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April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

In Focus This Week

I. In Focus This Week

States prepare to implement voter photo ID
2014 primaries mark first large-scale implementation in several states

By M. Mindy Moretti

While there are times that it may seem like we have been talking about voter ID forever, the number of states that have strict photo ID requirements to cast a ballot is still relatively low.

Currently 34 states require some form of ID in order to cast a ballot, but only eight states are strict photo ID states.

Strict photo ID states, as defined by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) are those states where, [v]oters without acceptable identification must vote on a provisional ballot and also take additional steps after Election Day for it to be counted.”

Two of those strict photo ID states are implementing photo ID requirements on a large-scale basis for the first time this year during their primaries: Mississippi and Arkansas.

A third state, Alabama, is also introducing photo ID statewide during the June 3 primary, but NCSL does not list Alabama as a strict photo ID state because there is an alternative: “Some might call Alabama’s law a strict photo identification law, because voters who don’t show a photo ID will generally be asked to cast a provisional ballot and then must bring the required ID to an election office by 5 p.m. on Friday after Election Day. However, there is an alternative: two election officials can sign sworn statements saying they know the voter.”

Officials in all three states have spent months preparing poll workers and educating voters about the upcoming implementation.

In Alabama, where voters head to the polls on June 3, the state is has an entire website devoted just to the new ID law.

The site includes information on what types of ID are acceptable, where ID can be obtained and where the state’s mobile ID unit will be each day.

Frank Barger, Madison County elections administrator said the secretary of state’s office has done a fairly good job of getting the word out about the new law, and that the county’s Board of Registrars has worked hard to make sure voters have the necessary ID.

But of course there is still work to be done in the coming weeks.

“We will send out information to our local Madison County press,” Barger said. “And we’ve made sure that all the information is on our website.”

In addition to educating the public, training the poll workers will also be key to a successful election, Barger said. He noted that the training process has changed to accommodate the new law, but that his team is working to make sure the elections workers are well informed.

“I don’t really foresee any major issues on June 3,” Barger said. “Generally speaking there has always been some sort of ID requirement.”

Arkansas is the first of the three states to head to the polls on May 20.

Within the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website is a Face Your Vote section with all the information about the state’s new photo ID law.

Jennifer Price, with the Washington County election commission said they have talked with the newspaper, TV media and worked with the League of Women Voter’s to spread the word.

Price noted that Arkansas law had required poll workers to ask for ID during previous elections although voters were not required to show the ID so they have been able to use that past elections for training.

“I think it should go smoothly,” Price said.

Jerry Huff, elections coordinater in Sebastian County agreed with Price that he believes overall there won’t be many problems with people’s ability to show ID, but he is worried about how the new law will affect the overall election day process and subsequent tallying time.

“There have been very few voter ID problems in the past so we do not anticipate much will change. However, with the new voter ID law, it will slow down the process since each voter must state his name, address and date of birth — then he or she is asked to show an approved photo ID,” Huff said. “If the voter cannot produce an approved ID, he or she must vote a provisional ballot.  The voter then has six days to produce an approved photo id, which will delay the final vote tally.”    

While the local elections officials in Arkansas seem prepared for official implementation, there are two looming lawsuits — one dealing with absentee voter ID and another with the overall law — that could throw a kink in the works.

“Our training has focused only on the law, not what a court will rule,” Huff said. “However, once a ruling comes down, we will have to figure out how to do more training.”

In Mississippi, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has been making the rounds to counties to make sure that preparations for implementation of voter photo ID are progressing for the June 3 primary.

The state was even awarded two national advertising awards for the voter education commercials about the law.

“Mississippi has received two national awards for a voting campaign,” Hosemann said in a statement. “Regardless of your views and opinions on voter ID, our goal was to educate and engage all citizens of our state in a light-hearted and entertaining way.  Our state has now been recognized nationally for our efforts.”

In addition to the commercials, the state also has a website dedicated to the implementation of voter ID. The site includes information about who needs an ID and why as well as where to get IDs. While Mississippi doesn’t have a mobile unit providing IDs, the state provides a phone number to put voters in touch with transportation providers that will provide free rides to those in need.

At the county level, the state has provided counties with pamphlets featuring frequently asked questions about the new law as well informational signage for election day.

“I have a public announcement airing on local radio stations which I hope helps to make the voters aware that voter ID will be in effect for the June 3 primary,” said Connie Ladner, deputy circuit clerk in Harrison County. “[It] also directs them to a site and/or phone number to call to obtain more information on voter ID so that they will be prepared to present an ID on election day.”

Ladner said that while there has been some additional work because of the new law, it hasn’t really added to the overall workload typically faced in preparation for a primary. She also said there have been no added costs for her office.

“As far as how the primary will go, we are hoping that it will be a smooth transition, but realistically know that we will have some issues on election day,” Ladner said. “Poll worker training will be the key to a successful election. And, no voter will be denied the right to vote.”

Our Say

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II. Our Say

Our Say is an occasional section giving elections officials, academics, policymakers or elections geeks a chance to have their say on election administration. If you’ve got an opinion about some element of election administration and would like to write about it, please email electionline.

Voter ID and minimum wage

By David Bjerke, registrar of voters
City of Falls Church, Va.

Voter ID and minimum wage laws have been in the news recently. Republicans are advocating for stricter voter ID laws and Democrats are advocating for higher minimum wage laws. Based on the logic behind both laws, how can these two groups be for one and not the other?

Voter ID laws are like minimum wage laws: Both laws seek to make society better off but also risk excluding people who can’t (or won’t) meet the necessary requirements.

In economic terms, these necessary requirements are considered a mandated “floor” in either income or identification. The benefit of such a floor increases the income of workers and the security of voters.

Minimum wage laws are designed to make workers who make the least amount of money better off financially. These laws are designed to tell employers that they can afford to give some more of their profits to low wage employees in order to give those employees a so-called living wage.

Voter ID laws are similar in that those voters with the correct forms of identification will remain in the electorate and their ID has made their vote more secure. These laws are designed to tell voters that identification is required for a wide array of services for the purpose of preventing fraud and abuse (however, many of those services are not constitutional rights like the right to vote, merely privileges like driving but that is a subject for a different article).

Detractors to the minimum wage laws, citing basic economics, say that these laws have the unintended consequence of removing some workers from the work force. Sure, it might make those workers who keep their jobs better off, but it makes those who don’t keep their jobs worse off.

The same logic can be applied to voter ID laws: Those voters who do not have the correct ID will now be removed from the electorate.  It does not matter how easy a voter ID is to get, the fact is that some voters will be unable or unwilling to get the necessary identification in order to vote. Either way, these former voters are no longer participating in the electorate just like those workers negatively affected by the minimum wage laws are no longer participating in the economy.

If losing workers based on minimum wage laws is bad for the economy then perhaps losing voters due to voter ID laws is bad for democracy.

On the other hand, if making workers more financially secure is better for the country then perhaps making voters more democratically secure is also better for the country.

Either way, my solution to the voter ID debate is to eliminate the debate all together. Vote by Mail.

Election News This Week

III. Election News This Week

  • The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that prosecutors may not revive the public corruption case against former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. The case against Vigil-Giron was dismissed in November 2012 because a judge ruled that delays in the case violated her right to a speedy trial. Prosecutors have said they may appeal to the state’s highest court.
  • Poll workers in Putnam Co., W.Va. will have a bit of extra work on their hands during the May 13 primary. The county recently updated its 911 system, which changed the address for many people. While some voters have updated their registration, many haven’t and poll workers are being trained to help. “This is the first election since the 911 addressing has come into play,” Brian Wood, Putnam County clerk told WCHS. “We’ll be willing to help those voters out in any way we can to update their information.”
  • For I Voted sticker enthusiasts (yes, we really do exist) the folks in Cuyahoga County, Ohio are going to make you smile. The county is now including I Voted By Mail stickers will all absentee ballots it sends out for the May 6 primary. Elections Director Pat McDonald told a local paper that they began including the stickers — which cost about 3 cents each — due to popular demand by voters. “I think it is a very positive sign that people place such a high value on proclaiming that they have exercised their right to vote,” McDonald said.
  • For states and the District of Columbia that struggle with voter turnout, perhaps vote shaming is the answer. At least that’s what one Florida PAC thinks will help boost the Sunshine State’s turnout. A Collier Co. woman recently received a voting report card that graded her turnout (a D) as well as that of her neighbors. It’s all perfectly legal, even if a bit unsettling for voters. “They can’t find out who the people voted for, but mainly how they voted or the method,” Sharon Harrington, Lee Co. supervisor of elections told WBBH.
  • Almost 12,000 Georgians took advantage of the state’s new online voter registration system to either register for the first time or update their registration in the three weeks leading up to the registration deadline. According to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, that’s more than double the number of the people who the state anticipated would use the system.
  • Personnel News: Crystal Clemens, deputy elections clerk in Seward Co., Kan. is resigning to move to Texas. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson launched her re-election bid this week. Paul A. Juliano has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the Bergen Co., N.J. board of elections. Dan Krueger, Ottawa Co., Mich. clerk is retiring after nearly 40 years on the job. Thomas Harper has retired from the Trousdale County, Tenn. election commission. Two new members have also joined the commission, Allison Barton and Craig Moreland.

Legislative Update

IV. Legislative Update

Colorado: By a party-line vote of 37-28, the House approved legislation that will allow residents to cast remote ballots in recall elections.

Connecticut: The House has approved House Bill No. 5492 “An Act Concerning a Demonstration Project for the Use of Electronic Equipment for Conducting Audits.” The bill, if approved by the Senate and signed by the governor would launch a pilot program to use a software prototype to automate the post-election process.

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker signed into law legislation that lifts the requirement that all write-in votes must be counted. Under the new law, only votes for registered write-in candidates, and write-ins in races without a candidate, will be counted.

Upcoming Events

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V. Upcoming Events

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

Line Optimization Tool WebinarELECTricity is hosting a free 1-hour webinar to demonstrate a tool endorsed by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Using projected voter turnout, number of check-in stations, and number of voting stations, the tool produces predictions of voter wait times throughout Election Day. The webinar is presented by the tool’s developer, Mark Pelczarski. Where: Online. When: April 29 at 4 p.m. For more information and to register, click here.

State of the Vote in the Mid-Atlantic Public HearingThe National Commission on Voting Rights is hosting hearings across the country to learn more about the current landscape of elections. Over the past few years, numerous states have enacted restrictive voting laws, while many others continue to grapple with recurring election administration and electoral reform challenges. The Commission will document what keeps voters from the ballot box and election reform efforts that expand access.Where: University of Baltimore. When: April 29 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information and to register to attend or submit testimony click here.

National Association of Counties Annual Conference and Exposition: NACo’s 79th Annual Conference and Exposition provides an opportunity for all county leaders and staff to learn, network and guide the direction of the association. This year, the conference will be held in Orleans Parish, (New Orleans) Louisiana. The Annual Conference provides county officials with a great opportunity to vote on NACo’s policies related to federal legislation and regulation; elect officers; network with colleagues; learn about innovative county programs; find out about issues impacting counties across the country; and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Where: New Orleans. When: July 11-14. For more information and to register, click here.

National Association of Secretaries of State Summer Conference: NASS is celebrating a Star Spangled Summer at this year’s annual conference in Baltimore. Members will exchange ideas, share lessons learned and highlight best practices in policy making and programming for state member offices.  Agenda programming will include: Expert speakers who will inspire new ways of thinking about state agency leadership; Real-world lessons & success stories from state peers; Topical workshops focused on communications & professional skills advancement; Networking opportunities with public and private-sector attendees; and Excursions to explore Baltimore & learn more about culture and state government. Where: Baltimore. When: July 13-16. For more information and to register, click here.

International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers’ (IACREOT) Annual Conference: IACREOT will hold its annual conference this summer in Bonita Springs, Fla. The agenda will include seminars, training sessions, a delegate awards luncheon, IACREOTs elections and board meeting as well other opportunities for networking. Where: Bonita Springs, Fla. When: July 19-24, 2014. For complete information and to register, click here.

National Conference of State Legislatures Legislative Summit: Bring home 1,000 ideas from the land of 10,000 lakes this summer. For 40 years, the Legislative Summit is where legislators and staff come together across the aisle to tackle critical problems and find solutions that work. With more than 100 sessions, the time to dig deep into issues you care about, and opportunities to make new friendships and connections. Where: Minneapolis. When: August 19-22, 2014. For more information and to register, click here.

Elections Center 30th Annual National Conference: More information will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars now for the annual conference. Courses offered at the annual conference will include Course 5 (Ethics in Elections); Course 6 (Communications in Election Administration); Renewal Course 20 (Federal Impact on Elections-1960s to present); and New Renewal Course 27. Where: San Francisco. When: August 19-23, 2014. For more information and to register, click here.

National Association of County Recorders, Elections Officials and Clerks: More information will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars now for the annual conference. Where: Long Beach, Calif. When: August 22-25, 2014. For more information and to register, click here.

National Association of State Election Directors: More information will be forthcoming, but mark your calendars now for the annual conference. Where: San Francisco. When: August 22-24, 2014. For more information and to register, click here.


VI. Opinion

National News: Voting rights, II, III | National Popular Vote | Ranked-choice voting | Social Security cards, II | Post-Sandy elections

Alabama: Voter fraud

Arizona: Voter education

Connecticut: Online voter registration

Delaware: Registration hurdles

Florida: Bathroom breaks

Idaho: Secretary of state race

Indiana: Open primaries

Iowa: Ex-felon voting rights

Mississippi: Voter ID

New Jersey: Vote-by-mail | Election technology

North Carolina: Voting law changes |

Ohio: Absentee ballots | Election legislation | Voting rules, II | Voting rights | Improving elections

Texas: Ballot rules

Virginia: Ex-felon voting rights, II

Washington: Whatcom Co.

West Virginia: Natalie Tennant

Wisconsin: Early voting

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 Communications, Democracy Fund, Washington, D.C.—seeking a creative thinker with senior-level strategic communications experience and a deep commitment to non-partisan political reform to serve as its first Director of Communications. The director will be responsible for developing the organization’s overall communications and branding strategy, as well as managing all internal and external messaging. The director will work closely with the organization’s program team to advance our strategic goals and support the needs of Democracy Fund grantees. The director will be responsible for cultivating the organization’s role as an important convener and thought leader in the field, while building a network of advisors, partners, and champions who will increase the organization’s influence and impact. Qualifications: Deep passion for strengthening American democracy; excellent written and oral communication skills required; at least 10 years of experience in communications, coalition building, organizing, policy analysis, advocacy, or public affairs; strong strategic mind set and proven ability to translate strategy into action; success in developing and maintaining institutional, political, and personal relationships; strong track record of working with Republican, Democratic, and Independent political leaders; extensive experience with social media; ability to travel periodically for project work; demonstrated experience handling multiple assignments simultaneously; flexibility and initiative to work both independently and as part of a team; familiarity with the field of democracy and political reform, as well as the organizations and leaders involved in the field. Education: BA required. Deadline: Open until filled. For the complete job posting and to apply, click here.

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: April 30, 2014. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Training Specialist, Ohio Secretary of State’s Office — under the supervision of the Deputy Elections Administrator, researches, writes, and coordinates the development of training materials published by the Secretary of State for use by boards of elections in recruiting and training precinct election officials, including, but not limited to, Precinct Election Official Training Manual and the Quick Reference Flip Chart Guide; Develops and maintains a library of training materials developed and published by boards of elections for recruiting and training precinct election materials. Reviews county materials for compliance with the minimum content standards in the Secretary of State’s materials; Develops and maintains the Secretary of State’s online poll worker training system. Assists boards of elections and users with properly accessing and utilizing the system; Develops and implements training seminars and/or meetings for board of elections personnel regarding the recruitment and training of precinct election officials, webinars for county election officials, training programs for new board members, directors, and deputy directors, participates in the planning of the Secretary of State’s summer conference for county election officials, and other topics; Writes, coordinates the development, and curates forms and other resource materials published by the Secretary of State’s office for use by county boards of elections; Liaises with the Secretary of State’s Communications Department on elections-related publications, including but not limited to the PEO recruitment resources and forms, and the Poll Worker Newsletter, and liaises with county boards of elections and other entities on all matters relating to PEO recruitment and training; Answers correspondence, e-mails and telephone calls; represents office at related meetings & conferences. Performs other duties as required. Qualifications: Completion of undergraduate core program in communications, education, public administration or any related area of study; 12 mos. experience in program development and evaluation of program initiatives; 3 mos. experience in developing and conducting trainings; 3 mos. experience in voter registration programs and/or election advocacy.Or equivalent of Minimum Qualifications noted above. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.

Voting Systems Manager, Colorado Secretary of State — position manages the voting systems team to ensure certification of voting systems, county support for technical issues, and implementation of the Election Night Reporting, Uniform Voting Systems, Post-Election Audit, Risk-Limiting Audit, and Ballot on Demand programs. Responsibilities include: Supervision of the voting system team, oversees certification of voting systems and verification or reinstallation of trusted build on county systems, ensures timely reporting of election night results on statewide basis, plans and implement Uniform Voting System when approved and funded, assists counties with technical issues relating to pre-election voting system testing, coordinates statutory post-election audits and plans for and implements risk-limiting audits on statewide basis, provides assistance to counties with ballot-on-demand, ensures that county voting systems are periodically audited and used in compliance with all applicable legal requirements, assists counties and vendors in resolving technological issues related to voting systems. Qualifications: Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Business Administration, Business Management, or Political Science and three years of professional program management and implementation experience. Salary: $4,764.00 – $6,803.00 Monthly. Deadline: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 11:59pm MT, or until 50 applications are received. Application: For complete job posting and to apply click here.

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