In Focus This Week
I. In Focus This Week
What’s In & Out in election administration for 2016
You’ve waited all year for it, so without further ado, here is electionlineWeekly’s annual list of what’s in and what’s out in election administration for 2016.
And as always, a hat-tip to The Washington Post that began its version of The List in 1978 and inspired us to start ours.
Happy New Year!
OUT: Planning for 2016
IN: Surviving 2016
OUT: Vote by mail schemes that don’t support accessible voting
IN: Remote ballot marking that supports accessible voting without compromising voter privacy and security
OUT: Voter profiling
IN: Voter privacy
OUT: Paper precinct registers
IN: Electronic poll books
OUT: Being jealous of the elections commissioner of Yolo County because of the cool name
IN: Being jealous of the elections commissioner of Yolo County because of its all-mail balloting
OUT: Anxiety over the purchase of new equipment
IN: Anxiety about training election officials to use new equipment
OUT: Fall tailgating
IN: Fall satellite voting
IN: Social media attacks
OUT: Exit polling
IN: Trending hashtags
OUT: Complaints about parking at polling locations
IN: Complaints about security at polling locations
OUT: Speculation about where voting machines may malfunction
IN: Speculation on how the U.S. Postal Service may malfunction
OUT: Largely paper-based voter registration
IN: Online voter registration
OUT: Online voter registration
IN: Automatic voter registration
IN: Three commissioners at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a new executive director and a new general counsel
OUT: Media contacts who only provide phone numbers
IN: Media contacts who provide emails and phone numbers (please for the love of God be in)
OUT: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
IN: Brad Winter
OUT: Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
IN: Ethics Commission and Elections Commission
OUT: Wondering If Wisconsin’s Kevin Kennedy will get to stay on
IN: Wondering if Kevin will bring his 30 years of experience to your state
OUT: Hoping to get funding for voting machines in 2015
IN: Hoping to get funding for voting machines in 2016
OUT: Disputes about election official qualifications in Connecticut
IN: New training program for election officials in Connecticut
OUT: WinVote in Virginia
IN: A scramble by WinVote jurisdictions in Virginia to buy anything else
OUT: Wyoming state election director Peggy Nighswonger
OUT: Alaska state election director Gail Fenumiai
IN: Josie Bahnke
OUT: Voting technology standards as typical rulemaking
IN: Working group approach to standard-setting for voting technology
OUT: Worrying if voters will send their mail ballots back in time
IN: Worrying if the USPS will deliver them in time
OUT: Voting technology as an unrecognized “impending crisis”
IN: Voting technology as a well-recognized but largely unaddressed (and unfunded) crisis
OUT: Oregon’s claim to fame as birthplace of all vote-by-mail
IN: Oregon’s claim to fame as birthplace of “new motor voter”
OUT: Wireless and touchscreens
IN: Wires and paper
OUT: Lines at neighborhood polling places
IN: Vote by Mail
OUT: Federal funding
IN: Innovative thinking by election administrators on shoe string budgets
IN: Election geeks in the shower
And because we think this has been mentioned in every In & Out list since electionline launched in 2002…
OUT: Lever voting machines in New York
IN: Wooden ballot boxes
Special thanks to: Doug Chapin, Sean Green, Rick Hasen, Matt Masterson, Lucy Martin, Kim Alexander, Brian Corley, Pam Smith, Whitney Quesenbery and Dave Bjerke.
Election News This Week
II. Election News This Week
- Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana has to move all the precincts within the city of Ponchatoula because the April 9 election falls during the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival. “It is impossible to have an election on Strawberry Festival Saturday,” Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche told The Daily Star. Dufreche had hoped to move the April 9 ballot items to the March 5 primary, but that wasn’t possible so the precincts will move and voters will be notified vial mail.
- North Carolina elections officials have sent letters to 825 registered voters that signed a form at the polls in November saying that they do not have any of the acceptable forms of ID to vote under the state’s new 2016 law. The letter asks people to fill out a form about whether they plan to get an acceptable ID, or if they need help getting one. According to the News & Record, the letter told voters about getting a free ID from motor vehicle offices or alternate IDs if they have a “reasonable impediment” to getting a traditional ID.
- Representatives from the U.S. Postal Service failed to show up for a hearing the Summit County, Ohio board of elections held to discuss why nearly 1,000 ballots had to be tossed in the November election because they lacked a postmark. “This is certainly a big issue — an important issue for the voters of Summit County,” Tim Gorbach, the board’s director told the Akron Beacon-Journal. “For them to not come here, it’s disappointing.”
- A new report by security bloggers claims that the bloggers uncovered a datatbase containing the personal information about 191 million voters nationwide. According to The Hill, the information contains voters’ names, home addresses, voter IDs, phone numbers and date of birth, as well as political affiliations and a detailed voting history since 2000.
- If you need any more proof that every vote matters, more than 20 contests in the Ohio November election were decided by one vote. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted pinpointed 14 races for local office and nine issues that either tied or won or lost by one vote. Almost 100 races in 68 counties in the last three years have been determined by slim margins. “A single vote can decide an election,” Husted said. “Here, we have 98 cases in the last three years where it did.” Husted began tracking the narrow margins of victory and defeat three years ago after hearing reports of close local races.
- Personnel News: Wesley Evans has been hired as legal counsel for the Madison County, Mississippi election commission. Longtime Floyd County, Georgia Elections Supervisor Evon Billups is retiring. Billups started as the assistant supervisor 31 years and has been the head elections supervisor for 25 years. Westminster, Massachusetts Clerk Denise MacAloney is retiring after more than 31 years on the job. Huntington County, Indiana Clerk Kittie Keiffer received the Election Administrator of the Year award from the Indiana Election Division and the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. Voter Registration and Election Deputy Pam Fowler received the Voter Registration Employee of the Year award. David Patneaude has resigned from the McDowell County, North Carolina in order to run for office. Cattaraugus County, New York Election Commissioner Sue Fries is stepping down after almost 20 years on the commission.
III. Legislative Updates
Georgia: According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state of Georgia has yet to issue clarifying advice for the state’s absentee voting law which state elections officials were interpreting as making it a crime for anyone to even place a voter’s sealed ballot in a mailbox with their consent. “There is no set date for when the guidance will come,” a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office told the paper.
Kentucky: On his first day in office, new Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) filed an executive order reversing an executive order by former Gov. Steve Beshear (D) that restored the voting rights to thousands of ex-felons and made thousands more eligible to have theirs restored. “While I have been a vocal supporter of the restoration of rights,” Bevin said in a prepared statement, “it is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people.” Bevin’s order will not retroactively affect felons who, since Nov. 24, have received a certificate from the state Department of Corrections confirming their restoration of rights.
Louisiana: Secretary of State Tom Schedler is planning to ask the Legislature for money to implement a new voting system for the state that will include the use of tablet computers to cast ballots. Schedler will need about $150 million from the Legislature to replace the state’s 15-year old voting machines.
Maryland: According to a report in The Washington Post, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. has enough votes to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill restoring the voting rights of ex-felons.
IV. Legal Updates
California: A federal lawsuit has been filed challenging San Mateo County’s absentee voting system for excluding blind and visually impaired residents by relying on paper ballots.
New York: Edward McDonough, a Rensselaer County elections commissioner who was acquitted of forging absentee ballots has filed an $8 million lawsuit against the special prosecutor. The suit claims the charges against McDonough were baseless and accuses the special prosecutor and others of “their orchestration, fabrication and use of false testimony to commence and continue a wrongful scapegoat prosecution against him.”
Ohio: The case over Ohio’s voting rules is now in the hands of U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson. Plaintiffs, that include the state Democratic Party, argue the changes, including the elimination of a week of early voting, disenfranchise minority voters.
South Dakota: According to the Argus Ledger, four Native Americans who are suing Jackson County over alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act have asked a federal judge not to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs argue that Jackson County’s history of violating the voting rights of Native Americans should require federal monitors of future elections and federal oversight of county elections. The Jackson County Commission and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs have signed an agreement to use HAVA funds to pay for satellite voting, but the plaintiffs want the case to proceed even with the signed agreement.
Tennessee: U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger granted the state’s request to dismiss a case brought against the state’s voter ID law. A group of students had argued that college-issued IDs should be an acceptable form of ID to vote. “Under the Tennessee Voter ID Law, everyone is required to obtain some form of acceptable photo identification in order to vote,” Trauger wrote in the memo. “Students, like everyone else, can select among a state-issued driver license, a United States passport, or the free, state-issued non-driver identification card. “Admittedly, allowing students to use these cards (student IDs) would make it easier for them to vote, but it does not automatically follow that not allowing them to use their student identification cards imposes a severe burden or otherwise abridges their right to vote.”
Virginia: The Virginia State Board of Elections and the state’s Democratic Party have reached a settlement over long voting lines. Under the settlement, the SBOE will take a major administrative overhaul of the process of dealing with the lines on Election Day including clear and consistent guidance to local boards for equipment breakdowns, re-evaluating the certification process for voting machines, engaging experts to assist local boards of elections in addressing long line issues and using data to help with allocation decisions.
Wisconsin: U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued an order saying he has granted the state’s motion to dismiss the portion a lawsuit filed in June challenging the voter ID requirements. He said the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already upheld the mandate in a separate case in October 2014. But he added he’s not convinced that the requirement promotes any confidence in the electoral process.
V. Tech Thursday
Iowa: Advocates for the disabled are concerned that the state’s new online voter registration system — set to launch January 1, 2016 — may not be accessible to all voters. According to the Des Moines Register, the America Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says it is commending Secretary of State Paul Pate for modernizing Iowa’s voter registration system. But the organization says administrative rules aimed at implementing the system will exclude 7 percent of Iowans who lack Iowa driver’s licenses or state-issued ID cards.
Florida: An audio-enabled sample ballot will be available for Pasco voters during the 2016 election cycle. The audio ballot, a valuable tool for voters with disabilities, voters in the military and Americans living abroad, will be accessible through the LiveBallot application that is hosted on the secure Microsoft Cloud for Government. The audio-enabled ballot is multilingual, and compatible with all major screen readers, tactile switches, closed captioning and sip and puff systems.
Opinions This Week
VI. Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Hispanic voting rights | Voter ID | Automatic voter registration | Voting rights, II | Data breach
Alaska: PFD initiative, II
California: Motor voter
Iowa: Online voter registration
Kansas: Voting machine audit
Kentucky: Ex-felon voting rights | Voting machines
Maine: Ranked choice voting
Michigan: Election reform, II, III
Nevada: Election consolidation
New Jersey: Voting rights | Election reform
New Mexico: Secretary of state’s office, II
North Carolina: Motor voter, II | Early voting
Ohio: Poll workers | Online voter registration | Absentee ballots
Oregon: Motor voters
Tennessee: Shelby County
VII. Available Funding/Partnerships
The Pluribus Project and New Media Ventures
The Pluribus Project – a special initiative with the Aspen Institute dedicated to building the political power of the many – and New Media Ventures – an expert in impact investing and catalyzing innovation in civic technology – are joining forces for this Open Call in order to tackle the big and urgent challenge of fixing our democracy so that our nation’s government better represents the American people. Specifically, they are seeking efforts that incentivize more genuine representation in the republic so it comes closer to truly being of the people, by the people, and for the people. Have a project we should consider? Learn more and apply now!
Erase the Line
Erase the Line is looking for election officials who are interested in using data to better understand and improve their election-day logistics. A Data Team is a group of election workers who collect key data about operational details at polling places on Election Day. Data Teams measure lines and wait times at different stations, as well as the time needed for election workers to complete different processes, such as checking in a voter or setting up a ballot. The data will impart a precise understanding of your jurisdiction’s polling place operations and identify strengths and weaknesses. Over time, this information can reduce costs, eliminate wait times, build data sets for online tools, provide performance indicators and improve customer service. Erase The Line is looking for jurisdictions that want to tap into their operational analytics and help improve the data team process for the future. For more information or to find out how you can get involved, contact Lester Bird at the D.C. Board of Elections.Email: email@example.com Phone: 202.727.5407 Twitter: @EraseTheLine
The Foundation Center
The Democracy Fund and seven other foundations have formed a partnership to create a data visualization platform that maps out how foundations support democracy and political reform in the U.S. The tool, hosted by The Foundation Center, is the only known source of information on how foundations are supporting U.S. democracy and provides direct access to available funding data. The tool enables nonprofits to:
- Identify additional funding sources that are an appropriate fit for their work;
- Learn what funders and peers are doing;
- Better understand the priorities and practices of specific funders; and
- Build effective collaborations.
U.S. Election Assistance Commission Grants
EAC Grants Management Division is responsible for distributing, monitoring, providing technical assistance to states and grantees on the use of funds, and reporting on requirements payments and discretionary grants to improve administration of elections for federal office. The office also negotiates indirect cost rates with grantees and resolves audit findings on the use of HAVA funds.
VIII. Upcoming Events
Please email upcoming events — conferences, symposiums, seminars, webinars, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASS Winter Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold its 2016 Winter Conference at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. February 10-13, 2016. This event will bring together government and industry leaders to showcase Secretary of State initiatives and highlight all the latest developments in state and federal policymaking circles. NASS President Kate Brown and other speakers will focus on many important topics and leadership opportunities for members, including a special new member orientation session for newly-elected or appointed Secretaries of State! Where: JW Marriott, Washington, D.C. When: Feb. 10-13, 2016. For more information and to register, click here.
NACo Legislative Conference: The NACo Legislative Conference is held on an annual basis in Washington, DC. This meeting brings over 2,000 elected and appointed county officials from across the country to focus on legislative issues facing county government. Attendees hear from key Administration officials and members of Congress and are offered a myriad of additional educational opportunities addressing current and hot topic issues. A day of lobbying on Capitol Hill the last day rounds out an information-packed conference. Where: Washington, D.C. When: Feb. 20-24, 2016. For more information and to register, click here.
NACRC Winter Education Conference: National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials, and Clerks (NACRC) has its winter education conference in February in Savannah, GA. Among the topics will be a presentation by the Brennan Center for Justice report on the aging electronic voting machines across the country, and what elections officials can do about it. We’ll also discuss the movement to lower the voting age to 16, how to maintain clean voter registration databases, and a nationwide elections-only roundtable discussion. Hear from veterans and newcomers in the field about their innovations to tackle issues faced across the country. All this networking and learning will earn you credits towards the NACRC Certified Public Official Program. Where: Savannah, Georgia. When: Feb. 22-23. For more information and to register, click here.
Job Postings This Week
IX. 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.
Customer Relations Associate, Reno, Nevada / Carson City, Nevada area — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly motivated and skilled, Customer Relations Associate, in Nevada! This role will responsible for managing one or more customer accounts to include product support, problem resolution, and placing product and service orders. As well as managing customer projects such as election support, new product implementations, trainings, upgrades and any additional customer services. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Manager, Placer County, California — the County ofPlacer, California is seeking a highly skilled professional for the position of Recording-Elections Manager (Elections Manager). The position serves the citizens of Placer County through active supervision of the county’s elections needs and interacts with elected officials, school and special district personnel, county department heads and managers, the media and the public. The manager provides the necessary day-to-day management and administration of the division in an efficient and transparent manner, focused on customer service and in compliance with all applicable laws, codes and regulations. The Elections Manager recommends priorities for division resources, serves as a member of the department’s management team, exercises direct supervision over supervisory, professional, technical, clerical and temporary personnel and reports directly to the Assistant Recorder-Registrar of Voters. This position has management responsibility for planning, organizing and directing the day-to-day operations of all elections program areas, including voter registration and outreach, candidate and campaign services, polls and precincts coordination and vote-by-mail processing. Salary: $42.13-$51.21/hourly. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Hardware Engineer III, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic Hardware Engineer III for our downtown Toronto office. The key responsibilities for this role will be to work as a lead member of the mechanical engineering team helping to develop new products from concept to production, as well as supporting production runs and any field requirements for existing and legacy products. Salary: $70k base + benefits (negotiable). Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Junior Product Support Specialist, Toronto, Ontario— Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an out-going, technology savvy, Junior Product Support Specialist, to be based in our downtown Toronto office. This position is responsible for supporting installation, operation, repair, and maintenance of all Dominion Voting Systems products; as well as developing and executing training sessions; and assisting with warehousing and logistics. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Network & Systems Specialist, Denver, Colorado — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy and detail oriented, Network & Systems Specialist, to be based in our downtown Denver, Colorado office. This role is responsible for assisting with the deployment and troubleshooting of advanced elections hardware and software system configurations; providing support to the logistics associated with procuring elections systems and equipment; performing tests and evaluations of various voting solutions; and providing election support to customers both remotely and/or on-site. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Support Specialist, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced and motivated, Product Support Specialist, to be based in our downtown Toronto office. This position is responsible for supporting installation, operation, repair, and maintenance of all Dominion Voting Systems products; as well as developing and executing training sessions; and working closely with the Operations and Development Teams on a number of critical projects. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Programming Specialist, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly-driven and detail-oriented, Programming Specialist, to be based in our downtown Toronto office. This position is responsible for elections design and programming; ensuring elections systems meet all performance criteria, standards and requirements; developing and executing trainings; implementing Dominion Voting System products; and providing technical support to customers, co-workers and election officials. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Coordinator (Temporary), Future of California Elections, Los Angeles — The Future of California Elections (FoCE), a project of Community Partners, seeks a temporary full-time Project Coordinator to serve as a California-based staff person responsible for administration and program support of all the activities of the Future of California collaboration, a coalition of election officials, civil rights organizations and reform advocates dedicated to an open, transparent and well-functioning system of democracy in California. The position is based in Los Angeles from January 11, 2016 – March 4, 2016. The project coordinator will accomplish the following duties: 2016 conference planning, project management/member relations, policy and other duties as specified. Salary: $14-$17/hourly based on experience. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager, North Carolina / South Carolina — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly-motivated and experienced, Regional Sales Manager, in the North Carolina / South Carolina region. This position will be responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, market planning and technical development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager, Texas — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly-motivated and accomplished, Regional Sales Manager, in Texas. This position will be responsible for long term sales (3-5 years) of the company’s election products and services in a specified geographic region to governmental agencies. This position uses technical, organizational and customer knowledge to influence customers and assist them in applying the products and services to their needs, resulting in revenue generation. In addition, the position provides input and participates in the marketing, market planning and technical development of products and services. Salary: Negotiable base + commission & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Sales Director, Everyone Counts— Everyone Counts is transforming the $31 billion public and private sector voting/elections industry from purpose-built, antiquated hardware and error-prone manual paper processes to a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Every democracy in the world, and every organization that has members who vote, needs Everyone Counts solutions. Support the often lengthy buying process from prospecting to closing of deals valued at $200k – $10M+. This involves education, support in developing RFPs and competently working with buyers in understanding the benefits of switching to our solution vs. competitive offerings or the status quo. Our sales are achieved through teamwork internally and externally. Build a valuable and convertible pipeline. You will expertly segment the market, qualify for relevance and size while prioritizing for timing and likelihood of winning. Your relentless drive to understand the pursuit context and details will allow us to make good decisions. Become expert at the “Election 2.0 pitch approach” at all relevant levels of a buyer’s constituencies. Adopt a modern data-driven lead generation and sales approach. You employ an effective and state-of-the-art sales methodology. Using CRM tools and working in an open and challenging team setting greases your engine to consistently meet and exceed the set targets. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Engineer, Center for Technology and Civic Life, Chicago or Washington, D.C. — We’re looking for a Software Engineer with a passion for civic engagement to help us continue to provide relevant, local civic data to people across the country. The Software Engineer will be the technical lead on the execution of CTCL’s civic data programs. The Software Engineer will, in collaboration with the Director of Civic Data, be responsible for the maintenance and expansion of CTCL’s existing codebase that standardizes and publishes the datasets created by the Civic Data team. Additionally, the Software Engineer will be responsible the technical implementation for new civic datasets, from database construction to publication. In addition, the Software Engineer may be asked to consult on or assist with the creation of technical assets for CTCL’s programs more broadly, with the understanding that any such responsibilities will be of secondary priority to the execution of civic data work. This position reports to the Director of Civic Data. Salary: $65,000-$70,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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Siskiyou County, California has surplus voting equipment for sale, including AccuVote optical scan voting units, AccuVote Memory Cards, AccuVote ballot boxes, AutoMark voting units and supplies. All units have been serviced and maintained per California requirements. For more information, please contact Colleen Setzer or Laura Bynum at (530) 842-8084, or email Colleen Setzer, email@example.com