In Focus This Week
Election Day 2019
What happened, what didn’t and what’s next?
By M. Mindy Moretti
Although there are still elections to be held in 2019 — Oklahoma on Nov. 12, Louisiana on Nov. 16 and scattering of others including one on New Year’s Even in Richland County, South Carolina — for all intents and purposes the 2019 election season came to an end on November 5.
With many counties testing out new voting equipment and a number of new election laws in place, more eyes than normal seemed to be on the 2019 election and although there are ballots still to be counted and results to be certified, by-and-large the election proved relatively smooth and served as battle preparation for 2020.
Of course, just because it was a relatively smooth election doesn’t mean it was without it’s bumps, snafus, glitches, and arrests (?!). Although we are happy to note that there was not one reported incident of a car crashing into a polling place.
Counties in several states rolled out new voting equipment and the results were mixed bag, although if you were to read some of the local news headlines you might assume it was a colossal meltdown — it wasn’t.
Two of the biggest problems seemed to occur in York County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania. In York County, the problem appeared to be using the incorrect stock for ballots and in Northampton County, the vendor is still working to determine what the issue was/is.
Also in Pennsylvania, one side effect of new paper ballots is the seeming lack of privacy one has while filling them out and casting them. In Berks County, voters lamented that there were not curtained booths to use when casting a ballot. Debbie Olivieri, the county’s director of elections said she would look into ways to make voting more private before 2020.
There were also scattered problems in Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas with new voting machines. The problems largely seemed to stem from two issues a learning curve for poll workers with the new equipment and a learning curve for voters. And by-and-large voters seemed to like the new systems.
Voting machine and technology problems were not limited to Election Day, they also bled over into Election Night in some spots. In Virginia, with a lot of eyes watching, the state’s election website went down till about 9pm.
In Ulster County, New York it wasn’t technology that delayed the results, but a medical emergency at the county board of elections around 11:30 p.m. that pushed the completion of vote tallying to Wednesday.
Harris County, Texas Clerk Debra Trautman is blaming a last-minute directive from the secretary of state’s office for delaying the county’s voting results up to 12 hours. Instead of transmitting the results electronically from polling places, the directive required that local law enforcement officials escort ballot boxes to a central counting location.
In Travis County, Texas election results were delayed till about 3:45 a.m. after poll workers were forced to re-count ballot cards from polling places because there was a difference between the number of voters who checked in and the number of ballots in the boxes. Turns out some voters left with their paper ballot instead of casting it.
Ranked Choice Voting
2019 has been a big year for ranked choice voting. During Tuesday’s elections the alternative voting method was in use in 11 jurisdictions including Las Cruces, New Mexico and Eastpointe, Michigan for the first time. Although voters had mixed views about the system, neither jurisdiction reported any problems with tabulating the ballots.
Ranked choice was also on the ballot in three places —Easthampton and Lowell, Massachusetts and New York City. In Lowell, 51 percent of the voters disapproved of moving to ranked choice voting. In Easthampton, the vote for ranked-choice voting for the mayoral race was 2,297 to 1,855 and the vote for ranked-choice voting for single winner district races was 2,306 to 1,840. And in New York City, which will become the largest jurisdiction in the country to implement ranked choice, voters approved a charter amendment that will allow ranked choice to be used in primaries and special elections beginning in 2021.
This was the first election with no-excuse absentee voting in both Michigan and Virginia. In Michigan, clerks in Oakland County processed a record-number of absentee ballots. In East Lansing, 32 percent of ballots cast were absentee compared to 20 percent in 2015. Kalamazoo also saw a spike in absentee voting.
A new vote-by-mail law in New Jersey certainly seemed to drive up the number of people casting ballots via that method, but there were no reports of major problems with mail-ballots as there had been in the past.
Rockville, Maryland became the first jurisdiction in the state to conduct an election entirely by mail and the election saw a record turnout. More than 12,200 ballots were cast this year, vs. 6,468 in 2015.
Secretary of State Races
In Kentucky, Republican Michael Adams (52.3 percent) defeated Democrat Heather French Henry (47.7 percent) to take over the top elections spot in the commonwealth. Adams has previously served on the state’s board of elections.
Mississippi’s new secretary of state will be Republican Michael Watson (59.1 percent) who defeated Democrat Johnny Dupree (40.9 percent). Watson is a lawyer and previously served in the state Legislature.
Odds and Ends
Connecticut: Pens at some Greenwich polling places began running out of ink around mid-day. The town sent out reinforcements with some districts getting as many as a dozen extra pens.
Indiana: An electrical fire at a polling place forced voters to cast their ballots outdoors at one Clark County polling place. The fire was caused when poll workers turned on the heat in the VFW post that serves as the polling site.
Kentucky: A Louisville-area polling place was forced to stay open later after it was put on lockdown when a stolen car was found near the school serving as a voting site.
Massachusetts: A voter in Quincy faced scrutiny from poll workers after they realized he was wearing MAGA-related clothing. Quincy City Clerk Nicole Crispo admitted the poll worker might have been a little overzealous, since the president wasn’t appearing on Tuesday’s ballot, but said she “stands by her poll worker’s decision.”
In other poll worker news, two poll workers were arrested in Medford for disorderly conduct, assault and battery on an officer and resisting arrest.
Missouri: Well, you’ve got to appreciate their civic duty at least. All day long on Tuesday the Glendale Christian Church in Springfield that usually serves as a polling place had to explain to people showing up to vote that there was in fact no election that day.
New Jersey: It wouldn’t be an Election Day without a power outage somewhere and this year’s “lucky winner” was in Ocean County where a pole fire caused the outage around 5 a.m. that lasted till about 10 a.m. Back-up generators were provided and voted proceeded.
New York: Voters in the Town of Enfield almost lost out on their chance to vote after the town called the county to let them know that the polling site was down to its last 10 ballots around 6pm. The county sent out a worker with more ballots, but the worker got lost and the worker didn’t end up arriving with additional ballots till around 7 p.m.
North Carolina: A configuration error made by state board of elections staff as they prepared the state’s website for anticipated increases in web traffic throughout Election Day temporarily knocked the Voter Search section of the site offline Tuesday morning.
Ohio: Heather Jones, a polling location supervisor in Montgomery County, was removed by police Tuesday for allegedly not fixing polling tablet and other issues, according to the Board of Elections.
Texas: We had 9 a.m. on our Election Day BINGO card for the first gas leak situation and we weren’t far off. The first gas leak closure of the day occurred at a polling place in Tom Green County and a second was reported in Smith County around lunchtime.
Virginia: Several polling sites faced ballot shortages including in Richmond and Frederick County. In Prince William County it was a problem with double-sided ballots and in Stafford County voters were given the wrong ballots.
Washington: Julie Wise was re-elected to serve as director of elections for King County.
Bipartisan Policy Center Study
The 2018 Voting Experience
Polling place lines
The U.S. voting experience is a constantly changing playing field. Voters cast ballots by mail, in person at early voting sites, and through apps available to members of the military. But most voters nationwide still go to polling places on Election Day.
When turnout rises with no corresponding change in polling place capacity, voters become more likely to see long lines. Turnout during the 2018 midterm election was up 38 percent over 2014 and neared presidential election-level rates. Big increases in 2020 over 2016 will stretch additional polling places beyond their service limits.
The Bipartisan Policy Center in 2018 conducted the largest ever observational study of wait times in polling places. The study spanned 3,119 precincts, 211 jurisdictions, and 11 states, accounting for 10.5 million votes cast—9 percent of nationwide turnout. Jurisdiction size ranged from Metz Township, Michigan, with 230 registered voters, to San Diego County, California, with nearly 3 million registered voters.
This research—conducted with our partners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—provides the type of fine-grained analysis of voters’ reality as they waited to cast ballots that survey data cannot replicate.
The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration in 2014 established a 30-minute benchmark for acceptable in-person wait times to vote. The good news is that in 2018, the average wait time to vote was 8.9 minutes, well within the acceptable limit. The bad news is that nearly 5% of precincts averaged greater than 30-minute wait times throughout Election Day.
And the distribution of those lengthy wait times is not even. Precincts with a high percentage of minority voters, more renters, and lower incomes saw significantly longer wait times. In precincts with 10 percent or less minority voters, the average wait time was 5.1 minutes; in precincts with 90 percent or more minority voters, the average wait climbed to 32.4 minutes.
The study shows that lines are far more common at the beginning of the day. 69% of precincts in our study experienced their longest lines within the first hour of voting, with the lines declining after that. The data also show that if long lines are not resolved within the first two hours of poll opening, long lines are likely to occur for the entire day.
The BPC/MIT Polling Place Line Study provides evidence to policymakers that long lines can be studied—and brought under control—by using approaches and tools that businesses have been employing for decades. Doing so starts with the collection of vital information during the voting process through our program and the will to make necessary changes to improve the voting experience.
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Election Security Updates
This week the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, CISA, the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to securing the 2020 elections.
“In an unprecedented level of coordination, the U.S. government is working with all 50 states and U.S. territories, local officials, and private sector partners to identify threats, broadly share information, and protect the democratic process. We remain firm in our commitment to quickly share timely and actionable information, provide support and services, and to defend against any threats to our democracy,” the statement read.
“While at this time we have no evidence of a compromise or disruption to election infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes, we continue to vigilantly monitor any threats to U.S. elections,” the statement also said.
CISA Director Chris Krebs spoke with CBS This Morning about the work his agency is doing to secure the 2020 elections.
Krebs brought CBS News into a classified area called the “watch floor” where teams are constantly monitoring for online threats. On Election Day 2020, the floor will have officials from the intelligence community, Defense Department, FBI and state and local partners, Krebs said, adding, “Everybody will be in here sharing information in real time.”
Election News This Week
With just days to go before Election Day, North Carolina State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell approved 49 additional types of student and employee photo IDs that would qualify to cast a ballot in the Tarheel State. They 49 new ID types join more than 80 student, employee and tribal IDs already approved for voting.
Even the best laid plans of mice and men to get to the polls on Election Day can sometimes get toppled by an unexpected trip to the hospital. But patients at some Philadelphia-area hospitals are getting a bit of help casting their ballot. The program, started last year by Kimmel Medical College students at Thomas Jefferson University, allows voters to text a number provided to them on their meal trays and someone will help them fill out an emergency ballot. “Just because you are in the hospital setting does not mean that you should be taken out of the day-to-day events of the world,” Kathryn Linder, 29, a third-year medical student who started JeffVotes told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It gives them a sense that they are very much still part of the community while they’re hospitalized.”
We learn about new, cool things every day and this is one of them. Residents of South Berwick, Maine are joining residents of their sister city in Tuskegee, Ala., to recognize the 200th birthdays of both states with a joint project that is focused on registering voters and interviewing 200 people in their communities about why it’s important to vote. The project, called “Together We Vote – Two Communities, One Nation”, will culminate with a booklet and video featuring the citizens of the two towns, which became sister cities in 2017. According to Foster’s Daily, video interviews will begin in South Berwick on Election Day and will continue through the fall until 100 people have been interviewed. In Tuskegee, videographers will also do 100 interviews in the months ahead. “We wanted to come up with a way to celebrate together with Tuskegee and also to focus on election year and the importance of voting in our democracy,” John Klossner, of South Berwick, who is one of the many volunteers doing interviews for the project told the paper.
Check your sources! The Lansing Journal recently ran a piece about dozens of new local news websites popping up throughout the Great Lake State. Sounds great right? However it turns out that the sites, which had names and appearances to make one think they were legitimate news sources turned out to be owned by one entity called Metrics Media and many of the stories had a conservative bent to them. “The big issue is the extent to which they have gone to try to confuse about this being the site of a local newspaper,” said Matt Grossmann, director of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. Rachel Davis Mersey, executive director of the Media Leadership Center at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism to the paper that while the stories aren’t necessarily “fake news” but “information with a perspective.” So what does this all have to do with elections? Well we here at electionline do our very best to bring you real news without a perspective, but given the proliferation of sites like these sometimes it’s difficult. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out if you have a question about story/source we publish.
Sticker News: So. Much. Sticker. News. This week. The North Dakota Auditor’s Association has launched a contest open to the state’s fourth graders to design a new “I Voted” sticker for the 2020 election cycle. Auditors will be reaching out to schools across the state in an effort to engage fourth grade classrooms and encourage student participation. The student can create a color design using the form distributed to schools. In Idaho, the state is holding an “I Voted” sticker design contest open to any resident of the state. Contestants will have to feature the 100th anniversary of suffrage in their submission. “The winning design will be featured on a commemorative sticker to be given to voters throughout the State of Idaho for all elections in 2020, including the Presidential Preference Primary in March, the May Primary Election, the November Presidential Election and any consolidated elections.” And voting is now open in Maryland for the state’s next “I Voted” sticker. The state board of elections along with the state fine arts office is hosting the contest open to any K-12 student in the state. They initially receive more than 600 entries that have now been pared down to nine, three in each age category.
Personnel News: Jane Hungler is the new Fenton, Missouri city clerk. Jackie Bunker, deputy chief clerk for Emmet County, Michigan has resigned. Columbia County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Liz Horne says she will seek re-election in 2021. She’s been in office for 15 years. Contra Costa County, California Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla is resigning just one year into a new four-year term. Chad Wolf has been named the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security. Bowen Greenwood (R), clerk of Montana’s Supreme Court is running for secretary of state in 2020.
California: The San Diego County board of supervisors have reversed course and will allow the county’s registrar of voter to open four satellite offices in 2020 to help alleviate the anticipated demand for services.
Connecticut: Progressive members of the General Assembly are seeking a special legislative session to consider a bill that would include automatic voter registration and allow those on parole to cast a ballot. The bill has been approved by the House but stalled in the Senate.
Florida: Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Windermere) plans to introduce election reform legislation in the upcoming session. Among her proposals would be an elected secretary of state, vote centers and an extended voter registration deadline.
Illinois: Senate Bill 1970 is headed to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk. Under the bill, high school students will be able to leave school for up to two hours on Election Day or during the 15-day early voting window in order to cast their ballot. The bill provides the school may specify the hours in which the student may be absent, and ensures that voting absences will not count against enrollment calculations pertaining to the allotment of school funding.
Kentucky: Under a bill proposed by Democrats the voting rights of ex-felons, approximately 300,000 in the commonwealth, would be automatically restored at the completion of their sentence.
Massachusetts: Both chambers have agreed to language in the state’s $700M spending bill that calls for a five-day early voting period before the March presidential primary. Both version of the budgets also set the state’s primary for September 1 and the Senate’s version includes five days of early voting for that as well.
Maryland: Following a decision by the state board of elections not to allow Montgomery County to open a 12th early voting site, state lawmakers representing the county in the General Assembly are working on drafting a bill that would mandate a 12th site.
Michigan: Under legislation currently being considered in the House, regular elections in May, August and November would be considered state holidays.
Nevada: A political group has filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office seeking to collect signatures for a ballot initiative that if approved would overhaul how state senators are elected including using ranked choice voting.
North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that’s aimed on cracking down on absentee ballot fraud. The measure increases the for anyone who attempts to sell or destroy absentee ballots. The bill also permanently restores early, in-person voting on the last Saturday before state elections.
Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has signed legislation into law that will, among other things, allow for no-excuse absentee voting, change the voter registration deadline from 30 to 15 days before an election, allows voters to be put on a permanent absentee voting list, eliminates straight-party voting and provides $90 million to counties for the purchase of new voting equipment.
Washington: A bill up for considering in the next legislative session would allow anyone on parole to cast a ballot. About 21,000 Washingtonians are in community custody, according to the state Department of Corrections.
California: The First Appellate District issued a ruling this week that will expand language assistance at the polls to more than 60,000 Californians. According to Courthouse News Service, three justices of the First Appellate District sided with a coalition of civil rights groups in finding that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s 2017 language decree improperly adopted a restrictive federal Voting Rights Act standard for providing translation assistance to non-English speakers.
Connecticut: The state’s highest court refused to rule on a lower court ruling that left in place the results of Bridgeport’s mayoral primary. The original suit alleged election misconduct after incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim received 48 percent of the in-person voting but 75 percent of the absentee voting. The lower court, while agreeing that the results were strange, ruled against the suit citing lack of evidence.
Florida: The Florida Supreme Court hear arguments this week on whether felons can be kept from voting if they haven’t paid fines, fees and restitution. According to the News Service of Florida, the justices appeared convinced that Amendment 4 requires payment of restitution, fees and other legal costs for felons to have their voting rights restored.
Georgia: The Georgia Supreme has ruled that there was not enough evidence to further dispute the 2018 election for lieutenant governor which has a significant number of undervotes compared to other down ballot races. An election can’t be overturned based solely on unusual vote counts in the lieutenant governor’s race — tens of thousands fewer than in every other statewide election — the court wrote in its 94-page decision upholding a lower court’s dismissal of the case. Specific evidence of illegal or improper votes is required, it said.
Also in Georgia, The Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Wednesday over Georgia’s handling of absentee ballots a year after some ballots were rejected for minor reasons such as signatures not exactly matching those on file with the state. According to the federal lawsuit, absentee voters are not notified of problems with their ballots in a standard way or given enough time to correct them. It asks that a judge require state elections officials to notify voters of missing signatures within one day of receiving a ballot.
Minnesota: Abdihakim Amin Essa, 22 of Minneapolis has been charged with 13 counts of felony voting fraud. Essa is accused of falsifying 13 applications for absentee ballots and tried to cast one himself—he is not a U.S. citizen.
New Hampshire: In a 26-page ruling, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge David A. Anderson has thrown out part of a lawsuit challenging the state’s new, tighter voter registration procedures. n the ruling, Anderson dismissed the charge that the new law, yet to be enforced, would contradict the state constitution’s use of “domicile” as a qualification for voting. It also dismissed part of a second claim that the law’s language should be voided for vagueness. “Therefore the Legislature has the authority to define the meaning of domicile,” Anderson wrote.
New York: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York City ordered a civil rights lawsuit filed as a result of the decade-old ballot fraud case back to U.S. District Court in Albany to be heard, setting up a potential trial. The appeals court issued the order following up on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 20 ruling that Rensselaer County Democratic Elections Commissioner Edward G. McDonough had filed the lawsuit against Special Prosecutor Trey Smith and other defendants in 2015 in a timely matter.
Ohio: A federal judge has sided with the Campaign Legal Center that will expand election access to all voters in jail. In November of 2018, two Ohio voters were jailed before the election, but after the deadline to request an absentee ballot, they were denied a ballot and the Campaign Legal Center sued on their behalf. The secretary of state’s office said it is reviewing the ruling.
Virginia: Federal judge Rossie Alston ordered Fairfax County to accept the voter registration of about 170 George Mason University students whose registrations had previously been rejected. Alston said the registrations must be accepted provided the students supplement their application by providing the registrar their dorm address by a Saturday deadline. If they miss the deadline they will be able to cast a provisional ballot.
West Virginia: 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin concluded in a 15-page order filed with Jefferson County Circuit Clerk that four provisional ballots not counted in the town’s June 11 municipal election must now be counted. There is no word on whether or not Harpers Ferry will appeal the ruling.
Vendor News: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has certified ClearVote 2.0. The new release includes a series of modifications, many of them proposed by Clear Ballot customers. New software changes include user interface and workflow enhancements, updated operating systems, improved security, as well as new hardware components.
District of Columbia: Georgetown University announced this week that students will now be able to register to vote while registering for class through the MyAccess website they use to choose classes. The opportunity was made possible through the efforts of the Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) at the McCourt School of Public Policy; GU Votes, a GU Politics student-led voter registration initiative; Georgetown’s Office of Federal Relations; and the University Registrar. Developed in partnership with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, the new system allows students to register to vote from their home state or DC, request an absentee ballot, sign up for election updates, check their registration status and learn more about the 2020 candidates. The goal is to achieve 100% eligible student voter registration.
Washington: During a routine audit, the secretary of state’s office identified about 1,000 voter registration transactions that were improperly transferred. According to The Olympian, The registrations are connected to the Washington Healthplanfinder, which provides clients an option to register to vote when they enroll in health and dental coverage, according to the advisory.
West Virginia: The state election commission has approved a technology upgrade that will allow voting systems used in 33 counties to rearrange the ballot order to allow moving nonpartisan judicial races further up the ballot as mandated by a new law.
Wyoming: According to the Torrington Telegram, the Wyoming secretary of state’s office is developing its own e-poll books for an anticipated roll-out in the August 2020 primaries. Laramie, Teton and Natrona counties already use e-poll books, but these would be in-use statewide. The secretary of state’s office will cover the costs of the new equipment, but counties will have to bear some costs including maintenance and IT.
Opinions This Week
Alaska: Ranked choice voting
Florida: Election legislation
Indiana: Vote centers
Louisiana: Voting opportunities
Mississippi: Election Day rules
New Hampshire: Voter suppression
New Jersey: Ranked choice voting
North Carolina: State board of elections
Tennessee: Shelby County
Texas: Voter registration
Virginia: Election preparation
EAC Clearie Awards
EAC opens submission period in Fourth Annual Clearie Awards
Celebrating best practices in election administration
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is seeking submissions for its fourth annual national Clearinghouse Awards. Dubbed the “Clearies” for short, the awards provide election offices an opportunity to share their innovative efforts and celebrate successes. The Clearies play an important role in furthering the EAC’s responsibilities under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Under that Act, the EAC serves as a clearinghouse for election administration information.
The Commission will present awards in the categories of outstanding innovations in elections, improving voting accessibility for voters with disabilities, and recruiting, training and retaining election workers. It will also award a special award in 2019 recognizing the most original and creative “I Voted” sticker submitted for consideration. Entries from all sizes of jurisdictions, both large and small, are encouraged to submit their work. All entries must be received by Monday, November 25, 2019. The 2018 winners of the Clearie awards can be found here.
“The EAC Clearie Awards celebrate the innovative and creative approaches that election officials use each day in their work to serve voters,” said EAC Chairwoman Christy McCormick. “These awards are a testament to their work and dedication and highlight best practices that other election administrators can emulate.”
This year’s entries will be judged using the following criteria:
- Outreach efforts
- Creating positive Results
Election officials utilize innovative and resourceful initiatives on Election Day. We want to hear about these outstanding best practices in EAC’s 2019 competition. By incorporating Election Day into the submission deadline, we are able to capture activities implemented throughout the 2018 and 2019 elections.
All submissions should be sent to the EAC via an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominators should use the following subject lines based on entry category: Election Worker Competition, Accessibility Competition, Outstanding Innovations Competition, or Sticker Competition.
All entries must include a summary of the election program nominated. Entrants may attach relevant documents, images and links that can be used to assess the entry. Submissions should also include contact information for the person submitting the program for consideration. Each entry must be submitted in a separate email.
For more information about this year’s competition, please contact Patrick Leahy at email@example.com.
Surveying RCV in 2019 Webinar — 2019 has been a big year for Ranked Choice Voting. Join the Ranked Choice Voting Center as they survey RCV updates, initiatives, and implementations from Election Day 2019. When: 11am Nov. 19. Where: Online.
IGO 2020 Mid-Winter Conference — The International Association of Government Officials will hold its 2020 Mid-Winter Conference in Isle of Palms, SC on January 24-30, 2020. This conference will offer approximately 30 hours of continuing education with 9 hours hosted by iGO’s new Certified Public Leader (CPL) Partner, Pepperdine University! Join iGO at Wild Dunes Resort this January to further your education on best practices, industry trends, and emerging technology, all while creating and strengthening professional relationships. iGO’s conferences provide the perfect combination of education and networking events to appeal to current members, prospective members, and non-members alike. Where: Isle of Palms, South Carolina. When: Jan. 24-30.
NASED Winter 2020 — Twice a year, the National Association of State Election Directors members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. Check back here for more information about the Winter 2020 Conference. Where: Washington, DC. When: January 30-February 2.
NASS Winter 2020 — The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold their Winter 2020 conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.’s West End. Check back here for more information about the Winter 2020 conference when it becomes available. Where: Washington, D.C. When: January 30-February 2.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Advanced Data Analyst, North Carolina SBOE— This position is responsible for technical and analytical work with an emphasis on data analytics. Employee uses their knowledge and expertise to participate in the collection, preprocessing and analysis of structured, unstructured, and geospatial data, analyze data from disparate sources to discover trends, propose solutions and strategies to business challenges, and present information using various data visualization tools and techniques. The employee should be able to work collaboratively in cross-functional teams as well as independently with minimal supervision. Salary: $82,485 – $95,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assurance Engineer, Free & Fair — Free & Fair (F&F) seeks an experienced assurance engineer—a developer who is thrilled to work on high-assurance open source elections technologies that demonstrate what is possible with modern applied formal methods-based development processes, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Our focus on national critical infrastructure, transparent engineering, and formal assurance makes this opportunity unique. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Database Administrator, North Carolina SBOE— Responsible for the administration of all county and state campaign finance and elections databases and database server instances. Collaborate and consult with the Infrastructure Group personnel on issues relating to data storage, access, backup/restore, and data archiving. Implement measures to provide for database integrity, backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and business continuity. Establish data security and access policies/practices. Based on knowledge of agency systems and supported applications; develop complex SQL code to automate routine administration tasks, continuously monitor infrastructure resources and processes and generate timely operational and maintenance alerts (including the disposition of county/state transactions, replication, scheduled database jobs, and the status of servers and services). Establish and administer database management, design, and coding standards. Create and maintain technical and procedural documentation. Model database entities and attributes and maintain data dictionary. Communicate database related issues and problems with relevant agency team members, developers, testers, and managers. Recommend and employ third party database tools to enhance efficiency and support capabilities. Salary: $82,485 – $95,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Buncombe County, North Carolina— Buncombe County seeks a highly progressive and innovative elections professional to serve as its next Election Services Director. This position is governed by the Buncombe County Board of Elections, administratively reports to the Assistant County Manager and is a key member of the executive team. The Buncombe County Board of Elections provides the highest level of professional standards to ensure accurate, honest, and fair elections through accountability and integrity and to provide all citizens our services in the most efficient, effective, and timely manner. The primary purpose of this position is to direct the overall operations of the Buncombe County Board of Elections office in the preparation for and execution of all federal, state, and municipal elections and ensure compliance with established laws, policies, procedures, and standards. Salary: $87,211.26 – $115,554.91. Deadline: November 13. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Henderson County, North Carolina— An employee in this class is responsible for planning elections, negotiating and setting up polling places, and training staff and poll workers. Work also includes establishing procedures and methods used in registration; supervising the receiving and processing of voter registrations; filing of candidates for elected office in the County; and providing staff support to the County Board of Elections in coordinating and scheduling meetings, recording minutes, drafting the budget and notifying them of potential voter problems and trends. Independent judgment and initiative, tact and courtesy are required in operating the Elections Office. Work is performed in accordance with the State election laws and policies and procedures established by the State and County Board of Elections. Work is performed under the general supervision of the County Board of Elections and is evaluated through reports, periodic conferences and efficiency of office and elections operations. Salary: $51,558.00 – 96,856.50. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Northampton County, North Carolina— The Northampton County Board of Elections is accepting applications for a Director in the Elections office to perform administrative and coordinative work in organizing and maintaining voter registrations, County candidates’ filing records, and managing the election process for the County and the Elections Board. Education/Requirements: Graduation from a two-year college with a degree in business or related field and several years of responsible clerical experience dealing with the public, preferable at least a year of experience with the electoral process; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Must possess a valid North Carolina driver’s license upon hire. Must be willing to work towards certification as a Notary Public and take the N.C. State Board of Elections Treasurer Training within the probationary period (9 months); if classes and/or trainings are available within the allotted time frame. Salary: $35,018 – $61,796. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Robeson County, North Carolina— Under limited supervision, performs supervisory and administrative work to ensure that the functions of the Board of Elections are carried out properly. Work involves receiving and processing applications for registration; filing for candidates for County and City offices; processing absentee ballots; maintaining voter lists in accordance with State, Federal and County laws, regulations, and policies. Supervises a full and part time staff assigned to the Board of Elections. Employee must exercise independent judgment and initiative in carrying out assignments. Employee must also exercise considerable tact and courtesy in extensive public contact. Reports to County Board of Elections. Deadline: October 29. Salary: $48,103.02 starting salary. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Rutherford County, North Carolina— The employee in this class is responsible for planning, directing and supervising all areas of the election process and the daily operations of the Elections Department. Work includes preparing for and executing all federal, state and municipal elections in the county; ensuring accuracy of election results; preparing voting equipment and supplies for elections; training poll workers; conducting voter education and registration drive programs; maintaining addressing of voters by use of maps; overseeing the filing of campaign finance reports; and overseeing and participating in voter registration. Work also involves developing and implementing procedural and technical improvements for the elections process and department operations; preparing and maintaining the departmental budget; preparing bid specifications for election services and equipment; answering questions from the public and the media; and maintaining the department website. The employee provides staff support to the County Board of Elections in coordinating and scheduling meetings, preparing agendas, recording and reviewing minutes, and presenting potential voter problems and trends. Independent sound judgment, initiative, tact and courtesy are required in overseeing the filing and elections processes and in dealing with the general public. Work requires a thorough knowledge of State Statutes relating to election laws and a high degree of accuracy is critical. Work is performed in accordance with State election laws and policies and procedures established by the County Board of Elections. Work is performed under the general direction of the State Board of Elections, County Board of Elections and the County Manager and is reviewed through accuracy of records, efficiency of office and election operations, and feedback from the public. Salary: Minimum starting salary $54,397. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Surry County, North Carolina — Surry County is accepting applications for a Director of Elections. This individual is responsible for overseeing, directing and administering the Board of Elections Office. This position requires someone who can thrive in a high-stress, high scrutiny environment. The Director of Elections performs complex technical, supervisory and administrative work directing the registration, voting and election activities for Surry County. The Director of Elections is appointed by the Surry County Board of Elections and approved by the State Board. This position exercises supervision over office staff and precinct election officials, interprets laws, regulations, policies, and procedures and makes appropriate decisions accordingly. Must have the ability to exercise tact and courtesy and to work under pressure and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Other duties as required and all duties must be performed in a nonpartisan manner. Salary: $50,544 -$86,004. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Tyrell County, North Carolina— Tyrrell County is seeking qualified applicants for the full time position of Election Director. The Director performs responsible administrative, legal, technical and mechanical work in planning, organizing and directing all aspects of the election process. Plans for various elections on an annual basis covering primaries, second primaries, municipal elections, general elections, special elections, recommends annual budget to the Board; plans for and purchases supplies as needed; identifies number of polling places required and potential location and negotiates usage as needed; insures ADA compliance. Processes voter registrations, assures each voter is placed in the correct precinct and in the correct local, state, and federal districts; oversees the preparation and revisions of geocodes for redistricting, filing of candidates for office including managing their campaign finance, as well as auditing their reports. Handles all ballot preparation for the vendors, proofs, orders and burns the coding from the vendor to the flash and M100 cards used during the election. The Director is responsible for testing the coding against a generated test script used to test the equipment during the Logic and Accuracy testing of the AutoMark (visual and hearing impaired equipment) and the M100 that read the ballots. The training of all workers for One Stop and Election Day as well as preparing the equipment and necessary materials needed at each precinct. The Board Members and the Director meet weekly during an election and are responsible for Election Night with the processing of the unofficial results with accurate reports to the State Board of Elections and to the public in a timely manner. After Election Day the Director moves to the research and processing of Provisional and timely received Absentee Ballots before the Board holds Canvass (making the unofficial local results become official). During the next days the opportunity is there for Challenges, Protests, Recounts or any other related matters before the votes are made official at Canvass on the State level. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Policy & Research, New York City Campaign Finance Board — The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB), a nonpartisan, independent city agency that enhances the role of New York City residents, seeks a Director of Policy & Research to oversee its intergovernmental outreach and policy and data research work. This position will report to the Deputy Director of Public Affairs. Responsibilities: Directly supervise a team of intergovernmental, policy, and data research staff. Create legislative strategies to advance agency priorities at the city and state level. Oversee outreach to elected officials and their offices to support the agency’s legislative work and government outreach. Oversee policy analysis related to campaign finance and voting in New York City and State. Participate in high-level agency discussions around policy development and spearhead agency legislative recommendations in its regularly published reports. Oversee research projects with internal staff and external researchers, as well as overseeing research content for CFB publications, reports, white papers, and policy briefs. Oversee public opinion research performed on behalf of the agency that informs voter communication and education initiatives. Salary: $90,000-$100,000. Application: For the complete job listing & to apply, click here.
Elections Specialist, Douglas County, Colorado — This position is focused on routine customer service and general office/clerical support including data entry, communications, and processing mail. This is a support role capable of performing a variety of tasks, with problem solving abilities, managing multiple competing responsibilities and prioritizing to maintain a continuous flow of election office operations. This is a visible and crucial position requiring exceptional computer, customer service, and communication skills. This position may require technical work in a lead role capable of performing a variety of complex tasks, with solving problem abilities, managing multiple competing tasks and prioritizing to maintain a continuous flow of operations and temporary support. This position may be classified as an Elections Specialist I or II dependent upon the skills of the candidate and the department’s business needs. Salary: $2,842.00 – $4,017.00 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Specialist, King County Elections — The Department of Elections – is searching for energetic and resourceful professionals who like to “get stuff done”. The Administrative Specialist II positions in the Voter Services Department combines an exciting, fast-paced environment with the opportunity to cultivate talents and apply a variety of skills. The ideal candidate will have a desire to help ensure the democratic process through public service. They will thrive in an innovative environment and will not hesitate to roll up both sleeves, work hard, have fun, and get the job done. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Embedded Systems Engineer, Free & Fair— Free & Fair (F&F) seeks an experienced embedded systems engineer—a developer and engineer who is thrilled to work on a high-assurance open source elections technologies that demonstrate what is possible with modern development processes, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Our focus on national critical infrastructure, transparent engineering, and formal assurance makes this opportunity unique. One component of the BESSPIN Voting System is a custom-built, open source, open hardware platform for demonstrating secure hardware. It includes low- and mid-range FPGAs running softcore RISC-V CPUs, simple I/O devices, and an RTOS. This platform is called CASCADES (Configurable, Affordable System-on-Chip for Analysis and Demonstration of Election Security) and is a CrowdSupply project. A prototype for CASCADES is the Smart Ballot Box that we brought to DEF CON 2019. We call this role an embedded systems engineer, since much of the development that we do spans hardware, firmware, and software design and development. Moreover, we use a mixture of low-level and high-level languages, COTS and novel (FPGA-based) development platforms, and traditional and novel operating systems. We hope that potential applicants do not put themselves in an unnecessarily small box. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The incumbent serves as the Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). As such, the position serves as a senior official in a line capacity that is responsible for overseeing the direction and operation of the agency, including the services of supporting Federal agencies (i.e., GSA, NARA, SAC, etc.). Exercises wide latitude with directing agency goals and resources to achieve desired results. Reporting to this position are senior EAC managers with expertise in their areas of responsibility. Provides leadership in the development and implementation of strategies, programs, policies, decisions, and other actions adopted by Commissioners. Evaluates the performance of subordinate managers against performance plans, budgets and EAC goals; performs other administrative functions as may be delegated under the Commission’s authority and EAC policies. Directs the preparation of recommendations, reports, and other materials for Commissioners, Advisory Boards, and public meeting. Develops and prepares written and oral materials, for presentations to congressional, legislative and public/private policy groups, Commissioners, advisory boards, and EAC staff. Encourages an environment that fosters equal employment opportunity (EEO) goals, and the responsibilities outlined in the organization’s affirmative action plan. Ensures equality in selections, training, promotions, details, discipline, and awards. Other duties as assigned. Salary: $156,000 to $156,000 per year. Deadline: Nov. 28. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
General Counsel, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The General Counsel is appointed for a four (4) term by the Commissioners. The incumbent will serve as the Chief Legal Officer for the EAC and provides legal advice and counsel to the Executive Director on a wide variety of legal matters; provides advice to all of EAC’s Federal Advisory Committees, including the Technical Guidelines Development Committee, EAC Board of Advisors, and EAC Standards Board. The General Counsel also serves as the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) and is responsible for agency ethics training, financial disclosure and reporting obligations, and communication with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Salary: $156K. Deadline: Nov. 28. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Government Affairs Director, Democracy Works — In this role, you’ll be building relationships with officials across the country. Some are already supportive, some are skeptical, and some have had little to no contact with Democracy Works in the past. In some places, you’ll be making new connections around our voter engagement work with officials who are already engaged with our election administration programs, particularly the Voting Information Project. As you lead this initiative, you’ll have support from and collaborate with our election administration outreach staff, the voter engagement product, research, and support teams, and senior leadership. You will: Design, document, and execute a government outreach strategy; Build relationships and communicate with the states about our tools for voters, and communicate state interests internally; Define research processes to ensure that we’re using our state relationships effectively to ensure the accuracy of our election information; Represent state needs in setting our product roadmap; Monitor changes in laws and processes that shape election administration practices in all 50 states, and communicate these developments across Democracy Works; Support an election official advisory group, from creation through ongoing engagement; Travel across the country frequently, meeting with state and local election officials and attending/speaking at statewide and national convenings of election officials; and Create clear and accurate written communications for an audience of election officials. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
IT Director, Maryland State Board of Elections — As the agency’s Chief Information Officer, this position is the highest ranking information technology position in the agency. This employee is responsible for the information systems used to conduct elections in Maryland and ensuring compliance with applicable information system standards. The employee is responsible and directly accountable for agency and statewide election information systems, including the agency’s computer network’s; voting systems; online services; electronic pollbooks; voter registration; candidacy and election management system; online campaign finance, and business disclosure system; and technical field support for the local boards of elections. These systems and the individuals supporting these systems are integral to conducting secure elections, and this employee would provide the required oversight. Salary: $72,812-$116,915. Deadline: November 15. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic— Project Managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the Project Manager directs activity, solves problems, and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency, and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Quality Assurance Engineer, Democracy Works— The Voter Engagement team works on TurboVote and the Democracy Works API. You’ll join seven software developers and an engineering manager to collaborate with the product and partnership teams in building software that helps voters and future voters. The technology that underpins this work is mostly microservices written in Clojure running in Docker containers on Kubernetes hosted on AWS. These services communicate over RabbitMQ and store their data in Datomic. The web front-ends are written in ClojureScript backed by React. We pair program, collaborate with product managers, and make sure our efforts deliver value to voters and election administrators. We support junior team members by explicitly setting aside time for learning and providing training from a more senior developer. We collaborate across teams architecture and operations so that expertise and knowledge don’t stay siloed. Salary: $100K to $135K. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Research Manager, CEIR — The Research Manager will report to the Executive Director and will be responsible for the execution of CEIR’s research agenda. The Research Manager will assist or lead research activities generally associated with the conduct of elections and voting. Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Research Manager determines objectives and milestones, builds effective relationships within the team and with partners, and performs the following activities: Manage day-to-day operational and tactical aspects of multiple research studies, delegating or coordinating duties with research staff as appropriate; Develop and manage project activity timelines, study budgets, and tracking documents for study management, progress tracking, and general logistics; Design and manage research studies, including the development of methodologies and data collection tools; Lead and supervise research and support staff. Provide and oversee appropriate training of research staff; Develop and maintain research-team specific standard operating procedures and training materials; Submit routine (informal) progress reports to the Executive Director; Work closely with the operations manager on issues related to budget, grant compliance, and other financial issues; Collaborate with public and private sector partners, including academic and research organizations, to facilitate implementation of project objectives; Conduct data analysis and draft study reports; Conduct literature reviews to identify research and emerging data relevant to projects. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Rigorous Systems/Software Engineer, Free & Fair — Free & Fair (F&F) seeks several experienced systems/software engineers—developers who are thrilled to work on high-assurance open source elections technologies that demonstrate what is possible with modern development processes, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Our focus on national critical infrastructure, transparent engineering, and formal assurance makes this opportunity unique. We call this role either/both system engineers or software engineers, since much of the development that we do spans hardware, firmware, and software design and development. Moreover, we use a mixture of low-level and high-level languages, COTS and novel (FPGA-based) development platforms, and traditional and novel operating systems. We hope that potential applicants do not put themselves in an unnecessarily small box. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Sales Specialist, VOTEC— VOTEC’s Sales Specialist is responsible for creating news sales with prospects and existing clients in targeted areas in the US. We are looking for an election professional comfortable using insight and consultative selling techniques to create interest that offers unique solutions on their operations, which link back to VOTEC’s solutions. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
UI/UX Engineer, Free & Fair — Free & Fair (F&F) seeks an experienced UI/UX engineer—someone who practices user-centric design, finds usable security a fascinating area of R&D, someone who appreciates usable and accessible technologies, and a developer and engineer who is thrilled to work on high-assurance open source elections technologies that demonstrate what is possible with modern development processes, methodologies, tools, and techniques. Our focus on national critical infrastructure, transparent engineering, and formal assurance makes this opportunity unique. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
VP of Engineering, Free & Fair— Free & Fair (F&F) seeks an experienced systems engineering development leader—an executive who can step in and build a dynamic, distributed engineering team, deliver solutions to the market, and execute challenging development activities focused on national critical infrastructure. The VP of Engineering at F&F will be responsible for executing on the Company’s overall technology vision and driving its development execution. This person will recruit world-class talent, manage and evolve development processes and methodologies, and foster an organizational structure to help our high-performing development team deliver applications to the market. This person will keep abreast of and influence research and technology trends, standards, and stakeholders. This person will have the ability to bridge technology with business acumen, will bring experience in developing state-of-the-art customer-facing applications, and will develop and sustain a culture of passion, hard work, and innovation. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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