In Focus This Week
It’s not your father’s in-person voting
GCC and SCC release new set of voluntary tools
By M. Mindy Moretti
The onset of the global health pandemic has forced local elections officials to awaken their inner-MacGyver and come up with a host of ways to keep voters and poll workers safe during in-person voting.
There are plexiglass shields and Q-tip styluses and at my vote center on primary day, the “I Voted” stickers (we got two) were bagged in snack-sized Ziploc bags that the poll worker then handed to voters using a set of cooking tongs. No contact service at its best!
While these ideas are great and no doubt there are many more like them out there, the Election Infrastructure Subsector’s Government Coordinating Council (GCC) and Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) have come out with a new set of voluntary tools for state and local election officials for in-person voting.
“While more Americans than ever will vote by mail or absentee ballot this year, we know that safe in-person voting options will still be a critical component of the 2020 election,” said EAC Chairman Ben Hovland. “These documents addressing in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic will hopefully help state and local election officials protect voters and election workers in their jurisdictions.”
The team behind the new set of guides—initially planned as one large guide and instead turned into four smaller, easier to digest guides—were just completing the work on the absentee/vote-by-mail guides when the Wisconsin April 7 primary occurred.
“We were writing the guide as Wisconsin was conducting their election so we were watching the news daily for both the challenges as well as some of the amazing contingency plans that local election officials were putting into place,” explained Jennifer Morrell, partner The Elections Group.
In addition to watching what was actually happening on the ground, Morrell noted that they were getting fairly regular updates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and thinking about how to incorporate those in the new guides.
“As we did with the documents that dealt with the expansion of mail-in voting processes, we looked specifically at the parts of the election process where the risk landscape was shifting due to COVID-19,” explained Ryan Macias, election security expert, Lafayette Group, Inc., “For instance finding voting location and election workers and processes were going to change, so those were the included. However, we saw that preparing for an election in general was going to shift, both in process (i.e., working in a telework environment), but also at the election office so we tried to address those topics as well. Dealing with these items are going to be applicable regardless of the election model(s) being implemented.”
Noah Praetz, contract advisor to CISA on election security and partner in The Elections Group, outlined the initial guide and then the rest of the team contributed to all of the factors to consider.
“Election officials are professional contingency planners and risk managers. Those skills are being put to the test this year,” Praetz said. “Nobody knows what the health situation will be like in October and November but in-person voting must be available; voting locations need to be accessible, safe and secure.”
The working group crafted these documents to help election officials as they consider all implications of changes to the in-person environment, whether they are running a full-scale operation, or scaling down greatly due to changes in demand brought by increased mail voting or in response to supply challenges from loss of election workers or facilities.
As the COVID working group developed considerations for rapidly changing mail voting, it was obvious that election officials were equally in need of information on how to run in-person voting. For some that meant modifying location layout for voting booths, for others that meant massive downsizing. Each eventuality has implications for voters, administrators and workers.
Cost and implementation timeframes are always a consideration when assessing and providing recommendations for election officials Macias noted.
“Similarly, we approach it from a standpoint of whether small and midsized jurisdictions (the Last Mile) have the capacity and capabilities to implement these recommendations and/or risk management considerations, so it is always on our mind,” Macias said. “However, in all the COVID response documents (In-person and Mail-In), we were identifying the items election officials should be considering as they maneuver in this dynamic environment, as well as pointing at other resources, best practices, and suggestions that are already available. That being said, we were constantly being asked what are other state and local election officials are doing, especially as it pertains to the additional HAVA and CARES Act funds, so we wanted to make sure to address those items and share some suggestions.”
The intent was not to come up with good ideas, per se, it was to filter all the ideas that are already flooding election officials and find those that election officials may be able to successfully implement with the time and resource constraints, then identify the risks and challenges they will be faced with, and provide resources and best practices for how to manages them.
“The point that I would like to make is that these were intended to be living guidance documents and as such, were versioned ‘1.0,’ explained Brian Hancock, director, Infrastructure Policy Product Development, Unisyn Voting Solutions. “CISA, the GCC and SCC are already beginning to review what worked well and what did not work well during the June 2nd and 9th primary elections. This review will result in a number of ‘lessons learned’ and, hopefully, updated guidance documents and other materials to assist state and local election officials.”
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2020 Election Updates
If there could be a perfect storm in the elections world, Tuesday’s primary in Georgia may be the perfect example. Georgia was rolling out a new voting system for the first time in a statewide primary. In the months before the coronavirus pandemic struck state and local elections officials spent hours demonstrating the new equipment to voters. However, once the pandemic struck, voter education slowed and crucial poll worker training was limited. In addition to dealing with new equipment, officials in many counties were forced to consolidate polling places due to a shortage of poll workers who chose not to work because of the pandemic. Although many voters chose to vote by mail and cast early ballots in Georgia’s twice-delayed primary, tens of thousands of voters still showed up to vote in-person on Tuesday and the day was marred by hours-long waits and technical difficulties with the last voters not casting a ballot until Wednesday.
There are 159 counties in Georgia and many of them had good days on Tuesday. The problem is, the bulk of the problems occurred where the bulk of the population lives. On Tuesday and again in a statement on Wednesday, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger blamed the issues on county leaders and said that his office has opened an investigation into what happened. “The Secretary of State’s Office cannot administer elections, every Georgia county is charged with that responsibility,” the statement reads. “But what is clear from yesterday, is that while almost every county delivered successful elections—a couple did not.” However, it’s not that simple and some have even called for the secretary to resign.
In Dougherty County, Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said lack of staffing is what really threw a wrench in the process. “Some, of course, had quit, some quit last week, the week before the election and there was nothing we could do. We are hopeful that by November our main concern is having enough poll workers to ensure all 28 precincts are open and we are not having to combine,” Nickerson told WALB. In Richmond County, at least two polling sites opened late. “All of us we’re kind of learning as we went through the day yesterday and poll workers while they were trained and had good training materials with them it was still a struggle to get through the opening process that happened almost across the board but in all but two instances we were able to overcome through trouble shooting sending technicians out and getting the polls open on time,” Elections Director Lynn Bailey told WJBF. Officials in DeKalb County were forced to keep some precincts officially open until as late as 10:10pm. DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond called the situation a “statewide meltdown.” He said the county had already received hundreds of calls by 9 a.m., two hours after polls opened. Thurmond apologized to voters early Tuesday and said elections staff was working to rectify issues where possible. He said the county was getting water and chairs to precincts where voters had long waits. In Gwinnett County, where you voted depended on whether or not you faced problems. Some precincts reported no issues while there were hours-long waits at others. There were reports of voting precincts not having scanners to scan paper ballots, no printers to print the ballots, no paper to print the ballots on or no voting equipment at all when precincts opened. In Cobb County, 19 voting precincts were forced to stay open late due to delayed openings. Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections director Richard Barron released a statement late on Tuesday thanking voters for their patience and saying, “The majority of our precincts had minimal issues throughout the day. All that being said, this is a learning experience for our team, and we have some takeaways from today’s events. We have identified several areas for improvement to help us be better prepared for the general election in November. Specifically, these include our absentee ballot process, tailoring poll worker training to emphasize the issues we identified today and undertaking an efficiency review for other process improvements.” In addition to a day of lines and equipment problems, officials in Chatham County are still wading through thousands of absentee ballots. “As anticipated and requested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of voters cast their votes by absentee ballot, with a total of almost 31,000,” Chatham County Board of Elections Chair Tom Mahoney explained in a statement. “Voters continued to hand deliver their absentee ballots up to 7:00 election night. “The Board of Registrar’s staff hand-processed and approved absentee ballots all night and then delivered multiple boxes of absentee ballots to the Board of Elections to be counted.” He added that there are dozens of boxes of absentee ballots that haven’t been opened at this point.
As we mentioned to start, things weren’t all bad all over. In Athens-Clarke there were no reports of lines and what technical glitches that arose were quickly fixed. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Board of Elections members circulated to polling places around the county during the day, but saw no long lines. “I haven’t seen any issues with long lines and haven’t heard any complaints,” Board of Elections Chair Jesse Evans told the paper. Officials in Dawson County deemed Tuesday’s election a huge success despite the challenges faced. “We’ve had a steady stream of people,” Board of Elections and Registrations Director Glenda Ferguson told The Dawson County News. “It’s been very steady, very good. We haven’t had any major issues that I’m aware of.” Voters in Harris County said things went smoothly at their voting sites. “Once I got to the clubhouse in Harris County, it was pretty easy,” voter Gina Dewberry told WTVM. “[I] walked in probably waited in line 10 minutes, then after that, got my little card, sat down, voted, and that was it easy.” Officials in Franklin County said that while it was a completely different experience from elections past, things went well on Tuesday. “I think it’s gone really well,” Elections Supervisor Gina Kesler told the Citizen Leader. “I knew it was going to be a learning process on Election Day.”
Also, we would be remiss not to report that a driver, who had just voted in Gwinnett County, suffered a medical emergency and his car jumped a curb and ran into a group of voters waiting to cast their ballot and then struck the building. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one voter was struck and she suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries. The driver initially fled the scene and was followed by a witness and then detained and released by police.
Nevada had initially planned to conduct the entire 2020 primary by mail, but after Democrats sued, elections officials and party officials came to an agreement to open a limited number of primary day polling places. And while an overwhelming number of voters chose to vote by mail, lines for in-person voting on primary day stretched for hours in some places with the final voters not casting their ballots until the wee hours of Wednesday. Las Vegas only had three in-person voting sites on primary day and Reno had one. Clark County’s top election official said Wednesday that the lines that forced voters to cast ballots into the early morning hours were “unacceptable,” and November’s general election will be better. “There were things we could have done in hindsight, but it would have required more resources to buy more equipment along those lines for a one-time election,” Joe Gloria, Clark County’s registrar of voters told the Las Vegas Review Journal. Washoe County had a total of 95, 375 ballots were cast as of Wednesday. 1,279 of the ballots were cast in person. Washoe County elections chief Deanna Spikula said county staff had to clear the polling place several times to accommodate voters who refused to wear masks or have their temperatures taken as a screening for fever, a symptom of COVID-19. She called the time-intensive procedure necessary to allow everyone to vote, including those unable to wear masks for health reasons.
North Dakota conducted its June primary entirely by mail and you know what happens when you conduct an election entirely by mail? There are often very few headlines. There was some pre-election news though with several election judge’s in Cass County quitting over health safety concerns. Election judge Isaac Spanjer told KVLV he and two other election judges walked out of the job on the week before primary day. “We had a general anti-mask sentiment,” Spanjer said. For most election officials it mean adjusting to a new way of life. Cass County Election Coordinator DeAnn Buckhouse told KVRR his election cycle has had her staff adjust to a lot of changes, but it’s still keeping workers as busy as previous elections. On election day, Buckhouse would usually be assisting hundreds of election workers with the various problems that arise at polling sites across Cass County. She and her staff would normally be testing machines, and transporting equipment and supplies all over the county, but on Tuesday, her phone was quiet.
After legislators made adjustments to South Carolina’s absentee laws, a record number of voters chose to cast their ballot by mail instead of showing up at the polls. The state also offered early in-person voting which helped ease with primary day crowding. That doesn’t mean everything went smoothly though. Richland County, which seems to perpetually have problems on voting days, had the most issues. The final vote cast at one Richland precinct was a 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday the 10th. According to WLTX, the problems were first reported as soon as the precincts began. Some people went to their precinct and noticed the building was closed, even though online records showed that precinct would still be open. That forced some to drive miles away to another location. Other people said ballots appeared to be incomplete, or they received the wrong ballot entirely. There was even one case of a poll worker writing names by hand on a provisional ballot. “One of my clerks was giving handwritten ballots– or they were writing in a candidate’s name on a ballot, which they shouldn’t have, they shouldn’t have defaced a ballot. And that’s something that I don’t know what training they have received, what class they received, but that’s not something that we have trained them to do,” said Interim Richland County Election Director Terry Graham. In a statement the South Carolina Election Commission said it is “stepping up involvement” in the Richland Co. elections office and state officials will assist with poll manager training and allocation, voting equipment testing and deployment and election day operations for the June 23 runoffs. Although voters in Horry County appreciated the new COVID-19 precautions at the polls, there were some issues when some voters were given the wrong ballots. There were also ballot issues in Greenville County, which Greenville County Director of Elections Conway Belangia chalked up to new, inexperienced poll workers. He said the poll worker’s job has a “huge learning curve,” and there were not enough experienced workers to help them through any difficulties. “I’m glad that if something like this is going to happen, it happened during the primary and not the general election,” Belangia told WYFF. In-person voting in Spartanburg County was greater than county officials expected. “We had issues of not having enough poll managers to handle the volume of people we expected,” said Spartanburg County Elections Director Henry Laye. “Social distancing exacerbated the issue.” And in Colleton County one polling place had to be temporarily shut down and cleaned and new equipment brought in after a COVID-19 positive voter arrived to cast their ballot.
In the days leading up to the Tuesday primary, county officials statewide were struggling to keep up with the waves of absentee ballots, but primary day itself, with limited in-person voting, went smoothly. Even though there were record number of absentee and early votes, overall turnout was down from 2016. While voters in other states faced hours-long waits, in polling places throughout the Mountain State, voters faced short, if any, wait times at all. Voter Bunmi Kusimo-Frazier told WSAZ she requested an absentee ballot but then decided to vote in-person after virus activity decreased to be able to take her daughter to the polls with her.”The biggest difference was that it was less crowded today than it normally is,” Kusimo-Frazier said. “Normally, I have to wait for a while and there are a lot more people, but today there were a lot fewer people.” She is used to a 20-minute wait to vote at Stonewall Jackson Middle School, but was able to walk right up to the voting machine on Tuesday. Kanawah County was faced with last-minute issues after 50 poll workers decided that the could not work the primary election. Fortunately the county clerk’s office was able to accommodate voters on primary day. In Wood County, County Clerk Mark Rhodes said they faced the usual election day issues and there were some lines at times throughout the day, but overall things were smooth given the circumstances. There were some issues in Harrison County getting results out because of absentee ballots. “You have to go through some of the ballots. There were over-votes and marks made where they shouldn’t have been made and they had to go through and those had to be recreated and it takes time and we wanted to make sure we did it right,” county clerk Susan Thomas told WBOY. And in the race for secretary of state, incumbent Secretary Mac Warner (R) will face off against former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D).
Rescheduled Primaries: At press time, the following states have rescheduled their primaries: Connecticut 8/11; Delaware 7/7; Kentucky 6/23; Louisiana 7/11; Maine 7/14; New Jersey 7/7; New York 6/23; Virginia 6/23.
Legislative and legal actions surrounding the elections and the coronavirus pandemic can be found in their respective sections of the newsletter.
Kansas: It’s a win-win. Voters get protected and a small business gets back to work. The Kansas secretary of state’s office also enlisted the help of Kansas and Missouri-based company Binswanger Glass to make 2,200 plexiglass shields to protect both voters and poll workers from the coronavirus spread. This partnership allowed the company to bring their employees back to work after being furloughed due to the coronavirus. Manager of the Topeka Binswanger Glass branch said he was happy to be able to bring his staff back. “I thought, ‘man this would be a great opportunity to get my folks back to work,’” Jason Tomlinson told KKSN. “So I jumped right on it.” The shields are specially made in Topeka and will be packaged and shipped out to counties by the end of the month. From there, counties will assemble the shields to be used at polling locations. All necessary tools and storage bags will be provided for counties. “We’ve tried very hard to be responsive and we understand that the need is there and it’s pressing. So quick turn times have been something that we try to accomplish here,” added Tomlinson.
Maine: Gov. Janet Mills has signed an executive order giving Mainers more time to request absentee ballots for the July 14 primary. Residents will now have until July 9 to request absentee ballots and submit voter registration applications by mail or third person in advance of the primary and state referendum election
New Hampshire: The state of New Hampshire has laid out the process for people to register by mail to vote in this fall’s elections. Under the state’s guidance, to register by mail, a prospective voter would request an absentee voter packet from their city or town clerk or from the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Voters would need to fill out a registration form, and provide election officials with a copy of a current photo ID, and a copy of bill, bank statement or other document showing the person’s name and address. They also need a witness, who could stand 6 feet away or behind a window, to watch the voter sign their form and to attest via affidavit to the voter’s identity. Forms would need to be returned – by mail or hand delivery — to local clerks.
Oklahoma: After the Legislature provided new absentee options through Senate Bill 210 the State Board of Election instructions will be included with absentee ballot applications that outline the new options. The Secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board joined representatives of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, Oklahoma Credit Union Association, and Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma today to announce that financial institutions across the state plan to offer free absentee voting services to all Oklahoma voters. Participating banks and credit unions will offer one or more of the following services to voters: Free ID copy (lobby and/or drive-thru); Free absentee ballot notarization (lobby and/or drive-thru). “Banks and credit unions are in almost every community in Oklahoma. They’re our neighbors and community partners and they realize the importance of democracy. That’s why we’re excited to work with these financial institutions to ensure that every voter — both customers and non-customers alike — have free and convenient absentee services available to them,” said Paul Ziriax, secretary of the State Election Board.
Texas: The Harris County clerk’s office has sent a mail ballot application to every registered voter 65-and-over. Interim-County Clerk Christopher Hollins said he wants to provide a safe avenue for voting amid the pandemic. Hollins sent applications to 376,840 voters, about 16 percent of the voter roll. “Our goal is to keep our voters 65 and up safe amid the current health crisis by giving them the opportunity to vote from home,” Hollins said in a statement.
Virginia: Someone once said it takes a village to raise a child and in these turbulent times it can also take a village to conduct an election. The Charlottesville Electoral Board enlisted the help of resident Jojo Robertson to collect face masks for elderly voters for the June 23 primary. Robertson put out a message on social media and within two days had all the masks necessary to hand out to elderly voters. “I truly believe, though Charlottesville has been through so much, that the people in this town are the most giving, caring, compassionate people,” Robertson told WVIR. “And I think a lot of times, that’s maybe overlooked for the negative things that have happened here.” The Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps is looking for volunteers to build a team of Infection Prevention Ambassadors to help local election officials with the upcoming primary. Ambassadors will assist with proper use of face coverings, monitor social distancing measures by voters an ensure proper sanitation methods. Ambassadors will be stationed inside polling places and will also help clean voting machines. They will not assist in any election worker duties.
Election News This Week
This week, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission announced appointments for Mona Harrington as Executive Director and Kevin Rayburn as General Counsel. The EAC Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the appointments for both positions via tally vote. “This unanimous vote of the Commission shows the confidence we have in these great candidates to lead the EAC into its next chapter,” said Chairman Ben Hovland. “Ensuring elections are secure, accessible, accurate and safe is critical for every election, and 2020 has presented unique challenges. With Ms. Harrington and Mr. Rayburn leading our staff, the EAC is better positioned to add value to the elections community and help election officials in the lead up to November and for years to come.” Harrington was named Acting Executive Director of the EAC in October 2019. Rayburn brings a decade of experience as an attorney in various capacities in the public and private sectors. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Elections Director and Deputy General Counsel for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office
Ageism goes both ways. A coalition of voting rights groups argues in a new report that Texas, South Carolina and multiple other U.S. states are violating the U.S. Constitution by only letting older citizens vote by mail. the Voting Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles, the National Vote at Home Institute and other groups claim that placing age restrictions on absentee voting violates the 26th Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to vote at the age of 18. “These laws use age to create two classes of voters – one with easier access to the ballot box than the other – and work to abridge the voting rights of younger voters,” the groups behind the report said in a statement. The coalition is pushing for “immediate litigation” against states with age restrictions on absentee voting.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “why don’t they just mail everyone a ballot,” the elections dog and I would be retired by now. But now I’ve at least got something to reference while rolling my eyes. The Providence Journal has a breakdown of how Rhode Island’s first largely vote-by-mail election went and this statistic stuck out: Approximately 100,000 of the mail ballot applications the state sent, unsolicited, to 779,463 registered voters were returned as undeliverable, according to post-election reports from the Board of Elections. “The system is not built for this number of mail ballots, which tells us there are going to have to be systemic changes to deal with the number of mail ballots we anticipate in the fall,” said Stephen Erickson, vice chairman of the state Board of Elections. “This is not as simple as flipping a switch.”
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, has asked the Wisconsin Elections Commission to ban the process of ballot harvesting. In Wisconsin’s April presidential primary, 3 in 4 voters used absentee ballots and high absentee voting is expected again in November, putting the spotlight on the practice of ballot harvesting. Wisconsin law does not specifically outlaw the practice. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, on behalf of five registered voters, argues that it believes state law does not allow it but could be interpreted to permit it. The law firm is asking the Wisconsin Elections Commission to enact a rule to enforce the firm’s interpretation of the law. The request filed Monday is for the commission to clarify that only the voter may request an absentee ballot and that person then must place the ballot in the mail or return it in person, meaning a third party group could not do it for the voter. Commission spokesman Reid Magney had no immediate comment on the request.
Sticker News: Congratulations to 17-year-old Milka Negasi who created the winning design for a new “I Voted” sticker for the city of Nashville, Tennessee. Negasi’s design celebrates the 100th anniversary of suffrage which gave women the right to vote when Tennessee became the final state necessary to ratify the amendment in August of 1920. “It shows the importance of all women in the voting process, and how the inclusion of these voices is absolutely fundamental to initiating the representation people would like to see in political elections and pushing for the right changes in policy,” Negasi told the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. Metro Arts partnered with the Davidson County Election Commission to host the contest for middle and high school students to highlight Tennessee’s role in securing women’s right to vote. Negasi’s design was selected from among 75 contest entries.The new sticker will be available at all Davidson County early voting and Election Day voting locations for the August general and November presidential elections.
Sticker News II: Our cup runneth over this week with even more news of “I Voted” stickers. The Utah Office of Elections and Better Days 2020 announced Tuesday that this year’s Utah “I Voted” stickers will feature images commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first American women to vote under an equal suffrage law, which occurred in Utah. The stickers will also feature the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which extended women’s voting rights throughout the nation, said a news release from the Office of the Lt. Governor. To celebrate these anniversaries, the organizations partnered to produce a special edition set of “I Voted” stickers, which will be distributed throughout the months of June and November of this year via some mail-in ballots, at drive-through voting locations and via other means. Precautions will be taken to ensure safety of sticker delivery and distribution in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personnel News: Sherry Melton has been named the interim director of the Anson County, North Carolina board of elections.
Alaska: The Mat-Su Borough Assembly passed an amended version of Resolution 20-053 allowing voting precincts to remain open for in person voting for the Nov. 3 election, but robustly promotes absentee voting. The assembly heard testimony from 38 people on the ordinance at the assembly meeting on Tuesday night. Assemblyman Tim Hale moved an amendment to the ordinance that allocated $500,000 of CARES Act funding to the Clerk to promote a robust absentee voting campaign including two mailers to all registered voters, one of which must be an absentee ballot application. Hale’s amendment also directed the borough clerk to provide legislation outlining the changes that would need to occur to conduct a by-mail election, along with the absentee ballot applications and appropriate protective equipment for election officials.
California: A San Diego City Council committee will consider a measure that would allow voters to rank their top four choices for a public office to produce a “higher quality” election outcome. Under the plan, which if approved by the council would be presented to voters in November in the form of a ballot measure, the top four candidates in a normal primary election would advance to a general election for ranking by voters.
District of Columbia: Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has introduced a bill that among other things would allow felons in D.C. to vote while still serving prison time. The Board of Elections would be required to send eligible residents voter registration forms, voter guides and a mail-in ballot for the November election.
Iowa: The restoration of voting rights for felons passed the House Wednesday. According to the bill, if the person’s right are restored by the governor or the president of the United States, that person may register to vote. The bill states that before the person can register to vote though they must have done the following: Complete any parole, probation or special sentence; Must pay victim restitution; If the offense is child endangerment resulting in death or murder in the first degree, that person must have received a pardon or restoration of rights from the governor. A Senate committee which halted advancement of the bill last year has approved the 2020 version of the legislation.
Also in Iowa, House File 2486 seeks to undo emergency action taken by Iowa Sec. of State Paul Pate in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to minimize risk to the voting public, Pate, sent absentee ballot request forms to every active registered voter in April. As a result, absentee voting surged. Sen. Roby Smith’s, R-District 47 amendment would allow the secretary of state to make changes to election processes in the case of weather or wartime emergencies, but not for the current pandemic. Anyone requesting absentee ballots or voting early would be required to provide voter identification. Smith’s amendment also would prevent Pate from making changes to early or absentee voting in the time of an emergency. The Senate approved the amended bill 30-19 with only Republican support.
Massachusetts: The House has approved H.4768 which includes several provisions that will provide more flexibility in registration and voting while prioritizing social distancing recommendations and voters’ health and well-being. Highlights from the bill include: Secretary of the Commonwealth will mail vote by mail applications to all registered voters’ mailing addresses for the primary and general elections; Those that apply for a vote by mail ballot will be mailed a ballot from their town or city clerk; Postage for applications and ballots will be pre-paid; Allows the Secretary of the Commonwealth to promulgate emergency regulations for in-person voting to adhere to public health recommendations, including social distancing, masks or face coverings, PPE, sanitizers, etc.; Allows city and town clerks to deposit mail-in ballots into a tabulator or ballot box prior to Election Day; Accommodations such as phone and electronic application submissions will also be made available. H.4768 also provides that ballots postmarked by Election Day (November 3rd) will still be received by town and city clerks until November 5th and shortens the voter registration deadline to 10 days prior to the election. In addition, the bill permits the use of an electronic polling book for the 2020 elections as well as all future elections. Cities and towns must also evaluate and report any change to a polling place should the change result in a disparate impact on the basis of race, national origin, disability, income or age.
A wide-ranging vote-by-mail bill is on the move after the Senate Ways and Means Committee endorsed the bill Tuesday, teeing it up for likely passage by the full Senate next week. The bill (S 2755) largely mirrors a version the House passed 155-1 last week but adds a provision to cut down on mailing costs and requires the secretary of state’s office to create an online portal for requesting early and absentee ballots. The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 15-0 to report the bill out favorably
Michigan: Under Senate Bill 756, sponsored by former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, local clerks representing a township with at least 10,000 registered voters could allow election inspectors working absent counting boards to take shifts. Election inspectors couldn’t go home, however – they would have to remain on-premises until all absentee ballots were counted. Absentee ballots could not be left unattended at any time.
Mississippi: House Bill 297, which was sponsored by state Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, would allow absentee votes to be cast electronically in the registrar’s office or by mail. The House and Senate Election committees held a joint hearing last week and heard from Secretary of State Michael Watson and George County circuit clerk Chad Welford. Welford said most of the circuit clerks support this legislation. Counties would need to upgrade their voting systems and the Legislature is considering whether to cover those costs with CARES Act funding.
Missouri: Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill into law that will allow people to vote by mail this year if they’re concerned about the coronavirus. Under the new law, people considered at-risk of the coronavirus — those age 65 and older, living in a long-term care facility or with certain existing health problems — could vote absentee without needing to have their ballot notarized. Anyone else could cast a mail-in ballot but would need to get it notarized.
New Hampshire: House Bill 1672, which has already passed the House 194-132, had its virtual public hearing in a Senate committee last week and is being considered by the Senate Election Law Committee would allow for no-excuse absentee voting. An amendment, which calls for allowing for early processing of the unseen ballots several days in advance of the election and for software to be developed to allow for online voter registration was also passed and will now go to the Senate for full consideration.
New York: The Monroe County Legislature voted to override the veto from County Executive Adam Bello that would have stopped legislation to add six new Board of Elections jobs. The vote tally was 20-9.
Also in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signed legislation extending the deadline for voters to submit absentee ballots for the June 23 primary.
North Carolina: A previously bipartisan elections bill, approved 116-3 in the House, was approved by the Senate 35-12 with all Republicans voting in favor and the Democrats splitting on the bill. The bill makes it easier to request an absentee ballot and to vote that ballot, relaxing a state requirement that voters get two people or a notary public to sign their paperwork if they want to vote by mail. The bill would also create a new online portal voters can use to request ballots, and it has millions of dollars in it to help election officials prepare for the November general election. The controversy with the bill arose over the inclusion of language about which types of IDs are acceptable as voter ID. A judge has temporarily stayed the state’s voter ID law and Democrats fear the addition of public assistance IDs now was a last-minute attempt to clear voter ID with the courts in time for the November elections.
Ohio: On a party-line vote, an Ohio House committee passed a bill that will make some changes to election law. The bill would allow Secretary of State Frank LaRose to spend federal dollars for equipment and poll workers. However, a provision to cancel early, in-person voting the weekend before the election was removed. LaRose says he wanted voters to be able to request ballots online and for the state to pay postage for those absentee ballot. “The House took out some things I was concerned about, and the House put in some things I was asking for,” LaRose says.
Pennsylvania: Sponsored by second-term Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), HB2502 is on its way to the governor’s desk. The legislation requires that the Department of state produce a report on the June 2 primar and mandates that the report include more than two dozen data points on election procedure, such as poll staffing, voter registration and various components of mailed ballot processing. A spokeswoman for the governor says he plans to sign the measure. It would require DoS to finish the document before Aug. 1, just before GOP legislative leaders expect to start deliberations over making changes to Pennsylvania’s election code ahead of the November general election.
Vermont: State lawmakers have given a preliminary greenlight to allow Vermonters to cast their ballots by mail this fall. The Vermont House Wednesday this week followed the Senate in approving the bill to allow mail-in voting and sidestepping the governor, who had advocated for a more incremental approach, starting with the primary this August. Election officials say voting by mail will protect voters and poll workers from the potential spread of the coronavirus at the polls. The Secretary of State’s office has also said the complex planning needs to begin immediately.
Arizona: The state and national Democratic parties are challenging a state law that denies some people the right to vote because they forgot to sign their mail-in ballots. The lawsuit filed in federal court here points out that state lawmakers last year agreed to require county election officials to give people five business days to “cure” their ballots if it appears that the signature on the envelope does not match what is on file. But attorney Alexis Danneman said Arizona law does not offer a similar option for those who simply failed to sign the envelope.
Florida: Lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked a full appellate court to consider a challenge to a voting-rights ruling that would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of felons to cast ballots in the November elections. Appeals in federal lawsuits are almost always initially heard by three-judge panels, whose decisions can be revisited later by the full court in what are known as “en banc” hearings. But the DeSantis administration last week asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an initial hearing by the full court, due in part to a panel decision earlier in the case and because of the far-reaching nature of the lawsuit.
Indiana: Janet Reed of Vanderburgh County has been with “unauthorized absentee ballot,” a level 6 felony after she mailed out ballot requests to voters with the Democratic Party box already checked off. Reed’s actions caused about 300 absentee ballot requests to be rejected.
Kentucky: State Rep. Jason Nemes and several voters across Kentucky have filed a class-action lawsuit demanding there be more than one in-person voting location in several of the commonwealth’s most populous counties for the June 23 primary elections. In the lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky, Nemes, a Louisville Republican, and voters from Jefferson, Fayette, Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties allege that “significant voter suppression will occur” as a result of each county having a singular polling location. Defendants named in the lawsuit are the aforementioned county clerks and members of their counties’ board of elections, members of the Kentucky State Board of Elections, Secretary of State Michael Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear.
Michigan: A Republican operative has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging a suspiciously high number of voters registered in 16 Michigan counties. Tony Daunt filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the Western U.S. District Court against Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, elections director Jonathan Brater and the clerks managing voter rolls in the 16 counties. Daunt argued the state and local clerks were failing to eliminate dead or moved individuals from their qualified voter lists, perhaps contributing to higher voter registration rates.
Minnesota: The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Minnesota secretary of state, asking that absentee ballots be mailed to every registered voter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the NAACP and two elderly Minnesota voters who live alone and have health conditions. It contends that voting in person would put the women at risk for exposure to the coronavirus. So would voting by absentee ballot, because Minnesota law requires a witness. The lawsuit asks the court to suspend the witness requirement and mail absentee ballots to every registered voter in Minnesota for the August primary and November general election.
Mississippi: A deputy Canton city clerk cleared of voter fraud allegations has filed a federal lawsuit against Madison-Rankin District Attorney Bubba Bramlett. Desma King was one of nine people charged from November 2018 to February 2019 in a voter fraud case in Canton. However, months after being charged, the DA’s office dropped charges against King. King is now suing Bramlett, one of his investigators and others in his office in U.S. District Court in Jackson.
North Dakota: U.S. District Judge Peter Welte ruled that state elections officials much notify and provide a remedy for voters whose mail-in ballots are rejected due to signature discrepancies. Advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters of North Dakota sued the state last month over a state law that requires the signatures on absentee ballots and ballot applications to match. The state didn’t notify voters if their ballot was rejected for a mismatched signature. Welte approved the plan that said county auditors must “take reasonable steps as soon as practicable” to inform voters with identified signature mismatches. Steps include first calling them and then mailing them if contact can’t be made over the phone. A voter has until the meeting of the vote canvassing board on the sixth day following the election to confirm the legitimacy of his or her signature. “If the voter does not respond to the notice, and if the canvassing board determines that the signatures do not match, the ballot shall not be counted,” Welte’s order said. Voters with rejected ballots are to be sent a written notice explaining the reason. Welte has not ruled on whether North Dakota’s law is constitutional, and the lawsuit will continue. His ruling last week impacts only the June election.
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee has withdrawn a complaint that sought to have 446 voided mail-in ballots counted. Filed in Lawrence County Common Pleas court by the committee’s attorney, Jason Medure, the complaint focused on ballots that the county set aside after the June 2 primary because the voters’ identities had been compromised. The ballots either had not been contained in secrecy envelopes, or the identity of the voter was somehow evident on the ballot. Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto heard arguments in the case Friday in court, but had not yet issued a ruling Tuesday when Medure withdrew the complaint. Lawrence County Director of Elections Ed Allison explained that the ballots set aside were not secured as to the identities of the voters, “and they have been preserved as not counted.” Those ballots will be kept secured and “are not going anywhere for at least 22 months or longer if there is continuing litigation,” he told New Castle News.
Tennessee: Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled the state of Tennessee must give any registered voter the option to cast a ballot by mail, paving the way for widespread mail-in voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, Tennessee has limited the use of absentee ballots and mail-in voting to those who are actively sick, disabled, traveling or elderly. The risk of being exposed to coronavirus was not considered justification to submit a vote by mail. The state attorney general’s office filed a request in Davidson County Chancery Court to appeal and stay that court’s decision and temporary injunction
Texas: A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a temporary injunction by District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio that allowed people who lacked immunity to COVID-19 — essentially all Texans — the ability to vote by mail. The panel unanimously blocked that injunction until a full appeal is heard. The appeals court had previously put the lower court’s injunction on temporary pause. But Thursday’s order brought the expansion of mail voting in the state during COVID-19 to a full stop. The injunction is now blocked until further order of the appeals court. While the fight for expanded vote by mail continues in the federal courts, state Democrats and civic organizations that had sued at the state level have asked the state appeals court to dismiss their case.
Wisconsin: The Republican National Committee, the Wisconsin Republican Party and the GOP-controlled state Legislature are asking a federal judge to allow them to intervene in a sweeping lawsuit filed by Democratic-friendly groups and others seeking changes that would make it easier to vote in the November presidential election. The Republicans filed motions in the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Madison. The Wisconsin Legislature also asked that the lawsuit filed last month be dismissed. “This is another addition to the growing line of meritless lawsuits asking the federal courts to rewrite Wisconsin’s longstanding election laws,” attorneys for the Wisconsin Legislature wrote. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Conley declined the request and said the case should move ahead quickly so that it can be resolved long before the upcoming elections. He set a June 29 hearing to discuss the initial lawsuit.
Opinions This Week
Alabama: Election funding
Alaska: Voting safety
Colorado: Vote by mail
Connecticut: Vote by mail
Iowa: Ex-felon voting rights
Minnesota: Poll workers
Missouri: Absentee voting
Nevada: Native American voting rights
New York: Vote by mail
Oklahoma: Absentee voting
South Carolina: Voting safety
COVID-19 Webinars for Elections Officials: The Center for Tech and Civic Life is launching 12 free webinars on COVID-19 for election officials that cover topics ranging from ballot dropoff locations to virtually training election workers. The webinars feature experienced guest speakers with detailed, actionable practices that you can implement in your office. When: May 19-June 30. Where: Online.
Adapting Election Strategies to the Post COVID-19 World: Location as the common denominator becomes even more critical in adapting your processes to the post-COVID-19 realities. Understanding where voters live can provide greater insight into changing demographics and lifestyles, how they engage in the voting process, and how election officials can gain rapid insight into their voting population. Heightening the value of location in the election process enhances voters’ experience by providing options that make sense in these challenging times. Shifting the focus to where in your election process supports social distancing and provides alternative polling approaches such as: Consolidating voting centers and taking into consideration at-risk populations; Monitoring wait times and managing poll workers; Optimizing ballot drop-off and identifying polling place locations while also considering drive-through voting; and Keeping the public informed about election day results and changes in processes. When: June 16, 1pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Common Data Formats from the Ground Up: XML Fundamentals: Election data can be stored in a variety of file types, such as CSV, XLSX, and XML. The Common Data Formats (CDFs) use XML, which might appear daunting at first, but once you learn a few core concepts it’s easy to understand. Topics include: How CDFs use XML; Basics of XML: tags, attributes and data; Relationship between VIP and CDFs; and Demonstration of tools that can be used to interact with XML. Join us for this first in a series on CDF fundamentals! When: June 17 at 1pm Eastern. Where: Online.
VVSG 2.0 Public Comment Period
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is taking important steps to advance the development of the next generation of federal voting system standards, known as the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0, or VVSG 2.0. These steps include sharing the recommended VVSG 2.0 Requirements with the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review, launching a 90-day public comment period.
“Each step toward final approval of VVSG 2.0 is another step toward improving election security. The final VVSG requirements will enable manufacturers to develop updated, improved, accessible, and secure voting technology. The process to gather feedback from our stakeholders is critical to completing this process,” added EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, who has served as the EAC’s designated federal official for the TGDC for the past year. “We look forward to getting input from our Board of Advisors and Standards Board, and to hear from the public through the hearings and public comments.”
In March, the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) unanimously voted to provide the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements. The recommended requirements, developed with the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), were submitted to the EAC’s Acting Executive Director on March 9, 2020.On March 11, the EAC submitted the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements to the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors for review.
The EAC has initiated a 90-day public comment period on the VVSG 2.0 Requirements, which will run through June 22, 2020. Those who wish to review the VVSG 2.0 Requirements document, as recommended by the TGDC, and submit comments may do so via regulations.gov.
EAC Commissioners are expected to consider the VVSG 2.0 for adoption following their review of feedback provided by the Standards Board and Board of Advisors on the proposed VVSG 2.0 Requirements, as well as testimony and comments provided during public hearings and the public comment period.
Upon adoption, VVSG 2.0 would be the fifth iteration of national-level voting system standards. VVSG 2.0 offers a new approach to the organization of the guidelines and seeks to address the next generation of voting equipment. It contains new and expanded material in many areas, including reliability and quality, usability and accessibility, security, and testing. The Federal Election Commission published the first two sets of federal standards in 1990 and 2002. The EAC then adopted Version 1.0 of the VVSG on December 13, 2005. In an effort to update and improve version 1.0 of the VVSG, on March 31, 2015, the EAC commissioners unanimously approved VVSG 1.1.
The advancement of the VVSG 2.0 Requirements follows efforts in recent years to advance the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines, which are 15 principles and related guidelines that form the core of VVSG 2.0 and are supported by the Requirements. The TGDC provided the EAC with recommendations on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines in September 2017. The EAC Standards Board and Board of Advisors recommended the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines for adoption in April 2018. The EAC solicited public comments on the VVSG 2.0 Principles and Guidelines from February to June 2019, and held three public hearings on them in April and May 2019.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) establishes three federal advisory committees that support the EAC in its work: the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), the Standards Board, and the Board of Advisors.
The TGDC assists the EAC in developing the VVSG. The chairperson of the TGDC is the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The TGDC is composed of 14 other members appointed jointly by EAC and the director of NIST, including state and local election officials, individuals with technical and scientific expertise in voting systems, and representatives from the Access Board, American National Standards Institute, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
The Standards Board and Board of Advisors advise the EAC on various matters, including the development of the VVSG. The Standards Board consists of 55 state election officials selected by their respective chief state election official, and 55 local election officials selected through a process supervised by the chief state election official. HAVA prohibits any two members representing the same state to be members of the same political party.
The Board of Advisors consists of 37 members, as specified by HAVA. Members include two people appointed by each of the following groups: National Governors Association; National Conference of State Legislatures; National Association of Secretaries of State; The National Association of State Election Directors; National Association of Counties; The National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks; The U.S. Conference of Mayors; Election Center; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials, and Treasurers; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Other members include representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Integrity, and the Civil Rights Division; the director of the U.S. Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program; four professionals from the field of science and technology, one each appointed by the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Majority and Minority leaders of the U.S. Senate; and eight members representing voter interests, with the chairs and the ranking minority members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration and the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration each appointing two members.
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.
Business Enablement Project Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Business Enablement Project Manager manages projects that further the advancement of business for the organization. These projects include the development of RFP responses, management of strategic regulatory activities, execution of market research activities, and internal projects to support the improvement of business processes to support the Proposals and Certification Teams. The Business Enablement Project Manager must be able to function effectively on all levels of corporate structure in order to identify opportunities, analyze business needs, and identify and solve problems that present barriers to market entry. The Business Enablement Project Manager must be able to exercise sound judgment, interact with internal and external stakeholders, and complete projects professionally in high-pressure situations. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Administrator, Cass County, Minnesota— Responsible for the conduct of all state and county elections in Cass County in compliance with federal and state laws. Provides election budget oversight, and manages election equipment fleet acquisition, maintenance, and life cycle updates. Develops and executes training programs for permanent staff, temporary employees, local election officials, and election judges. Oversees counting center operations, coordinates polling place equipment delivery and supplies, mail ballot precinct administration, and absentee ballot administration. Salary: $30.07 – $39.25/hr DOQ. Deadline: June 19. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Services Manager, Douglas County, Colorado— The Election Services Manager is responsible for the management and coordination of elections administrative operations, voter registration, mapping for voting districts and precincts, addressing library, and support for mail ballot processing as directed by the leadership team. The objective of this position is to perform a variety of functions and diverse leadership roles on a routine basis, including performance management for a team of Election Specialists. This is a highly visible position requiring exceptional leadership, organizational, and communication skills. The Election Services Manager is responsible for oversight of responsibilities within the elections office and Voter Service and Polling Centers, coaching and supervision of staff; creation and enforcement of policies, procedures, and state and federal statutes and regulations; creation and execution of strategic and tactical plans for operating successful elections; coordination of election functions with entities participating in a County election or conducting their own election; managing key vendor relationships and election assets. Coordinates with and assists other Clerk & Recorder Divisions as needed. Salary: $4,785.83 – $5,982.33 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Technology Specialist, Boulder County, Colorado— The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, Elections Division, has an opening for a Technology Specialist. This is a term position for the duration of 2020 which includes both the June 30 Primary Election and the November 3 General Election. This position will learn and perform a variety of complex, technical, and specialized tasks associated related to elections, software/hardware support, and voting systems. To be successful in this position you must be eager to learn, possess an aptitude for troubleshooting, technical information and documenting process through conversation, implementation and observation. Successful applicants will be comfortable in a high-stakes, team-focused work environment. We seek a person who is process-oriented and motivated to do meaningful work that facilitates the democratic process. Salary: $57, 024. 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.
IT Security Engineer, Dominion Voting Systems— We are looking for an IT Security Engineer to join our IT team in Denver, Colorado! We are looking for a security-minded individual who can perform both day-to-day technical management and maintenance of IT security programs and who can also strategically assess and enhance the overall IT security enterprise-wide. This role covers a broad scope of responsibilities as some days you may be evaluating new security solutions and attending security briefings, while other days you will be managing our existing IT security toolsets and reviewing threat and log data to identify risk and mitigate vulnerabilities. You must be a self-starter, who collaborates well with others and can explain IT security best practices to anyone from the end-users to executive team members. You will also work for hand and hand with colleagues within the IT department and work with our vendors and external threat organizations to understand and mitigate risks. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Operations Manager, Center for Election Innovation and Research— The Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR) seeks a qualified Operations Manager to join our team. The Operations Manager will report to the Program Director and will be responsible for the execution of CEIR’s general operations. The Operations Manager will be in charge of ensuring our human resources, finances, and administrative functions run efficiently and effectively. Under the supervision of the Program Director, the Operations Manager determines objectives and milestones, and builds effective relationships within the team and with outside partners. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic— Project Managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the Project Manager directs activity, solves problems, and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency, and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Research Fellow, Democracy Works— The Research team collects and standardizes information on how voting works—how to register, how to vote, and when and where elections are happening. Streamlining democracy in this way requires quite a bit of knowledge: what form you use to register to vote in Wyoming, to whom you mail your absentee ballot application in Maine, and whether there’s an election taking place in Oklahoma RIGHT NOW (there probably is!). This information is used by various consumers, both internal and external. The Voting Information Project (VIP) coordinates with state election offices to publish nationally standardized information about where and how to vote—data that powers everything from Google’s polling place search to our text and email reminders to TurboVote users. As a part of the team, you will work with the Data Project Manager and Director of Election Research to conduct research outreach for the Voting Information Project, contacting thousands of state and local election officials. You will: Conduct phone and email outreach to local election administrators to get accurate, up-to-date information on elections; Compile the election information into a detailed spreadsheet; Perform quality assurance checks on the information to assure accuracy and completeness of the data; Research user-reported errors; and assist the election research team with other tasks, as they arise. Salary: $13,000 for 13 week fellowship (paid in semi-monthly installments). Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Data Fellow, Voting Information Project— The Voting Information Project (VIP) coordinates with state election offices to publish nationally standardized information about where and how to vote—data that powers everything from Google’s polling place search, to our text and email reminders to TurboVote users. VIP’s dataset has served millions (and hundreds of millions) of voters since 2008. You will: Work with Democracy Works technical staff to write, run, and debug Python scripts to parse data; Assist with standardizing & sanitizing datasets; Perform quality assurance checks on the information to ensure accuracy and completeness of the data; Research and respond to user-reported errors; and Write and update technical documentation so that other members of the team can recreate processes. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Voter Service Manager, Arapahoe County, Colorado— This position provides the opportunity for you to take your voting or government-related experience to a new level in an exciting year where we will administer a statewide primary election in June and the November Presidential General Election. Join our team of dedicated public servants in supporting voters across Arapahoe County while upholding public trust and integrity in our elections process. This position will assist with complex administrative and supervisory work in directing daily activities. The Voter Service Manager supports the Elections Deputy Director, Chief Deputy Director and the Clerk and Recorder with issues concerning all operations of Elections. Salary: $65,960 – $105,365. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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