I. In Focus This Week
Class is in session
EAC offers IT workshops for elections officials
By M. Mindy Moretti
On a chilly, late November day, 150 elections officials from all over Iowa gathered at the Adventureland Inn in Altoona for a different type of adventure.
Staff from 50 of Iowa’s 99 counties as well as the entire staff from Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office and state IT staff were in attendance to take part in an IT training workshop presented by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in partnership with the secretary of state’s office.
“Our partnership with the Election Assistance Commission is crucial, not only for the state, but also for counties,” Pate said in a statement. “It is vital that all of us remain up-to-date on the latest technology and election security issues. We, as election administrators, interface with technology in nearly every aspect of our jobs. Understanding the challenges of our current environment, security considerations and new technology will help us deliver better elections to Iowa voters.”
Modern day election administrators must have core competencies as lawyers, HR specialists, communications officers, accountants, auditors, trainers and information technology managers.
They wear a lot of hats and IT manager is one area where EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson thought his agency could help.
“This sort of evolved out of the state certification meetings,” Masterson explained.
During the state certification meetings, Masterson and the working group realized that some county and even state elections officials didn’t have the baseline attitude, skills and knowledge of being an IT manager.
“The purpose of the workshops is a 101-level class for elections officials,” Masterson said. “This class is designed for folks to bring home the core concepts of being an elections official and an IT manager.”
The workshops are led by Masterson and Director of Testing and Certification Brian Hancock. The EAC covers their own travel expenses and the classes are free to those who participate. In Iowa, the state was responsible for meeting facilities and AV equipment. The total cost was under $1,500.
Although the classes offer a baseline IT training, Masterson noted that in light of recent events, there has been more of a cybersecurity focus to the workshops.
“In part that’s because that’s what election officials are focused on right now,” Masterson said, “But, in order to take advantage of cybersecurity training, you have to have the baseline attitude, knowledge and skills of an IT manager.”
Masterson said that many of the elections officials also bring their IT staff with them, which really makes the classes interactive.
“It’s a really neat room,” Masterson said. “There is a lot of exchanges between the elections officials and the IT staff. The training works best when there is a really good dialogue. The IT people help to carry the class with us.”
On more than a few occasions, county and state IT staff have been able to answer questions from county elections officials that Masterson and Hancock may not have been able to.
“The feedback we received was very positive from county election administrators,” said Kevin Hall, director of communications for the Iowa secretary of state’s office. “Even though the IT concepts were pretty basic, the IT staff in attendance benefited from hearing security discussed from the election administrators viewpoint, which in turn, will help them serve their county election divisions better.”
To-date Masterson Hancock have conducted a handful of the workshops. Some at the state level and some just at the county level. Masterson said the EAC is open to whatever works for county officials. For example, he noted that Escambia County, Florida Supervisor of Elections David Stafford coordinated a workshop with county officials in the general geographic area of Escambia County.
While Masterson would like to see as many state and local elections officials participate in the workshops as possible, there is no expectation that elections officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will participate. Masterson even said the EAC would be fine with if someone wanted to take the slides and glossaries from the workshop and present those local.
“Our pitch is that we offer a training class on IT management which is a new/emerging skill set that election officials have to have to run elections securely and efficiently,” Masterson said. “It’s a starting point. It helps set an attitude.”
II. Election News This Week
Alabama Special Election: The eyes of the world turned to Alabama this week for the Senate special election. While the election was not problem-free, there were not widespread problems and polls closed on time. With turnout around 40 percent, long lines did form in some voting locations. In Montgomery, only one vote tabulation machine was working during the morning hours which added to the lines. There were issues in Mobile when some voters whose addresses on their license did not match that on their voter registration. Voters were referred to a clerk rather than being allowed to vote. A voter’s ID address does not have to match their registration address in order to be able to vote. At one polling place in Morgan County, poll workers were improperly requiring voters to declare party affiliation before allowing them to vote. There was also a lot of discussion about a court decision — ultimately going to the state’s Supreme Court—that did not require the state to preserve digital images of ballots cast. In the days leading up the election, a 2015 news story about voter ID in Alabama began making the rounds with many armchair election geeks expressing concerns about voter suppression. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog does a great deep dive into the story and how old news can affect current situations.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) sent a letter to National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster asking McMaster to take additional steps to secure elections. According to FCW, in the letter Wyden asked McMaster to designate a senior White House election security czar to brief Congress of executive branch election security efforts, direct the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the Department of Homeland Security to grade states on their election infrastructure and designate political campaigns as critical infrastructure.
In an attempt to boost voter registration and turnout in Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) and state Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) are teaming proposing Project Register. The project, which is similar to one they started for young voters, would reach adults in workplaces by getting employers to send out reminders to vote in company emails and links to online voter registration and to include voter registration information in the hiring process. As of this week, 75 businesses representing 125,000 employees have signed on to participate in the project. These businesses range from major corporations to local nonprofits to an association of real estate agents and local universities.
We mentioned in a previous edition that there were a lot of tied races on Election Day 2017 and when we said there were a lot, we weren’t kidding. Mercer County, Pennsylvania alone had 47 tied races. All of the ties were for municipal auditors and poll workers. All but four of the elections were won by candidates receiving one vote. The ties were broken by the drawing of lots…a lot of lots. Washington County also had its fair share of ties, most of which were positions on local boards of elections, but there were also ties in commissioner, auditor and tax collector races.
It’s a major award, times two! The Seminole County, Florida supervisor of elections has won the First Time Voter Award from ICPS and the International Electoral Awards Committee. The award recognizes electoral management bodies and electoral officials who have taken outstanding measures to facilitate and optimize the electoral experience for first time voters. Seminole County won for the county’s Future Voter program. Also at the awards, Los Angeles County’s Dean Logan was named winner of the 2017 Electoral Ergonomy Award. The category of Electoral Ergonomy recognizes election officials who have tailored electoral procedures to the psychology of the voters and the specific characteristics of their electorate.
And a hearty congratulations to the Miami Dolphins who were successfully able register every single player to vote.
Personnel News: Harrison County, Texas Clerk Patsy Cox is retiring after 18 years on the job and before that she was appointed Texas’ first elections administrator in 1985 and served in that role for nearly 15 years. Kankakee County, Illinois Clerk Bruce Clark, the longest serving clerk in Illinois, announced his retirement this week after 32 years on the job. His last day will be December 31. Longtime Napa County, California, assessor-clerk-recorder John Tuteur has announced plans to seek another term. Finney County, Kansas Clerk Anita Garcia has announced her resignation, effective Jan. 9, 2018. Will Gardner (R) has announced he will run for secretary of state in North Dakota.
III. Research and Report Summaries
U.S. Election Assistance Commission EAVS Data Interactive, December 2017: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released the EAVS Data Interactive, a new data visualization tool that allows users to pull data most relevant to them from the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), the most comprehensive nationwide data on election administration in the United States.
Election officials, academics, advocates, and other stakeholders in the election process can examine specific data at the state and local level, as well as compare such jurisdictions side-by-side. In tandem with the Data Interactive, the EAC is also releasing EAVS election data fact sheets for all 50 states.
IV. Legislative Updates
Illinois: The DuPage County commission has agreed to put an advisory referendum question on the March 2018 ballot asking county voters whether or not they would like to see the county election commission disbanded and return the county to having a clerk’s office oversee elections.
Maryland: Del. Eric Luedkte and Sen. Will Smith plan to introduce the Secure and Accessible Registration Act (SARA) that would automatically register Maryland residents to vote whenever they have an interaction with a state agency capable of determining eligibility.
Del. Kirill Reznik plans to introduce legislation that would allow election day registration. Currently Marylanders may register and vote during early voting, but may not do so on Election Day.
New Hampshire: According to Seacoastonline, expect a voting rights fight when the Senate reconvenes in the New Year. The state Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee approved an amendment to a retained bill, which passed the House of Representatives in the last session, and would tighten the legal definitions of “resident, inhabitant and residence or residency.” The move is expected to pit Senate Democrats who consider the bill an infringement on voting rights against Republicans who claim it eliminates the legal gray area surrounding domiciled citizens.
Wisconsin: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow tribal IDs to be used to verify identity for voter registration.
V. Legal Updates
Colorado: Steve Curtis, the former chairman of the Colorado GOP has been found guilty of voter fraud and forgery for signing his ex-wife’s mail ballot. Curtis had claimed he was suffering a diabetic episode and that’s why he signed the ballot. It took a jury about four hours to find him guilty.
Connecticut: The state Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in an expedited appeal of a lower court’s ruling that found fraud and abuse by Bridgeport election officials and ordered a new primary.
Florida: Leon County Circuity Judge Charles Dodson ruled that while it’s “unfortunate” that two special elections occur when they do, moving up the dates could lead to an argument that shorter windows for absentee voting would prevent people from voting. The Democratic Party has sought to move up the elections so the seats would not remain vacant.
Illinois: U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey has denied a challenge to how Chicago’s elections board conducts post-election audits. Several election monitors had filed suit claiming that the audit methods used by the Chicago BOE violated their right to vote as well as their right to association. “Simply put, the plain text of (the law) unambiguously says that the discovery procedure’s results, and thus the 5 percent test’s results, cannot change election results," Blakey said in the decision. "Under Illinois law, the only outcome of an error in the 5 percent test count is a publicly available written report.”
New Mexico: Attorneys for the city of Santa Fe have written an emergency appeal to the state Supreme Court arguing that ranked choice voting is unconstitutional and the city should not be forced to implement it in 2018.
Tennessee: The Shelby County election commission voted unanimously to file suit against the state election coordinator and the city of Memphis over ranked choice voting. According to the Daily News, the purpose is to get a ruling on whether the use of RCV via a 2008 city charter amendment is valid or if a September opinion from state election coordinator Mark Goins saying there can be no use of RCV is valid. The charter referendum is binding on the election commission and so is the legal opinion from Goins.
Washington: Snohomish County is planning to sue the state in order to recoup the money it spent on a new law requiring more ballot drop boxes. According to news reports the county expects to spend $250,000 to install and operate 19 new ballot boxes.
Wisconsin: Judge Elliot Levine has declined to punish Connie Sykes, 63 of La Crosse for voting while ineligible. The judge called the case a “waste of time.” Sykes was still on probation for a 2015 felony conviction when she cast her ballot in the 2016 election. The judge imposed a $518 fine for court costs, which he then vacated.
Also in Wisconsin Judge Martin De Vries accepted a guilty plea from Herbert E. York Jr. for illegally voting in the 2016 election. York was still on parole for a felony conviction when he voted.
VI. Tech Thursday
Florida: The Escambia County supervisor of elections office has launched a revamped website. According to the Pensacola News Journal, EscambiaVotes.com features a responsive web design that customizes the web page depending on the device being used, whether a desktop, phone or tablet. The website allows the public to register to vote online, check the status of their registration, request a vote-by-mail ballot and track it, view election dates and results, locate precincts and polling locations, find their elected officials and their contact information, check current candidates and finances, apply to be an election worker and more.
VII. Opinions This Week
Alabama: Voter suppression
California: Top-two primary
Idaho: Online voter registration
Indiana: Voter rolls
Kentucky: Early voting
Missouri: Voter fraud
New Jersey: Election integrity
New Mexico: Ranked choice voting
Ohio: Election security
Pennsylvania: York County
South Carolina: Election security
Washington: Pierce County
VIII. Upcoming Events
iGO Mid-Winter Conference 2018 — iGO’s 2018 winter conference will be in sunny San Diego and if that’s not reason enough to go, they’ve got a great line up of panels and speakers. Topics covered include: Making Social Media Work for You-Voter Education & Outreach; Make 'em Shine! Training All-Star Poll Workers; Innovation Award Winner/Election Equipment RFP Best Practices; and Getting Your Arms around Cybersecurity. Risk and Control. There will also be two hours of guided roundtable discussion on the following topics: Poll Workers-hiring, training & managing; Keeping Voter Registration Databases Clean; Presidential Commission of Election Integrity; Voter ID laws-comparison & examples of working with them; Same Day Registration/Automatic Registration; Hot Topics (Critical Infrastructure, “hacking” allegations, etc.); Elections Cybersecurity; and Absentee / UOCAVA. When: Jan. 5-10, 2018. Where: San Diego.
Joint Election Officials Liaison Committee — The Joint Election Officials Liaison Committee’s January meeting will include sessions on cybersecurity, pending federal legislation, investing in elections, crisis management and media training, the USGAO’s update on election work and a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. When: Jan. 11-12, 2018. Where: Ritz Carlton Hotel, Arlington, Virginia.
NASED 2018 Winter Meeting — The National Association of State Election Directors’ winter meeting will feature panels with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, regional DHS reps, Senate Rules staff and House Administration staff as well as discussion on ERIC and VVSG 2.0. When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
NASS 2018 Winter Conference — This event will bring together government and industry leaders to showcase secretary of state initiatives and highlight all the latest developments in state and federal policy-making circles. NASS President Connie Lawson and other speakers will focus on many important topics including election cybersecurity and remote notarizations. When: February 16-19. Where: Washington, D.C.
Election Center Special Workshop — The Election Center’s special workshop will include courses on election and voter registration systems administration and management and leadership concepts in elections and voter registration administration as well as workshops on procurement and contraction, new voting models, IT security, election resources and costs, USPS initiatives and data dangers. When: Feb. 28-March 4. Where: San Antonio, Texas.
IX. Job Postings This Week
Account Manager (Michigan)-ES&S — serves as the interface between customer service and sales with respect to the full array of ES&S product lines. Operating as the lead point of contact for any and all matters specific to customers within the assigned territory from initial implementation of new voting systems through each election cycle. Ultimately, Account Managers are responsible for building and maintaining long-lasting customer relationships, negotiating and promoting Account Management contracts and agreements to maximize profit, and acting as the overall liaison between the customer and internal team members. Account Managers partner with our customers to ensure their long-term success. The Account Manager role includes managing a portfolio of assigned customers, developing new business from existing clients and actively seeking new opportunities. Account Management responsibilities include developing strong relationships with customers, and connecting with key county/jurisdiction officials. Account Managers will liaise between customers and cross-functional internal teams to ensure the timely and successful delivery of our solutions and to proactively identify customer needs and improve the entire customer experience. In addition, Account Managers collaborate with our Sales team to achieve sales quotas and grow our business. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Security Officer (Denver) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a senior executive Chief Security Officer to join our team in Denver, Colorado! The CSO will be accountable for the development, implementation, and management of enterprise-wide strategies, policies, and programs intended for the mitigation and reduction of operational, financial and reputational risk relating to the security of our products, data, personnel, customers, and facilities globally. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Relations Manager (Toronto) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a customer focused and passionate Customer Relations Manager to join our team in Toronto! This position is responsible for providing world-class customer service to our customers in order to achieve our core purpose of delivering solutions for the advancement of fair, accessible, and secure elections! Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Relations Manager (Phoenix, AZ) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a customer focused and passionate Customer Relations Manager to join our team in Phoenix, AZ! This position is responsible for effectively and proactively managing the day-to-day relationship, administration and technical/product support of one or more assigned customer accounts. Additionally, the CRM will serve as project manager for specialized projects such as pre- and post-election day support, new product implementations, and/or product upgrades/updates. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Government Outreach Lead, Democracy Works — as the Government Outreach Lead, you will be responsible for growing our government program and expanding use of our tools. You’ll be joining a team of nationally respected experts in election administration with deep connections among election officials and technologists at the federal, state, and local level. In 2018, we’re focusing on establishing new relationships and formal partnerships with a variety of offices, all with varying priorities, funding constraints, and power structures. In this role, you will need to immerse yourself in the world of election administration, build relationships with keystakeholders, and think creatively in order to generate revenue opportunities for Democracy Works products and services. Salary: $76,000-$120,000. Deadline: Target start date is Feb. 15. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Payroll & AP Administrator, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced Payroll & AP Administrator to be join our team in Denver, CO! This position will be responsible for managing and organizing of all functions related to payroll administration and accounts payable, including, but not limited to: recording, processing and obtaining approvals; and Processing all matters in a timely and accurate fashion, including following up on items related to the various accounts payable, payroll and month-end deadlines. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Manager, TurboVote — as Product Manager for TurboVote, you will be acting as a product owner and project manager, working from end-to-end— from sitting with our executive leadership to make strategic choices AND down in the details of planning sprints and onboarding partners. In doing so, you’ll be supported by a constellation of software developers; a researcher who brings extensive knowledge of election administration; a partner support team with significant experience implementing across higher education, nonprofit, and corporate environments; and a COO dedicated to corralling the external resources you need to succeed. Deadline: Open until filled. Salary: $90,000 to $120,000 per year. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product & System Specialist (Jamestown, NY) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking tech-savvy and passionate Product & System Specialist to join our team in Jamestown, NY! This position is responsible for delivering internal and external technical support services related to the implementation, operation, repair, maintenance and upgrades of Dominion’s hardware and software technologies and products. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (West), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Western United States; preferably California. The Regional Sales Manager is responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, planning and development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Manager, Technical Product Support (Denver, CO) - Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy, passionate Senior Manager, Technical Product Support to join our team in Denver, CO! This position is responsible for strategically leading and developing a multi-state team of election technology software and hardware Product Specialists through a number of critical projects throughout the Western United States. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.