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February 27, 2014

February 27, 2014

In Focus This Week

I. In Focus This Week

Off to the races
Twenty-four top elections jobs up for grabs

By M. Mindy Moretti

With the first voters of the 2014 mid-term election cycle already heading to the polls; with secretaries of state garnering more national attention than ever before; and with state legislatures expanding and limiting the right to vote across the country, 24 states will elect a top election official this year.

In 13 of those 24 states, the incumbent is seeking re-election, but in 11 states voters are guaranteed a new top election official.

Those 11 states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and South Dakota. Some of the 11 secretaries are term-limited or retiring, while others are seeking higher office including governor and the U.S. Senate.

This is most up-to-date list of candidates who have announced they will be seek their state’s top elections spot. This course is all subject to change as filing deadlines come and go and as candidates drop out and drop in.

Electionline will keep a close eye on all the races as they happen and provide you with a more in-depth look at all the candidates in advance of the November 4 election.

Alabama — currently there are three Republicans and one Democrat running for the seat in Alabama. The winner of the November election will take over for Jim Bennett (R) who was appointed to complete the term vacated by Beth Chapman when she chose to resign to enter the private sector. The Republican candidates are Reese McKinney, a former county probate judge in Montgomery; John Merrill, a state representative; and Jim Perdue, a Crenshaw County probate judge. Lula Albert-Kaigler is the lone Democrat. Filing Deadline: February 7. Primary: June 3

AlaskaMead Treadwell (R), the current lieutenant governor is running for U.S. Senate. Seeking to replace Treadwell are Republicans Lesil McGuire, a state senator and Dan Sullivan, mayor of Anchorage. On the Democratic side of the ticket are State Sen. Hollis French and Bob Williams, a teacher. Filing Deadline: June 2. Primary: August 19.

ArizonaKen Bennett (R) is the incumbent secretary of state and has announced his intention to run for governor. Currently seeking to fill the seat for secretary are Republicans Wil Cardon, an investment fund manager and State Sen. Michele Reagan. On the Democratic side Chris Campas, former vice chair of the state Democratic Party has announced he is running. Filing Deadline: May 28. Primary August 26.

Arkansas — incumbent Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) filed paperwork this week to see re-election. With the filing deadline approaching, no one else has filed to run against Martin in the primary. On the Democratic side, Susan Inman, chair of the state election commission will seek the nomination. Filing Deadline: March 3. Primary: May 20.

California — incumbent Secretary of State Debra Bowen (D) is term limited and cannot seek re-election. With a week to go to the filing deadline, there are currently three Democrats, a Republican, a Green and an Independent seeking to replace her. For the Democrats it’s Derek Cressman, a political reform activist, State Sen. Alex Padilla and State Sen. Leland Yee. Pete Peterson (R), a think-tank executive; David Curtis (GP), an architect and Dan Schnur (I), an educator are the other three candidates. Filing Deadline: March 7. Primary: June 3.

Colorado — incumbent Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) is seeking the governor’s position. Looking to replace Gessler is Democrat Joe Neguse, a University of Colorado regent and Republican Wayne Williams, El Paso County clerk. Filing Deadline: March 31. Primary: June 24.

Connecticut — at press time, incumbent Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) faces no opposition in the Nutmeg State’s primary. On the Republican side of the ticket, the only candidate so far is Peter Lumaj, an attorney. Filing Deadline: June 10. Primary: August 12.

Georgia — currently incumbent Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) is the only candidate seeking the top elections job in the Peach State. Filing Deadline: March 7. Primary: May 20.

Idaho — three-term Secretary of State Ben Ysursa (R) is retiring at the end of his term. Seeking to replace him are four Republicans and one Democrat. The Republicans are: Lawerence Denney, the former state house speaker, Evan Frasure, a former state senator, Phil McGrane, Ada County chief deputy clerk and Mitch Toryanski, another former state senator. For the Democrats it’s State. Rep. Holli High Woodings. Filing Deadline: March 14. Primary: May 20.

Indiana — incumbent Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) is seeking her first full term as secretary. Lawson was appointed to replace former Secretary Charlie White after he was indicted for voter fraud. For the Democrats it’s long-time Marion County Clerk Beth White. Filing Deadline: February 7. Primary: May 6.

Iowa — in early January, incumbent Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced he candidacy for U.S. Congress leaving the secretary’s seat open. Currently there is no Republican candidate. For the Democrats it’s Brad Anderson, a political consultant and for the Libertarians it’s Jake Porter, a Libertarian National Committeeman. Filing Deadline: March 14. Primary: June 3.

Kansas — incumbent Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) will face one of two Democratic challengers (at this time) in August. The challengers are Randy Rolston, a businessman and Jean Schodorf, a former state senator. Filing Deadline: June 2. Primary: August 5.

Massachusetts — longtime incumbent Bill Galvin (D) will seek a fifth term as secretary of the commonwealth. On the Republican side Dave D’Arcangelo is currently the only announced candidate. Filing Deadline: June 3. Primary: September 9.

Michigan — in Michigan, candidates for the state’s top elections position are nominated through a party convention process and not a primary election. Currently the only announced candidate for secretary of state is the incumbent Ruth Johnson (R).

Minnesota — incumbent Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will retire at the end of his term. Currently there are three DFL candidates and one Republican candidate seeking to replace him. The DFL candidates are: former Minneapolis Alderman Dick Franson, State Rep. Debra Hilstrom, and State Rep. Steve Simon. Dennis Nguyen, an investment banker and attorney is the announced Republican. Filing Deadline: June 3. Primary: August 12.

Nebraska — with the filing deadline fast approaching, incumbent Secretary of State John A. Gale (R) is the only candidate seeking the state’s top elections spot. Gale has served in the position since 2000. Filing Deadline: March 3. Primary: May 13.

Nevada — current Secretary of State Ross Miller is a candidate for attorney general. So far, two candidates have announced their intentions to run for his seat. Kate Marshall (D), the current state treasurer and State Senate Minority Whip Barbara Cegavske (R). Filing Deadline: March 14. Primary: June 10.

New Mexico — incumbent Secretary of State Dianna Duran is currently the only announced candidate on the Republican side of the ticket. The Democrats also only have one announced candidate, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver. Filing Deadline: March 11. Primary: June 3.

North Dakota — at press time longtime Secretary of State Al Jaeger (R) has announced that he will seek a seventh term. Roland Riemers (Libertarian) is the only other currently announced candidate. Filing Deadline: April 7. Primary: June 10.

Ohio — there are only two candidates running for secretary of state in the Buckeye State. Incumbent Jon Husted (R) will face off against State Senate Minority Whip Nina Turner (D) in November. Filing Deadline: February 5. Primary: May 6.

Rhode Island — incumbent Secretary of State Ralph Mollis (D) has announced he will be a candidate for lieutenant governor and currently there are two candidates seeking to replace him. Guillaume de Ramel (D) is a businessman and was a candidate in 2006 and Nellie Gorbea (D), a former deputy secretary of state from 2002 to 2006. Filing Deadline: June 25. Primary: September 9.

South Dakota — incumbent Secretary of State Jason Gant (R) announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014. So far, those seeking to replace him are Republican Shantel Krebs, the state senate minority whip and Libertarian Ken Santema, a blogger and computer network project manager. Filing Deadline: March 25. Primary: June 3.

Vermont — with the filing deadline still months away, so far only incumbent Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) is a known candidate for the top elections job. Filing Deadline: June 12. Primary: August 26.

Wyoming — longtime incumbent Secretary of State Max Maxfield (R) has announced that he will seek re-election in 2014. So far the only known candidate also seeking the top elections spot is Jennifer Young for the Constitution Party. Filing Deadline: May 30. Primary: August. 19.


Election News This Week

II. Election News This Week

  • Oversight of the Orange County, Calif. elections office will no longer fall under the oversight of the county’s chief operating officer. Instead Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley will now report directly to the county’s CEO. The switch occurred after county supervisors filed a formal complaint that COO Mark Denny should not have oversight of the elections division since he was convicted of voter fraud in 1996.
  • New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has withdrawn an emergency petition seeking supervisory control over municipal elections in Sunland Park. The town was plagued with elections problems in 2012 and things did not seem to be going much better two years later with a candidate being left off the ballot and only two polling places. However the City Council recently passed resolutions rectifying many of the issues Duran’s office had concerns about.
  • An Illinois woman — 7 months pregnant — is facing possible deportation after she cast a ballot in a congressional. Elizabeth Keathley, originally from the Philippines, moved to the United States on a fiancé visa in 2003. When she applied for her driver’s license she was asked if she wanted to register to vote as well and she said yes. Both Keathley and her husband assumed it was OK for her to vote. It wasn’t until she applied for full citizenship that the mistake was caught by any official. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the case. “It’s a perfect storm of well-intended laws,” Richard Hanus, a Chicago attorney who’s helping her fight deportation told The Chicago Reporter. “[DMV employees] are not supposed to discriminate against anybody. But applicants, like my client, showing a foreign passport with a visa, shouldn’t be asked if they want to register to vote. In some cases, discriminating is good.”
  • Somewhere in America during every election cycle, someone wears the wrong thing to the polls on election day (or during early voting) and it makes headlines. This time it was in Waller County, Texas during early voting for the March primary. Local voter Chris Driskill, a private security card, was wearing a pro-2nd Amendment t-shirt when he went to cast his ballot at the county courthouse. Driskill was told he would have to change the shirt or turn it inside out. But it wasn’t because elections officials in the Texas county were anti-2nd Amendment, it’s because the Republican primary ballot contained a proposition asking for a yes or no vote to expand the 2nd Amendment. A candidate outside the polling place offered Driskill a suit coat to put on so he could cast his ballot. “If you have to turn around and go change shirts, you know, so be it,” he old KHOU. “But get out and vote.”
  • Personnel News: Kelly L. Green, the former head of the Philadelphia League of Women Voters, has been hired by Montgomery County, Pa. to serve as its new head of the voter services office. Green is the fourth voter services director in a year. Eric Campbell has resigned as the director of the Colleton County, S.C. elections and voter registration commission. The Dutchess County, N.Y. board of elections has six new staff members, all appointed by Marc Caviglia, the board’s new Democratic commissioner. Thomas Hardin is the new Republican representative on the Allen County, Ind. election board. Eight months after being hired, Howard Jackson has been fired as the Richland County, S.C. elections and voter registration office. Victoria Hall is out as the Bannock County, Idaho supervisor of elections after reaching an agreement to leave the job following a criminal theft charge. Chris Clem, a former attorney for the Hamilton County, Tenn. elections commission has recently been appointed to the elections commission to replace Tommy Crangle who resigned to run for office. Patrick Cawdette is the new administrative assistant for the St. Croix, U.S.V.I. board of elections office.

Research and Report Summaries

III. Research and Report Summaries

electionline provides brief summaries of recent research and reports in the field of election administration. The summaries are courtesy of the research staff of The Pew Charitable Trusts Elections Initiatives. Please email links to research to Sean Greene at Pew.

Millions to the Polls, J. Mijin Cha & Liz Kennedy, Demos, February 2014: This new report recommends sixteen policy practices or changes to improve elections including:

  • Online voter registration
  • Adopt or expand early voting
  • Non-partisan election administration
  • Uniform poll worker training and pay

The Effect of Fair Representation Voting on 2013 Cambridge, Mass. Municipal Elections, Andrew Douglas, FairVote, February 2014: This report examines the effects of ranked choice voting on Cambridge’s 2013 city council and school committee elections. It demonstrates that at-large ranked choice voting benefited candidates from ethnic and political minority groups, who would have been unlikely to win election under a winner-take-all system. 

The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials is seeking proposals for an Irvine-funded project to create an elections cost database as part of CACEO’s participation in the Future of California Elections (scope of work starts on page 19). Deadline is 3pm PST Monday March 3, 2014. Lead contact is Neal Kelley, Orange County Registrar.

Legislative Update

IV. Legislative Update

Alabama: The Senate approved a bill that would reduce from a felony to a misdemeanor the penalty for falsifying or fraudulently making an application for a state-issued voter ID card.

Arkansas: The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would allow the now-empty lieutenant governor’s seat to remain empty in order to avoid the steep costs of a special election.

California: Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has introduced a bill that would allow counties and cities to conduct special elections by mail only.

Georgia: A measure approved by the House would shrink municipal early voting periods from 21 days to six. House Bill 891 also allows cities to retain the three-week early voting period if they can get legislative approval.

Missouri: The House gave a first-round approval to legislation that would require voters in the Show Me State to show photo ID in order to vote.

Nebraska: Lawmakers in the Cornhusker State are working on legislation that would, in part, introduce online voter registration.

Another bill making its way through the Legislature would allow nonpartisan voters to choose a party’s primary ballot to cast without changing their party affiliation.

Ohio: As expected, Gov. John Kasich (R) signed into law legislation that eliminates Ohio’s ‘Golden Week’ for voter registration and increases the items of identifying information absentee voters have to provide in order to have their ballots counted.

Senate Bill 216, which would require provisional voters to include birthdate and current and former address on their provisional envelopes, was approved by both the House and Senate and is now headed to the governor.

Oregon: Citing recent problems with the secretary of state’s website, lawmakers shelved Senate Bill 1515 that would have created a task force to review Internet voting.

South Carolina: Under a bill advanced by the House Judiciary Committee the directors of each county elections commission would become state employees instead of their respective counties.

Utah: This week, a House committee amended SB36, which would limit access to the state’s voter registration rolls and prohibit it from being put online. The committee amendment expanded the exceptions of those who would be allowed to obtain the lists to banks, hospitals and insurance companies.



V. Upcoming Events

Please email upcoming event — conferences, symposiums, seminars, webinars, etc. to mmoretti@electionline.org.

Future of California Elections 2014 Conference: The FoCE conference has a focus on election reform and its potential impact on communities across the state.  It is an opportunity for policymakers, researchers and advocates to learn about how the state and communities can implement the many great reforms and improvements identified over the last few years to expand California’s democracy. Where: Los Angeles. When: March 3. Registration: For more information and to register, click here.


VI. Opinion

National News: Presidential election commission | Voting Rights Act, II | Ex-felon voting rights

Arizona: Election law

California: Vote-by-mail | Secretary of state race

Colorado: Elections legislation

Connecticut: Registrar of voters | Secretary of state race

District of Columbia: Elections changes

Florida: Election reform | Polling places | Election dates | Ex-felon voting rights

Georgia: Early voting

Kansas: Secretary of state races

Kentucky: Ex-felon voting rights, II, III, IV, V, VI

Michigan: Open primaries

Missouri: Voter ID

New Hampshire: Election fraud

North Carolina: New election law

Ohio: Early voting site | Polling places

Oregon: Cyber security

Pennsylvania: Special election | Empty elections

Puerto Rico: Voting rights

Texas: Voter ID | Voter fraud | Voter preparation | Around-the-clock voting

Washington: Yakima elections

West Virginia: Election legislation

Job Openings

VII. Job Openings

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 mmoretti@electionline.org. 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.

Director of Elections, Forsyth County, N.C. position is the department head appointed by the Forsyth County Board of Elections. The position works in a fast-paced environment and utilizes a thorough knowledge of procedures and policies set forth by the State Board of Elections and the General Statutes for registration, voting, and reporting the results of elections. The position requires the ability to interpret and apply election laws and regulations; the ability to train and supervise others effectively and to maintain an effective working relationship with employees; the ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with precinct officials and representatives of news services and the ability to deal courteously with the general public. Responsibilities include preparing the ballots for Board approval and arranging for the distribution of all essential materials to all precincts; preparing budget proposals and administering the budget for the department. The Director obtains legal opinions from the State Board of Elections on election procedures and advises municipalities, proposed new municipalities, and attorneys on various election procedures. Qualifications: Experience in election administration through several presidential elections is preferred. Previous experience in supervising employees is preferred.Graduation from a four-year college or university in public administration, or related field and three years management experience. A higher education level may be considered as a substitution for all or part of the experience requirement. A four-year degree outside of the relevant academic field plus additional years of relevant experience may also be considered. Deadline: March 11, 2014. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Administrator, Tarrant County, Texas — shall perform the duties and functions of the Voter Registrar; the duties and functions placed on the County Clerk by the Election Code or by statutes outside the Election Code. Provides executive strategic and tactical direction and support to directors, managers, and supervisors in the operations of their department or division. This level of support and direction is achieved by delegating and/or reviewing the management of work assignments, service delivery, resources provided, and budget required; ensuring the training, evaluation and personal development of their employees; handling difficult problems; managing the development, implementation, and oversight of applicable unit products and services; monitoring department resources; and ensuring compliance with policies and laws. Salary: $3,283.96 – $3,612.36 biweekly. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job posting and to apply, click here.

Elections Data Analyst, Colorado Secretary of State —position provides data administration services related to the statewide voter registration system. Oversees voter registration data and elections data posted to the state website. Serves as technical writer for data utilization as required. Responsibilities include: Extracting, analyzing, and presenting or reporting data in various formats for multiple stakeholders, including election officials and the public. Qualifications: Four years of combined experience creating and executing SQL database queries, posting reports/data files to FTP sites, relational database experience, MS Office Professional experience. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university will substitute for one year of experience. Salary: $3,590 – $4,943 monthly. Deadline: Monday March 10, 2014 at 11:59pm MT. Application: For complete job posting and to apply click here.

Election Programmer, Jefferson County, Texas — coordinate and code all ballot information including precinct, office, candidate, and polling location data; and provide English, Spanish and audio coding.  Coordinate the accuracy of the paper and iVotronic ballot.  Responsible for loading election data on iVotronic touchscreens, personal electronic ballots, and flash cards.  Responsible for performing operational testing.  Responsible for overseeing the logic and accuracy testing of ballots.  Program and make ready all electronic pollbook tablets which contain the voter registration database, including backup of data.  Create and maintain election equipment inventory database.  Must assist field technicians during early voting and on Election Day.  Responsible for backing up all audit data and election files.  Report election results to Secretary of State of Texas.  Create and maintain computer database files utilizing various software applications to create documents.  Preserve the election files as prescribed by the Secretary of State. Provide training to employees and election workers in the use of voting equipment and on pertinent election laws.  Coordinate work orders to Warehouse Supervisor, to prepare, test and set up election equipment as needed.  Maintain the Online Poll Worker training and election websites through website publishing, quality assurance, feedback monitoring, and performance monitoring. Assist with training scheduling and support at the Election Barn.  Perform the management duties of the Elections Warehouse Technician Manager in his/her absence. Education & Experience:  Education and experience equivalent to an Associate’s degree from an accredited college or university in computer science, or in a job related field of study required.  One (1) year of work related experience.  Experience in election programming preferred. Salary: $43,094-$58,858. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job posting and to apply click here

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