In Focus This Week
Necessity is the mother of invention
Keeping poll workers and voters safe is a necessity in Neenah, Wisc.
By M. Mindy Moretti
At press time, Wisconsin is still planning on holding its April 7 primary. Although more than one million Badgers have requested an absentee ballot, people have still been showing up to vote early and will still be showing up at polling places on Tuesday.
Having voters and poll workers intermingling during a global pandemic has gotten folks creative juices flowing. In the City of Madison, the elections office is co-opting library book drops to use them for absentee ballot drops. In Tomahawk, a local business owner has made hand sanitizer for the town’s poll workers.
“Our Finance Department underwent a recent renovation and installed glass barriers for the customer area. I was walking by that and thought to myself if we built something like that to use in our election process to protect the worker and the voter that would be fairly easy to construct,” explained Kaufert. “I sketched something out on paper and gave it to Pat and 6 hours later had a prototype that we then made slight adjustments to size etc. and I asked him to construct 26 of them.”
The Pat that Kaufert is referring to is Pat Fischer who along with Ron Fedenko are the building maintenance men for the city built the 26 shields in about six hours. It cost the city about $100 to make each shield which Kaufert attributed to the cost of the plexiglass.
Poll workers began using the shields with early voting that started this week and Kaufert said the response has been very positive.
“The comments have ALL been very positive and appreciative that we were innovative and cared about the safety and health of both,” Kaufert said. “Some workers that were considering not working the polls are now going to work because of the steps we have taken.”
Neenah has 14,000 registered voters and almost 7,000 have requested absentee ballots with one day to go. Kaufert said they are predicting about an 85% turnout due to a local school referendum.
The city has decided to close all six of its polling places and will instead use one, large vote center located in former Shopko location.
“This building is 90,000 square feet and will allow for all to be under one roof while still operating individually and practicing social distancing. All of our previous sites are small and cramped. This building will allow us to spread out,” Kaufert explained.
In addition to the plexiglass shields and social distancing, the city has also found that a nitrate glove will allow people to sign the e-poll book and they have secured enough for everyone that wants one to get one along with the idea of using a Q-tip with tinfoil wrap which Mayor Kaufert found on the Internet.
Kaufert has also appointed an election task force with the council president as chairman with a five person committee to make sure we have not missed anything in order to make the election work.
While Kaufert would have preferred to wait a month or so to hold the primary, the show must go on and he and his team feel they are ready.
“I would have preferred that the election be pushed back 4-6 weeks and strongly believe that was the responsible action,” Kaufert said. “But when the Legislature, elections commission and governor all said no I decided we would do the best we can to protect everyone that will be voting on April 7.”
In parting, he added what will no doubt become the 2020 tagline:
“Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and Social Distance. Stay safe and healthy!”
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to Mayor Kaufert for taking the time to email us back about what we think is a really great idea. We wish Mayor Kaufert, Neenah Clerk Patty A. Sturn, and all the voters, poll workers and election workers in Neenah and all of Wisconsin the best of luck on Tuesday. Stay safe.
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2020 Primary Updates
Arkansas: Runoff elections for the March 3 primary were held in a several counties including Jefferson and Benton this week. Two last minute lawsuits, one to delay the runoff and the other extend the deadline on absentee ballots did not affect the election which went off not quite as planned. In Jefferson County an executive order by Gov. Asa Hutchinson shrunk the number of voting sites from 14 to six and then the mayor of Sherrill said the Sherril City Hall could not be used further reducing the number of sites to five. A total of 807 ballots were cast in the runoff elections–190 voters had cast ballots during the week of early voting and 80 absentee ballots had been received by mail by the cutoff time of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. A glitch in reading the votes from the personal electronic ballot devices resulted in 278 votes showing in early voting, 88 more than the 190 that were actually cast. The problem was caught when Election Administrator Sven Hipp noticed the discrepancy on one of the readouts and called for a manual count. Election Commissioner Stuart Soffer attributed the problem to the counties aging voting equipment.
Wisconsin: Plans continued this week for Wisconsin’s April 7 primary election. On Wednesday, Federal Judge William Conley heard arguments to delay the primary, but said he does not believe he has the power to do so and that it’s up to the governor and legislature. Meanwhile, many jurisdictions reported limiting the number of primary day polling sites available. Gov. Tony Evers has enlisted the National Guard to staff polling places throughout the state. While it was good news that at press time, more than 1 million absentee ballots has been requested and sent, local clerks were struggling to keep up with the demand and effort to make sure those ballots arrive on time.
Rescheduled Primaries: At press time, the following states have rescheduled their primaries: Connecticut 6/2; Delaware 6/2; Georgia 5/19; Indiana 6/2; Kentucky 6/23; Louisiana 6/20; Maryland 6/2; New York 6/23; Ohio 4/28; Pennsylvania 6/2; Rhode Island 6/2 and West Virginia 6/9.
Public Opinion: According to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, 57 percent of voters said that holding primary elections risks exposing too many people to the coronavirus. Sixty percent said that if their state held a primary election this week, the risk of exposure would factor into their decision of whether or not to vote. Seventy-seven percent of voters said they’d support conducting the entire 2020 general election by mail. Fifty-seven percent said voting should be able to take place online. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll of 2,410 registered voters was conducted between March 24 to March 26 and has a 2 percentage point margin of error.
U.S. Election Assistance Commission: In addition to their Coronavirus Resources page, the EAC held a video chat this week with Chairman Ben Hovland, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Orange County, California Registrar of Voters Neal Kelly and Weber County, Utah Clerk/Audtior Ricky Hatch on preliminary planning for increased vote by mail.
Federal Funding: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday she wants to virus-proof the November election by including funding to boost voting by mail in the next pandemic response plan being put together by Democrats in the House of Representatives. According to Reuters, Pelosi said at least $2 billion, and ideally $4 billion, was needed to enable voting by mail, to give citizens a safe way to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alaska: Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones exercised emergency powers to extend the deadline for replacement ballots in the upcoming by mail election. While municipal code says replacement ballots shall not be issued fewer than seven days before an election, Anchorage voters will be able to get a replacement ballot until Friday, April 3, at 5 p.m.
District of Columbia: Officials in DC announced that the June 2 primary would be conducted largely by mail with 20 in-person voting sites per ward instead the typical 144 voting sites citywide. Voters still have to request an absentee ballot, which can be done online or through the board’s app. The city will also open a call center to accept absentee ballot requests. The city will provide postage for the absentee ballots.
Florida: Since the state’s March 17 primary several poll workers in two different counties have tested positive for the COVID-19. In Broward County, of the poll workers was on duty for all nine days of early voting and worked during the primary. A second worker worked just on the 17th. Another poll worker in Duvall County became sick six days after the primary which means they were infectious during the primary.
Georgia: Georgia has already moved its primary from March 24 to May 19 and now House Speaker David Ralston wants the primary to be postponed again until June 23. “Pushing the primary back a month or more gives us more time to allow the situation to improve so that voters can vote in the manner in which they are most familiar,” wrote Ralston according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I realize you have developed plans to accommodate any continuing public health concerns. While I commend the goal, I respectfully submit that many of these measures deserve full and thorough legislative consideration before implementation.” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said the primary should remain in May. Advocates have raised concerns about the fact that the state will not pay for postage to return the absentee ballot request nor the ballot itself, which will require $0.65. “Having to go get a stamp is a new cost for people that don’t usually do mail,” Gregg Murray, a political science professor at Augusta University told the Augusta Chronicle. “Have our students used stamps? I don’t know if they have or not. They’ve got to know something about them.”
Idaho: Following a request from Secretary of State Lawerence Denney to move the state’s May 19 primary to a later date, Gov. Brad Little said that he will not delay the election, but will allow it to be conducted entirely by mail. Moving to all by mail election presents a certain set of problems with a short window to prepare. In Canyon County, one of those problems is having enough envelopes to mail the ballots.
Indiana: With the state encouraging as many voters as possible to cast their ballots via absentee for the upcoming primary, Pulaski County is working to give voters a variety of ways to request those absentee ballots including by sending a request to the county’s Facebook page.
Iowa: Secretary of State Paul Pate announced this week that his office plans to mail an absentee ballot request to ever active registered voter ahead of the June 2 primary. Voters can also download the request form online.
Maryland: The town of Middletown will vote by mail for the April 24 municipal election. Ballots will be mailed on April 6 and must be returned by 8 p.m. on April 24. House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan, ahead of a meeting on Thursday in which the State Board of Elections is expected to finalize recommendations for the delayed presidential primary. In the letter, the leaders called for some in-person voting to be available for the June 2 primary.
Massachusetts: Concord has postponed its election to June 11. Rehoboth has postponed both its town election and town meeting. Arlington, Conway, Newbury, Milton and Belmont have also postponed their elections.
Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order suspending many existing election laws for the upcoming May 5 election. “Elections on May 5 must be conducted to the greatest extent possible by absent voter ballots issued and submitted without in-person interaction,” the order said. “Each jurisdiction must maintain at least one location on election day where any voter can appear in person to receive and submit a ballot, including an individual with a disability that inhibits the individual from voting an absent voter ballot remotely.”
Montana: Shortly after Gov. Steve Bullock (D) signed an executive order giving counties the go-ahead to conduct the June 2 primary by mail several said they would make the switch including Missoula, Cascade Flathead, Ravalli, Lewis & Clark, Gallatin Glacier, Teton and Butte-Silver Bow. They joined Yellowstone that had previously said it would conduct the election by mail. While so far only 10 of the state’s counties have said they will vote by mail, those counties represent 68 percent of the state’s population.
North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum issued an executive order that will enable counties to conduct the June 9 election by mail-in ballot only if they choose to do so. The order eliminates a requirement that counties maintain a physical polling location. So far Grand Forks County and Williams County have taken Burgum up on his offer.
Ohio: We LOVE a good idea when we see one. Absentee ballot applications are now available at the customer service desks at 12 Kroger grocery stores in Hamilton County. Deputy Director Sally Krisel came up with the idea to place the request forms at area Kroger stores and the grocery chain quickly agreed. “I wish we could send them to every store; we just don’t have the resources,” Poland told WVXU.
Rhode Island: In addition to moving the state’s primary to June 2 as we reported last week, the state also plans to hold the primary predominantly by mail.
Vermont: The Town of Barre is figuring out how to hold its election because the town’s charter dictates the elections “shall” be held the second Tuesday in May. Town Clerk Donna Kelty told the Times Argus the Select Board is considering conducting the entire election by mail. “Normally our polling place is, of course, at Barre Town Middle and Elementary School. But with the school being closed and with (the governor’s) order, we couldn’t congregate there pretty much anyway,” she said.
Election News This Week
We’re only a few months into 2020 and already it’s a doozy, but what happened in Pickens County, South Carolina this week, well we’ve never seen anything like it before. The county’s elections director, its two elections staffers and the five member board have all resigned. Christ Whitmire, spokesman for the state’s election commission told the Greenville News that he’s not aware of any other instances where staff and an elections board resigned all at once in his 15 years with the commission. The county has reassigned two employees to work in the elections office. In a letter sent to the local state legislators, the board members said they were resigning because of interference by the county’s administrator, the legislative delegation and the county council. The letter says the county has understaffed and underfunded its elections operations for years, stretching any director “beyond human capabilities.”
The Illinois State Board of Elections has reprimanded Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons for allegedly counting early ballots on the night prior to the March 17 primary. According to WAND, a first summary report of results from the primary election had a time stamp of 10:19 p.m. on Monday, March 16. “I understand the tabulation issue from last Tuesday’s general primary election is one in a series of voting irregularities in Champaign County that has occurred in relation to this election, including failures to comply with Election Code provisions and best practices governing mail voting, the public testing of voting equipment and the order of certain candidates on ballots,” ISBE general counsel Marni Malowitz said in the letter.
In vote-by-mail news that has absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus, Hawaii will conducting its first primary entirely by mail later this year and state and county elections officials are working to make sure that voters are ready for the switch. Every registered voter in the state is receiving signature capture cards so they provide officials with an updated sample of their signature. “A voter’s signature sometimes changes over time and we want to make sure we have their current signature to validate their ballot for the upcoming elections,” said Scott Nago, Chief Election Officer told Big Island Now. “We need voters to submit their signatures now, especially now during these uncertain times, to ensure their ballot can be counted.”
Twice as many votes means twice as much work. Voters on James Island, South Carolina will get a twofer when they vote in the state’s June 9 primary. Following the resignation of State Rep. Peter McCoy, voters will have to vote in a primary special election to replace McCoy and then the regular primary election for the seat. Since the votes are considered separate events, it means two sets of voting machines will be set up in polling places covering the district with the results counted separately. According to The Post and Courier, voters will have to go through check-in lines twice if they want to take part in both phases of the election.
Personnel News: Harrison Fields has resigned from the Starke County, Indiana election board.
In Memoriam: Carol Davis, a former co-president of the League of Women Voters in Orange County Florida , died Saturday from cancer. She was 73. Davis was heavily involved in efforts to gather signatures for a state amendment to restore voting rights for convicted felons who completed their sentence. As a member of the league’s voter services committee, she previously registered 2,400 Floridians to vote in a single year. “She understood that to be a great leader, you had to be a good servant of the resources that you’re given but most especially the people you are there to serve,” Gloria Pickar LWV co-president told The Orland Sentinel. “She did that quite admirably.”
Alabama: Three bills filed before the coronavirus pandemic that would allow for no-excuse voting in the Yellowhammer State are getting some new attention. “No excuse absentee balloting should be front and center,” Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, one of the sponsors of the bills, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “I’m looking forward to pushing it.”
Delaware: House Bill 175 that was introduced last spring is getting new attention in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would allow Delawareans to vote by mailing their ballots or dropping them off at a polling place or county election drop box on Election Day. Ballots would be processed and scanned ahead of the election date, but would not be tabulated before then.
Illinois: The Tazewell County board approved a $35 pay increase for election judges who worked the March 17 primary. The pay increase came after the county lost about 20 percent of its poll workers.
Kentucky: The Legislature has approved a bill that would grant the governor, secretary of state and state board of elections additional flexibility to conduct the state’s June 23 primary. The measure would free the State Board of Elections to develop a primary election procedure more open to absentee voting, which may be necessary if the current pandemic continues into the spring.
New York: A bill sponsored by Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) would expand the reasons to vote by mail to include concern over fearing the spread of an illness during a state of emergency.
North Carolina: State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell sent a six-page letter to the Legislature requesting more than a dozen changes to state election laws in response to the global pandemic. Among the requests the NCSBOE wants to make Election Day a holiday, boost pay for precinct officials, create a fund to pay for absentee ballot postage, give local elections officials more time to count absentee ballots, reduce or eliminate the need for a notary or public witness on an absentee ballot and allow staff at nursing homes to assist residents with ballots. “We’ll take a serious look at proposals to adjust our elections procedures in response to the crisis,” Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), co-chair of the Senate Elections committee, said according to WRAL. “But what we we’re not going to do is pass a Democratic Party wishlist that includes rolling back the protections we put in place after fraud occurred during the last election cycle.”
South Dakota: The Legislature has approved, and the governor has signed into law, a meaure that postpones any election in the state scheduled from April 14 to May 26 to any Tuesday in June.
Vermont: Secretary of State Jim Condos recently announced a series of temporary changes to the state’s election laws approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor. The changes include how candidates can access the ballot, empowers municipal legislative bodies to change upcoming local elections during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis from floor meetings to Australian ballot, without requiring a full vote of the town and creates emergency powers to allow the Secretary of State’s office, with the agreement of the Governor, to enact the necessary measures to enable Vermonters to vote safely during the 2020 COVID-19 health crisis. Such measures could include the mailing of ballots to every registered voter, an extended cutoff for Clerks to receive voted ballots, an expanded window for Clerks to process voted ballots, the creation of secure ballot return stations, or the moving of polling locations, as examples.
Florida: U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle warned the state’s attorneys to come up with a process to determine whether felons have paid “legal financial obligations” as required by the law and whether those felons have the ability to pay the court-ordered fees and fines. He said that work needs to be done before an April 27 trial in the case. “If the state is not going to fix it, I will,” Hinkle snapped during a telephone hearing Thursday afternoon according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis for an en banc review of a decision by three-judge regarding the restoration of voting rights to former felons in the Sunshine State. According to the Tallahasse Democrat, the decision intensifies pressure for DeSantis’ administration to come up with a system to determine whether Floridians who register to vote are felons who have outstanding financial obligations, and provide the information to local supervisors of elections, who have the authority to remove people from the voting rolls.
Also in Florida, a three-judge panel of the Fifth District Court of Appeal today unanimously upheld the guilty conviction of Kimberle Weeks, the former Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, on four counts, throwing out four others on double-jeopardy grounds. The appeal court ordered the circuit court to re-sentence Weeks on the four counts. The excision of the four other counts doesn’t materially change three essential aspects of the case: the appeal court affirmed that Weeks is a felon four times over. Weeks will have to serve a month in jail and up to 18 months’ probation. And she will lose the state pension she accrued while supervisor.
Kentucky: The Kentucky Attorney General’s office released an opinion on Monday upholding Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to delay an election during a declared state of emergency. The opinion came at the request of the Honest Elections Project. It says the executive order complied with the statutory “safeguards” imposed by the General Assembly in the specific grant of authority in the statute: the order was issued during a declared state of emergency, it followed the recommendation of the Secretary of State as required, and it moved the primary election to a date “within thirty-five days” from the original date.
New Mexico: More than two dozen of New Mexico’s county clerks asked the state Supreme Court on Monday for an emergency order that would allow them to conduct the June 2 primary by mail. The clerks said they otherwise face an impossible choice – putting voters’ and election workers’ lives at risk or violating their oath of office – amid the coronavirus pandemic. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she supports the move. However the state GOP has filed a lawsuit to block the move.
North Carolina: A ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger to participate in oral arguments to overturn U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs’ halt of the voter ID law.
Ohio: The ACLU of Ohio, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Demos and the League of Women Voters of Ohio filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Their complaint argues the state’s vote-by-mail system is too cumbersome and slow for the April 28 deadline chosen by state lawmakers. It also contends that by refusing to reopen voter registration, the procedures violate federal law that sets the deadline for registration as no earlier than 30 days before an election.
Texas: Judge Stacey Trotter of the 358th District Court has ordered a new election for the Republican nomination of the office of Justice, Seventh District Court of Appeals, Place 4. Trotter’s ruling says election officials in two counties failed to recognize mistakes in ballots, an action they say prevented “1,214 eligible voters from Cochran and Collingsworth counties from participating in this election and voting for and selecting the candidate of their choice.”
Wisconsin: A third lawsuit over the Badger State’s April 7 primary was filed late last week. In this suit, advocates are requesting that absentee ballots returned without the required witness signature be accepted. “This requirement poses a significant barrier to absentee, mail-in voting for any self-quarantining eligible voter who lives alone or who does not have an adult U.S. citizen in their household,” the complaint states. “Indeed, for these voters, it will be simply impossible to satisfy the witness signature requirement to cast an absentee, mail-in ballot, and that voter will be denied their right to vote — caught in an unconstitutionally burdensome and unnecessary choice between their life and their liberty.”
Also in Wisconsin, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the state GOP which had brought a suit against Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell who had said people could mark themselves “indefinitely confined” due to the current pandemic and thus bypass the state’s voter ID law. “McDonell’s March 25, 2020, advice was legally incorrect,” the court wrote in its decision. “Voters may be misled to exercise their right to vote in ways that are inconsistent with (state law).” The court ordered McDonell to stop issuing guidance that’s different from official language approved by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The commission guidance indicates that “indefinitely confined status is for each individual voter to make based upon their current circumstances,” but the status is not to be used simply as a means of avoiding the voter ID requirement.
Misinformation: The New York Times has an interesting piece about how tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google and spent the last three years prepping to protect the 2020 election, but in that time the threat has changed. It’s gone from basic Russian trolls to a multitude of players and opportunities to mis/disinform the public. “They’ve built defenses for past battles, but are they prepared for the next front in the war?” Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a think tank that works to counter foreign interference campaigns, told the Times. “Anytime you’re dealing with a sophisticated actor, they’re going to evolve their tactics as you evolve your defenses.”
Vendors: According to CyberScoop, HackerOne, a company that pairs ethical hackers with organizations to fix software flaws, has kicked mobile voting vendor Voatz off its platform, citing the vendor’s hostile interactions with security researchers. A spokesman told CyberScoop that it’s the first time in eight years that HackerOne has expelled and an organization from its bug-bounty-hosting platform. In a statement to CyberScoop, Voatz blamed the change in its relationship with HackerOne on a “small group of researchers who, along with a few other members of the community, believe Voatz reported a researcher to the FBI” — something Voatz says never happened. “We are steadfast in our commitment to continuing our work with collaborative researchers to test the security of our platform,” Voatz said. “We will soon be launching a new public bug bounty program, available to any researcher.”
Florida: Florida’s online voter registration system experienced “intermittent issues” Sunday that could have kept some residents from registering to vote online. Some users who went to RegistertovoteFlorida.gov on Sunday encountered a 503 error saying the service was unavailable. The Florida Department of State said Sunday evening that some users experienced issues but others have been able to submit voter registration applications. It said Sunday evening that the site appeared to be up and running.
North Carolina: The State Board of Elections and N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles have launched a service to allow DMV customers to apply to register to vote or update existing voter registration information online. This is a standalone service that does not require the user to complete an NCDMV transaction, such as a license renewal or duplicate, at the same time. The free service comes at a time when many county boards of elections have limited access or are closed to the public, and while residents are being asked to stay home because of the spread of COVID-19.
West Virginia: Late last week, Terra Muncy, a Kanawha County registered voter, became the first resident with a disability to vote electronically from home. “It was very simple and straight-forward,” Muncy said. “It didn’t take me very long at all.” Muncy, who is wheelchair-bound, said she received an email from the Kanawha County Clerk’s Office with a link and a PIN number. Once she clicked the link and entered her PIN number, she was taken to a ballot, which she prepared and returned electronically. Voters with disabilities who qualify for the electronic absentee ballot fill out the full absentee voting application. Once approved, they electronically receive their ballot and vote online through a program created by Seattle-based Democracy Live and funded by Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Vote by mail, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII | General election, II, III, IV, V | Election reform | 15th Amendment | Stacey Abrams | Coronavirus, II, III, IV | Fair elections | Election security | Stimulus | Election laws
Florida: Vote by mail
Hawaii: Automatic voter registration
Kansas: General election
Michigan: General elections
Minnesota: Election procedures
Missouri: Voter data
Montana: Secretary of state
North Dakota: Primary
Oklahoma: Local elections
Pennsylvania: List maintenance
Washington: Vote by mail
VVSG 2.0 Public Comment Period
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is taking important steps to advance the development of the next generation of federal voting system standards, known as the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0, or VVSG 2.0. These steps include sharing the recommended VVSG 2.0 Requirements with the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review, launching a 90-day public comment period, and scheduling a virtual public hearing for Friday, March 27.
“Each step toward final approval of VVSG 2.0 is another step toward improving election security. The final VVSG requirements will enable manufacturers to develop updated, improved, accessible, and secure voting technology. The process to gather feedback from our stakeholders is critical to completing this process,” added EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, who has served as the EAC’s designated federal official for the TGDC for the past year. “We look forward to getting input from our Board of Advisors and Standards Board, and to hear from the public through the hearings and public comments.”
Last month, the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) unanimously voted to provide the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements. The recommended requirements, developed with the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), were submitted to the EAC’s Acting Executive Director on March 9, 2020.
On March 11, the EAC submitted the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements to the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review.
The EAC has initiated a 90-day public comment period on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements, which will run through June 22, 2020. Those who wish to review the VVSG 2.0 Requirements document, as recommended by the TGDC, and submit comments may do so via regulations.gov.
EAC Commissioners are expected to consider the VVSG 2.0 for adoption following their review of feedback provided by the Standards Board and Board of Advisors on the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements, as well as testimony and comments provided during public hearings and the public comment period.
Upon adoption, VVSG 2.0 would be the fifth iteration of national-level voting system standards. VVSG 2.0 offers a new approach to the organization of the guidelines and seeks to address the next generation of voting equipment. It contains new and expanded material in many areas, including reliability and quality, usability and accessibility, security, and testing. The Federal Election Commission published the first two sets of federal standards in 1990 and 2002. The EAC then adopted Version 1.0 of the VVSG on December 13, 2005. In an effort to update and improve version 1.0 of the VVSG, on March 31, 2015, the EAC commissioners unanimously approved VVSG 1.1.
The advancement of the VVSG 2.0 Requirements follows efforts in recent years to advance the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines, which are 15 principles and related guidelines that form the core of VVSG 2.0 and are supported by the Requirements. The TGDC provided the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines in September 2017. The EAC Standards Board and Board of Advisors recommended the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines for adoption in April 2018. The EAC solicited public comments on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines from February to June 2019, and held three public hearings on them in April and May 2019.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) establishes three federal advisory committees that support the EAC in its work: the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), the Standards Board, and the Board of Advisors.
The TGDC assists the EAC in developing the VVSG. The chairperson of the TGDC is the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The TGDC is composed of 14 other members appointed jointly by EAC and the director of NIST, including state and local election officials, individuals with technical and scientific expertise in voting systems, and representatives from the Access Board, American National Standards Institute, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The Standards Board and Board of Advisors advise the EAC on various matters, including the development of the VVSG. The Standards Board consists of 55 state election officials selected by their respective chief state election official, and 55 local election officials selected through a process supervised by the chief state election official. HAVA prohibits any two members representing the same state to be members of the same political party.
The Board of Advisors consists of 37 members, as specified by HAVA. Members include two people appointed by each of the following groups: National Governors Association; National Conference of State Legislatures; National Association of Secretaries of State; The National Association of State Election Directors; National Association of Counties; The National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks; The U.S. Conference of Mayors; Election Center; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Other members include representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Integrity, and the Civil Rights Division; the director of the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program; four professionals from the field of science and technology, one each appointed by the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Majority and Minority leaders of the U.S. Senate; and eight members representing voter interests, with the chairs and the ranking minority members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration and the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration each appointing two members.
Local Representation: RCV as a State Rights Voting Remedy — Three states—California, Washington, and Oregon—now have their own voting rights acts, and multiple state legislatures are debating state VRA proposals this session. State VRAs come with opportunities for innovative remedies, like ranked-choice voting. Attend this session to learn about ranked-choice voting’s place in state voting rights challenges from California to (the) New York (island). Where: Online. When: April 29, 11am Eastern.
NASED Summer 2020 Conference: — Twice a year, the National Association of State Election Directors members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. Check back here for more information about the Summer 2020 Conference. Where: Reno, Nevada When: July 19-22.
NASS Summer 2020 Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold their Summer 2020 conference at the Silver Legacy Reno, Nevada. Check back here for more information about the Winter 2020 conference when it becomes available. Where: Reno, Nevada. When: July 19-22.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Assistant Registrar, Falls Church City, Virginia— The City of Falls Church is seeking an individual to fill a full-time (40 hours per week, Monday through Friday) Assistant Registrar position. Individual selected will provide professional and technical support services to the Director of Elections & General Registrar of Voters. Responsibilities: During elections, assists the Registrar with making arrangements for setting up polling places, supervising the preparation of voting lists by precincts, publishing notices in accordance with regulations, supervising the printing and maintenance of election ballots according to election laws, making arrangements for adequate facilities and equipment at poll stations; Helping candidates with campaign finance filings; Drafting voter correspondence; Generating and interpreting reports and auditing work for accuracy; Making calendar and website updates, posting meeting notices and understanding FOIA; Mail new voter information notices to all new registered voters and those with address changes; Mailing ballots to qualified voters; Election officer training including updating manuals; Ballot security including identifying threats to vote security and act decisively to defend the integrity of the election and voting process; Voter outreach including voter registration drives at high schools and nursing homes; Preparing extensive documentation for testing and conducting and evaluating elections; Assisting voters with registration and absentee voting; and, Perform related tasks as required. Salary: $46,339+. Deadline: April 2. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is looking for a seasoned manager to serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO). This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual to oversee the functions and programs of the Commission coming up to the 2020 Elections! The COO is the primary management official responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of EAC staff. EAC has several program operation divisions which will report to the COO: Voting Systems Testing and Certification, Grants, Research, Communications, HR/Administration, and Finance. Plans and implements communications plans, events, media campaigns, press conferences, briefings, messaging and interviews. Participates in developing communications and media initiatives, planning and implementing of media events, and maintaining a proactive media strategy for the EAC. Under the leadership of the Executive Director, EAC is elevating attention on management issues and transformational change. To manage this change, and to enable the Executive Director to focus attention on Congressional affairs, external relations, budget formulation and execution, and clearinghouse activities, the COO position was created to manage the programmatic, financial management, and administrative functions of the Commission, all of which will continue to be directed by talented professionals with strong expertise in their areas of responsibility. The COO will have special responsibility for supervising senior staff, ensuring that key program areas work in a carefully coordinated way, as well as ensuring that new systems and procedures are effectively adopted whenever such change is required to support the Commission’s transformation and improvement. Salary: $134,789 to $156K. Deadline: April 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Communications Associate, Democracy Works— The communications team ensures the vision of Democracy Works is clearly and creatively articulated to our stakeholders in a variety of contexts. We develop strategic communication plans and programs for our internal and external audiences, promoting the mission and brand of Democracy Works across several channels. We love democracy and are excited to communicate our work to strengthen it. As a part of the team, you will: Support and maintain a strategic, goal-oriented vision for all Democracy Works internal and external communication projects; Develop fresh story ideas: Proactively research and write materials to tell our story and engage a variety of audiences (i.e. website, blog and social media content); Produce communication materials: Prepare executive talking points and bios, briefing materials, newsletters, and presentations that align with our organization’s strategic goals and branding; Assist other teams by copy-editing and proofreading written content; Brainstorm strategic outreach ideas, and produce creative content for new and ongoing projects; Media outreach: Identify strategic narratives and compelling storylines to pitch relevant reporters and secure timely media coverage; Media monitoring: Track and report media coverage of Democracy Works, our products, campaigns, and industry trends; and Press lists: Build and maintain comprehensive press lists to develop relationships with reporters Deadline: Target start date April 28. Salary: $58K-$68K. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (Deputy CISO), the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding achieving mission goals; ensuring that all IT functions are integrated, prioritized and executed within agency priorities and allocated resources; and working closely with EAC’s service providers. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Director of Elections, Pasquotank Count, NC— This position requires some knowledge of the principles and practices of the North Carolina elections process. Employee will serve as Deputy to the Director of Elections, and perform all duties required for effectively administering elections and other elections office activities. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, standard clerical tasks; data entry; database maintenance; professional creation of documents using Microsoft Office applications; maintenance and auditing of campaign finance records; coordination and preparation of training and outreach activities; and general support to the Director of Elections and Board Members as needed. Performs other related duties as directed. Salary: Begins at $35,808. Deadline: April 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Development Director, Election Administration Resource Center— The Election Administration Resource Center is seeking a proactive, relationship-driven Development Director to help shape the organization’s fundraising strategy and establish a group of individual and foundation donors. You will collaborate with the Board, Executive Director, and staff to lead the organization to strong financial sustainability. Current funding is on a three-year cycle, and plans for the 2021-2024 period will start immediately. You are a highly-organized, self-monitoring exceptional communicator who loves prospecting, authentic relationship building, and making big asks. General job responsibilities: Work with the Finance Officer to plan and operate the annual budget; Establish and maintain relationships with various organizations throughout the nation and utilize these to enhance the mission of the Election Administration Resource Center; Identify potential donors and otherwise increase the overall visibility of the Election Administration Resource Center. Diversifying revenue streams and securing multi-year funding opportunities should be a primary focus; Lead the development and execution of a million dollar three-year fundraising strategy growing existing budget from $1M to $2M annually; Define appropriate goals, track metrics, and prepare progress reports for the board and grant funders; Develop and execute fundraising campaigns to increase the reach of the Election Administration Resource Center and generate revenue. Application: Please send a resume, three references, salary history, and requirements, along with a cover letter of no more than two pages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Communications, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— Plans and implements communications plans, events, media campaigns, press conferences, briefings, messaging and interviews. Participates in developing communications and media initiatives, planning and implementing of media events, and maintaining a proactive media strategy for the EAC. Develops and maintains productive relationships with members of the media. Enlist the cooperation of media representatives in providing accurate information to the public that furthers the goals and objectives of the EAC. Provides background information to the media as required and drafts talking points for spokespersons ahead of interviews and presentations. Researches, develops, writes and edits reports, presentations, press releases, fact sheets, feature articles, letters, speeches, testimony, annual reports, opinion pieces, videos, and other public-facing communications materials that effectively communicate the Commission’s goals to EAC stakeholders and a variety of public and internal audiences. Procures and manages contracts and assists with the procurement of other Communications-related needs, i.e. photography, video, subscriptions, and other non-EAC services and goods. Attends staff briefings and policy discussions to gain knowledge of Commission activities in order to remain current on the latest developments of interest to the public, assist in preparing for and responding to media inquiries, and formulate recommendations regarding agency policies and programs. Performs other related duties as assigned. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Director, Information Services, Orange County, Florida— The director of information systems oversees all operations of the Information Systems Division. The director also provides strategic direction to the organization regarding Information Systems initiative and needs, and establishes security systems, policies, procedures and protocols related to all Information System functions. The director reports to the supervisor of elections, supervises a staff of 16, as well as temporary workers during election events. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Grants Specialist, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The Grants Specialist will assist the Grants Director to manage and administer the grants program for the EAC pursuant to 5 USC §3109 (See 42 USC §15324(b)) and §204 (6)(c) of HAVA. The incumbent provides expert advice to EAC leadership regarding grants management; provides advice and guidance to States and U.S. territories regarding the use of funds provided by EAC to ensure State/U.S. territory compliance with HAVA, Appropriations Law and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars; conducts pre- and post-audits to review how funds have been spent; and makes recommendations to the Executive Director for audit resolutions. Salary: $69,581 to $128,920 per year. Deadline: June 17, 2020. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Portfolio Manager-Development/Fundraising, Democracy Works— The development team is responsible for generating revenue for Democracy Works programs, initiatives, and general operating expenses through individual donors, corporate partnerships, and foundation grants. We create strategic plans for each relationship and provide a tailored approach that engages each donor specific to their interests in strengthening democracy. As a part of the team, you will: Manage an assigned portfolio of donors and prospects with intent to discover donor potential. Have a minimum annual fundraising goal tied to a blended portfolio as specified in performance standards, including both renewable gifts and new incremental revenue. Develop aggregate donor management plans resulting in phone interaction and local face to face solicitation. Develop and execute an ongoing strategy for qualifying donors in extensive donor discovery, retention and growth of donor contributions, as well as recapture from previous donors. Work collaboratively with other departments and partners to refine and segment fundraising strategies matching the objectives and interests of the donor/prospect. Implement programs/activities to identify, cultivate and solicit donors nationally at the $10,000 level or higher, with an emphasis on maximizing revenue for Democracy Works. Update donor records in Salesforce following donor contacts. Be accountable for cultivating relationships of mostly individual, foundation and some corporate fundraising with focus on retention, recapture and growth. Salary: $72,000-$86,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic— Project Managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the Project Manager directs activity, solves problems, and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency, and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Proposals Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Proposals Program Manager will be responsible for leading and coordinating cross-functional teams for the successful development of proposals and management of the proposal lifecycle. This includes requests for proposals, requests for information, support for post-proposal contract questions, and other related activities. The Proposals Program Manager will work closely with key stakeholders and input providers across each peer group including Sales, Product Management, Finance, Operations and Engineering. This position reports to the Director of Certification and Proposals. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Quality Assurance Engineer, Democracy Works—You will be our first QA-specific hire, meaning that we are looking for someone who can help us build our approach to QA from the ground up with an eye toward providing guidance to our engineers in their work and potentially building out additional QA capacity over time. As a part of the team you will: Stand up end-to-end testing on our large/complex microservices setup; Structure our approach to QA from the ground up and potentially build a team of QA engineers over time; Write automated testing for our user-facings tools; Integrate into our dev process to confirm the quality of the code our developers are producing; Do some amount of manual testing as needed; Regularly collaborate with other members of the voter engagement team. Salary: $105K-$125K. Deadline: Target start date April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Cyber Program Manager, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Senior Cyber Program Manager, the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding the Election Technology Program. The incumbent furthers the EAC’s efforts in various arenas; works to improve federal, state and local relations with regard to elections; and provides strategic guidance to senior staff on various issues pertaining to elections and specifically, election security. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Software Quality Assurance Engineer, NC State Board of Elections— The purpose of this position is to perform senior software test engineer (STE) tasks for the Quality Assurance (QA) needs of the agency. This position must accurately define, analyze, plan, design, develop, document and inspect development/application/system workflow processes. Testing includes designing, writing, coding and performing functional, integration, regression, performance, and other tests as needed on new development, enhancements and repairs (bug fixes) for the agency. New and existing system functions are evaluated to determine if they work as designed. Tests are performed across all agency systems including web, client server and mobile device configurations to meet the modernization requirements of the agency. The employee will provide technical and analytical work in supporting applications for the business, research, and instructional functions of the agency. This position must also create, define, and ensure compliance to IT, testing and development standards and best practices. The position must collaborate with management and technical staff at all levels. Salary: $56,339 – $91,817. Deadline: April 10. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Site Reliability Engineer, Democracy Works— As our first Site Reliability Engineer, you will guide the direction of the infrastructure engineering discipline at Democracy Works; exemplifying reliable, measurable, secure and repeatable practices that will act as a “force multiplier” across our products. You will: Maintain our infrastructure using Terraform and Kubernetes. Design, build, maintain, and plan for growth of infrastructure at Democracy Works. Create and maintain monitoring and alerting for services. Create and maintain documentation for the systems and tools that you work with. Automate “toil” – discover repetitive manual actions, document those actions, and automate them if possible. Improve existing automation to mitigate risk introduced through the natural process of software change. Join an on-call rotation for services you are responsible for. Review existing code and architecture for security and reliability. Work closely with developers and product teams regarding security and reliability implications of software and infrastructure changes. Aid developers in debugging production issues across services in a distributed system. Assist with interview processes for other available roles at Democracy Works. Work with product teams to balance and prioritize your work according to external deadlines and organizational goals. Salary: $105,000 – $125,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Program Analyst, NC State Board of Elections— Implement and maintain the agency’s large and complex network Maintains solid technical competence for communication systems while grasping the integration and interaction of all supported systems. Architect Cloud Infrastructure in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or other cloud provider. Evaluate, recommend, design, implement, maintain and secure Infrastructure elements in support of the agency mission. The analyst should execute the following tasks and responsibilities: Supports Information Technology Infrastructure Supports Information Technology Infrastructure to include Database, Server, Networking, Equipment, Architecture and Design. Ensures all data is properly collected, stored, and secured, using tools that analyze performance metrics, service levels, server status, and system outages. Implement and maintains network architecture, switch programming, agency firewalls, and Disaster Recovery (DR) testing and documentation that includes scheduling, performing and verifying system backup processes for all systems. Manages Microsoft Server installation and administration including adding and removing roles such as Active Directory, Domain Name Service (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Group policies, Folder redirection, and version control to protect data, add and remove users and setup of permissions and distribution groups. Works with outside vendors as needed to purchase necessary equipment, modify systems and/or complete programming updates. Monitors network performance (availability, utilization, throughput and latency) and test for weaknesses. Follows operational standards and policies for the department, and recommends updates when appropriate. Salary: $68,170 – $110,876. Deadline: April 13. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Voter Service Manager, Arapahoe County, Colorado— This position provides the opportunity for you to take your voting or government-related experience to a new level in an exciting year where we will administer a statewide primary election in June and the November Presidential General Election. Join our team of dedicated public servants in supporting voters across Arapahoe County while upholding public trust and integrity in our elections process. This position will assist with complex administrative and supervisory work in directing daily activities. The Voter Service Manager supports the Elections Deputy Director, Chief Deputy Director and the Clerk and Recorder with issues concerning all operations of Elections. Salary: $65,960 – $105,365. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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