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May 29, 2014

May 29, 2014

In Focus This Week

I. In Focus This Week

Tech Thursday
States, counties, NGOs roll out more technology to help voters

By M. Mindy Moretti

With the primary season in full swing, it has been a busy spring for state and local elections offices in their efforts to make voting/registering easier for citizens.

Like the trees and flowers coming into season, new websites and mobile apps have been blooming from coast to coast.

For some a lot of this may be old hat, but it’s important to take notice of these new apps/sites to highlight the progress being made in the elections field; and to encourage others who may late bloomers to get the ball rolling with their own tech improvements.

What follows is a snapshot of what some counties, states and voter advocacy organizations have done lately to make voting and/or registering to vote easier.

In Connecticut, Secretary of State Denise Merrill recently announced that a mobile app for the state’s new online voter registration system is available. The app — for smartphone or tablet — is available through Google Play and Apple. Since OVR launched in February, more than 2,000 Connecticut residents have registered to vote or updated their registration. Merrill hopes the new app will increase those numbers.

“I am very excited to offer these mobile apps for voter registration so any eligible Connecticut voter with a driver’s license can register for this year’s elections from the convenience of their Smartphone or tablet,” Merrill, said in a statement. “Modern features like this help to reach new eligible voters, and the more people who participate the better.”

Georgia also took advantage of the introduction of OVR to launch mobile apps to help voters register as well as provide the voters with all the same information available on the state’s My Voter Page website.

Social media behemoth Facebook recently launched a global version of its “I’m a Voter” button. The button, originally launched in 2012, is designed to let your friends on Facebook know that you’ve cast a ballot.

According to a study in the journal Nature, in 2010, more than 300,000 people cast ballots in the mid-term elections after seeing a friend share the button on Facebook and in 2012 approximately 9 million people shared the button during the presidential elections.

The U.S. Vote Foundation recently launched a new widget that answers all sorts of absentee voting questions. The Can I Vote Absentee (CIVA) widget let’s voters quickly find what the absentee voting rules and regulations for their state and then allows voters, advocates, whoever to share the widget directly on their websites to help other voters.

Oklahoma has joined a growing list of states using technology to make it easier for military and overseas voters to cast a ballot. The Oklahoma Military and Overseas Ballot Online system allows voters to log into a secure system, fill out their ballot, print it and return it via fax or mail.

The state also launched a new Online Voter Tool that allows Oklahomans to look up the status of their registration, find their polling location, review sample ballots and check the status of their absentee ballots.

The City of Santa Monica, California recently launched a new voter education website. SMVote.org provides voters with all the information they need including updates on candidates, ballot initiatives, links to voter registration and an elections calendar.

Also in California, the Sonoma County elections office introduced an app that provides voters with all the information found on the county’s website.

In addition to providing voters with timely and accurate information, the app is seen as an addition to the office’s “going green” program. Bill Rousseau, county clerk and registrar of voters told a local paper that the app is expected to reduce the amount of information the office prints and mails to voters — saving a tree and money!

Do you have a new app, widget, website, etc. that we missed? Let us know and we’re happy to feature it in an upcoming edition of electionlineWeekly.

Election News This Week

II. Election News This Week

  • Texas finally wrapped up its 2014 primary season with a series of runoff elections this week and Mother Nature did her best to try and put a damper on the finale. In Bexar County a polling place at the Olmos Park City Hall lost power during a severe thunderstorm. In the Houston area, elections officials blamed the bad weather for a lower than expected turnout. And in Cameron County, where elections officials decided to consolidate polling places for the runoff elections, some voters complained about not being aware of the consolidation.
  • U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels submitted 130 pages of filings in the federal proof-of-citizenship lawsuit this week. In those filings, Samuels suggested that oral arguments could be heard as early as July 21, or as late as September 8th which would still leave the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals time to rule before the October 14 Kansas deadline to register for the general election.
  • Voter ID Update: Late last week, the Pulaski County, Arkansas judge that ruled the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional officially filed the 5-page order. Also in Arkansas, reports are coming in from counties about the voter ID impact. In Pope County, there were only five provisional ballots cast due to a lack of ID. In Pulaski County, 25 provisional ballots were cast due to lack of ID and only one voter returned to show ID. At least one formal complaint about the May 20th rollout was filed with the State Board of Election Commissioners.
  • For years New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has been teaching college students a course on the state’s unique first-in-the-nation primary. In 2015, the classroom doors will be flung open because the course will be offered online through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). “Usually the nation comes to New Hampshire. We’re trying to bring a part of New Hampshire out to the nation and beyond, so people can learn about the primary even though they’re not here,” Dante Scala, University of New Hampshire professor told the Associated Press.
  • To help celebrate the state’s 125th anniversary Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman invited students throughout the state to submit artwork to serve as the back cover of this year’s voter guide. Talia Anderson, 10, a fifth-grader in Port Angeles won the contest and was surprised by a visit from Wyman during a school assembly. The artwork will be printed on 3.2 million voter guides that are mailed to every household in the state.
  • Personnel News: John F. Federici was endorsed by Norwalk, Connecticut Republicans to serve as their registrar. Federici will replace six-term incumbent Karen Doyle. Robert Parten has retired from is position as the Parker County, Texas administrator of elections. In East Windsor, Connecticut, Democrats have endorsed Angelo Sevarino as their new registrar. He will replace Daniel Nadeau. Andy Gibson has resigned as the Madison County, North Carolina board of elections chairman. In his letter of resignation, Gibson cited voting irregularities in the county and that he had been threatened and intimidated. Charles W. “Chuck” Stuber, Jr., a retiring FBI agent will join the North Carolina Board of Elections in June. Robert Cowan has been appointed to serve as election coordinator for the Sebastian County, Tennessee election commission. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach officially filed for re-election this week.
  • In Memoriam: Longtime Hudson County, New Jersey Superintendent of Elections Marie Borace died on May 23. She was 70. Borace was appointed superintendent in 1998 and served in the position until her death last week. “Marie was a good friend and a dedicated public servant who was well known for her integrity and ability to work objectively with all people, regardless of their political affiliation,” Mayor Nicholas Sacco told the Hudson Reporter. “Because of her professionalism, Marie was reappointed to her important position by both Republican and Democratic governors. She served Hudson County well and she will be missed.”

Legislative Updates

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III. Legislative Update

National News: U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) introduced legislation aimed at protecting voting rights for Alaska Natives and American Indians. The bill would, among other things, allow for valid tribal IDs to be used at polling places that require identification. It would require Justice Department approval for certain polling place changes on Indian reservations and in Alaska Native villages. It also calls for ballots to be translated into written Native languages.

Ohio: Legislation introduced in the House last week would prevent incumbent politicians, such as the secretary of state or governor, from having their name appear on materials sent out with absentee ballots. Failure to comply would be a fifth degree felony.

South Carolina: Under legislation awaiting the governor’s signature, beginning in November state elections officials will check the vote totals from all 46 counties to confirm their accuracy.

Upcoming Events

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IV. Upcoming Events

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

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.


V. Opinion

National Opinions: Voter ID, II | Voting Rights Act | Online voting

Alabama: Voter ID, II

Arkansas: Voter ID, II | Voter suppression

California: Voting equipment

Colorado: Two-party system

Florida: Early voting

Hawaii: Election system

Idaho: Closed primaries

Indiana: Voter registration | Vote centers

Kansas: Secretary of state race

Kentucky: Better ballots

Massachusetts: Election reform, II, III, IV

Nevada: Election reform

North Carolina: State Board of Elections

Oregon: Open primaries

Vermont: Election reform

Texas: Election schedules | Voter turnout

Job Openings

VI. 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.

Deputy Director of Auditing and Accounting, New York City Campaign Finance Board — unit’s core function is to perform detailed, timely audits of campaigns’ financial disclosure statements and supporting documentation in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). This position reports to the Director of Auditing and Accounting. Responsibilities: Manage the unit’s workflow. This includes assigning caseloads to audit staff, ensuring deadlines are met, and re-assigning work as needed to ensure balance and timeliness; train, supervise, direct, and evaluate senior auditors on audit assignments and ensure quality of work. Ensure that all audit staff receives appropriate training and supervision from senior auditors; review work performed by staff; approve work papers, audit findings, and audit reports; edit draft and final audit reports and other correspondence; communicate with management and other CFB units on various audit and compliance issues and assist other units in investigations and enforcement actions; make oral and written presentations to CFB staff members and the Board; and assist the Director in the overall management of the unit and perform Director’s duties in Director’s absence. Qualifications: A master’s degree or pursuing a graduate degree from an accredited university and at least six years of experience, at least three in a supervisory capacity, in one or a combination of the following: financial administration, accounting, compliance or investigative auditing, fraud reviews, forensic accounting, budget administration, economics, finance, fiscal or economic research, fiscal management, personnel or public administration, program evaluation, or a related area; OR a satisfactory combination of education and experience in the areas described above; previous experience in conducting performance audits in accordance with GAGAS and extensive knowledge of The Yellow Book; excellent written and verbal communication skills; experience editing and preparing audit communications; strong analytical, problem solving, and organizational skills; meticulous attention to detail; a demonstrated ability to meet tight deadlines, coordinate multiple projects and staff, and manage shifting priorities; and New York City residency within 90 days of starting the position. Application: If you would like to be considered for one of these opportunities, please email, fax, or mail your resume and cover letter, including current salary and salary requirements, to: Ms. Elizabeth Bauer; NYC Campaign Finance Board; 100 Church Street, 12th Floor; New York, New York 10007; Fax #212-409-1705; or resume@nyccfb.info. For the complete listing, please 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.

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