In Focus This Week
Exit Interview: Sally Williams
Michigan’s first female director of elections set to retire
While the dawn of 2020 will mean a lot of different things to different people, for Michigan’s Sally Williams it will mean the first day in more than 30 years that she has not been an employee of the state’s Bureau of Elections.
Although Williams has only been director since 2017, she’s been with the office for 34 years. Before being appointed director she served as the director of the Election Liaison Division where she worked closely with county and local clerks in administering elections.
“I am tremendously grateful for the leadership and commitment Sally Williams has demonstrated throughout her entire 34 years of service to the Department of State, including most recently serving as the first woman to lead our Bureau of Elections,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement. “Her tireless work ethic and dedication to integrity are apparent in everything she does. All who have the opportunity to work with her are better for it.”
Williams wasn’t just busy in her home state of Michigan she was also active in the elections community serving in numerous capacities including as a board member of ERIC and the National Association of State Election Directors and chair of the United State Postal Service Committee, a division of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Standards Board.
“Sally has been a valued member of the elections community since long before she became Michigan’s Director of Elections,” said Keith Ingram, NASED president and director of elections, Texas. “She’s brought important insight and experience to the NASED Board and the entire organization over the last few years, to the benefit of voters across the country. We’ll miss her perspective, but definitely understand the appeal of escaping those tough Michigan winters!”
Enjoy your retirement and the warm weather Sally!
You’ve been with the secretary of state’s office for a long time, why have you decided to retire now?
I’ve always found that the right things in life find you. Be it the right job, the right partner, the right place to live or just the right course in life. I’ve had a few things come to fruition this year (both personally and professionally) that all pointed to me taking the step to retirement now.
That said, this has not been a quick or easy decision for me. I couldn’t in good conscience leave my role without being fully comfortable that my office was strong and completely ready to carry on without me. The staff makeup at the Michigan Bureau of Elections is larger now than it’s been in years, made up of both experienced veterans and newer faces (many who have come to us from our local election offices) – who are all extremely bright, hard-working and fully engaged. Additionally, we have a new administration and new Election Director who came in with extensive election-related background and a keen focus on election administration. Everyone here is well-equipped and ready, which makes me ready too.
From a personal standpoint – I’ve worked full time, at a full-tilt pace for over 34 years. I’ve raised three grown kids and have proudly watched them launch into the professional world themselves. Through all of this, I’ve rarely taken more time off than just a long weekend (other than the requisite 6-week maternity leave). As election administrators, we all live and breathe our jobs, 24/7. As rewarding and important as it is, I’m honestly just ready to take it down a notch and focus on fully enjoying life.
In the end, a major deciding factor was finding a perfect retirement property in Southwest Florida where we’ll be retreating during much of Michigan’s cold season – near parents who we’ve not seen much in recent years, perfect for us and in our price range – something we just couldn’t pass up. While I know 2020 will be an extraordinary election year, we all know there’s no quiet time in the world of election administration and no perfect time to go. For me, it just all added up to now.
As the suffrage centennial approaches, any advice for women seeking to make a career in election administration?
I couldn’t be more proud about being appointed Michigan’s first female Election Director. My entire management team consists of women and I’ve worked with numerous smart, strong, hard-working and high-achieving women all through our election structure and throughout my entire career. There are many wonderful groups to get involved with to learn about this profession and the key issues involved. It’s also heartening to see some true academic curriculums emerging in the field of election administration. My advice is that you can do anything with a strong commitment and work ethic, especially in this critical field.
It’s certainly worth mentioning though that there are so many talented individuals in this field, both men and women alike. I was mentored by the best in Chris Thomas, who taught, encouraged, and supported me for many years. What I’ll miss most about my job and the field of election administration is the universal and unwavering commitment I’ve seen from all involved – doing all they can to support one another and continuously fighting so hard to ensure integrity in all that we do.
If you could build the “perfect” voting system, what would it look like?
Well there’s a challenging question. (And the one that took me longest to answer…)
How about some key goals? Auditable, trusted, and tested; reliable; easy to use by any voter and any election official in any environment; configurable for in-precinct voting, absentee/by mail/from home and centralized count sites; adaptable over time with regard to new approaches to tabulation methodologies (as long as they comply with all of these other goals); and of course as SECURE as can be. There are many opinions and preferences out there with regard to the optimal system, and these concepts don’t all line up with one another. I think in the long run, there needs to be wide-ranging continued discussion and collaboration; as well as a very cautious approach to the ongoing evolution of voting systems, that includes input and acceptance by voters, election officials, experts (from several fields), and election security and integrity advocates.
What are you most proud of during your time in Michigan Elections?
It goes without saying, but the most important part of administering elections is doing so with complete impartiality. Political environments present challenges to that concept – but in Michigan, we have always taken great pride in the fact that our office has been able to operate with full neutrality, and this has continued to be my most critical objective.
From there, I’m just very proud of our staff and all that we’ve achieved over the last couple of years – complete replacement of our voting systems, complete re-write of our statewide voter registration system, modernizing our approach to training and communicating with our locals, implementing several major election law and constitutional changes, and more. Also, being a large decentralized state makes it quite challenging to implement large-scale change smoothly. Another major focus for me has been to involve and work closely with our local election officials in everything we do. We have many who are happy to step up and work hand-in-hand with us as we tackle these challenges, and I’ve loved watching my staff and our local officials work so closely together in so many ways. Not to say that this always goes perfectly – change is a reality, and it’s never easy. Even if we don’t always agree on the best way to achieve a goal, we work hard to hear every perspective, approach problem solving professionally and productively, and in the end, make decisions based on the most important consideration of all – doing what’s best for the voter. There’s a great sense of team here in Michigan, and I’d like to think I was a big part of building that sense of community.
In 2018, Michigan approved Prop. 3 and we’ve already seen some impacts of the new law in the 2019 election cycle. How do you think that will impact Michigan in 2020?
Michigan’s Prop 3 of 2018 was a constitutional amendment that brought many welcome changes that are already proving beneficial to voters – chief among them, the elimination of voter registration deadlines and mandated reasons to vote absentee/by mail/from home, and implementation of Automatic Voter Registration for customers conducting driver’s license transactions with our Secretary of State branch offices (our DMV). All of this entailed many detailed changes to our voter registration system and election administration processes. From there, there’s been a continual need to train, communicate and reinforce all the changes to voters and local election officials in conjunction with each election. I was very thankful that we could tackle these challenges in the odd year (now with three post-Prop 3 elections under our belt). We’ve also had a great deal of help from national partners, resulting in a very smooth implementation thus far. We’ve also seen the overall goals of this proposal achieved – greater voter participation, especially with our younger voters. We’re ready to keep this going in 2020, and will be anxious to see the impacts in a statewide presidential year, especially with respect to our overall expected increases in the number of registered voters, overall voter turnout, youth voting and those voting absentee/by mail/from home.
Any parting words of advice for your successor?
I have to say I’m thrilled to see Jonathan Brater as my successor. He comes into this role very well prepared and ready. We’ve worked together all year on numerous issues and changes, especially with respect to implementing last year’s constitutional amendment changes. He is smart, thoughtful, highly productive and has both the voter’s and the staff’s best interest at heart. He is getting to know our local election officials and knows and values the relationships we have with them. He’ll also be a great representative for Michigan nationally. He has been wonderful to work with, and I really don’t think he needs much advice! But he knows I’m here for him if he needs.
Other than sleeping in on Election Day, what’s next for you?
I’m sure dialing back will be a big adjustment for me after all these years, so in some ways I guess I’ll be in a period of reinvention. My overall hope is to spend more time on myself, become more active and in shape – as from an aches and pains perspective I’ve been feeling quite a bit older than my years! Then just spending time with family and exploring and developing our new space down south.
I’ll also be keeping up with everything in the elections world from afar – as once you’re into this field of election geekdom, who can really stay away? For those I’ve worked with, thank you so much for your mentorship, support and innate ability to make this world of elections what it TRULY is – solid, intact, transparent, secure, and best of all, fun. I will always look back on this time with a smile, a great deal of pride, and a sense of kinship with you all that will never leave me. I’ll be watching all of you with pride and hope for the most smooth-running election in one of the busiest years ever. And if you get to SW Florida in the cold months, or beautiful Michigan in the warmer months, please look me up!
Alison Lundergan Grimes Exit Interview
Exit Interview: Alison Lundergan Grimes
Kentucky’s outgoing secretary of state looking forward to family time
Alison Lundergan Grimes was elected as Kentucky’s 76th secretary of state in 2011 and re-elected in 2015.
During her tenure in the secretary of state’s office she oversaw the implementation of online voter registration in the commonwealth.
Grimes’ recommendations for improving the state’s military voting procedures were signed into law as Kentucky’s first-ever Military Heroes Voting Initiative.
She also created an address confidentially program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault so they could register and vote without fear for their safety.
Earlier this year electionline asked all the women running elections at the state level what suffrage means to them. This was Secretary Grimes’ response:
“As Secretary of State, I’ve worked hard to ensure all eligible citizens have access to our ballot box and vote. Sadly, the struggle which began 100 years ago to ensure the basic inalienable rights of women, continues today.”
“Suffrage describes a moment in time where a movement for equality began. Personally, I’m reminded of my grandmothers. They saw the right to vote be realized.”
“While women can now get an education, own property, vote, hold office, get a job and practice our faith – equality doesn’t exist. As long as ‘firsts’ continue – like being the first statewide elected official to have a child in office – the movement is not finished and little girls everywhere rely on our fortitude to stand up and speak out.”
Grimes received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she served as a trustee to the Board of Directors. She obtained her law degree, graduating with honors, from American University, Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C.
What will you miss most about being secretary of state?
As Secretary of State my administration has been able to break down barriers to the ballot box, grow the economy, give back to our military and veteran community and generate a lifetime of engagement of all ages. These historic achievements were possible because of the most dedicated and talented staff in state government. I will miss working with them, most of all. I am confident that their legacy and our friendships will live on beyond this office.
What do you feel was your greatest accomplishment as secretary of state and why?
My administration has expanded the role of the office; positively impacting the lives of every Kentuckian. Elections matter and play a role in protecting victims of domestic violence, assisting our veterans, fighting for the legalization of medical marijuana, growing our economy, protecting those that are disabled and the fight for public education. My greatest accomplishment though, has to be consistently traveling to every one of our 120 counties and giving residents an opportunity to be listened to. It is those conversations and relationships that have been the foundation of every accomplishment during my tenure.
What was the most difficult time/issue you faced as secretary?
Whether sitting across from a veteran suffering from PTSD looking for addiction relief or defending our democracy against foreign interference in our elections, this job comes with many challenges. It is so rewarding though when you’re able to see these challenges through and see the positive impact this office has had on folks across the Commonwealth and the Nation.
As an expert in the field of election, what do you feel is the most pressing issue facing elections officials?
The most pressing issue facing election officials is the erosion of trust in our democracy and lack of long-term reliable funding for the protection of our elections. We must update equipment that is over two decades old and continue training local election officials.
What’s next for you, besides being able to sleep in on election days?
Who can sleep in on Election Day?! I look forward to catching up on much-needed time with my new son and continuing to #GetUpGetOutGetLoud to make a difference with folks across this Commonwealth and this Nation.
(Editor’s Note: Outgoing Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann did not respond to our request for an Exit Interview. If we hear from him we’ll run it in our next available issue.)
electionline Holiday Schedule
During the holiday season, electionline Daily News will post on a limited schedule.
There will be NO Daily News on 12/24, 12/25, 12/31 and 1/1. On 12/26, 27 and 30 the Daily News will post, but it will be later in the morning, by 10:00 a.m.
electionline Weekly will publish its annual In & Out list on Thursday December 26.
Thanks for your understanding and we’d like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and hope that you all get a nice break before we enter the Thunderdome at the dawn of 2020!
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Election Security Updates
Federal Funding: Congress has included $425 million in new funding for election security as part of a spending package that was expected to pass before the holiday recess. Under the appropriations deal, states would be required to match 20 percent of the federal funds. The funds would be distributed through the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Advocates: Two security experts have recently quit Verified Voting in protest. According to Fast Company, Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech professor who sat on Verified Voter’s advisory board and Phillip Stark, a professor of statistics at UC Berkely have both recently resigned claim that the organization is giving election officials false confidence in voting machines. “Verified Voting will always be grateful for the years of service Philip Stark and Richard DeMillo gave to this organization and continue to give to these important issues, including Philip’s critical contributions on risk-limiting audits. With a serious issue like election security comes many passionate voices and differences of opinions. We welcome a robust debate and look forward to being in it for years to come,” Verified Voting President Marian Schneider said in a statement to Fast Company.
Arizona: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office has created a cybersecurity handbook for candidates and political parties. According to KJZZ, the handbook is designed to help protect candidates and those involved in elections from cyber hackers. The handbook has 10 tips for securing mobile devices, websites and email accounts where candidates or parties could be vulnerable. “There’s things like multi-factor authentication for all of your accounts, if you log in on an unrecognized device it’ll send you a code on a recognized device so you can verify your identity,” Hobbs said.
Georgia: According to the secretary of state’s office, training documents posted online that showed the passwords for Georgia’s e-poll books still being the default “1234” are outdated and all the passwords have been changed. “The state, working with KnowInk, has already both changed the password and increased the number of password characters and has updated printed training material so passwords will not be part of them,” Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer for the Georgia secretary of state’s office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Election 2019 Updates
New York: Supreme Court Judge Richard Rich Jr. has denied a request for a full manual recount in the Broome County district attorney race that was decided by just 55 votes. Rich wrote that the complaints “lack merit” and he dismissed claims that the voting machine could have been hacked.
Pennsylvania: According to county officials and the vendor, the issue with voting machines in Northampton County during the November elections were the result of the machines being improperly set up. The machines weren’t prepared to read the results of the specific ballot design used in Northampton County, and dozens of machines had touchscreens that weren’t properly calibrated. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Adam Carbullido, an executive at Election Systems & Software, the Omaha, Neb.-based vendor of the ExpressVote XL machines used in Northampton County, said in a statement that the company “takes full accountability” for the mistakes and is reconfiguring the county’s machines.
Texas: For weeks officials in Midland County had been trying to figure out why there was an 832-vote discrepancy in a bond election. Late last week an unopened ballot box was discovered in a the county annex. This week the ballot box was opened and it contained 836 ballots from November. According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, The box was found by an employee who was organizing shelves and discovered that the box was not empty, as the Election’s Office had originally believed. “The county was the custodian of records for this election, and it was their obligation to get the recount committee all the ballots for the recount,” Texas Director of Election Keith Ingram said. “This was human error on the chain of custody.” The state will retrain elections officials prior to the 2020 election cycle.
Election News This Week
A review by The Associated Press has found that thousands of Ohio voters were held up in their efforts to get absentee ballots for the 2018 election because of missing or mismatched signatures on absentee applications. Figures provided to the AP through public information requests to Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections show 21 counties rejected more than 6,500 absentee ballot applications because a signature was either missing or didn’t match what was on file. Another five counties reported rejecting about 850 applications combined, for various reasons that the boards didn’t specify. The few counties that tracked what happened to applications after they were rejected said issues were largely addressed before or on Election Day.
Earlier this month, The New Jersey Council on Local Mandates unanimously denied a request from the state to reconsider its ruling that severely limited vote-by-mail. Stating that it does not have the power “to revive or resurrect a law that has been declared to be an unfunded mandate,” the council, speaking of the state’s request, found “the motion to be without merit and denies the request.” According to The Cape May Herald the ruling ends the automatic issuing of mail-in ballots those who requested on in a previous election.
Following pushback from parents and educators, this week the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a slate of 53 sites available for early voting and none of them are schools. “We’ve discussed before that there are alternatives and we provided this list to move from the theoretical to the actual,” Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune, the city’s Chief Democracy Officer, told Gothamist/WNYC. In addition to security concerns, parents and educators lamented the loss of facilities that included school gyms and cafeterias for more than week. The list includes eight sites in the Bronx, 21 in Brooklyn, 14 in Manhattan and 10 in Staten Island. There were no sites proposed for Queens because it was the only borough that did not use any city public schools for early voting.
Sticker News: The Maryland State Board of Elections, in conjunction with the Fine Arts Office of the Maryland State Department of Education, recently held a contest for new “I Voted” stickers. The contest was open to any student in K-12. More than 600 students submitted artwork that officials narrowed down to nine choices and in November, more than 28,000 votes were cast. We think these are pretty awesome and are looking forward to adding them to our collection. Elections officials in Philadelphia announced this week that voters in the city of brotherly love will be getting new “I Voted” stickers in 2020 and that unlike in past years, officials will make sure those stickers actually stick.
Personnel News: Maria Valdez will be the new Lake County, California registrar of voters effective April 1, 2020, in the meantime Diane Fridley has been appointed interim registrar. Jennifer Pena is the new Apache Junction, Arizona city clerk. Angela Schlesiona has been hired as the Tuscarawas County, Ohio board of elections deputy director. Anne Norlander, the first woman to ever serve as the Calhoun County, Michigan clerk, is retiring after 31 years on the job. Alicia Treadway is the new Fayetteville County, West Virginia clerk. She replaces Kelvin Holliday who has retired after 27 years on the job. Bryan Ware has been nominated to serve as the assistance director of cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security.
In Memoriam: Ann D’Amato Artell, former Norwalk, Connecticut registrar of voters has died. She was 97. She served as registrar for 24 years. Former Norwalk Mayor Tom O’Connor once commented, “If you could harness her energy you could light the entire city.”
Arizona: Rep. Kelly Townsend (R) has pre-filed a bill that would restrict what forms of ID are acceptable in order to cast a ballot. It would disallow the use of student IDs and utility bills.
California: Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has introduced Senate Bill 57 that would make voter registration an opt-in process at the DMV instead of the current system of opting out. The Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee will consider the bill on January 7, 2020.
Colorado: Voters in Colorado will consider a ballot measure in 2020 would prohibit communities from allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections. According to The Denver Post, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office validated 137,362 signatures, more than the required 124,632 — 2 percent of voters in every state Senate district — to put Initiative 76 on the ballot. Because it’s a constitutional amendment, it must pass with 55 percent of the vote or more to take effect.
Georgia: By a 3-2 party line vote, a Senate committee has voted against restoring the voting rights to the state’s approximately 250,000 nonviolent felons who are still on parole/probation or are still paying off fines. The Senate unanimously approved studying felon voting rights earlier this year, but the committee opposed proposing legislation that would permit some of them to vote while they reintegrate into society.
Massachusetts: Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed language in the state’s spending bill that would have rolled back the effective date for automatic voter registration and specified changes to the opt-out procedures. According the State House News Service, the Legislature tucked into its budget bill language that would have delayed implementation from Jan. 1, 2020 to April 1, 2020, after the March 3 presidential primary. “The proposed sections would delay implementation until April 1, 2020, rendering AVR unavailable for the 2020 presidential primary, and, more importantly, would significantly change voter registration procedures a mere 18 days before our go-live date to implement this important law,” Baker wrote in his veto message. “I cannot approve sections that would jeopardize the success of a program and require a substantial change to the voter registration process in the middle of an election cycle.”
New Jersey: By a 21-17 vote the Senate has approved a bill that would reinstate voting rights for those currently on parole or probation. The bill was previously approved by the House in 48-24 vote. Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed the legislation into law on Wednesday restoring the voting rights to more than 80,000 residents.
New York: State Sen. Chris Jacobs has introduced legislation that would require first-time voters to provide proof-of-citizenship when registering to vote. Jacobs said the legislation is in response to a new law providing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Also in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is proposing legislation that would require an automatic recount in close races. The bill would require an automatic recount in all statewide races where the margin of victory is 0.2 percent; require an automatic recount in all other elections where the margin of victory for the candidate or measure it 0.5 percent; and ensure that recounts are completed manually.
Vermont: Voters in Burlington in 2020 will not be voting on a measure to move the city to a ranked choice voting system, but they will vote on a measure that would allow documented immigrants to cast a ballot in local city elections.
West Virginia: Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee voted this week to recommend a bill to each chamber that would allow voters with certain physical disabilities to cast absentee ballots electronically. The legislation has the support of the secretary of state’s office.
Arizona: The Navajo Nation is threatening to sue the state of Arizona over changes to the state’s election procedures manual. According to Capitol Media Services Doreen McPaul, attorney general for the tribe, says Secretary of State Katie Hobbs agreed to allow people who forgot to sign their early ballot envelopes an opportunity to “cure” the defect. Arizona AG Mark Brnovich argues that Hobbs had no legal authority to do that and wants it changed in the manual, but in a letter to Brnovich, McPaul noted that the change to the election procedure manual ended a 2018 lawsuit.
Georgia: U.S. District Judge Steve Jones denied a last-minute attempt to stop the purge about 300,000 voters from the state’s voter rolls. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in his ruling Jones said he could still order election officials to reinstate canceled voters long before their registrations would be needed in an election. Jones will reconsider the issue during a court hearing at press time. “It appears that any voter registration cancellations can be undone at a later date,” Jones wrote in his order. “The court’s ruling is based largely on defense counsel’s statement (at today’s hearing) that any voter registration that is canceled today can be restored within 24 to 48 hours.”
Maryland: Indiana-based Public Interest Legal Foundation has sued the State Board of Elections to obtain access to the state’s voter data. Maryland voter data is only available to residents of the state and so the group is suing to get access. “This is stuff the state would have sold me if I lived across the street,” Logan Churchwell, the foundation’s director of communications and research told The Baltimore Sun. “We only asked for what was for sale to anyone else in the state.” State elections officials could not be reached for comment Monday, but they have defended Maryland’s law for obtaining voter lists in other court cases.
New Hampshire: John S. Fleming Jr., 71, and Grace Fleming, 70, each pleaded guilty to one charge of voting in more than one state for casting ballots in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in 2016. The Flemings were sentenced to 60 days in prison, each sentence suspended for one year for good behavior. The court also ordered the Flemings to each pay a $1,000 fine, with a penalty assessment of $240. The couple has also lost their rights to vote in New Hampshire.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania is facing another lawsuit over its certification of a voting machine bought by Philadelphia, Northampton County and others. The lawsuit was filed by a pair of election security advocacy organizations and 13 registered voters who live in Philadelphia or Northampton County. The lawsuit asks the state Commonwealth Court to block Pennsylvania’s certification of the ExpressVote XL touchscreen system made by Election Systems & Software.
West Virginia: It could be mid-January or later before the West Virginia Supreme Court rules whether or not four disputed provisional ballots in a summer 2019 election in Harper’s Ferry.
Wisconsin: Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy has ordered that the registrations of 234,000 voters be removed from the rolls because they may have moved. Plaintiffs argued that the state should remove the voters within 30 days of not receiving a response to a post card mailed from the election commission. Malloy denied a request by Elections Commission attorneys to put his decision on hold. He ordered the commission to follow the law requiring voters who didn’t respond to be deactivated. “I can’t tell them how to do that. They’re going to have to figure that out,” Malloy said according to the Wisconsin State Journal. On Monday, the Election Commission deadlocked on how to address the judge’s ruling. In a two-page order, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected a request to immediately block the decision. Instead, the court said it wanted to hear from those who brought the lawsuit and gave them a Monday deadline to submit a filing. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed a suit in federal court in an order to circumvent the state court ruling and halt the purge.
California: According to published reports, at least 600 Californians, including lifelong Republicans and Democrats, have had their voter registration unexpectedly changed, and several county elections officials are pinning much of the blame on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. anna Haynes, public information officer for Sacramento County Voter Registration & Elections, told the Fresno Bee the department has received “close to 200 calls from people saying they don’t think they were registered NPP” after the county recently sent out postcards to about 200,000 other people earlier this month. Haynes noted two-thirds of the 200 complaints the department received came from people who have recently done business with the DMV. In a statement, the DMV said it was unaware of any large-scale problems.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island has successfully replaced it’s 14-year-old voter registration database. Stonewall Solutions, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island built it. he system cost nearly $520,000 to build and will cost about $60,000 to maintain it. The funding comes from $3 million in federal funds allocated to Rhode Island through the Help America Vote Act.
Also in Rhode Island, the board of elections voted unanimously this week to acquire new modems for the ballot-counting machines.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voting rights, II | Suffrage | Turnout | Ex-felon voting rights | Equipment | Election security, II | Voter ID | Voter suppression
Alaska: Ranked choice voting
California: Crossover voting
District of Columbia: Civics education
Florida: Ranked choice voting | Ex-felon voting rights, II
Georgia: List maintenance
Iowa: Ex-felon voting rights, II, III
Kentucky: Ex-felon voting rights
New Jersey: Online voter registration | Ex-felon voting rights
New York: Voting equipment | Recounts
North Carolina: Election security | Voting equipment
Pennsylvania: Voting machines | Northampton County, II | Election law changes
Texas: Midland County | Bexar County
U.S. Election Assistance Commission 2020 Elections Summit – Ahead of the 2020 elections, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will host an all-day summit to highlight important issues facing state and local election officials as they work to prepare for the 2020 primaries and general elections. State and local election officials, representatives from federal agencies that support elections, and other key election stakeholders will discuss election security and combating foreign interference in elections, preparing for high turnout, ensuring access for voters with disabilities and limited English proficiency, and recruiting and training effective poll workers, among other topical issues. Where: Washington, DC When: January 14
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 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.
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.
Associate General Counsel, Investigations, North Carolina State Board of Elections— This position is located in the Legal Division, which provides full service legal advice to the agency and its appointed board. This position will provide counsel regarding agency investigations in the areas of election and campaign finance law. The position reports to the general counsel and will work closely with the Investigations Division within the agency. This position will provide advanced legal support for the agency regarding the proper interpretation and application of laws, administrative rules, and policy. Interpret laws related to investigative authority and procedure. Provide advice regarding elements of criminal offenses. Description of Work: Coordinate as necessary with investigators and state or federal law enforcement; Analyze cases; research, plan, develop, and execute effective legal strategies relating to investigations and compliance; Draft informational letters. Review investigative files, reports, and correspondence. Conduct investigative interviews for complex investigations into elections and campaign finance related matters. Salary: $75,650 – $128,071. Deadline: December 27. 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.
Campaign Finance Administrator, Denver Clerk & Recorder’s Office– The Clerk and Recorder’s office administers the City’s elections, preserves various records and makes them available to the public, records land transactions, and oversees foreclosures. The office’s mission is to provide customer friendly processes that are efficient and transparent, records that are easy to access, and elections that are accurate, secure and convenient for voters. As part of this mission, the Campaign Finance Administrator will: Administer the City’s campaign finance reporting and enforcement program, as well as the City’s public matching funds program (the Fair Elections Fund). Ensure compliance with and the uniform enforcement of Denver’s campaign finance laws and rules by auditing filed reports and records, receiving citizen complaints, and drafting notices of violations. The position will also oversee the administration of fines against persons who file late reports. Manage temporary employees during a municipal election by assigning duties to meet the program’s goals. This person must be able to clearly communicate expectations to temporary workers and be able to determine if the workers meet expectations. Advise senior staff on a broad range of campaign finance regulatory and compliance matters to help the office make policy decisions. Work collaboratively with team members to draft and analyze laws and rules regarding campaign finance. Coordinate with other staff members regarding the office’s existing legal authority, including ordinances and rules, to apply them to factual situations. Ensure effective, high-quality customer service support by answering customer questions and providing technical support. This includes providing guidance to campaigns and helping craft advisory opinions. Prepare trainings, manuals, and guidance materials for campaigns. Conduct trainings for candidates, campaigns, and the public. Other duties as assigned. 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.
Deputy Director of Elections, Arapahoe County, Colorado–The Deputy Director of Elections position has direct responsibility for the entire Election Division. This position will direct complex administrative and supervisory work in activities. The Deputy Director of Elections supports the Chief Deputy Director and the Clerk and Recorder with issues concerning all operations of Elections. Salary: $2,882.00 – $4,374.00 Biweekly. Deadline: December 24. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Tyrrell 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 Clerk I, Douglas County, Colorado— This position serves as office support for the Elections Division of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The Election Clerk provides customer service, assists with clerical functions, and performs data entry for voter registration. Other duties in support of the conduct of elections or mail ballot processing may be assigned. Must be detail oriented, well organized, productive, and able to adapt in a high change environment. This role requires both independent judgment and the ability to work well as a part of a team. Professional representation of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to the public is required to include standards outlined in the Vision, Mission, and Core Values of the Office. Salary: $2,304.00 – $2,879.00 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and 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.
Elections Specialist, Pierce County, Washington— Coordinates and participates in the activities of a specialty in the Elections Division; determines work schedules and methods to expediting work-flow; issues instructions; and monitors work for accuracy and compliance to procedures and policies in specialty area assigned; Coordinates, organizes, and documents all legal aspects of an assigned specialty required to hold elections; Oversees all aspects of voter registration; Assists customers and candidates in all election activities; Prepares for an election following all federal laws and the Revised Codes of Washington (RCW’s) and Washington Administrative Codes (WAC’s), and County Code addressing election activities. Salary: $30.25 – $38.26 Hourly. Deadline: December 22. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Warehouse Worker, Douglas County, Colorado — This is a highly physical position with a heavy emphasis on warehouse work, requiring the ability to continually lift equipment weighing more than 50 pounds. This position will perform routine maintenance on voting equipment, identify non-routine repairs to election equipment and mark and track equipment for follow up maintenance. incumbent will coordinate equipment and maintain records documenting device history. Forklift certification is a plus. Salary: $2,445.00 – $3,056.00 Monthly. 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.
Investigations and Legal Specialist, Oregon Secretary of State’s Office–The Oregon Secretary of State is seeking applicants for an Investigations and Legal Specialist to support and assist the Elections Division. The work in this division is neutral and non-partisan, but often fast paced with a wide variety of responsibilities, tasks, and projects. The successful applicant will be primarily responsible for overseeing the administrative rulemaking of the division, providing safe harbor review of documents received from public agencies, providing guidance to customers and the public, working with the Department of Justice, conducting investigations, and drafting orders and related documents. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
IT & Compliance Manager, North Carolina State Board of Elections— This position serves as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the agency and reports directly to the State Board’s IT Infrastructure Manager. Position is designed to support agency functions in the areas of Security Incident Management and Response, Security Threat and Vulnerability Management, Risk Management, Security Administration; Security Education and Training; Security Publications; special security projects and investigations. This position serves as a manager overseeing cyber security projects and incident response efforts. The position manages compliance with statewide information security standards, such as National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and requires a strong understanding of risk assessment, risk mitigation and risk management. The work will involve sophisticated problem-solving relying on internal agency resources and external partnerships to enhance the security posture of elections administration in our state. The position will develop and implement SBE’s information security program and advise SBE leadership on all aspects related to cyber security, assess voting systems security, and evaluate threats with the support of internal and external assets. The CISO will identify and implement security enhancements at the network, system, and application levels. The position will cultivate external partnerships, including within DHS, FBI National Guard, NC Department of Information Technology, and the NC Department of Public Safety. SBE is custodian of sensitive data on all registered voters and handles complex datasets from other government agencies. Salary: 90,734 – $147,226. Deadline: December 26. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Paralegal, North Carolina State Board of Elections — The State Board of Elections’ Legal Division provides comprehensive legal support to the State Board members, Executive Director, and agency staff. Counsel are generally involved in major Agency decisions and assists in the strategic prioritization of initiatives and the Legal Division is called upon frequently to review agreements, assess legislation, navigate complex situations involving multiple stakeholders, and prepare draft directives or administrative rules. Elections matters are often litigated in the courts, and counsel coordinates the Agency’s involvement in proceedings and implementation of associated orders. This position is located in the Legal Division, which provides full service legal advice to the agency and its appointed board. This position will provide independent support to the agency’s attorneys in the areas of election and campaign finance law. The position reports to the general counsel and will also work closely with senior staff within the agency. Salary: $42,780 – $72,424. Deadline: December 27. 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.
Research Manager, Center for Election Innovation and Research — 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.
Voting Equipment/IT Technician, Alamance County, North Carolina— An employee in this class performs election duties as it pertains to the certified voting equipment, including but not limited to coding, programming, testing and performing required maintenance on all equipment, requiring application and compliance with the Election Laws of North Carolina and Federal/State/Local voting regulations. This position performs technical and complex support activities associated with the preparation for and conduct of elections to include calibration of equipment, developing test scripts, collecting and auditing tabulation data. Employee will perform yearly ADA site evaluations and assist in assembly and distribution of precinct supplies. Employee within this position will need to possess proficiency in organizational skills, a strong aptitude in math, and knowledge of, or the ability to learn and adhere to State and local statutes/regulations affecting elections and elections process. Public speaking will be required for training classes for election workers. This position covers a variety of hardware and software support for Board of Election and their devices (PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets, Photo ID Camera). Work is performed in accordance with Alamance County and Board of Election policies and procedures that are compliant with HIPAA, CJIS, and PCI. Responsibilities include but are not limited to supporting hardware and software applications, resolving technical issues through diligent research. Employee may consult with precinct officials, vendors and others to resolve technical issues. The Employees IT work will be coordinated through the Alamance County IT Network Team and compliant with the safety and security protocols set forth by the County’s IT Department. Application: For the compete job listing and to apply, click here.
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