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February 6, 2020

February 6, 2020

In Focus This Week

‘I’m a lawyer and I’m here to help’
New CLE program encourages Ohio attorneys to serve as poll workers

By M. Mindy Moretti

“I’m a lawyer and I’m here to help,” are words that could potentially strike fear into any election official’s heart, but in Cuyahoga County, Ohio it’s music to county election officials’ ears.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has long relied on using attorneys as poll workers (poll election officials (POEs) as they are referred to in Ohio) at some of it’s more than 325 polling places countywide.

“Attorneys who want to help us conduct robust, accessible elections often sign up with campaigns or as nonpartisan observers. It does not occur to them to serve as PEOs. Legal observers play a valuable but limited role on Election Day,” said John Kennick, election official at the Cuyahoga BOE. “Observers cannot advocate for voters or step in if they see something wrong. As PEOs, attorneys have direct authority.”

For several years, the BOE has had between 5-10 lawyers who have worked as poll workers. When possible, those attorneys were assigned to locations that may have presented some sort of “issue” in the past.

“By issues, we typically mean locations that either had long lines or specific feedback from poll workers/voters that the service at that particular location wasn’t up to the standards that we would expect from our polling locations,” explained Peter James assistant manager, Election Officials Department.

Now a new program spearheaded by the Ohio secretary of state’s office and the Ohio Association of Election Officials, in conjunction with the Ohio Supreme Court is helping Cuyahoga and other counties recruit more of them.

Under the program, attorneys who train as POEs and complete additional election worker course work are eligible to receive CLE (continuing legal education) credits. In Ohio, attorneys and judges must receive a certain number of CLEs depending on their skill level/area of practice.

“Last year, we organized a working group of election officials to help find creative ways to attract interested individuals who are interested in learning more about being a part of this important day,” explained Maggie Sheehan, deputy press secretary for the secretary of state. “One of those ideas was to allow attorneys that attend a county board of election’s Precinct Election Official (“PEO”) training program to receive Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) credit. In order for a county’s training program to qualify for CLE credits, the training must be approved by the Ohio Supreme Court.”

Following the completion of the 2019 election, staff at the Cuyahoga County BOE began working on its application to the Ohio Supreme Court. While completing the application process and setting up the curriculum took time, there were few costs involved and not much added stress for BOE staff.

“After the application was submitted on Nov. 18 we provided some more supplemental material, and the application itself was approved on Dec. 27,” explained James. “That was the process of getting approval. The process to actually create the training curriculum has taken longer. That began in earnest after we submitted the application (we had to work under the assumption that it would be approved in order to be able to implement the training in time for the March 17 election) and has continued all the way up until today.”

Rob Frost, Cuyahoga Co. BOE member and an attorney, leads a training for attorneys in the new CLE program.

The CLE curriculum meets all of the statutory criteria for training as a PEO and then goes into deeper detail about drawing precincts and establishing polling locations, voter registration, and maintaining the voter database in compliance with NVRA, including the notification process and circumstances that would lead to cancellation.

“We’re covering the topics we thought attorneys would find interesting and want to know about. Ballot production and tabulation, early and absentee voting, physical security, and election audits are also covered,” explained Kennick. “Election law feels obvious to seasoned Board employees, but it’s much less known beyond these walls. Although our immediate goal of the program is to recruit and train attorneys to serve as PEOs, this is also an exposition on elections agencies.”

According to James, the response by attorneys to the POE program has been good or better than they expected.

“At the moment, we have 29 attorneys signed up for the two classes…” James said. “We have only really pushed the CLE classes the past few weeks because we needed to be sure the application was approved.”

Once the attorneys are trained, the county is eager to put them to work. Following the November 2019 election, BOE staff poured through a tremendous amount of information to evaluate how each individual polling location performed. This ranged from surveys completed by poll workers and voters, calls received on Election Day, statistical reports and audit logs from voting equipment, etc.

“Based on this information, we set up a scoring system that rates each polling location. Locations that didn’t perform as well as others in November are potential locations we will target for attorneys to be placed in,” James explained. “The thought is that having more professional people at a polling location increases the chances that the workers, in general, are better able to troubleshoot issues that come up and or can process information more quickly.”

James said that in some ways, the BOE wants attorneys serving as poll workers to step forward, but of course, it has to be done in an appropriate way and a way that doesn’t intimidate other poll workers.

“Our main challenge will be to train the attorneys to step in when needed but don’t go into the election thinking they are really any different than the other poll workers in that location,” James said. “The reverse is true as well. We’ll tell the workers in a location with an attorney that he/she is there to assist, and don’t hesitate to lean on them if needed, but not to feel like they are there to “keep an eye” on them or to do any more than you would ask of another worker.”

James explained that while finding enough POEs is always difficult, extenuating factors have made it even more difficult in 2020 so the new CLE program could not have come at a better time.

“Finding enough workers is a challenge,” James said. “Now this year, with the Census hiring temporary workers at a pay rate significantly higher than what we can pay, it makes our recruiting efforts even more difficult. Then on top of it, the Primary Election in Ohio is on St. Patrick’s Day, which not only lessens the pool of people who might consider working but has also resulted in some regular poll workers not being able to work this particular election.”

While the BOE is busy rolling out the new poll worker program for attorneys, election official Kennick said they don’t plan to stop there.

“It’s uncommon to find professionals who are able to take time away from work to serve in an election, but we’re trying to change that. Social workers, accountants, and financial professionals, to name just a few, need some version of continuing education to maintain their licenses,” Kennick said. “This is our first full program meant expressly for a professional audience, but I do not think it will be our last.”



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Research and Report Summaries

Blocking the Ballot Box: Ending Misuse of the ADA to Close Polling Places
National Disability Rights Network

A new report by the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) shows many of America’s polling places remain inaccessible to people with disabilities. The report, entitled Blocking the Ballot Box: Ending Misuse of the ADA to Close Polling Places, also examines an alarming new trend in which jurisdictions are misusing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to close polling places, a practice that NDRN vehemently opposes.

The ADA requires all polling places to be accessible to people with disabilities and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 mandates that all Americans have the right to a private and independent vote. When the United States Supreme Court in Shelby County v Holder struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required federal approval before changes could be made to election procedures, jurisdictions with a demonstrated history of discriminatory voting practices saw an opportunity — blaming their polling place closures on the ADA and access needs of voters with disabilities.

“After the Supreme Court struck down protections in the Voting Rights Act, counties and cities began citing ADA concerns as the reason for closing, relocating, or consolidating their polling places,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “The ADA was never meant to be used in this way and we challenge any jurisdiction that attempts to close a polling place because it is not ADA compliant.”

In this report, NDRN spoke to and visited counties with recent Department of Justice (DOJ) settlements for polling place accessibility. NDRN found these counties were working to be more accessible while keeping polling places open. Alternatively, counties that did not have a recent DOJ intervention and had not shared ADA surveys of their polling places or any collaboration with the disability community, seemed more likely to attempt closing polling places.

“The idea that making polling places accessible is too expensive and forces closures is a lie,” continued Decker. “The solution to inaccessible polling places is not to close them…it is to make them accessible. It’s clear to us from this investigation that these counties are not interested in improving accessibility. They are simply looking for excuses to close polling places and making it harder for people to vote.”

To read the report, view video commentary, and see recommendations for how election officials can avoid poll closures, go to Blocking the Ballot Box: Ending Misuse of the ADA to Close Polling Places.

Election Security Updates

Toolkit: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently published the Elections Cyber Tabletop Exercise Package, a 58-page guide for state and local elections officials to hold table top exercises (TTX) on election security. According to StateScoop, the guidebook lays out three scenarios and each scenario comes with its own step-by-step series of challenges, testing participants’ ability to muster an incident response and figure out if they can resolve the situation internally, or if they need to call on assistance from their state government, the federal government or a vendor.


Ohio: This week, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that all but eight of the states 88 counties have met the state’s deadline to upgrade their election security. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Van Wert County will be placed under state administrative oversight and he has asked for the resignation of one Coshocton County BOE member. Six other counties — Carol, Clark, Hamilton, Holmes, Ottawa and Warren — missed the Jan. 31 deadline, but LaRose said he’s confident they’ll finish the upgrades within the next week, and he’s not taking any extra oversight measures.

Election News This Week

Perhaps you heard that Iowa held a caucus this week?  While electionline doesn’t cover caucuses because they aren’t administered by elections professionals, we thought we’d link to some of the many, many post-Iowa stories about how elections professionals are making sure they aren’t “the next Iowa”. Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New  York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah,  Virginia,  Washington,  and West Virginia. And then of course there are the elections officials in Iowa. On the day of the caucuses, Secretary of State Paul Pate was forced to put out a statement refuting assertions from Judicial Watch that the state’s voter rolls are bloated and of course on the day after the caucuses Pate had to put out a statement clarifying who runs caucuses and who runs elections in Iowa.  “The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and county auditors have no official role in the Iowa Caucuses,” Pate said in the statement. “The accuracy of the Iowa Democratic Party’s vote totals is much more important than the timeliness of releasing the results. I am glad to hear they have a paper trail for their votes, just as we use paper ballots in all official elections in the State of Iowa.” Although caucuses aren’t run by elections officials, there are things that can be learned moving forward.

A new way to access the state’s voter registration database is having Sedgwick County, Kansas reconsider its push to move to vote centers for the 2020 election cycle. Although the Legislature approved the move to vote centers in 2019, and is currently pushing to allow that change to happen in 2020, Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman told KMUW that she’s not longer pushing for the change this year because the state wants to provide new computers that will allow direct access to the voter registration database. “We will need to add a minimum of 30 work stations to our office,” Lehman told Sedgwick County commissioners Wednesday. “I’m concerned about space, limited network ports, bandwidth issues with peak election cycles … my biggest concern is our power issues at the building.”

This week, the Arlington, Virginia electoral board voted 3-0 to allow representatives of political candidates to hand out sample-ballot literature inside some precincts. According to Inside NOVA, the measure targets polling places – such as at senior-living facilities and high-rise apartments – where many voters are unlikely to go outside on their way from their units to the ballot box. “We want voters to be able to obtain a sample ballot, from either party or independents,” Electoral Board Chairman Charlene Bickford said. “That’s our goal – to make sure people have access.” State law had previously banned electioneering inside of any building hosting a polling place.

And then there was one. This fall, residents in the Cape Cod town of Truro, Massachusetts will cast their paper primary ballots using an electronic ballot scanner instead of dropping their ballots into a metal ballot box like they’ve been doing since 1964. “I think this is a step in the right direction to modernize and streamline the process,” Town Manager Rae Ann Palmer said according to the Cape Cod Times. Assistant Town Manager Kelly Clark told the select board that it will save poll workers hours of hand counting ballots. Wellfleet made the move to electronic tabulation last year and with Truro’s recent unanimous vote that leaves Provincetown as the only town on the Cape still counting ballots by hand. “Honestly, we will not be doing that,” Town Clerk Darlene Van Alstyne told the paper. “Not anytime soon, at least.”

Sticker News: Philadelphia has launched a contest to design new “I Voted” stickers for voters in the City of Brotherly Love. The contest is open to all residents of the city, including students. Ann Arbor, Michigan has also launched an “I Voted” sticker contest open to all residents including students.

Personnel News: Boone County, Iowa Auditor Phil Meier has announced that he will retire at the end of his current term. Meier was first elected in 1992. Ken Dow has been selected as the Democratic election commissioner in Columbia County, New York. Kathy Kaohu has been nominated to serve as the new Maui, Hawaii county clerk. Adams County, Illinois Clerk and Recorder Chuck Venverloth is resigning. Joshua Terenzini has been appointed to serve as the Rutland, Vermont clerk. Anne Norlander, Michigan’s longest serving county clerk, has retired after 37 years on the job in Calhoun County.

Legislative Updates

Arizona: The city of Chandler will hold an all-mail special election asking voters to approve a charter change that will move the city’s election from the last Tuesday in August to the first Tuesday in August.

Also in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation into law that should help speed up the ballot counting process. SB 1135 was unanimously approved with an emergency clause in both the House and Senate. Maricopa County election workers will be allowed to use a new electronic method to fix ballot errors in March, rather than make corrections by hand.

California: Under Senate Bill 207, that was approved by the Assembly 60-12 this week, voters would be allowed to change their party preference or residence within two weeks of an election without having to re-register to vote. If signed by Newsom, SB 207 would immediately become law, meaning it would apply to the 2020 California primary election, as well as the 2020 general election in November.

Also under consideration in the General Assembly is AB2027 that would require all registered voters to return their ballots either by mail or to a vote center, even if they leave the ballot black.

Kansas: Legislators are considering a bill that would make the state’s top election spot nonpartisan. Additionally, the secretary of state would have to resign before running for a partisan office.

Maine: The Maine Republican Party announced this week that it is launching a petition drive to put a question on the November ballot that would ask voters to repeal the law that expanded ranked choice voting to presidential elections.

Maryland: The Carroll County board of commissioners has denied a request from the county’s election director to have more of a police presence at the polls on Election Day. According to the Carroll County Times, the county commissioners denied the request because it was not included in the budget.

Minnesota: A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has introduced legislation that would restrict the sharing of party preference data. State political parties could only share voters’ names with a national party representative for the purposes of verifying participation. The data would also be classified under state law as private, and voters could opt out of having their names on the lists.

Mississippi: Sen. David Blount (D-Hinds County) has introduced a series of election reform bills covering everything from ex-felon voting rights to online voter registration to early voting.

Missouri: State Rep. Wiley Price (D-St. Louis) has introduced legislation that will allow for early voting in the Show Me State.

Also in Missouri, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) is pushing the Legislature to do away with the state’s presidential preference primary. “We ignore the results and then we have a caucus that actually chooses delegates to choose who goes to the national conventions,” Ashcroft noted. “We could save $9.1 million immediately every four years, plus interest,” Ashcroft told lawmakers.

Nevada: Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R) has filed a proposed initiative petition that, if successful, would create a top-two primary system. “It’s not about political parties, it’s not about candidates as much as it’s about voters,” Kieckhefer told the Nevada Independent. “This gives all voters in the state of Nevada the right to choose who represents them in the government.”

New York: The Cayuga County Legislature has approved a salary increase for the county’s two part-time elections commissioners. The Legislature approved increasing the salaries for the two commissioners from $12,587 to $25,000. “I think that people are a little bit in the dark as far as the amount of work that ends up being done year-round in the Board of Elections,” Elections Commissioner Katie Lacey told The Citizen.

Ohio: Attorney General Dave Yost has rejected ballot language for the Secure and Fair Elections Amendment. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow for same-day registration as well as automatic voter registration. Amendment proponents have said they plan to refile.

Puerto Rico: The Legislature is considering a bill to reform the territory’s electoral code and included in that legislation is language that calls on the electoral commission to create an Internet voting program. According to NPR, the plan starts with a pilot project to let voters who are eligible vote early or absentee to cast their ballots over the Internet in this November’s general election. The second phase expands the option to vote online to all voters in the 2024 election.

South Dakota: The House Local Government Committee has forwarded two pieces of election registration legislation. HB 1050 will allow the state to implement online voter registration beginning July 1, 2021 and HB 1051 would make birth years private in the voter registration database.

Tennessee: The Bristol city council is considering an ordinance that would change the date of elections for city council and board of education to coincide with regularly scheduled national and state elections.

Utah: HB36, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Harrison (D-Draper), would consolidate Utah’s voter registration deadlines to a single deadline of 11 days prior to an election. The bill would still permit same-day voter registration on Election Day. 

Virginia: By a 65-35 vote, the House of Delegates has approved a bill that will allow for no-excuse absentee voting and extend the deadline for absentee ballots to arrive and be counted.

The Senate has approved a bill that would repeal the state’s current voter ID requirements. If enacted, voters in Virginia could present any government document containing their name and address — such as a copy of a current utility bill, government check or a paycheck and not just a government-issued photo ID.

Washington: The Legislature is considering a bill that would put requirements on organizations or people other than family members who collect a person’s ballot and drop it in the mail or in a drop box. The legislation would require the voter and collector to sign a form that says the ballot is being picked up. The election security bill also limit how military and overseas ballots can be returned.


Legal Updates

Alabama: Alabama can be sued for alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act, a federal court ruled this week in a case that claims the state’s election system has kept blacks from being elected to the state’s appellate courts. Sovereign immunity, which normally protects states from lawsuits, doesn’t apply when it comes to the Voting Rights Act, according to the 2-1 decision of a panel of judges on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arizona: Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) has asked the Supreme Court to keep in place a law prohibiting ballot harvesting that a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional. “The Ninth Circuit took the unusual step of overruling multiple previous rulings in the State’s favor,” Brnovich said. “Thereby rejecting Arizona’s authority to secure its elections and discourage potential voter fraud.”

Also in Arizona, lawyers, on behalf of Secretary of State Katie Hobbs have filed briefs arguing that Voto Latino and Priorities USA have no legal standing to challenge the state’s mail ballot deadline. The groups had sued arguing that requiring people to turn in mail ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day is unconstitutional.

Michigan: The Michigan State Police have arrested a 72-year-old man from Groveland Township for making threats against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The threats were left on her voicemail and made to a person in the secretary of state’s office.

Texas: U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia has ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to register three voters based on their online driver’s license address. Lawyers for the plaintiffs had argued that the state was violating the National Voter Registration Act. Last week’s ruling applies only to the three plaintiffs. According to The Hill, Garcia is expected to issue a long-term solution at a later date. Saying he wants a firm grasp of how long it will take Texas to comply with federal voter registration mandates, Garcia this week ordered opposing sides to meet with technology specialists by the end of the week. Garcia ordered lawyers for both sides to file sworn declarations by the end of next Monday on the feasibility of proposed fixes and how long they would take to accomplish. “It is difficult to believe that full compliance with the NYRA could be accomplished in 90 days, yet this interim measure would take months, a year, or more,” Garcia wrote.

Tech Thursday

California: The secretary of state’s office has launched a new tool that will help voters track their ballot. Using WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov voters can sign up to get automated notifications about the status of their vote-by-mail ballot via email, text or phone call. Shoppers are already used to receiving updates on their online retail purchases, from shipment to delivery. Now we can offer the same service to voters,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Voters who sign up for ‘Where’s My Ballot?’ can rest assured that their vote-by-mail ballots are accounted for at every stage of delivery. Signing-up takes just a couple of minutes, and voters will enjoy automatic updates on the delivery status of their vote-by-mail ballot for each and every election.”

Idaho: Local elections officials in the Gem State are expressing concerns with the state’s new voter registration system rolling out this year. Bannock County Elections Administrator Julie Hancock told KPVI the new system “lacks functionality”. Bannock is one of twelve counties that will test the new software in conjunction with the old software during the presidential primary, March 10. The $4 million system was supposed to be in place for the all counties to use during the primary. Bonneville County Elections Supervisor Brenda Prudent told KPVI, the software doesn’t comply with Idaho laws, and she’s also had issues with simple processes like absentee ballots and adding a person into the voter registration system.

Illinois: Voter registration database issues continued this week in Illinois. This time a data-matching error between the Illinois State Board of Elections and the Illinois Department of Corrections led to 774 returning citizens having their voter registrations canceled. “The Board of Elections and Department of Corrections are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Both agencies are currently revising their data sharing agreement and matching parameters to avoid this error in future data exchanges. Upon identifying the potential problem in November 2019, the Board ceased sharing IDOC matches with local election authorities and began the process of identifying individuals who may have been affected by the error,” the SBOE said in a statement.

Maryland: The Maryland State Board of Elections is investigating what caused a slowdown of e-poll books during this week’s special election. This week’s special election was the first widespread election day use of the wireless network. According to Maryland Matters, Howard County officials reported that its pollb ooks were running slowly. Around 5:30 p.m., county and state officials decided to disconnect the poll books from the wireless network, which improved their speed. Until the disconnection, data from the poll books was properly transmitting to the database in Annapolis, Nikki B. Charlson, the state elections board’s deputy director, said Wednesday afternoon.

Opinions This Week

National Opinions: Election security, II, III | College turnout | Ranked choice voting | Election technology | Trust in elections | Caucuses, II | Voting rights

California: Nevada County | Voter education | Orange County | Ranked choice voting | Election changes

Colorado: Teller County

Florida: Amendment 4, II, III | Not Iowa

Georgia: Secretary of state

Illinois: Ranked choice voting

Indiana: Vote centers

Iowa: Judicial Watch

Kansas: Vote centers

Kentucky: Voter ID, II

Maryland: Polling place security

Michigan: Voting rights

Minnesota: Voter ID | Voter data

New Jersey: Election security | Paper ballots

New York: Paper trail 

North Carolina: Voter fraud

North Dakota: Vote-by-mail

Ohio: Lucas County

Pennsylvania: Northampton County, II

South Carolina: Election laws

Texas: Online voter registration

Utah: Ranked choice voting

Virginia: Absentee voting

Washington: Ex-felon voting rights | Ballot collection, II | Election security


Upcoming Events

Election Center Special Workshop: The following courses will be offered during this workshop: Course 1 (Intro to Election & Voter Reg Systems); Course 2 (Management and Leadership); and Renewal Course 32 (Redistricting/Gerrymandering). Where: Greenville, South Carolina When: February 12-16.

Vote at Home Webinar: Whether you call it “absentee” voting, “vote-by-mail,” or “vote at home,” more voters cast their vote on ballots delivered directly to them than ever before. And the trend is on the rise across red, blue, and purple states. The National Vote At Home Institute, Center for Civic Design, and Center for Tech and Civic Life are pleased to offer three 1-hour webinars in February to help you bolster the security of elections, improve voter engagement, and reduce election-related costs through vote at home programs as you prepare for upcoming elections. The webinars are free and all are welcome to join. Try out tools for tracking ballots through the mail and at your office. Get access to high priority support from the USPS. Explore best practices for signature verification and voter intent. Webinar 1: Implementing envelope best practices. Understand mail ballot envelope standards. Learn how national templates can be adapted to your office’s needs. Implement principles of plain language and design to help voters. When: February 13, 2pm -3pm EST. Where: Online.

Vote at Home Webinar: Whether you call it “absentee” voting, “vote-by-mail,” or “vote at home,” more voters cast their vote on ballots delivered directly to them than ever before. And the trend is on the rise across red, blue, and purple states. The National Vote At Home Institute, Center for Civic Design, and Center for Tech and Civic Life are pleased to offer three 1-hour webinars in February to help you bolster the security of elections, improve voter engagement, and reduce election-related costs through vote at home programs as you prepare for upcoming elections. The webinars are free and all are welcome to join. Try out tools for tracking ballots through the mail and at your office. Get access to high priority support from the USPS. Explore best practices for signature verification and voter intent. Webinar 2: Preparing helpful supplementary materials. Prioritize the info you want to communicate to those voting by mail. Discover best practices for including inserts alongside mail ballots. Plan clear online resources for voter education about vote-by-mail. When: February 18, 2pm-3pm EST. Where: Online.

Vote at Home Webinar: Whether you call it “absentee” voting, “vote-by-mail,” or “vote at home,” more voters cast their vote on ballots delivered directly to them than ever before. And the trend is on the rise across red, blue, and purple states. The National Vote At Home Institute, Center for Civic Design, and Center for Tech and Civic Life are pleased to offer three 1-hour webinars in February to help you bolster the security of elections, improve voter engagement, and reduce election-related costs through vote at home programs as you prepare for upcoming elections. The webinars are free and all are welcome to join. Webinar 3: Integrating low-cost tracking and reporting tools. Try out tools for tracking ballots through the mail and at your office. Get access to high priority support from the USPS. Explore best practices for signature verification and voter intent. When: February 20, 2pm-3pm EST. Where: Online.

2020 Elections Disability, Accessibility and Security Forum:  As the 2020 elections rapidly approach, the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has designed a forum to address growing concerns regarding accessibility and security. This all-day forum will bring together state and local election officials, people with disabilities, disability advocates, and election security experts to discuss issues and advance solutions. The collaborative workshops and EAC’s efforts will assist election officials serving voters with disabilities in the 2020 elections and beyond. EAC commissioners will be in attendance and will play a leading role in promoting collaboration amongst participants. Moderated by Doug Chapin, Director of the Certificate in Election Administration program at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the workshops will strive to identify major challenges and opportunities with respect to accessibility and security in election administration. Topics for workshop discussions will include the 2020 elections and voters with disabilities, ballot-marking devices, proven best practices in voting accessibility, vote-by-mail, paper ballots, cutting-edge assistive voting technology, and polling place access. The EAC is committed to upholding the voting rights of people with disabilities established under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) amidst growing security needs. Where: Washington, DC. When: February 20.

Election Center Special Workshop: The following courses will be offered during this workshop: Course 3 (Planning and Budgeting); Course 4 (Information Technology & Security); and Renewal Course 21 (Public Trust and the Integrity of Elections). Where: Seattle When: April 29-May 3

NASED Summer 2020 Conference: — 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 Summer 2020 Conference. Where: Reno, Nevada When: July 19-22.

NASS Summer 2020 Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold their Summer 2020 conference at the Silver Legacy Reno, Nevada. Check back here for more information about the Winter 2020 conference when it becomes available. Where: Reno, Nevada. When: July 19-22.

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 mmoretti@electionline.org.  Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.

Assistant Director, Kentucky State Board of Elections— The Kentucky State Board of Elections is an independent agency of state government, established by the Legislature to administer the election laws of the Commonwealth. The SBE also provides training and resources to the County Clerks and County Boards of Election, and supervises registration and purgation of voters within the state. The position of Assistant Director is a highly skilled and valued member of the SBE staff who performs duties ranging from staff management, advising and training of local and state officials, budgeting and policy development. While not required, a license to practice law is preferred. Compliance with Kentucky Revised Statute 117.025 requires that this position be filled by a candidate that is a registered member of the Republican Party of Kentucky. Out of state candidates will be considered if they can show proof of registration with the Republican Party of their current state of residence. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Associates, Democracy Works— We’re staffing up quickly as we prepare for the 2020 elections, and we’re looking to add seven people to our organization at a Junior level. This application is for all seven of those roles. Here’s how it works: You’ll submit your resume and answer a few questions. We’ll send you a practical exercise to complete within one week. We’ll anonymously grade the practical exercises and select the highest scoring candidates for interviews. There will be two rounds of interviews during which we’ll learn about each candidate. During these interviews, candidates will have the opportunity to ask us questions about the roles and teams below. These interviews are evaluative, but they’re also meant to give you space to learn about which role might be the best fit for you. We will choose a set of finalists. We’ll ask finalists to rank their preferred roles as we begin checking references for each finalist. We’ll select seven of our finalists to hire into our open roles, taking candidate preferences into account. We’ll then make offers to our finalists. The open positions are: Government Associate; Voting Information Project Outreach Associate; Research Associate; Partner Outreach Associate; and Partner Support Associates (three positions open). Salary: $57,000 – $72,000 annually. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is looking for a seasoned manager to serve as Chief Operating Officer (COO). This is an exceptional opportunity for an individual to oversee the functions and programs of the Commission coming up to the 2020 Elections! The COO is the primary management official responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of EAC staff. EAC has several program operation divisions which will report to the COO: Voting Systems Testing and Certification, Grants, Research, Communications, HR/Administration, and Finance. Plans and implements communications plans, events, media campaigns, press conferences, briefings, messaging and interviews. Participates in developing communications and media initiatives, planning and implementing of media events, and maintaining a proactive media strategy for the EAC. Under the leadership of the Executive Director, EAC is elevating attention on management issues and transformational change. To manage this change, and to enable the Executive Director to focus attention on Congressional affairs, external relations, budget formulation and execution, and clearinghouse activities, the COO position was created to manage the programmatic, financial management, and administrative functions of the Commission, all of which will continue to be directed by talented professionals with strong expertise in their areas of responsibility. The COO will have special responsibility for supervising senior staff, ensuring that key program areas work in a carefully coordinated way, as well as ensuring that new systems and procedures are effectively adopted whenever such change is required to support the Commission’s transformation and improvement. Salary: $134,789 to $156K.  Deadline: April 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Deputy Director of Elections, Douglas County, Colorado — Directs, administers, and coordinates the Core Services of the Elections Division of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, including voter registration, conducting elections, voter education and outreach, and precincting and boundaries. Performs complex administrative and supervisory work in a variety of management functions including personnel management, statutory compliance, and execution of the integrated processes to conduct all primary, general, coordinated, and other special elections within the county. Responsible for strategic planning, policy/procedure development and implementation, and continuous improvement. Salary: $7,295.58 – $9,119.42 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Director of Communications, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— Plans and implements communications plans, events, media campaigns, press conferences, briefings, messaging and interviews. Participates in developing communications and media initiatives, planning and implementing of media events, and maintaining a proactive media strategy for the EAC. Develops and maintains productive relationships with members of the media. Enlist the cooperation of media representatives in providing accurate information to the public that furthers the goals and objectives of the EAC. Provides background information to the media as required and drafts talking points for spokespersons ahead of interviews and presentations. Researches, develops, writes and edits reports, presentations, press releases, fact sheets, feature articles, letters, speeches, testimony, annual reports, opinion pieces, videos, and other public-facing communications materials that effectively communicate the Commission’s goals to EAC stakeholders and a variety of public and internal audiences. Procures and manages contracts and assists with the procurement of other Communications-related needs, i.e. photography, video, subscriptions, and other non-EAC services and goods. Attends staff briefings and policy discussions to gain knowledge of Commission activities in order to remain current on the latest developments of interest to the public, assist in preparing for and responding to media inquiries, and formulate recommendations regarding agency policies and programs. Performs other related duties as assigned. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Application: For the complete job listing and 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 Outreach Coordinator, Thurston County, Washington— The Thurston County Auditor’s Office is looking for a candidate to join our outstanding team as our Election Outreach Coordinator.  In this role, the successful candidate will coordinate activities related to candidates, voter and election outreach. This position also develops and produces election information and voter education materials and prepares and disseminates informational materials to encourage citizen participation in the election process. Salary: $3,952-$5257/month. 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 Lead, King County, Washington— The Department of Elections is recruiting for an Elections Specialist Lead to join our Voter Services team. This position will lead processes, projects, and people which will include leading, coaching, mentoring, and training temporary and regular staff. Leads may also provide assistance and/or participate in long-term cross-training in multiple work areas to meet organizational agile efforts. This is a great opportunity for a customer service oriented person with strong communication and interpersonal skills. The Department of Elections is searching for an energetic and resourceful professional who likes to “get stuff done”. The Elections Specialist Lead positions in the Elections Department combine an exciting, fast-paced environment with the opportunity to cultivate talent and apply a variety of skills. The ideal candidate will thrive in an innovative, fast-paced 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 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.

Executive Director, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners— The Executive Director serves as the chief administrator, providing leadership and implementing policies and programs to carry out the work of the Board. The Executive Director directs an annual operating budget of approximately $34M and leads a staff of 130 full-time employees broken into 7 Divisions comprised of: Registration; Information Technology; Human Resources; Finance; Community Services/Poll Workers; Pre-Election Voting & Logistics; and, Warehouse Operations. All full-time employees, including the Assistant Executive Director, are compensated through the City of Chicago and subject to the benefits offered to City employees, although they are employees of the Board and not the City. Although an employee of the Board, the Executive Director is compensated through Cook County and receives employee compensation and benefits in line with County policies. By statute, the Executive Director must take an oath of office before the Cook County Circuit Court. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Grants Specialist, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The Grants Specialist will assist the Grants Director to manage and administer the grants program for the EAC pursuant to 5 USC §3109 (See 42 USC §15324(b)) and §204 (6)(c) of HAVA. The incumbent provides expert advice to EAC leadership regarding grants management; provides advice and guidance to States and U.S. territories regarding the use of funds provided by EAC to ensure State/U.S. territory compliance with HAVA, Appropriations Law and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars; conducts pre- and post-audits to review how funds have been spent; and makes recommendations to the Executive Director for audit resolutions. Salary: $69,581 to $128,920 per year.  Deadline: June 17, 2020. 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.

Software Developer, Democracy Works— We are currently looking for developers for all our projects, at a variety of levels. Experience with the technologies listed below is helpful, but not necessary; we hope you’ll bring excitement to learn what you haven’t seen yet. We support junior team members by explicitly setting aside time for learning, and providing training from a more experienced developer. In addition to full-time hires, we’re also looking for two senior, temporary hires for the Voter Engagement team to work with us until the end of 2020 as we prepare for the November general election. Candidates joining our Voter Engagement team will work on TurboVote and the Democracy Works API. You’ll join eight other 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. Candidates joining the Election Administration team will be working on either the Voting Information Project (VIP), or Ballot Scout. For VIP, you’ll join two other software developers to collaborate with the product and data collection teams in building software that helps collect, validate, QA, and publish data about elections, which in turn service millions of queries in major election years. For Ballot Scout, you’ll join a team of two that enables seamless tracking of ballots through the United States Postal Service and allows both voters and election administration officials to monitor progress of the ballots to and from election offices. The technologies that underlay these systems are written in Clojure, Clojurescript, Javascript, Python, and Go, with an emphasis in moving active development towards Clojure and Clojurescript. Infrastructure is hosted on AWS, and developers are beginning the process of migrating to a Kubernetes based deployment. Salary: $90K to $130K. 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.


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