In Focus This Week
I. In Focus This Week
In the market for new voting equipment?
Three things to do when buying new voting equipment
By David Levine
Special to electionlineWeekly
As documented in a number of recent research and media reports, many jurisdictions continue to use outdated voting equipment, which portends trouble.
Outdated machines are more likely to break down, when they do it can be hard to find spare parts for them, and they often have memory cards with relatively little storage space, to name just a few issues.
Despite these problems, it can be hard to procure new equipment. Voting machines are not cheap, and the federal government has not demonstrated a willingness to assist with these purchases as it did following the 2000 presidential election. That means states and localities need to find the money themselves.
Here are three steps jurisdictions and/or states can take to make the process a little less painful:
Form a Coalition to Share the Work and Achieve Economies of Scale
As the report, “The Business of Voting: Market Structure and Innovation in the Elections Technology Industry”, and other publications have mentioned, jurisdictions — particularly smaller ones — should consider forming coalitions to buy new voting equipment.
Forming coalitions allows jurisdictions to pool money and manpower to research new voting equipment. Pooling resources also gives jurisdictions more leverage when purchasing new voting equipment – a larger buy often (though not always) leads to a better price and better terms.
That is partly because coalition purchasing is also beneficial to vendors. Vendors prefer larger orders of the same voting equipment, which reduces their own per-unit costs. The relatively fixed costs of contracting and developing software encourage vendors to discount prices on large orders.
There are many ways to form buying coalitions. If a few jurisdictions within the same state, or different states, are interested in voting systems with similar features, they can pursue a coalition amongst themselves. And a state itself can become involved — in forming and administering a coalition, providing personnel and expertise, appropriating funds to help jurisdictions purchase new equipment, post-purchase support and training, and sharing information on common problems (and their solutions).
Collaborate with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has a great deal of helpful information for jurisdictions purchasing new voting equipment.
For example, the EAC’s “Ten Things to Know About Selecting a Voting System” is an excellent overview of factors to consider when purchasing a new system. These include applicable federal, state, and local laws, the stakeholders who will be involved in the acquisition process, and the lifetime cost of owning a voting system (which is important to know, and easy to overlook).
As part of its clearinghouse function, the EAC has a voting technology procurement webpage that includes reports and studies, and sample RFPs, from various states and jurisdictions. These documents cover a wide range of technologies and situations – consulting them is a key step (and perhaps the starting point) for jurisdictions buying new equipment. They will save time and money, and inevitably suggest new ideas to include in a voting technology procurement.
Finally, the EAC has an experienced staff, many of whom worked for local and/or state election bodies before joining the agency. Due to its expanding role in assisting jurisdictions with voting technology procurements, there are very few procurement issues it hasn’t seen. And not only does it have useful ideas on how to resolve issues, its advice comes without charge.
Get Good Professional Help
Work with an attorney who is familiar with public procurements, and ideally with procuring new voting equipment. As the EAC and others have noted, a good RFP gives you the legal leverage to ensure that your new voting system does what you need. The only way to ensure you have this leverage is to ensure you have an attorney with experience in the procurement process who will know the terms to ask for and how to write them.
An attorney who has experience negotiating the purchase of new voting equipment can be helpful in a number of respects that go beyond classic legal issues like breach and warranties and indemnification. She (or he) can help negotiate the maintenance contracts you’ll want to take care of the voting machines; the purchase or lease of space to store the machines if necessary; and vendor satisfaction of pre-requisites to bidding, such as state and/or federal certification.
An attorney (or experienced consultant) can also help craft provisions that directly reduce the cost of purchasing voting equipment. To cite one example, if your existing equipment is not totally useless you can try to negotiate for the vendor to buy back your current voting equipment as part of the deal to purchase new voting equipment, which will reduce the effective price of the new equipment and help you get rid of your old voting equipment easily and efficiently. The concept isn’t hard to grasp, but the language can be tricky.
An adviser can also help jurisdictions “see” the actual price of voting equipment over the long term. Cash-strapped jurisdictions have been known to buy from the lowest bidder without recognizing or understanding that the purchase price is only part of the cost of equipment, and that a system may be inexpensive up front but very expensive in the long run, as the equipment gets older and needs increased maintenance.
Finally, a word on the universal problem of stakeholders who question the need for new equipment – “Our elections have gone [pretty] smoothly to date; why shell out money when we don’t have to?” An adviser can help here, too, pointing out (with real life examples) the need to purchase new equipment to continue having reliable elections into the future. It is widely recognized that after 10-15 years voting equipment presents additional risks no matter how well it has been maintained. Memory constraints, maintenance cost escalation, security vulnerabilities – you don’t need a crystal ball to decide how to act, but an adviser with experience across jurisdictions can often be more persuasive to stakeholders than officials (even trusted and respected ones) with whom they have been working for years.
(David Levine is an Election Management Consultant who has administered county, state, federal and private sector elections; developed election policy for non-profit organizations; and monitored elections in other countries. His expertise includes voter registration, election administration, poll worker training, outreach, research design and evaluation, voting system standards, logic and accuracy testing, post-election audits, voting accessibility, evaluating proposals and voting technology.)
Election News This Week
II. Election News This Week
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced plans to launch a new voting commission to document and report on “voter suppression tactics” and make recommendations to strengthen access to the polls. According to USA Today, the new commission is in response to the Administration’s creation of the Election Integrity Commission. Former Missouri Secretary of State and President of Let America Vote Jason Kander will chair the new commission which will include members of Congress and state and local elections officials such as Kentucky’s Allison Lundergan Grimes.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections is proposing several elections changes following 2016’s Hurricane Matthew and the contentions election cycle. Under the proposed changes, the state election director would have emergency authority to change election schedules following a natural disaster or military conflict involving troop deployment. Another proposal would require people filing elections protests to certify under penalty of perjury that the facts alleged are true and accurate.
This week, the Lake County, Indiana Board of Elections failed to file a plan on how the BOE plans to consolidate the county’s small voting precincts as required by law. Under the law, that task will now move to the Indiana Election Commission to make a plan to consolidate the county’s precincts. Board Chairman Kevin Smith told The Chicago Tribune he didn’t think the governor and state gave Lake County enough time to develop a good consolidation plan. “I just didn’t think there was enough time,” Smith said.
Residents of Woodbridge, New Jersey are being asked to participate in “Cast-A-Can-When-You Cast-Your-Vote” during next week’s primary. The program encourages voters to bring a nonperishable food item with them to the polls to donate. “The Election Day food drive is even more important this year, as more and more residents are seeking help and assistance from our food pantries. So, when township residents go to vote on Tuesday, June 6, we’re asking that they take a can … or two … or three … to their polling location for drop-off in the blue ‘Cast-A-Can’ container,” Mayor John E. McCormac said. The food drive is being coordinated with the Board of Elections, the Municipal Clerk’s Office and students from Woodbridge High School who will collect the collection boxes from 32 polling sites after the polls have closed on Tuesday. We love this idea!
Personnel News: Melanie R. Ostrander has been hired as the assistant director of elections in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Stephanie Tuin, Grand Junction, Colorado clerk for 24 years is set to retire on June 16. Avery Smith, Butts County, Georgia elections director has received the Ann Hicks Award from the Georgia Election Officials Association. Merritt Luke Scott has been hired as the deputy director of the Miami County, Ohio board of elections.
III. Legislative Updates
Federal Legislation: Oregon’s Congressional delegation has introduced the Vote by Mail Act which would require every state in the nation to provide voters with the opportunity to vote-by-mail. The bill also includes a national provision for automatic voter registration.
Alabama: Senate Bill 108 will require poll workers to keep track of which party primary voters participate in and then check these records if a run-off occurs.
District of Columbia: This week, the Council of the District of Columbia approved a spending plan to cover the costs of implementing automatic voter registration, which was approved in 2016. The funds will cover the cost to hire two employees to run the system and funding to help the District’s Department of Motor Vehicles complete an upgrade to their system so the data can be transferred.
Maine: Leaders in Maine’s Statehouse have approved introducing competing bills that address ranked-choice voting. One would repeal the voter-approved law and the other would put a ballot amendment before the voters on whether to change the state’s constitution to allow it.
Minnesota: In the waning hours of the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature approved a bill that will allow all Minnesota voters, whether they vote early, absentee or on election day, to receive an “I Voted” sticker.
Nevada: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Assembly Bill 181 which would restore the right to vote to people convicted of nonviolent felonies.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed Senate Bill 117 into law. The new law requires polling locations to offer separate lines for voters with disabilities who are not physically able to wait in line and allow them to vote before others. The law goes into effect October 1.
New Jersey: The Senate has approved S1737 which would end the use of special elections to fill congressional vacancies and instead let voters choose replacements in the general election.
Rhode Island: The House unanimously approved legislation that will automatically register any who applies for or renews a driver’s license. Residents will have the choice to opt out. The bill now goes before the Senate.
Texas: The House and Senate have both approved Senate Bill 5 which would soften voter ID requirements.
IV. Legal Updates
Arizona: Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Gordon has ruled that ballot images produced by local voting equipment are exempt from disclosure by Arizona election law.
Georgia: A federal lawsuit has been filed in Fulton County Superior Court seeking to require voters use paper ballots in the 6th Congressional District runoff in June. The suit names Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the elections directors of the three affected counties as defendants.
In other Georgia legal news, District Court Judge Amy Totenberg agreed that a coalition of plaintiffs representing minority communities has the right to claim the method of electing local officials in Gwinnett County denies them from participating equally in electing local officials. Totenberg reject the county’s arguments that claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act are limited to members of a single minority group.
Minnesota: According to a press release from the Pacific Legal Foundation, a petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Minnesota law that dictates what voters may not wear at the polls on election day.
Nevada: Stephen Gregory Zority of Las Vegas has pleaded not guilty to illegally paying a woman to improperly register Republican voters in rural Nevada in 2016.
North Carolina: A three-judge panel will hear arguments this week whether it’s constitutional for GOP legislators to end the century-old control governors had of overseeing elections.
Also in North Carolina, Joy Yvette Wilkerson has been indicted for illegally restoring or was in the process of restoring about 250 felons as voters for the 2016 general election.
Ohio: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether Secretary of State Jon Husted acted lawfully in removing hundreds of thousands of names form the state’s voter rolls.
Opinions This Week
V. Opinions This Week
Alabama: Ex-felon voting rights
Florida: Early voting
Iowa: Ex-felon voting rights
Kansas: Voter participation
Missouri: Voter ID
Montana: Early voting;
New Jersey: Election Assistance Commission
Ohio: Voter fraud
Rhode Island: Election modernization
Texas: Voting rights
Vermont: Voter fraud
Virginia: Voter fraud
VI. Upcoming Events
The Future of Elections: Technology Policy and Funding — Join legislators, legislative staff, elections officials and election administration experts for a discussion on the future of elections technology and how to pay for it. Share ideas on updating voting infrastructure in an era of limited resources and heightened security concerns. In addition to a robust discussion on elections policy, attendees will enjoy all Colonial Williamsburg has to offer. Bring the whole family with you! When: June 14-16. Where: Williamsburg, Virginia.
IaoGO 2017 Annual Conference — The iGO Annual Conference is packed with over 24 hours of education specifically for government officials with sessions for election officials, clerks, recorders and treasurers. Get knowledge and concrete learning you can bring back to your office. Visit the iGO website for full info and register by June 23 for the lowest rates. When: July 6-13, 2017. Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
NASS 2017 Summer Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Summer Conference. When: July 7-10, 2017. Where: Indianapolis, Indiana.
National Association of Election Officials Professional Education Program — Program includes Course I (Introduction to Election and Voter Registration Systems Administration); Course II (Management and Leadership Concepts in Election and Voter Registration Administration); Course III (Planning and Budgeting for Elections and Voter Registration); Course IV (Election and Voter Registration Information Management and Technology); Course V (Ethics in Elections and Voter Registration Administration). Where: Sanibel Harbour Hotel, Fort Meyers, Florida. When: July 8-15.
Summer Conference on Election Science, Reform and Administration — Hosted by Reed College and Portland State University the goals of the conference are, first, to provide a forum for scholars in political science, public administration, law, computer science, statistics, and other fields who are working to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how laws and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States; and, second, to build scientific capacity by identifying major questions in the field, fostering collaboration, and connecting senior and junior scholars. When: July 26-27. Where: Portland, Oregon.
National Association of Election Officials 33rd Annual Conference —This year’s Conference attendees will be inspired and energized as we share trending elections and voter registration issues including The 2016 Elections in Review, Technology Advances in Voter Registration and Elections and Polling Place Line Management, to name a few, Also, crucial information from federal agencies to local election officials sharing practical information for day to day election administration operations. This is the also the time to honor and celebrate the winners of the Election Center’s acclaimed Professional Practices Papers’ Program. You will hear the winning presentations and you will take home all of the innovative programs and ideas that were submitted by your colleagues in other jurisdictions around the country. When: August 19-23. Where: Orange County, California.
NASED 2017 Summer Meeting— Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Summer Meeting. When: August 22-25, 2017. Where: Anaheim, California.
Job Postings This Week
VII. 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.
Associate Components Engineer, Clear Ballot, Boston — our growing team has an immediate need in our Boston office for an entry-level/early career Associate Components Engineer in our Product Management organization. As an Associate Components Engineer, you will be at the center of maintaining Clear Ballot as the leader of commercial-off-the-shelf based voting systems. The list of materials in our voting systems is broad and dynamic; and you will be accountable for staying ahead of vendor product roadmaps, leading the identification and evaluation of new technologies and products from those vendors, identifying new sources of components, then managing new models and products through introduction, test, internal training and deployment. You may also perform manufacturing engineering duties and vendor surveys. The successful candidate will be managing finished goods and subassemblies such as computers, printers, and scanners- not board level components. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Data Reporting Supervisor, Orange County, Florida — The Office of the Supervisor of Elections is seeking an experienced GIS Data Reporting Supervisor to join our dynamic team. With minimal supervision, this position maintains accurate street index, precinct map, municipal and district boundaries for the elections office. The position coordinates all activities related to management of census data and redistricting. The ideal candidate would have experience managing GIS data for a government agency, developing and maintaining data reporting for internal and external parties and experience working with Oracle database, forms and reports including development of SQL queries and stored procedures. Preference will be given to candidates with strong supervisory skills, project management experience and prior experience utilizing MapInfo. Employment with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office is contingent upon successfully passing a criminal background check, health screening and verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications, as applicable. Salary: Grade 14-Minimum $56,998, Maximum $85,486. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Warehouse Technician, Yavapai County, Arizona — Under minimal supervision, coordinates all the logistical activities for obtaining and equipping the county’s polling locations. This includes assuring that these sites are in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). PLEASE NOTE: This is not a typical warehouse job; no hard hats or heavy equipment operator licenses are necessary. Ideal candidate would have experience in election equipment testing and maintenance, leading a group of seasonal staff, project planning and preparing documents. Preference will be given to candidates with supervisory, project management and Microsoft Office experience. Employment with Yavapai County Government is contingent upon successfully passing a criminal background check and verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications, as applicable. Salary: $35,731-$41,073. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Division Director, Ada County, Idaho — collaborates with the Clerk of the District and Chief Deputy to plan, oversee, and administer elections for over 200,000 registered voters across 145 precincts. The Elections Director is responsible for ensuring all of the necessary resources are acquired and in place, poll workers are well prepared, and that Ada County’s elections are conducted in an accurate, efficient, and transparent manner that leaves Ada County voters with the upmost confidence in the elections process. The Elections Director is expected to exercise independent judgment and discretion, under the general direction of the Clerk of the District Court & Chief Deputy, to manage the administration of all federal, state, county and local district elections. The Director is responsible for planning, designing, and carrying out programs, projects, studies or other work related to election administration within Ada County. Salary: $65,000-$75,000. Deadline: June 15, 2017. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Program Specialist 4, Washington Secretary of State’s Office — this position is the Election Review Program lead within the Election Certification and Training program. The Election Certification and Training program oversees, directs, and advises county auditors in interpretations of federal and state election law and the correct administration of voter registration and elections throughout the state. The certification and training program reviews county practices for adherence to election law and best practices, provides essential tools for election administrators through official communications and training, and acts as liaisons for the Office of the Secretary of State. This position reports to the certification and training program manager and is responsible for overseeing, reviewing and advising county auditors on the federal and state elections laws and the administration of voter registration. Salary: $4,109-$5,385. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Sales Manager (West), Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking is highly-motivated and accomplished Regional Sales Manager to work remotely and be based in the Western United States; preferably California. The Regional Sales Manager is 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, planning and 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.
Senior Technical Trainer, Clear Ballot, Boston, Massachusetts — our small and growing documentation and training team has an immediate need for a new member with intermediate-to-senior experience in: Instructional design, development of learning curricula, production of training materials, and hands-on, customer facing training. Generally, the training department, technical staff, and operations staff provide training at the customer’s site. We need an instructional designer and trainer who can analyze the learners and materials, and establish an appropriately targeted learning program. The opportunity exists to develop computer based training as an enhancement to our learning curriculum. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Engineer, Clear Ballot, Boston, Massachusetts — we are looking for a talented Systems Engineer who has both a technical and services/support background which enables them to quickly assess customer needs and offer value to Clear Ballot’s customers. The Systems Engineer will gain a deep understanding of how Clear Ballot’s products operate and their optimal configuration to build a streamlined installation process of the Clear Vote election system. The ideal candidate for this position can prioritize mission critical tasks and coordinate the implementation and expansion of our systems. They will be able to work directly with customers, display innovation, think conceptually and act tactically to build consensus around system installation and enhancement and meet deadlines. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
System Specialist, Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking tech-savvy, passionate System Specialist to be based in our Toronto office! This position will be responsible for a wide range of projects to include end-to-end election simulations, identifying new features for development, coming up with creative solutions to meet customer needs; and documenting procedures and solutions. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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Dominion Voting Equipment
Pierce County, Washington has the following used voting equipment for sale/surplus. If you are interested in purchasing any or all of the equipment please contact Pierce County with an offer.
Pierce County Elections
If interested please respond by June 9.
Purchase subject to seller approval/reserve.
You may bid on a single unit of equipment, a portion of the equipment or on all items. County reserves right to award to one or multiple bidders. Award will be based upon those offers that provide the best overall price and benefit to the county.
Pictures available upon request.
|Dominion/Sequoia 400C Central Count Tabulator||10||
Last Used: November 2016
Last PM: Fall 2016
|Dominion/Sequoia 4C Central Count Tabulator||2||Parts or suitable for upgrade|
|Dominion/Sequoia 400C – Blue Cart||20||Excellent|
Edge 2 Direct Recording Electronic with VVPAT and audio
Last Used: November 2016
Edge 2 Direct Recording Electronic
with VVPAT and audio
Last Used: November 2016
Memory Pack Reader
|1 or 3||Good|
Blue Voting Booths
(Make 2 booths)
|Ballot Box for insight||5||
IX. Electionline Underwriting
For 15 years, electionline.org has brought you all the election administration reform news and information of the day through electionlineToday and of the week through our weekly newsletter electionlineWeekly.
Because of the generosity of such organizations as The Pew Charitable Trusts, Democracy Fund and the Hewlett Foundation we were able to bring you that news and information for free and free of advertising.
In order to continue providing you with the important news of the day and week we are now offering monthly underwriting for our daily and weekly postings (think more NPR, less local radio and television).
Underwriting will be available for electionlineToday, the weekly email that reaches about 4,800 inboxes each week and the weekly newsletter. Underwriting is available on a per-month basis and costs $2,500 per section per month. The underwriting is available on a first come, first-served basis. Each section will be exclusive to one underwriter per month.
We will accept underwriting from a variety of entities in the elections world, but will not accept political advertising.
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