-operated interactive screen and produces a voter-verified paper ballot for tabulation. The use of a touch screen to mark a ballot prevents voters from overvoting (a common mistake), can alert voters about undervotes, and guarantees that the voter’s intent is accurately recorded each and every time.
Arizona: Congratulations to the Maricopa County recorder’s office for receiving the National Association of Counties 2018 Information Technology Achievement Award. The award is in recognition of the Maricopa County Recorder Office’s (MCRO) program Sitebook that was launched during the November 2017 jurisdictional elections, which is a new voter check-in system that reduced the average time voters spent at the polls to less than one minute.
Iowa: The secretary of state’s office, along with the auditors from Cerro Gordo, Clay and Sioux Counties are participating in a pilot program for the Center of Internet Security’s self-assessment cybersecurity tool. “Cybersecurity is a constant battle for election officials and it requires a statewide team effort to ensure the integrity of our elections,” Secretary Pate said in a statement. “We must constantly remain vigilant against cybersecurity threats. I want to thank the county auditors that joined us for this project. This tool will boost our efforts to protect the sanctity of the vote in Iowa.” The self-assessment tool is aimed at helping counties measure their cybersecurity readiness. It will become one of the Center for Internet Security’s Elections Best Practices tools for election officials.
Ohio: A tool, created by an editor at Cleveland.com, that let’s voters look up their status to see if they are in jeopardy of being purged from the voting rolls is now in use on the secretary of state’s website. "In elections administration, we should -- and in Ohio, we do -- strive for continuous improvement; not only in our internal processes, but also as it relates to voter information and experience," Secretary of State Jon Husted wrote in a directive to county elections officials. "A good idea is a good idea, no matter where it comes from."
VIII. Opinions This Week
Arizona: Yuma County
Connecticut: Ranked-choice voting
Georgia: Running an election
Massachusetts: Automatic voter registration
Minnesota: Voter purge
Mississippi: Election laws
Montana: Special elections
New York: Election reform
Texas: Automatic voter registration
Washington: Election security
IX. Upcoming Events
Language Access for Voters Summit — The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Arizona State University Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, and Democracy Fund Voice are hosting the third annual Language Access for Voters Summit at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, in Washington, DC. As in years past, the event convenes state and local election officials, advocates and stakeholders from language communities to discuss critical issues of language accessibility. Speakers will share experiences and observations on efforts to serve voters with language needs. Panelists representing Asian American, Latino, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and additional language communities from across the country will discuss demographic changes, the Section 203 designation process, federal requirements under the Voter Rights Act, voluntary and proactive language assistance, as well as strategies for cost-effective services. Participants will also highlight how emerging trends in election administration, such as the spread of vote centers and new election technologies, are impacting language access. The summit aims to share information, as well as generate new understanding and appreciation between various stakeholder communities. When: July 24. Where: Washington, DC.
Election Sciences Reform and Administration (ESRA) — The conference brings together political scientists and other experts in election administration to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how law and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States. Participants will identify major questions in the field, share new insights, foster collaboration between election administrators and election scientists, and connect senior and junior scholars. When: July 26 and 27. Where: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Election Center 34th Annual National Conference — Conference attendees will be inspired and energized as we head into the final stretch of the mid-term election year. We will share substantive elections issues including crucial critical infrastructure information, new updates from the investing in elections project, elections in review, information on new voting systems, the vendor exhibit area where you can learn about new and innovative voting system support and much more! We will honor and celebrate the winners of the Election Center's acclaimed Professional Practices Papers' Program. It is also a platform in which election officials can share their successful practices. Award Winners will be announced at a session on Monday afternoon and you will take home all the best practices submitted on your own DVD. When: Aug. 27-28. Where: New Orleans.
National Election Security Summit — National, state and local election authorities will join officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Elections Infrastructure — Information Sharing and Analysis Center, security professionals, election experts, and other industry leaders to learn and share tangible best practices. These security discussions will provide attendees useable steps to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities as election authorities gear up for the 2018 mid-term elections. This is an event designed for election officials and is not open to the public and space is limited. When: September 10-11. Where: St. Louis, Missouri.
X. Job Postings This Week
Elections Systems Coordinator, Richland County, South Carolina— The purpose of the class is to prepare specific computer programs and operations for each election held in Richland County which includes preparing the Election Definition, Hardware Preparation, Election Security, Equipment Testing, Tabulation, Election Reporting and certifying elections results. Review and file ballot preparation and distribute iVotronic Voting Machine to each precinct, order and provide election supplies, train elections workers, and provide Voter education programs to citizens and to coordinate all other aspects of elections. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Field Sales Director, Hart InterCivic — the Field Sales Director works primarily on the road and from a home office when he/she is not on business travel. The Field Sales Director is responsible for creating news sales with prospects and existing clients in a defined region. Today, this role is a single contributor and does not directly manage people. This position will report to the VP of Sales. Application: For the complete job listing an to apply, click here.
Hardware Engineer (Toronto, ON) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a an experienced Hardware Engineer to join our team in Toronto, Ontario! This position will work in a fast paced engineering, design, development and technical support environment with many variables and challenges. This position will be accountable for provisioning of electronics and providing software and mechanical engineering support to new product development, manufacturing and field support teams. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Information Technology Specialist, Wake County, North Carolina — The Wake County Board of Elections is seeking an Information Technology Specialist to manage the certification and testing of election ballots and voting equipment. In this position you will develop, manage, and implement IT solutions for conducting elections while ensuring the security and integrity of certified election equipment including tabulators, voter assistance terminals, laptops, and elections software. You will be responsible for programming election contests, candidates, and generating official ballot designs to be used in elections. You will also tabulate, verify, and report election results using certified election software and systems. You will manage the programming, testing, and deployment of voting equipment prior to each election. You will train and manage staff and technicians to assist you in your mission. You will work as part of a team to develop a robust framework to support the various IT needs of the Board of Elections office and at official voting sites. Finally, you will be a key member in various elections-related administrative projects. Salary: $50,440 - $70,616 commensurate with experience. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Manager, Voter Registration Division, Richland County, South Carolina— the purpose of the class is to plan, manage and supervise the Voter Registration Division of the Board of the Board of Elections and Voter Registration office; to oversee daily division operations, ensuring accurate implementation of all voter registration procedures as established by laws and regulations; to perform all duties to facilitate the voter registration process; to ensure the lawful conduct of all elections; and to ensure integrity and accuracy of all election activities and tabulations. Supervises subordinate staff; supervisory duties include instructing, planning and assigning work, reviewing work, maintaining standards, coordinating activities, selecting new personnel, acting on employee problems, recommending and approving employee discipline and discharge, and recommending employee transfers, promotions and salary increases. Reviews the work of subordinates for completeness and accuracy; evaluates work performance and makes recommendations for improvement; offers training, advice and assistance as needed. Assists the Executive Director directly and indirectly in the supervision of the daily operations and functions of the office and/or any satellite offices to include but not limited to directing, instructing, assigning, reviewing, and planning work of full time and temporary staff; maintaining standards, coordinating activities, providing and allocating resources, responding to problems/complaints/inquiries, and monitoring execution of proper laws, regulations, procedures, and customer service. This class works within broad policy and organizational guidelines and does independent planning and implementation, reporting progress of major activities through periodic conferences and meetings. Performs duties and responsibilities of the Voter Registration Division in the absence of the Executive Director. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Python Developer, Clear Ballot — Clear Ballot seeks a talented python developer in the Boston area to assume responsibility for an existing suite of python scripts to create files for use with ClearVote(TM) digital voting system. Job responsibilities: Maintain and enhance existing python scripts that read PDF formatted ballot styles and produce the files needed by ClearVote (TM) digital voting system to tabulate said ballot; Run existing python scripts to generate marked test ballots for use in testing ClearVote(TM); Develop and execute test plans to guarantee ClearVote tabulates marked ballots correctly; Expand PDF parsing capabilities as new customer's ballot styles are introduced; Leverage analytics you gather to improve performance through script and/or hardware changes; Must perform these duties within aggressive timelines that often require working outside of normal business hours. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Registrar of Voters, Sacramento County, California— The County of Sacramento is seeking a dynamic individual with an extensive background in election services as well as a proven ability to establish and maintain collaborative, professional relationships with external and internal agency officials and elections staff. Ideal candidates are hands-on, strategic managers who have proven leadership ability to effectively manage an established team to achieve set goals. The County is looking for a self-driven and enthusiastic leader with solid experience as Director of Elections. The Director must be personable and approachable and work well with individuals at all levels of the organization. Ideal candidates are experienced leaders who can hold staff accountable while promoting teamwork and cultivating an environment of mutual respect. Successful candidates will exemplify personal integrity and dedication to public service as well as to the integrity of the elections process. Additionally, successful candidates will have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. The Registrar of Voters will be a non-partisan, self-directed and result-oriented leader with extensive experience managing elections processes. Highly qualified candidates will have extensive, in-depth management experience working with local agencies on consolidated elections and coordinating external elections officials to broadcast and roll out new major law requirements. Salary: $138928-$153,171. Deadline: July 20. Application. For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Elections Online Training Specialist, Michigan secretary of state’s office — this position oversees and leads Bureau of Elections (BOE) activities related to the planning, development, implementation, maintenance, communication and tracking of online training programs and other online references and resources. This position is responsible for overseeing and planning all aspects of the online Elections eLearning Center, which serves approximately 3,400 election officials statewide. Duties include development of the overall online training curriculum and required components of Michigan's mandated Continuing Education program for election officials; developing and maintaining the overall online training learning management system (LMS) currently contracted with Cornerstone on Demand; developing online SCORM course material covering complex topics related to election administration, utilizing specialized software like Lectora and Camtasia; managing the system components related to enrolling, assigning, and tracking election officials' completion of online coursework to ensure required training elements are completed timely; developing complex online data collection through an application like Zoho; managing contracts with outside service providers; and coordinating, managing and implementing continual updates and improvements to all BOE web resources. The position also provides technical assistance to Michigan election officials and BOE staff, develops training manuals and other reference material; leads and participates on special projects; and acts as a state- and national-level liaison for BOE related to our online training programs. Salary: $48,651-$71,156. Deadline: July 24. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Product Specialist (Chicago, IL) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a data-savvy and passionate Software Product Specialist to join our team in Chicago, IL! This position is responsible for the precise data entry and formatting of election information for our customers in order to style, proof, and finalize ballots which are utilized in elections. This position requires a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail as well as experience with Microsoft Excel including formulas and macros. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Engineer, Clear Ballot — We are looking for a talented Systems Engineer who has both a technical and services/support background which enables them to quickly assess customer needs and offer value to Clear Ballot’s customers. The Systems Engineer will gain a deep understanding of how Clear Ballot’s products operate and their optimal configuration to build a streamlined installation process of the Clear Vote election system. The ideal candidate for this position can prioritize mission critical tasks and coordinate the implementation and expansion of our systems. They will be able to work directly with customers, display innovation, think conceptually and act tactically to build consensus around system installation and enhancement and meet deadlines. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Manager(Chicago, IL) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy, customer focused Systems Manager to join our team in Chicago, IL! This position will be responsible for the readiness of Dominion’s voting systems to perform properly in the assigned jurisdictions which includes defining the functionality of the D-Suite system, monitoring the development of the system in accordance with the required functionality, and managing its testing and preparation for delivery to the market. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Specialist – Advanced Field Support (Toronto, ON) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced & passionate Systems Specialist – Advanced Field Support to join our team in Toronto, Ontario! This position provides highly skilled and technical support in the testing, implementing and triaging of election systems both pre and post deployment. This includes providing functionality requirements of the system, monitoring the development of the system in accordance with the required functionality, and participating in its testing and preparation for delivery to the market. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.