In Focus This Week
League of Women Voters celebrates 100 years
By Virginia Kase, CEO
League of Women Voters
Tomorrow the League of Women Voters of the United States celebrates 100 years of empowering voters and defending democracy.
Founded by suffragists on February 14, 1920, the League was established six months before the 19th Amendment was finally ratified.
Their mission at the time: to help the soon-to be enfranchised 20 million American women exercise their right to vote. Ten decades later, we are active in all 50 states with more than 750 affiliates around the country.
But as we celebrate our organization’s milestone and commemorate the centennial of women’s voting rights this year, we acknowledge that not all women were able to exercise their Constitutional right to vote in in 1920. Native Americans as a whole were not even afforded full citizenship until 1924 and even then, some were not able to vote because that right was governed by state law. Women of color and women with limited education and income faced barriers at the polls in the form poll taxes, literacy tests, and other voter suppression efforts including, in some cases, violence.
Even today, too many eligible voters are excluded from the process through modern day voter suppression efforts.
Since the Supreme Court gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, we have seen an increase in attacks on the right to vote. Excessive voter roll purges, strict voter photo ID requirements, and cuts to early voting and same day registration are just a few ways politicians have limited access at the polls.
Misinformation campaigns and unscrupulous actors on social media and other digital platforms add to voter confusion.
That’s why the League is still here.
Over the last century, we’ve fought to protect voters, establish fair redistricting processes, secure our elections, and provide equal access to the ballot—all while maintaining our commitment to nonpartisanship and fostering an informed electorate. In 2018, we reached 10 million voters through our voter registration activities, candidate debates and forums, and our election website, VOTE411.org. In 2020, we are positioned to build on that success as we ramp up our efforts to reach and inform voters.
As we enter our next century, we are building future leaders to carry this mission forward. Our members, staff, and volunteers are advancing and defending democracy through our organizing, advocacy, legislative, and litigation efforts. We invite those who share our passion for voting rights to join us. There is room for all at democracy’s table.
Today, we ask you to celebrate 100 years of Women Powering the Vote by participating in our Day of Action online or at one of more than 350 events happening around the country. Let’s stand in our power together, celebrating the women who came before us, and continue to build a stronger, more inclusive country where everyone can engage in our democracy.
(Virginia Kase is the CEO of the League of Women Voters of the United States where she is leading the organization through a period of rapid transformation and growth focused on building power by engaging in advocacy, legislation, litigation and organizing efforts centered around issues of voting rights and democracy reform. Prior to joining the League in 2018, she served as COO of CASA, an organization at the forefront of the immigrant rights movement representing nearly 100,000 members. Earlier in her career, Virginia spent eight years serving as the National Technical Assistance and Training Manager at the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) in Washington, DC. Virginia’s career started in her early 20’s when she co-founded a youth-led nonprofit in her hometown of Hartford, CT. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications.)
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Election Official's Handbook
The Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States today released The Election Official’s Handbook: Six steps local officials can take to safeguard America’s election systems.
Foreign actors are increasingly sophisticated at using cyber tools and social media to probe and penetrate electoral infrastructure, manipulate public opinion, and cast doubt on the integrity of the election process. On the eve of another presidential election, vulnerabilities in our election systems remain unaddressed. This handbook provides a list of steps that local election officials can implement at relatively little cost to fortify their elections systems.
“With primary season in full swing, time is limited for local election officials to spend large sums of money, pass additional legislation, or make large-scale changes to secure election infrastructure,” said elections integrity fellow David Levine.
“We know that Russian government-affiliated hackers probed election systems in all 50 states in 2016 and that Russia, China, Iran and other foreign actors may attempt to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. The Election Official’s Handbook provides recommendations for local officials that can be implemented at limited cost to the county or state. From ensuring the local elections website is hosted on a reputable .gov address to testing changes to voting procedures in low-risk settings well before election day, the handbook is designed to help local officials secure their election jurisdictions and promote confidence in our election systems.”
The Handbook’s six recommendations include:
- Acquire cybersecurity expertise.
- Form a local election cybersecurity working group.
- Secure the elections website.
- Mitigate the potential insider threat.
- Help protect the integrity of the voter registration process.
- Test changes to election infrastructure in simulated, lower risk settings.
2020 Primary Updates
Following last week’s disastrous Iowa caucus all eyes—more than even normal—were on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and by all reports, things went well. Although numbers aren’t official, all signs indicate a near-record high turnout which certainly kept polling officials busy but there were no real reports of lines or problems even at Hanover High School where Dartmouth students cast their ballots. According to The Dartmouth, 1,015 residents used same-day registration at the polls on Tuesday. “I wasn’t even thinking we really had to schedule more than one person at the same-day registration table, but a lot of younger people got up early and came in,” Town Clerk Betsy McClain told the paper. In Durham, approximately 1,456 people registered to vote on election day, but that was nowhere near the record set in 2016. According to The Dartmouth, the state’s new voting laws affecting students, which are still in the legal system, didn’t’ seem to have much, if any impact on turnout on Tuesday. The Attorney General’s office fielded just 163 Election Day calls with the vast majority of the issues reported being resolved on Tuesday. While primary day went well overall, it was a disappointing for one voter in Dover who wasn’t able to make it to the polls in time when commuter trains were delayed.
Election Security Updates
A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 election said that the Obama Administration was ill-prepared to handle such a situation and failed to respond effectively. According to The New York Times, the report said officials feared getting caught up in a heavily politicized environment and undermining public confidence in the electoral process. The committee recommended that elected officials and candidates should use “the absolute greatest amount of restraint The top Democrat on the committee, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, said in a statement that there were many flaws with the U.S. response to the 2016 attack, “but it’s worth noting that many of those were due to problems with our own system – problems that can and should be corrected.” He said he was particularly concerned that the fear raised by the Obama administration, that warning the public of a foreign attack could backfire politically, “is still present in our hyper-partisan environment.”
Following an uncomplimentary report from The Government Accountability Office, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released its strategic plan to protect the 2020 election. According to MeriTalk, the plan details CISA’s four lines of election security effort – election infrastructure, campaign and political infrastructure, the American electorate, and warning and response – and key actions in each area. In its objectives, CISA has prioritized partnerships with the private sector, information sharing with stakeholders, and real-time cyber vulnerability assessments.
In other CISA news, they agency announced this week that all 50 states now have intrusion detection sensors on their election infrastructure and are receiving threat indicators from the EI-ISAC. “The presidential primary season may just be getting underway, but election officials have been working for years to ensure the security and resilience of the 2020 elections. Federal, state, local and private sector partners in every state are sharing more information than ever and by any measure, we are more prepared than ever before,” said the statement from CISA and members of the Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday introduced a bill that would establish a $400 million grant program at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to help state and local governments combat cyber threats and potential vulnerabilities. According to The Hill, under the legislation CISA would be required to develop a plan to improve localities’ cybersecurity and would create a State and Local Cybersecurity Resiliency Committee to help inform CISA on what jurisdictions need to help protect themselves from breaches.
Also on Capitol Hill, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) objected to three election security-related bills Senate Democrats were attempting to move forward. According to The Hill, Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet.
Florida: In an editorial board interview with the Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link divulged that the county’s elections office had been the victim of a ransomware attack in 2016. Link told the editorial board that she learned of the attack when the department’s former IT director was fired. “I’m already reeling from the fact that we just lost our IT director, and now you’re telling me that there was a hack that no one bothered to share?” Link said during the meeting with the paper.
Election News This Week
Whether you live in a condo in the city or a cul de sac in the suburbs, odds are you’ve had a package stolen. According to one consumer marketing group, at least 36 percent of Americans have reported having a package stolen. And it seems like voters in Florence Township, Michigan may have been a victim as well. St. Joseph County Clerk Lindsay Oswald shipped the township’s ballots to Clerk Alissa Bowers’ home on Jan. 21 via UPS and they never showed up, but on February 3 a resident notified clerk’s office to let them know that ballots were found on the road near the clerk’s home. Oswald’s office is busy reprogramming tabulators to they reject the original ballots if anyone tries to cast them and she is also working on “best practices” to make sure that local clerks know when ballots are on their way and that local clerks contact her when they’ve been received. “My hope is that whatever crime was committed is handled,” Oswald told WWMT, “but as far as the security of the election, I’m completely satisfied that we’ve addressed all angles to make sure that no more further crimes can be done to affect the election outcome.”
The Allegheny County, Pennsylvania council has voted to spend $400,000 on a marketing campaign to familiarize county voters about the county’s new voting system and the numerous new election reform laws on the books for 2020. “This is the largest marketing effort that we’ve ever undertaken,” Kevin Evanto, chief marketing officer for Allegheny County, said during a special meeting of the Allegheny County Board of Elections on Tuesday according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Our goal is to make sure that every registered voter in Allegheny County knows about the new system and has an opportunity to come out, see the new system, use it and ask questions, and be prepared.” The campaign will include print and digital ads on local broadcast TV and in print publications. The county will also post billboards and run ads on buses and the lightrail. There will also be ads on radio and Spotify. The campaign, which will be funded through the Allegheny County marketing budget, will run for two months ahead of the April 28 primary and for another two months ahead of the general election on Nov. 3.
Under emergency rulemaking from Gov. Doug Burgum (R) tribal officials on North Dakota’s five American Indian reservations would be able to verify provisional ballots for reservation residents. According to The Associated Press, The revised system would allow tribes to quickly verify voters, rather than the previous system in which voters had up to six days to return with proof of their identity, possibly discouraging some voters from following through. The order also codifies in state rules the ongoing process of incorporating information from tribal IDs into new electronic poll books that will be used beginning with the June 9 primary election. Secretary of State Al Jaeger Jaeger said ballots marked by tribal members may now be verified by a tribe in conjunction with a local election board. “Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa would like to acknowledge appreciation of collaboration and communication” with the state, Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure said in a statement.
Fallout continues over the Illinois automatic voter registration system that allowed some noncitizens to register to vote. Voter advocacy groups in Illinois are expressing concerns about what may happen to the noncitizens who were registered to vote. “It’s disappointing because the situation could have been avoided,” Lawrence Benito, head of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights told the Chicago Tribune. “They voluntarily told people they were noncitizens. It was not their fault.” According to the paper, Whether that individual, or others yet to surface, could face criminal charges boils down the will of prosecutors. Experts say there’s little chance of charges being filed around Chicago, where the Cook County state’s attorney is a Democrat. However, authorities in more conservative pockets might be more inclined to act. Election officials said they have not been contacted by law enforcement.
Suffrage News: Happy Galentine’s Day! To celebrate, here is some suffrage news you can use. The New York Times has an article about many of the celebrations nationwide set to mark this historic 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In honor of Black History Month and the anniversary of suffrage, USA Today has the stories of 19 black women who fought for voting rights. Tennessee was the tipping point for the 19th Amendment and The Tennessean has an article about the state’s role in the fight for voting rights. Today might be Galentine’s Day, but tomorrow is Valentine’s Day it is also the first Women’s Voter Registration Day in Utah and the 150th anniversary of a Utah woman being the first to vote. Also in Utah, the Weber County Heritage Foundation is striving to honor local women central to the suffrage movement. Elecitonline will be posting information about suffrage celebrations throughout the year, so please don’t hesitate to send us your information.
Sticker News: Rejoice San Francisco vote-by-mail voters because this year, for the first time, the San Francisco Department of Elections is including “I Voted” stickers in the vote-by-mail packages. Eve Peña, outreach assistant manager with the SF Department of Elections, told Hoodline the department has wanted to include stickers in mailed ballots for a long time, but faced logistical challenges — the vote by mail envelopes are assembled using an assembly line which wasn’t designed to handle stickers. “Voters are very excited about this, and so is the Department,” Peña said. “It’s great to be able to provide equal opportunity access to show pride about voting for vote-by-mail voters.”
Personnel News: Oregon State Senator Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) has announced her plans to run for secretary of state. Jeff Franklin has been hired as the chief cybersecurity officer for the Iowa secretary of state’s office. Thomas Freitag has been appointed the director of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania board of elections. David Ball and Christina Proctor have been appointed to the Washington County, New York election review committee. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland) has ended her campaign to be Oregon’s next secretary of state. Kimberly Hinkley has been sworn in as the new Calhoun County, Michigan clerk.
Federal Legislation: U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (Illinois) has introduced the Counting All Military Votes Act, which is aimed toward expanding the Express Mail Labels system. Express Mail Labels are used to expedite and track absentee ballots for on-time delivery from traditional military bases. The bill would require the Department of State to work with the Department of Defense to administer Express Mail Labels to active military at embassies and consulates.
Colorado: HB20-1081 would establish sample ballots in a different language, which people could use to help them vote by 2021 and by 2022, and provide multilingual ballots at voting locations. It would also establish a hotline run by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to help people translate their ballots.
Iowa: Senate Republicans have unveiled their proposed limitations if Iowa voters approve a constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights. The plan would still force those convicted of murder, manslaughter or certain sex crimes to apply to the governor to get their voting rights restored and it would force paroled felons to pay ALL their restitution before they’d get the right to vote.
Kansas: The Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government committee heard testimony this week on a bill that would require all Kansas counties to use paper ballots to count votes. Ballots would have several requirements, including the voter’s signature. Votes would be counted by hand or using vote-tabulating equipment that would tally the paper ballot.
Maryland: Legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit the State Board of Elections from approving a contract with an election service provider unless there is a clause in the contract requiring the provider to disclose to the election board if any part of the manufacturing process took place outside the United States.
Under the Student Voter Empowerment Act, public and private universities with more than 4,500 students would be required to have a polling location on campus. It would also require community colleges and public universities to designate a staff member as a “student voting coordinator”.
Mississippi: Sen. Angela Turner Ford (D-West Point) has filed a Senate Bill 2170, the Restore the Right to Vote Act that would codify the existing process where convicted felons can ask their local representative or senator to introduce a bill granting them the right to vote again.
Missouri: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) has introduced Senate Bill 542, “The Missouri Restoration of Voting Rights Act.” The legislation repeals the prohibition on individuals convicted of a felony and who are now on probation or parole from voting. Under SB 542, individuals convicted of a voting-related felony would still be prohibited from voting. According to the bill’s fiscal note, SB 542 could affect over 60,000 Missourians on probation and parole.
New Jersey: The Legislature is considering a bill that would give poll workers a $75 pay hike for the first time in nearly two decades. If approved, poll workers would make $275 for their approximately 15-hour day. S-598 unanimously cleared the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee this week.
Ohio: Supporters of the “Secure and Fair Elections” amendment turned in a second draft of their petition, after the Ohio attorney general rejected their first copy. The AG’s office said the first petition’s summary was longer than the language for the actual constitutional amendment. Petitioners are seeking automatic voter registration, same day voter registration and 28 days of early voting.
South Dakota: The GOP-lead house has stymied an effort to allow Native American residents to use their tribal IDs to register to vote. the House considered an amendment to a voter registration bill that would have allowed tribal IDs to be used for voter registration, alongside state drivers’ and nondrivers’ licenses and social security numbers. Republicans defeated the measure, arguing that the secretary of state could not verify the information on the IDs, which are issued by the tribes. They were also concerned that not every tribal ID provides an address, which could allow people who live outside the state to vote in South Dakota elections. On Wednesday, Rep. Tamara St. John (R-Sisseton) and a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate offered an amendment that would add tribal IDs to the list of acceptable IDs to register. The amendment would require an MOU between the secretary of state’s office and the tribe. The amendment was approved and the bill now awaits a vote from the full Senate.
By a 41-26 vote, the House approved HB1050 that will allow the secretary of state’s office to create an online voter registration system. The bill now moves to the Senate. If approved and signed by the governor it would be in place beginning July 1, 2021.
Utah: The House Government Operations Committee has voted 7-2 to advance HB70 that would eliminate straight-ticked voting.
Virginia: The Senate has approved a bill that would do away with Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday and instead would make Election Day a statewide holiday. The bill was approved 22-18 and heads next to the House.
Also in Virginia, by a 57-42 the House backed House Bill 1103 that will allow local jurisdictions to decide whether or not to conduct local elections using ranked choice voting. The measure moves to the Senate where a Senate-initiated version of the bill was killed in committee.
Legislators are considering a bill that would extend polling hours to 8 p.m. Polls in Virginia are some of the earliest to open at 6 a.m., but they close at 7 p.m.
By a 53-44 vote the House has approved HB201 that would allow same day voter registration. If signed into law, it would take effect in July 2022.
House Bill 19, which would remove the requirement to show a photo ID in order to vote was approved 57-43 on the final day for House bills to be considered. Voters would be able to show voter registration documents, bank statements, paychecks or any government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Voters who do not show valid identification when signing in to vote would be required to sign a sworn affidavit stating that they are who they claim to be. The signed statement subjects the person to Class 5 felony penalties if the statement is false.
West Virginia: Gov Jim Justice (R) has signed a bill into law that will allow counties to offer voters with disabilities to vote via online technologies, the same as those the secretary of state’s office has been using to allow military and overseas voters to cast their ballots.
Wisconsin: The Milwaukee county supervisors have voted to increase funding for voter registration resources from $50,000 to $100K. “This gives us more resources to do more and reach more people,” Executive Director of the Milwaukee Co. Election Commission and Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson told WDJT. “We are planning a very robust voter education outreach program and we hope this will help voters feel comfortable going to the polls, understand what they need when they go to vote and making sure they’re registered.”
Wyoming: The House is considering a bill that would clearly state that tribal IDs are a valid form of ID when registering to vote. The House approved the bill on first reading and must do so on two more readings before the bill is then sent to the Senate. The legislation says: “a tribal identification card issued by the governing body of the Eastern Shoshone tribe of Wyoming, the Northern Arapaho tribe of Wyoming or other federally recognized Indian tribe that contains the applicant’s driver’s license number, if the applicant has a driver’s license, and the last four (4) digits of the applicant’s social security number” would be considered valid forms of ID for voting registration.
Federal Judges: Several media outlets have stories this week about the recent appointment of federal judges who have openly expressed their dislike of the Voting Rights Act. The nominations were “an opening salvo to 2020,” and not a welcome one at that, Lena Zwarensteyn, an expert on the judiciary at the progressive Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights told Yahoo News. She worried that these jurists were advancing “really extreme arguments when it comes to voting rights.”
Arizona: The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Arizona’s 2016 ban on ballot harvesting, which the court overruled in January, can remain in place for the March 17 presidential preference primary.
Florida: Officials have arrested 27-year-old Gregory William Loel Timm and charged him with two counts of aggravated assault on a person over 65-years old, criminal mischief and driving without a license. On February 8 Timm struck a tent where volunteers with the Republican Party were registering voters. Lt. Larry Gayle said after driving through the tent, the driver, now identified as Timm, stopped, took a video and “flipped off” the people who were inside the tent before driving away. Investigators have been monitoring social media to see if the video shows up. No injuries were reported.
Georgia: Federal District Judge Eleanor L. Ross disagreed with Gov. Brian Kemp who is a defendant in a 2018 lawsuit filed while he was still secretary of state. The suit alleges that Kemp used a racially-biased methodology for removing as many as 700,000 legitimate voters from the state’s voter rolls during a period between 2016 and 2018. Kemp had demanded a summary judgement because the plain meaning of the language in the NVRA does not encompass the Crosscheck lists (because the Georgia SOS never fully utilized them). “The Court disagrees,” Ross said in her summary, “finding sufficient evidence in the record that would cast a genuine dispute as to the material facts on this issue.” In her conclusion, the judge said she is considering a summary judgment finding against Kemp.
Also in Georgia, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled this week that plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that metro Atlanta’s four largest counties failed to provide enough polling places, voting machines and staff during the 2018 election, didn’t show how the court should intervene beyond ordering election officials to comply with the law. “This court does not sit as a guarantor of a flawless election,” Totenberg wrote. “The court is sensitive to and concerned with the potential for voter disenfranchisement that was felt in 2018. However, plaintiffs’ allegations fail to concretely establish how the court can effectively redress the asserted injuries.” Totenberg wrote that if county election officials can’t carry out their duties in this year’s elections, the plaintiffs could file another lawsuit on behalf of affected voters.
Minnesota: The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has filed suit against Secretary of State Steve Simon alleging that state voting laws discriminate against voters who may need assistance. State law forbids political candidates from assisting any voters with their ballots, including in circumstances when the voter has a disability or language barrier. It is also a crime in Minnesota for one person to help more than three people vote, even if they have challenges doing so on their own. The suit argues that these state laws violate the federal Voting Rights Act, which “explicitly allows people who need assistance to choose who will help them to ensure voters are not disenfranchised because of disability or language barriers.”
North Carolina: A transgender woman, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, has filed suit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections and the Mecklenburg County board of elections claiming that she was denied equal protection under state law and endured emotional stress when an elections official in Cornelius questioned her identity in November.
North Dakota: Judge Daniel Hovland, of Bismarck, ruled this week, that the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and six enrolled tribal members have the legal standing to sue Secretary of State Al Jaeger over the laws, which require voters to present a form of identification that lists a valid residential address.
West Virginia: Tess Alayna Bishop, 29 of Salt Lake City has been charged with illegal voting in the June 2019 municipal election in Harpers Ferry, an election that is still in dispute and in the court system. According to the Herald Mail, Bishop faces a maximum one-year jail sentence and $1,000 fine if convicted, but could avoid incarceration and a fine if a proposed plea agreement is accepted.
Online Voting: Researchers at MIT say they have uncovered security vulnerabilities in a mobile voting app used by West Virginia and several counties throughout the country. According to MIT News, the security analysis of the application, called Voatz, pinpoints a number of weaknesses, including the opportunity for hackers to alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted. Additionally, the researchers found that Voatz’s use of a third-party vendor for voter identification and verification poses potential privacy issues for users. According to MIT News, researchers disclosed their findings to CISA and worked with CISA to ensure that impacted elections officials and the vendor were aware of the findings before the research was made public. This included preparing written summaries of the findings with proof-of-concept code, and direct discussions with affected elections officials on calls arranged by CISA.
Websites: CIRCLE has launched a new website. Along with a much-needed visual upgrade, the new CIRCLE site is easier to navigate and better reflects and communicates the most relevant and timely strands of the organization’s work. CIRCLE has also redesigned its weekly newsletter to go with it, bringing back a name—Around the CIRCLE—from years past as the organization move toward the future!
Idaho: Last week local elections officials expressed concerns about the state’s new voter registration system that is set to roll out in March. They were concerned about the system’s readiness for a March 11 debut and what they considered a lack of response from the secretary of state’s office. Now, after a meeting from clerks around the state and the secretary of state, Bannock County Clerk Jason Dixon told KPVI that the results of the meeting were “very encouraging.” Dixon says a software update fixing 35 system issues should be rolled out in the next few days, and training for counties across the state on the new software begins this week.
Maryland: Following issues with a state-run wireless network used to transmit voter information from polling places to the state during a special election last week, the state board of elections announced that it will not require the state’s six largest counties to use the wireless network during the 2020 election cycle. n a statement, Nikki Charlson, the deputy director at the Maryland State Board of Elections, said the decision not to require the six jurisdictions to use the system was made “to give voters full confidence that their voting experience will be safe, timely and secure.” “For Tuesday’s special primary election for the 7th Congressional District, a network was used to connect electronic pollbooks to SBE’s server. While the vast majority of voters voted without issue over 13 hours, a small number of voters encountered delays due to the implementation of this system,” the statement said. “Our electronic pollbooks are not connected to the voting system and do not impact election results, yet we are not satisfied when any voter encounters an unnecessary delay. As such, the local boards of elections will not be required to implement this system in the 2020 Primary or General Elections.”
Pennsylvania: Officials in Philadelphia are working on a new app that they hope will drive voter turnout by young people. At the Jan. 8 City Commissioners’ Sunshine Meeting, Commissioner Omar Sabir made a motion to create the app. Now he says they’re working on the procurement process, allowing the public to submit suggestions to the Commissioner’s Office about what features the app should include. “We want suggestions about what you want to see in this mobile app,” Sabir told WKYW. “So if we do it together it will build excitement.”
Opinions This Week
Alabama: Voter suppression
Alaska: Ranked choice voting
Arizona: Election law changes
California: Mandatory voting
Colorado: League of Women Voters
Hawaii: Automatic voter registration
Illinois: Primary preparations
Iowa: Ex-felon voting rights
Kansas: Vote centers
Maine: Ranked choice voting
Montana: Election judges
Nevada: Top-two primary
North Carolina: One-stop voting
South Carolina: Voting process
Tennessee: Shelby County
Utah: Straight-ticket voting
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. 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 3: Integrating low-cost tracking and reporting tools. 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 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.
Analyst, Michigan Secretary of State’s Office— This position works with the Subject Matter Expect on all Michigan Department of State activities related to the automatic voter registration. Automatic voter registration is required under a 2018 amendment to the Michigan Constitution. Voter registration during driver’s license and personal ID transactions must now be automatic; eligible customers are registered to vote unless they affirmatively decline registration. The incumbent provides guidance and assistance to the branch staff to ensure they are properly trained in the automatic voter registration process. The position handles customer complaints, inquiries, and system problems. This position analyzes program data and prepares reports as requested. Salary: $21.03 – $32.95 Hourly. Deadline: Feb. 18. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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. 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 Chief Information Security Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (Deputy CISO), the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding achieving mission goals; ensuring that all IT functions are integrated, prioritized and executed within agency priorities and allocated resources; and working closely with EAC’s service providers. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. 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.
Election Judge Recruiter, Montgomery County, Maryland— The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking an Election Judge Recruiter (Administrative Specialist I). This is a full-time, permanent position responsible for recruiting, scheduling, and evaluating the job performance of thousands of voters who work at polling places during early voting and on Election Day. Duties will include: Recruiting workers, including making cold calls and conducting in-person outreach at evening and weekend events; Training and mentoring temporary employees; Developing and implementing outreach strategies; Analyzing a high volume of data at a fast pace to identify staffing gaps, recommend adjustments to training schedules and target outreach efforts; Preparing and presenting effective reports and charts; and Ensuring partisan diversity and recruiting multilingual workers. Salary: $47,848-$78,902. Deadline: February 21. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here (search under general preferences).
Elections & Passport Manager, Benton County, Oregon— Benton County is currently seeking an Elections & Passports Manager to join the team. This position is responsible for the management of the Elections and Passports division operations and staff. Organize election and passport activities in Benton County, under the direction of the County Clerk and in accordance with applicable laws. Assist the Department Director/County Clerk in oversee operations in the Records & Elections department. Manage Records & Licenses division staff and assume the duties of the County Clerk, as needed. Salary: $59,404 – $89,119. Deadline: March 6. 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.
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.
Proposals Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Proposals Program Manager will be responsible for leading and coordinating cross-functional teams for the successful development of proposals and management of the proposal lifecycle. This includes requests for proposals, requests for information, support for post-proposal contract questions, and other related activities. The Proposals Program Manager will work closely with key stakeholders and input providers across each peer group including Sales, Product Management, Finance, Operations and Engineering. This position reports to the Director of Certification and Proposals. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Cyber Program Manager, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— As the Senior Cyber Program Manager, the incumbent provides policy, leadership and direction, and serves as a key contributor to the EAC’s strategy regarding the Election Technology Program. The incumbent furthers the EAC’s efforts in various arenas; works to improve federal, state and local relations with regard to elections; and provides strategic guidance to senior staff on various issues pertaining to elections and specifically, election security. Salary: $96,970 to $148,967. Deadline: April 27. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Site Reliability Engineer, Democracy Works— As our first Site Reliability Engineer, you will guide the direction of the infrastructure engineering discipline at Democracy Works; exemplifying reliable, measurable, secure and repeatable practices that will act as a “force multiplier” across our products. You will: Maintain our infrastructure using Terraform and Kubernetes. Design, build, maintain, and plan for growth of infrastructure at Democracy Works. Create and maintain monitoring and alerting for services. Create and maintain documentation for the systems and tools that you work with. Automate “toil” – discover repetitive manual actions, document those actions, and automate them if possible. Improve existing automation to mitigate risk introduced through the natural process of software change. Join an on-call rotation for services you are responsible for. Review existing code and architecture for security and reliability. Work closely with developers and product teams regarding security and reliability implications of software and infrastructure changes. Aid developers in debugging production issues across services in a distributed system. Assist with interview processes for other available roles at Democracy Works. Work with product teams to balance and prioritize your work according to external deadlines and organizational goals. Salary: $105,000 – $125,000. 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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