In Focus This Week
“Even one soul saved makes the sermon worthwhile”
CISA/EAC release new Election Risk Profile Tool
By M. Mindy Moretti
With less than two months to go until the November 3, 2020 general election state and local elections officials are up to their eyeballs in absentee ballot requests, fighting disinformation, media calls, poll worker recruitment and training, ballot proofing, and all the millions of other tasks that come with administering any election.
While election security has taken a backseat in the headlines, it is still front and center in the elections world and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in partnership with the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), have released the Election Risk Profile Tool, a user-friendly assessment tool to equip election officials and federal agencies in prioritizing and managing cybersecurity risks to the Election Infrastructure Subsector.
The new tool is designed to help state and local election officials understand the range of risks they face and how to prioritize mitigation efforts. It also addresses areas of greatest risk, ensures technical cybersecurity assessments and services are meeting critical needs, and provides a sound analytic foundation for managing election security risk with partners at the federal, state and local level.
“There is no question the security of our election systems has vastly improved, thanks in large part to our election officials’ capability to understand where the risks lie in their systems and determine the most effective way to manage those risks,” said CISA Director Christopher Krebs. “Together with our partners at the EAC, we are constantly looking for ways to make the process of mapping out these risks easier and widely available for all of our partners. This is yet another tool to help support election officials to protect the 2020 elections and beyond.”
The reports can be used on their own to identify risks, understand mitigative measures, and identify resources for building resilience on specific election technologies and processes. Election officials can also use it in conjunction with the Election Infrastructure Cyber Risk Assessment and Infographic to build a thorough understanding on the cyber risk to the broader election infrastructure. This will allow elections officials to prioritize their limited resources on those that pose the greatest risk and to go to the policymakers and those that control budgets to request additional resources to address the others.
“Election officials are natural risk managers. This tool provides them with key information they need to understand and address potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses,” explained Ryan Macias election security expert, Lafayette Group, Inc., providing support to CISA. “As importantly, it equips them with a list of questions that enables them to work with their IT and cybersecurity professionals to manage risks identified by the tool.”
The tool is designed to be quick and easy for election officials to use. By working with IT and cybersecurity personnel who are familiar with the election infrastructure (i.e., staff, county IT, vendors/service providers, etc.), each of the ten election systems or processes within the tool can be completed in a few minutes (~5-10 mins each).
“The EAC has worked to expand our cybersecurity resources for election officials and the Risk Profile Tool serves as an important security enhancement for network protection,” said EAC Chairman Ben Hovland. “As federal partners, CISA and the EAC are committed to providing useful tools to assist election officials as they run secure, accessible and accurate elections.”
The Election Risk Profile Tool:
- Is a user-friendly assessment tool for state and local election officials to develop a high-level risk profile across a jurisdiction’s specific infrastructure components;
- Provides election officials a method to gain insights into their cybersecurity risk and prioritize mitigations;
- Accepts inputs of a jurisdiction’s specific election infrastructure configuration; and
- Outputs a tailored risk profile for jurisdictions, which identifies specific areas of highest risk and recommends associated mitigation measures that the jurisdiction could implement to address the risk areas.
The CIOs of several states, including Colorado, Ohio and West Virginia participated in some of early testing of the new assessment tool.
This tool arms election officials with a report on the things they are doing to protect their systems in non-technical and easy to understand format. The report provides mitigations for the non-cybersecurity professionals to understand. This allows election officials to take the report to policymakers, budgets holders, as well as voters to show what has been done, but also what more can be done to build resilience in the election infrastructure.
“This can help provide localized, customized guidance to jurisdictions about their risk profile, help them set their priorities, and direct them to services available from CISA that can help them reduce their risk,” said Trevor Timmons, chief information officer with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. “The goal, as I understand it, is to help election officials assess their risks without requiring them to be expert cybersecurity assessors and analysts.”
While taking on anything new at all right now might seem like a challenge for local elections officials, David Tackett, chief information officer and director of the information technology division for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office believes “…even one soul saved makes the sermon worthwhile.”
“In any industry or exercise, most would agree it is easier to expend preventive energy than to conduct a necessary post-mortem when an incident occurs. Any security posture should include adoption, testing, and revision. Somewhere in that cycle of self-assessment, improvements are found and mistakes avoided,” said Tackett. “In my limited test drive of the product, it is apparent that having all subject matter experts from each component area available to help answer is vital to making it a less time-consuming. Even if only basic mitigation steps can be taken, that could be enough to prevent a serious disruption.”
Timmons noted that whether or not an LEO could take on the risk assessment tool right now is really going to depend on the size of the jurisdiction and their depth of resources. If a local has dedicated IT or cybersecurity staff, it is possible they could use the tool to help inform their forward planning.
“I’m not sure who it was that initially coined the phrase “elections is like a marathon race without a finish line”, but it is apropos,” Timmons said. “Even if/when officials decide they do not have the capacity to use the tool today or in the next several weeks, it is a certainty that we will be running elections next year and the year after that… we will always be looking for risks, prioritizing them for action, and trying to improve our operations.”
This tool is funded through CISA’s National Risk Management Center’s Tech Transfer, which allows Federal investments to be used by partners to implement risk management programs. The tool is available on the EAC website. CISA’s election security tools and resources can be found on at www.cisa.gov/protect2020. The EAC’s resources including Election Security Preparedness resources can be found at www.eac.gov/election-officials/election-security-preparedness.
Additional Resources from the EAC
The EAC is also set to release presentations and white papers to help state and local election officials navigate the creation of cybersecurity risk and crisis management plans. The materials aim to integrate the various tools and services that exist from federal and private partners within the election infrastructure sector.
These cybersecurity risk management modules describe best practice processes election officials can use to identify, prioritize, and mitigate risks to their election infrastructure assets. As part of the module, the related white paper describes using the Election System Risk Profile Tool or ESRPT to analyze the likelihood and consequences of identified risks. The election risk assessment tool created by CISA and hosted by the EAC utilizes the same methodologies in a user-friendly and automated manner to report risks using the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability or CIA triad and is backed by information collected from election security subject matter experts.
The cybersecurity risk management webinar and white paper can also be viewed and downloaded here (free signup required): https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/7451/437479
Safe Election Administration Grants
CTCL issues open call for grants aimed at safe election administration during COVID-19
Project will support poll worker training and recruitment, PPE for poll workers, early voting, and vote by mail
Backed by a generous $250M contribution, the nonpartisan Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), has announced a grant program to help local election officials administer elections this year in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The grants will help ensure the local election jurisdictions across the country have the staffing, training, and equipment necessary so this November every eligible voter can participate in a safe and timely way and have their vote counted.
“We all depend on election officials to provide safe and secure voting options to the public. Unfortunately, election departments face unprecedented challenges in 2020 due to COVID-19”, said Center for Tech and Civic Life Executive Director Tiana Epps-Johnson. “This expansion of our COVID-19 Response Grant program provides our country’s election officials and poll workers with the critical resources they need to safely serve every voter”.
The minimum any local jurisdiction can receive is $5,000. The open call, along with additional information and the application can be found at https://www.techandciviclife.org/grants/
This grant program will enable localities to prepare for and administer safe elections by investing in priorities that would otherwise be challenging to accomplish — such as securely opening an adequate number of voting sites; setting up drive-thru and drop box locations; providing PPE for poll workers; and recruiting and training a sufficient number of poll workers.
Election offices can use the funds to cover certain 2020 expenses incurred between June 15, 2020 and December 31, 2020. These include the costs associated with the safe administration of the following election responsibilities. Program areas include:
Ensure Safe, Efficient Election Day Administration
- Maintain open in-person polling places on Election Day
- Procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and personal disinfectant to protect election officials and voters from COVID-19
- Support and expand drive-thru voting, including purchase of additional signage, tents, traffic control, walkie-talkies, and safety measures
Expand Voter Education & Outreach Efforts
- Publish reminders for voters to verify and update their address, or other voter registration information, prior to the election
- Educate voters on safe voting policies and procedures
Launch Poll Worker Recruitment, Training & Safety Efforts
- Recruit and hire a sufficient number of poll workers and inspectors to ensure polling places are properly staffed, utilizing hazard pay where required
- Provide voting facilities with funds to compensate for increased site cleaning and sanitization costs
- Deliver updated training for current and new poll workers administering elections in the midst of pandemic
Support Early In-Person Voting and Vote by Mail
- Expand or maintain the number of in-person early voting sites
- Deploy additional staff and/or technology improvements to expedite and improve mail ballot processing
The Center for Tech and Civic Life is a nationally-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of civic technologists, trainers, researchers, election administration and data experts working to help modernize U.S. elections. CTCL connects election officials with guidance, expertise, tools, and trainings so they can best serve their communities, and ensure that elections are more professional, safe, and secure. CTCL works with the federal government, as well as local and state governments of all sizes across the nation and regardless of partisanship to highlight best practices and create easy-to-use resources for administrators.
Stewards of Democracy, Part II
Stewards of Democracy, Part II
The professional experience of America’s LEOs
By Paul Gronke and Jay Lee
Early Voting Information Center at Reed College
“I think everyone knows that we won’t let the election fail – we will work ourselves to death before we let that happen.”
–LEO from Midatlantic, Female, 50-64 years old, college degree, jurisdiction has between 25,001-100,000 registered voters
While they have a unique and valuable responsibility as “stewards of democracy”, LEOs across the country are also career civil servants and elected officials working to implement a set of laws, administrative rules, and practices that are mostly assigned to them by state legislatures, state election directors, and county boards.
As we wrote last week, many LEOs are Clerks and Recorders with several responsibilities in addition to running elections. Their pay, opportunities for training, and years of experience vary substantially across states and local jurisdictions.
In this week’s post, we focus on the election official as a career path, with special attention given to the nature of the work environment, professional reward structure, and how LEOs feel about the “professional ethos” of local election administration.
Day to Day
The vast majority of LEOs serve in small jurisdictions – almost half work with under 3,000 registered voters. Most voters will have a LEO who works with lots of voters, but most LEOs do not.
We call this the “75:10” issue in election administration – 75% of LEOs serve just 10% of the electorate, while the other 10% of LEOs serve 75% of the electorate. This means that talking about the “average American LEO” and the “average voting experience provided by a LEO” are two very different things.
The average LEO is unlikely to have a large staff (or any staff at all). More than half of jurisdictions under 5,000 registered voters only have the LEO working on elections, with no additional staff (aside from seasonal poll workers, potentially). In jurisdictions greater than 250,000 registered voters, to contrast, over 75% of offices have more than 10 full-time staff members working on elections.
This means that the average LEO may not do their own hiring, control over contracting and transportation, or their own IT staff. They are partners—or captives—of other parts of their jurisdiction.
We reported last week that only 17% of LEOs told us that elections took up “all or almost all” of their responsibilities, with over 60% saying it was “less than half” of their workload.
Nonetheless, when we asked respondents to share what tasks they were responsible for as local election officials, most LEOs are responsible for most elections-related duties. From our list below, ordered by frequency of response, over 85% are responsible for counting ballots (86.8%) through voter registration (94.9%).
- Voter registration
- Early voting (including absentee ballots)
- Recruiting and managing poll workers
- Election Day voting
- Managing polling places
- Counting ballots
- Voter roll maintenance
- Election recounts and audits
- Canvassing and certifying the election
- Selecting voting equipment
- Designing and printing ballots
Four tasks stand out as more common for larger jurisdictions when compared to smaller ones: recounts and audits; canvassing and certifying; selecting voting equipment; and design and printing of ballots. Less than half of the smallest jurisdictions (0-5,000 registered voters) told us that they selected equipment or designed and printed ballots. Most of these jurisdictions are township-level LEOs, and the tasks are carried out by county- or state-level administrators.
Concerns have been raised that declining public trust and the demands of a polarized political environment may cause a wave of LEO retirements. While this may yet occur, our data show that LEOs overall have extensive experience running elections. Twenty-percent have been administering elections at the LEO level since 2000 or earlier. At the same time, 20% have started their position since 2016, and 2020 will be their first presidential election.
Job Satisfaction and Pay
Something must be keeping these LEOs on the job, and we hoped to learn more about this in the 2019 survey. Overall, we found a high level of satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in their work. This is the good news.
More worrisome is that many LEOs, especially those in larger jurisdictions, reported tensions in their work-life balance. Smaller jurisdictions told us that they were burdened by multiple demands on time and resources (recall that the smaller jurisdictions are the ones where LEOs are juggling responsibilities).
A quote from one LEO illustrates the difficult balancing act:
“I have many responsibilities other than elections. I also contract with other entities for their elections, so especially in even years, I feel like I am constantly doing elections and my regular duties suffer. I honestly wish that it would be mandatory to have an Election Administrator, someone that does only elections and voter registration.”
What about pay? In 2019, 57% of LEOs in the smallest jurisdictions (under 5,000 registered voters) were paid less than $35,000 annually. By contrast, 78% of LEOs serving in the largest jurisdictions (over 250,000) reported pay of $100,000 or more. Among LEOs, men are more likely than women to have higher salaries.
But pay doesn’t seem to be a significant pain point. When asked, most LEOs in our survey expressed satisfaction with their pay, more so in the largest jurisdictions.
Despite general levels of satisfaction with the work and pay, it’s revealing that fewer than 40% of LEOs say that they would encourage their children to pursue a career in election administration.
The pinch points we have uncovered here – decisions made at other levels of government without sufficient consultation, and lack of sufficient budgets – are well-recognized in the election administration community.
Much more work needs to be done to understand recruitment and retention of America’s stewards of democracy. If, as is likely, we see another wave of retirements after the 2020 election, where will the next generation of administrators come from?
2020 Election Updates
New Hampshire: While the Granite State holds the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, it holds one of the last-in-the-nation primaries to determine what, besides the presidential contest, goes on the November ballot. While thousands of voters chose to vote by mail, some did show up at the polls on Tuesday. Overall it went well, but it was not without problems. In Portsmouth, the police were called when voters—including a 91-year-old—refused to wear a mask. Voters were required to wear a mask or cast a ballot outdoors. Dover, Rochester, Somersworth, Durham and Barrington officials reported mid-afternoon that there had been no conflicts with maskless voters. Officials in those communities said compliance with outdoor voting was successful. While Portsmouth dealt with maskless voters, in Exeter it was topless voters. After being told she could not wear a t-shirt that featured the president on it, a woman removed her shirt and voted topless. Exeter Town Moderator Paul Scafidi said the woman asked him if he wanted her to take her shirt off, despite not wearing anything underneath. “I said, I’d rather she not,” Scafidi told the Portsmouth Herald. “But she took it off so fast, no one had time to react so the whole place just went, ‘Woah,’ and she walked away, and I let her vote. She could’ve just gone into the hallway and turned it inside-out.” In Manchester, it all seemed to go smoothly, if a bit slow, at the polls. “It’s a little bit slow turnout, but everybody seems very happy and social distancing, so it’s great,” Sharyn Kelley, the moderator at Manchester Ward 1, told WMUR. “Everybody gets individual pens. They got little place mats to put down on the booth so that nobody is touching any surface,” Kelley said. Kelley said that everyone is cooperating, practicing social distancing and so far Tuesday, things have gone smoothly. Although overall turnout in Concord was up, it was mostly by mail. In Durham the town was able to gather enough poll workers to accommodate voters but Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said they would definitely need more for November. In the Androscoggin Valley, clerks reported unusually high numbers of people voting by absentee ballot with fears of the COVID-19 changing voting patterns. In Berlin, 368 chose to vote by absentee ballot in the safety of their residences or 23 percent of those voting. In a normal election, City Clerk Shelli Fortin said the city would handle about 600 absentee ballots. The number was similar in Gorham where 125 out of 572 votes were by absentee ballot. Voter turnout was up 159 percent compared to the 2016 state primaries, and absentee ballots comprised about a third of all votes in the Monadnock region this year, up from just 4.7 percent in 2016. Democrats used absentee ballots at substantially higher rates than Republican voters.Secretary of State Bill Gardner said he was not surprised the election had gone smoothly as local officials have been getting ready since April. “They’re prepared for it and it will be a good preparation for November,” Gardner said.
Rhode Island: Voters in Rhode Island requested a total of 43,471 mail ballots this year and the Board of Elections had received around 30,000 as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Robert Rapoza, executive director of the board. In 2016, the board received a total of 3,626 mail ballots. Of course that doesn’t mean people didn’t show up at the polls on Tuesday either because according to early numbers, about 45,00 people went to the polls on primary day and 7,000 people voted early in-person. For those that did show up for in-person voting, lines were few and there was plenty of space to move about. Besides the masks and other health precautions, the day seemed like a normal voting day in Warwick, said Moderator Phil Page. Also, he said, “Everyone’s been very courteous.” In Pawtucket, the issues arose after the ballots were cast. The board of elections voted to “refeed″ ballots cast at 62 Lincoln Ave. in Pawtucket on primary day because the machine failed to record many if not all of the votes. The failure was blamed on a faulty USB drive.
Election News This Week
Plans for November: Denver Clerk & Recorder Paul Lopez has changed the delivery protocol for the November ballots which will now be mailed first class. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of the November presidential election, mail ballots must have higher priority status now more than ever,” López said. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is mailing out get out the vote letters and postcards to millions of voters including 700,000 residents who are not registered to vote. New Mexico Secretary of Health Kathy Kunkel issued a public health order establishing social distancing restrictions for polling places during the fall election season. Under the secretary’s order, polling locations are limited to 25% maximum occupancy or four voters at any one time – whichever is greater. Mobile polling locations are limited to only two voters at a time. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing absentee ballots to returned via drop box. There will be more than 300 statewide. While the emphasis will still be on mail voting, every county in North Dakota will have at least polling place open on November 3. The Wisconsin Elections Commission mailed information packets to 2.6 million registered voters explaining what their voting options will be for the November general election.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has launched a poll-worker tracker to well, keep track of poll workers and we think it’s pretty cool. LaRose’s office is providing Ohioans with weekly poll worker updates as reported by the 88 county boards of elections. Sharing the data also allows Ohio counties to be held accountable as the fall election approaches. This is the first time such information has been collected from the counties prior to an election. Data from county boards of elections indicates that while Ohio counties are very close to meeting the very minimum required to run the election, many more poll workers are needed in order to account for potential cancellations and no-shows. On the site you’ll find a breakdown of the following poll worker data: The minimum number of poll workers required to run an election in the respective county, by total and by Party; The goal number of poll worker commitments counties should target in order to compensate for any cancellations; and Remaining number of poll workers needed for each county to reach their goal. “While our innovative recruitment campaigns appear to have put Ohio in a far better position than other states, we still have a long way to go,” said LaRose. “We still need more patriotic Ohioans to step up and serve our state as poll workers.”
The over and the under. A preliminary investigation has found that about 1,800 absentee ballots were apparently counted twice in Berkeley County West Virginia‘s primary election in June. “We don’t know how they got double-counted,” said Darrell Shull, who was hired chief deputy clerk of elections and voter registration after the election results were certified according to the Herald Mail. “We don’t know if it was a process error or a technical error,” said Shull, explaining how electronic ballots cast are transferred and tallied. Shull said a preliminary investigation indicates absentee ballots cast while the election was still scheduled for May 12 had been counted twice. According to Shull, revised tallies did not change the outcome and in almost all the races, the change in the vote tally appears to be less than a half a percent. In Georgia, a hand-recount–the first for the state with it’s new voting system–was delayed when about 1,000 absentee ballots went “missing”. Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges confirmed the recount snafu. The ballots initially missed during the recount were tabulated following the runoff, according to Bridges. “There is no mystery here,” Bridges told the Savannah Morning News. “We are the first in the state to go through this process and we are learning and improving as we go.” The news of the unprocessed ballots came after candidates had been told Tuesday that the recount was complete. “Then we discovered while reviewing a spreadsheet (of the recount details) that it did not tabulate and we had not selected all the (absentee) ballots,” Bridges said. “There is no one to blame here. I thought we were done, but in the review we did find the oversight.”
The Contra Costa County, California clerk-recorder elections department building has been officially named “The Stephen L. Weir Clerk-Recorder Building.” Weir, now retired, served as the county’s clerk-recorder from 1989 to 2013. “He did it all with a sense of humor, and with great integrity,” said Supervisor John Gioia, who noted Weir opened up the office to same-sex marriages, and helped make that process more welcoming. “You helped bring that office into the 21st century.”
Better than an “I Voted” sticker?!?! We didn’t think there was anything better than an “I Voted” sticker, but leave it to the Girl Scouts to come up with something—and no, sadly, it’s not a democracy cookie. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is once again partnering with Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office to provide the “I Promised a Girl Scout I Would Vote” curriculum. This sponsorship will make it so that all 25,000 central Indiana Girl Scouts can complete the curriculum and earn the patch for free during the months of September and October. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana’s partnership with the Secretary of State’s office began in 2015. Since then, the curriculum has evolved and is now being offered virtually. “I am excited by my office’s renewed partnership with Girl Scouts of Central Indiana,” said Secretary Lawson. “This program represents an opportunity for Girl Scouts across the region to gain a deeper understanding of our democratic process and will develop a generation of more informed citizens in the process.”
Fun Fact: And our fun fact for the week. California recently announced a milestone of more than 21 million registered voters which means California has more registered voters than 47 other states and the District have people!
Chad is back! I think we can all agree that 2020 has not been the best of years. Part of that has been the impact on traditions. So many traditions have had to be put on hold due to the pandemic. But thankfully that is not the case in Dane County, Wisconsin where Chad Vader is back to help Dane County residents understand the ins and outs of voting absentee. According to The Cap Times, as COVID-19 restrictions have made voters more interested in voting early via absentee ballots, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said bringing back Chad seemed like a fun way to easily answer people’s questions about navigating the process. McDonell told the paper he wanted the video to answer a lot of the common questions that voters have when they call into his office. Answering those questions in person or by phone can slow down the process, and election officials are urging voters to get their ballots submitted as early as possible. “Government public service announcements tend to be boring,” McDonell said. “Any time you can get more interest it’s a real success. But also if you do it right, this can be useful for a long time.” Seriously good stuff you guys! And if you’ve not seen all of Chad’s important voter work, we recommend you revisit some of his other education videos including one on voter ID
Personnel News: Juan Ernesto Dávila, president of Puerto Rico’s elections commission has resigned. Martin Kain, a senior official with the Boston Election Department has resigned after 38 years on the job. Major General (Ret.) Glenn H. Curtis has been appointed by the Louisiana secretary of state to ensure the impacts from Hurricane Laura do not hamper people’s ability to vote in the November 3rd and December 5th elections. Marsha Womble has been appointed the new Iron County, Missouri clerk. Dr. Deborah Turner has been elected national president of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters. Julie Kincaid is the new Marion County, West Virginia clerk. Francisco Rosado is the new president of Puerto Rico’s elections commission. Paula Sauter has resigned, effective immediately, from the Summit County, Ohio board of elections after 14 years on the job.
Research and Report Summaries
The Belfer Center’s Defending Digital Democracy Project released a playbook for election officials on election influence operations last week. The playbook aims to provide election officials with resources and recommendations on how to navigate information threats targeting elections. It offers an introduction to election influence operations and includes recommendations for reporting, responding and countering election-related mis- and disinformation incidents.
Election Security Updates
Disinformation: Analysts with the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence branch issued a warning last week to federal and state law enforcement partners after finding with “high confidence” that “Russian malign influence actors” have targeted the absentee voting process “by spreading disinformation” since at least March. “Russian state media and proxy websites in mid-August 2020 criticized the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail, claiming ineligible voters could receive ballots due to out-of-date voter rolls, leaving a vast amount of ballots unaccounted for and vulnerable to tampering,” the bulletin notes. “These websites also alleged that vote-by-mail processes would overburden the U.S. Postal Service and local boards of election,” it continues, “delaying vote tabulation and creating more opportunities for fraud and error.” Many of the claims made by Russian sources are identical to repeated, unsupported public statements aired by President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr, who have said that mailed ballots aren’t trustworthy while warning of the potential for rampant fraud in November’s elections.
Whistleblower: The House Intelligence Committee announced this week that it had received a whistleblower reprisal complaint from Brian Murphy, a career public servant and the former acting under secretary in DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. According to The Hill, The complaint states that in several protected disclosures over the past two years, Murphy raised concern about “a repeated pattern of abuse of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence and undermine United States interests.” The Department of Homeland Security has denied the allegations.
Connecticut: Secretary of State Denise Merrill announced last week that her office has hired a person dedicated to thwarting social media disinformation campaigns surrounding the November election. While Merrill said she is confident in the state’s election security she is concerned about disinformation campaigns. Merrill said she is using some of the money, which comes from one of the stimulus bills approved by Congress this year, to hire an expert in disinformation campaigns to protect Connecticut voters from foreign attempts to influence their votes. “We are hoping we will be able to head this off at the pass,” she said. Gabe Rosenberg, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said the office has hired an election information security analyst on a contract basis through the election “to identify mis- and disinformation related to Connecticut elections, reporting and correcting it in real-time, and identifying any other information threats in the planning stage.”
Pennsylvania: The Senate State Government Committee voted 7-4 at the end of the brief meeting September 3 to approve the only piece of legislation on its agenda: a bill sponsored by Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, that advances the deadline for voters to request a mail-in ballot and bans ballot drop boxes ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election. The 2:30 p.m. meeting was not on the Senate’s public schedule by Wednesday afternoon. According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Democrats on the committee said the short notice did not allow them to prepare amendments to the bill, which could advance out of the Senate and land on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk by the end of next week. Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, said Democrats hoped to amend the bill to extend the pre-canvassing timeline for counties, giving them three weeks to prepare mail-in ballots for tallying ahead of Election Day, and to preserve the Oct. 27 deadline for voters to request mail-in ballots. They also wanted to strike out language in the bill that prohibits counties from using drop-off receptacles to collect ballots on election day.
Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that allocates $2 million toward prepaid postage for the return of absentee ballots, adds drop-off boxes throughout the state, and allows voters to fix errors on their ballot before Nov. 3. Localities will front the money for postage and the Commonwealth will reimburse them. “Today, I signed important new voter protection laws that will expand access to early voting, provide prepaid return postage on all absentee ballots, and allow for secure drop boxes and drop off locations,” Northam wrote on Twitter.
Alaska: U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred has denied a request seeking to have Alaska election officials send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the state ahead of the November general election. Kindred said he was not convinced that any Alaskans’ rights had been diminished and called it “disingenuous” to suggest that state election officials “selected people age 65 and older arbitrarily, or that all other age groups are equally vulnerable.” He acknowledged concerns for those with underlying medical conditions but said election officials “are not in a position where they can readily, easily, or confidently identify Alaskans who might qualify under that criteria.” The Disability Law Center of Alaska, Native Peoples Action Community Fund, Alaska Public Interest Research Group and two individuals alleged the state’s action was discriminatory. They filed a notice of appeal Friday.
Also in Alaska, the tribal council for the Interior Alaska community of Arctic Village, the Alaska branch of the League of Women Voters and two elders are challenging the Alaska state law that absentee ballots be signed by a witness, saying it’s an unconstitutional burden on voting rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs say that vulnerable Alaskans should not have to risk contracting COVID-19 in the process of obtaining a witness signature. “What Lt. Gov. Meyer is doing is forcing Alaskans to choose between their health and their vote,” Josh Decker, the ACLU of Alaska’s executive director, said in an interview Tuesday. “For anyone in Alaska who does not have an adult who can witness their signature and wants to avoid risking COVID, they should be allowed to cast their ballot in November just like those Alaskans who live with someone.”
Arizona: Six Navajo voters residing in Apache County have filed suit against Arizona’s secretary of state, asking that the deadline for mail-in ballots be extended due to the difficulty of voting by mail on the reservation. Plaintiffs Darlene Yazzie, Caroline Begay, Irene Roy, Donna Williams, Leslie Begay and Alfred McRoye state in their suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Arizona, that the current requirement that votes be received — not postmarked — before 7 p.m. on election day places “unconstitutional burdens on plaintiffs’ right to vote at Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and United State Postal Service reorganizational issues.” The voters ask that the deadline be changed to count ballots as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3, as many states do.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith has ruled that County Recorder Adrian Fontes may continue to instruct voters how to correct ballot mistakes. Smith said although it appears that Fontes acted illegally in telling voters they can cross out the wrong vote they cast and then vote as they wanted, all without requesting a new ballot. But Smith said that Fontes already has printed up 2.5 million instructions with the legally suspect directions. And he said it makes no sense, either logistically or financially, to order new ones be printed now. So he refused to issue such an order. Alexander Kolodin said Smith got it wrong. And he told Capitol Media Services he will be filing an appeal. The Arizona Public Integrity Alliance is asking the Arizona Court of Appeals to print new instructions.
Delaware: The ACLU of Delaware is filing a lawsuit against the State Department of Elections over its vote by mail deadline. Right now, people voting by mail must have their ballot mailed to the department of elections by 8 p.m. on election day – November 3rd. But the ACLU is asking the Department of Elections to extend the deadline to election day, and have all votes received up until ten days after the election to be counted. The ACLU says that because of the unique challenge of voting amid COVID-19 and recent issues with the United States Postal Service, voters should have more time.
Georgia: Judge Eleanor Ross has declined to dismiss a lawsuit accusing DeKalb County officials of illegally removing dozens of voters from its rolls. Ross denied this week the county’s motion to dismiss the suit, which was filed in February by lawyers representing the Georgia NAACP and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. The lawsuit accuses the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections of “purging” more than 50 registered voters between December 2018 and November 2019, thanks in part to a policy that allows residents to challenge the registration of a voter if they believe they are no longer living at their registered address.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day should be counted. The case will be considered by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross last week nullified a Georgia law requiring absentee ballots to be received at county election offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Attorneys for the state wrote that the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t justify altering election rules so near the time when voters will begin receiving absentee ballots late this month. “Changing the deadline to return absentee ballots will introduce delay and confusion in the election process. This, in turn, risks delaying the Electoral College process and disenfranchising voters in Georgia, including preventing voters from casting ballots in runoff elections,” the attorneys wrote in a motion Friday to stay Ross’ preliminary injunction while the appeal is pending.
Louisiana: District Judge Trudy White ordered the secretary of state to clear the way for the top vote-getter in last month’s special City Court election to take office even though the candidate who lost by a 2-1 margin is still challenging the result. Ardoin told White he would comply.
Maine: Late last week, the Maine Supreme Court heard 11th-hour arguments aimed at stopping a GOP-led referendum on ranked-choice voting and allowing the voting system to be used in the November presidential election. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap contends the GOP fell short of collecting 63,068 valid signatures for the November ballot. But the threshold was surpassed when a judge allowed 988 signatures from two people who didn’t register to vote until after they began collecting signatures. Dunlap contends signature-gatherers must be registered to vote before they start collecting signatures from voters. On Tuesday, Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday blocked a Cumberland County Superior Court ruling that would have allowed a people’s veto question on ranked-choice voting in the presidential election to go on the November ballot. Tuesday’s decision means Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap will prepare ballots that include a ranked-choice voting format in the presidential contest but no veto question. However, it’s still not clear whether the system will be used, as the high court will now consider an appeal of the lower court’s ruling on the issue.
Minnesota: The state Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a case over laws limiting Minnesotans’ ability to help others vote. The statutes at issue allow Minnesota residents with disabilities or an inability to read English to seek help with filling out their ballot and, if they vote absentee, delivering it. The caveat, which the Democratic Senate and Congressional Campaign Committees have challenged, is that any one person can only assist three people. That restriction, Democrats argued, is preempted by a 1982 amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which grants disabled and illiterate voters the right to receive assistance in voting. Republicans, who intervened in the Democratic committees’ case against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, argued that removing the provisions – prohibiting what they called “ballot harvesting,” and Democrats referred to as “ballot collection” – would lead to election fraud.In an expedited four-page ruling, Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea affirmed a July order by Ramsey County District Judge Thomas Gilligan that sided with the legal challenge to the law and therefore the law will remain unenforceable this election.
Mississippi: Hinds County Chancery Judge Denise Owens has ruled that voters with health conditions that might make them vulnerable to COVID-19 must be allowed to vote by absentee ballot. However, the Owens rejected an argument that people without pre-existing conditions should be allowed to vote absentee if they are following public health guidelines to avoid large social gatherings. Secretary of State Michael Watson said Thursday that he is appealing Owens’ order to the state Supreme Court. He said in a statement that he wants clarification so circuit clerks can know what does or does not qualify as a “temporary disability” under the state law that governs absentee voting. “The goal is to make sure the application of the term is consistent for every Mississippi voter,” Watson said.
Montana: A lawsuit challenging a state law that allegedly restricts Native Americans’ voting rights went on trial in Yellowstone County District Court on this week. Western Native Voice v. Stapleton challenges Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton on the Montana Ballot Interference Prevention Act (BIPA), which limits who can collect and convey a ballot belonging to another person. The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and Native American Rights Fund filed the lawsuit in March on behalf of voting organizations Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote and the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, Crow Nation and Fort Belknap Indian Community. In July, a Montana court granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the law. BIPA also institutes a fine of up to $500 for bringing ballots to the post office on behalf of relatives or neighbors, according to the plaintiffs’ news release. BIPA defines a “family member” as “an individual who is related to the voter by blood, marriage, adoption or legal guardianship,” but that definition is incompatible with Indigenous family structures, which include extended family and community members, the plaintiffs said.
Nevada: According the Nevada Independent, the re-election campaign for the president is narrowing its focus in a lawsuit against Nevada’s expanded use of mail-in ballots for the 2020 general election, now specifically challenging a provision allowing ballots received up to three days after the election to be counted if their postmark is unclear. In a motion for summary judgment filed on Friday, attorneys for the president’s re-election campaign narrowed their legal challenge against AB4, the law approved during the late summer special session of the Legislature. The measure requires a mail-in ballot be sent to all active registered voters for the 2020 election, sets mandatory minimum numbers of polling places in Clark and Washoe counties, makes changes to the signature verification process and allows for non-family members to turn in ballots on behalf of voters.
New York: Bard College President Leon Botstein and student voting advocates have joined a lawsuit against the Dutchess County Board of Elections that seeks to have a polling place closer to the college The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie by the Andrew Goodman Foundation, the student group Election@Bard, student Sadia Saba, Botstein and Bard Vice President for Student Affairs Erin Cannan. “The current polling location is a 3-mile round trip from the Bard campus on an unsafe route that lacks sidewalks and adequate street lighting,” the release states. “The route creates a significant hardship for voters with disabilities, and the majority of students who don’t have cars.” The foundation says the polling site is not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and that the church is undergoing renovations and is too small to comply with COVID-related social distancing needs.
North Carolina: A new judicial ruling will open the door for some felons on probation or parole to vote in North Carolina’s elections this fall. The ruling isn’t final, so it’s possible that it could still change between now and November. But on last week, a panel of three judges from different areas of the state ruled that part of the state’s felon disenfranchisement law appears to be unconstitutional. The judges issued a 2-1 ruling stopping the state from enforcing that part of the law, at least temporarily. They wrote that the people who challenged it — calling it essentially a poll tax and a relic of the Jim Crow era — appear to have a winning argument. The judges didn’t extend voting rights to everyone on probation or parole for a felony, as the challengers including Durham’s Community Success Initiative had asked. But they did rule in favor of people who would have already finished their time under supervision, except for not paying court costs and fees. The judges wrote that “our Constitution is clear: no property qualification shall affect the right to vote.”
Pennsylvania: The Republican caucus in Pennsylvania’s Senate and its official party apparatus are allowed to intervene in the state Supreme Court’s case about mail-in voting, but the reelection campaign of President Donald Trump is not, the court decided this week. The court granted the motions to intervene by the Senate GOP — represented by President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Majority Leader Jake Corman — and the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, but denied motions by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and several voting rights and voting accessibility advocacy groups. In the suit, Democrats are urging the court to order that mail-in and absentee ballots postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day and received by county boards by 5 p.m. the following Tuesday should be officially tallied.
Also in Pennsylvania, Glenys S. Karpavich, 68, has pleaded guilty to a summary offense of disorderly conduct after spitting on an election worker in the June 2 primary election. According to the Times Leader, Luzerne County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Coddington accused Karpavich of spitting on Jessica Vu after being told to wear a mask when she entered the polling location at Pittston Area High School. Karpavich yelled about how the pandemic is a hoax and that COVID-19 is fake, according to the criminal complaint. Karpavich asked Vu a question and in response, Vu said she was sorry but was not sure what Karpavich was asking. Karpavich began to scream at Vu and complained about “how uneducated the younger generation is,” the complaint says. Vu asked a worker at another poll registration table to sign in Karpavich. Karpavich continued to yell at Vu, who instructed Karpavich to vote and leave. Karpavich began to walk away but turned around, pulled down her mask and spat at Vu, the complaint says.
Tennessee: U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson in Nashville blocked a Tennessee law for the November election that bars first-time voters from casting ballots by mail unless they show identification at an election office beforehand. Richardson ordered the preliminary injunction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, assuring that he did so without concern “about how his decisions could aid one side or the other on the political front.” The judge wrote that the state argued for its law, which plaintiffs say affected an estimated 128,000 newly registered voters last election cycle, through “a non-existent” congressional requirement and congressional intent. Tennessee has about 4.1 million registered voters.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled this week that the state’s process for determining whether there is a mismatch between a voter’s signature on their ballot envelope and the signature the voter used on their application to vote by mail “plainly violates certain voters’ constitutional rights.” In his order, Garcia ordered the Texas secretary of state to inform local election officials within 10 days that it is unconstitutional to reject a ballot based on a “perceived signature mismatch” without first notifying the voter about the mismatch and giving the voter a “meaningful opportunity” to correct the issue. Additionally, to “protect voters’ rights” in the upcoming election, Garcia said the Texas secretary of state must either advise local election officials that mail-in ballots may not be rejected using the existing signature comparison process, or notify them that they are required to set up a rejection notification system that would allow voters to challenge a rejection.
U.S. District Judge Jason Pulliam dismissed a legal challenge Monday from Mi Familia Vota, the Texas NAACP and two Texas voters who claimed the state’s current polling place procedures — including rules for early voting, the likelihood of long lines and Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to not require voters to wear masks — would place an unconstitutional burden on voters while the novel coronavirus remains in circulation. In his order, Pulliam noted that the requests were not unreasonable and could “easily be implemented to ensure all citizens in the State of Texas feel safe and are provided the opportunity to cast their vote in the 2020 election.” But he ultimately decided the court lacked jurisdiction to order the changes requested — an authority, he wrote, left to the state. “This Court is cognizant of the urgency of Plaintiffs’ concerns and does respect the importance of protecting all citizens’ right to vote,” Pulliam wrote. “Within its authority to do so, this Court firmly resolves to prevent any measure designed or disguised to deter this most important fundamental civil right. At the same time, the Court equally respects and must adhere to the Constitution’s distribution and separation of power.”
Vermont: A lawsuit filed in federal court last week by four Vermont residents is seeking to block Secretary of State Jim Condos from administering a universal vote-by-mail system for the 2020 election. The plaintiffs argue that Vermont’s voter checklist hasn’t been sufficiently purged of people who have died, moved or are otherwise ineligible to vote in Vermont. And they say plans to send general election ballots to every registered voter in the state later this month threaten the integrity of election results. “… (M)any castable ballots will inevitably fall into the hands of persons other than the voter to whom the mail-in ballot was directed,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote. “Some or many of these misdirected or misreceived ballots can and will be cast by a person other than the voter to which the ballots were addressed or by an otherwise ineligible voter. Each such miscast ballot will directly impact and dilute the individual vote of each legitimate plaintiff voter, for which each plaintiff will have no remedy once such miscast ballots are received and counted.”
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Vote by mail, II, III | Ballot counting | Libraries | Attorney General | Recounts | Disinformation | Election night, II | U.S. Supreme Court | Poll workers | Election security | Insufficient evidence | Election Day | Bush v. Gore | Voting laws | Voter fraud
Arkansas: Drop boxes
Illinois: County clerks
Missouri: Secretary of state race
Montana: Election litigation
New Hampshire: Primary
North Carolina: Voter fraud
Ohio: Vote by mail
Oklahoma: Vote by mail
Tennessee: Voting rights
Utah: County clerks
Virginia: Election administration
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Will the Election Be Legit: There are very real threats to our elections in November. A great deal of misinformation is spreading, and voters do not know where to look for trusted information. Increases in by-mail voting and safety concerns about voting in polling places have led to confusion about the best options to vote. All of these changes will likely lead to slower results reporting and the possibility of one or both parties dismissing official totals as fraudulent or illegitimate. Please join The Bipartisan Policy Center as we discuss what’s fact and what’s fiction, and what we can still do to maintain the integrity of our elections this November. Featured Participants: Donna Brazile, Michael Steele, and Laurel Lee, Florida Secretary of State. Moderated by: Steve Scully. political editor, C-SPAN. When: September 18; 2pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
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.
Clerk, Douglas County, Colorado— This position (4 openings) serves as office support for the Elections Division of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The Election Clerk provides customer service, assists with clerical functions, and performs data entry for voter registration. Other duties in support of the conduct of elections or mail ballot processing may be assigned. Must be detail oriented, well organized, productive, and able to adapt in a high change environment. This role requires both independent judgment and the ability to work well as a part of a team. Professional representation of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office to the public is required to include standards outlined in the Vision, Mission, and Core Values of the Office. Provides daily customer service; answers phones; greets and serves in person customers; Performs general scanning, typing, filing, and collating functions; Performs complex data entry for new, changed, and canceled voter registrations; Performs verification and tracking of data entry; Assists with election judge coordination; Assists with processing incoming and outgoing mail; Administers state election laws and rules, and federal election laws to provide successful voting experience to staff and public; Maintains confidentiality of information consistent with applicable federal, state and county rules, and regulations; Provides support to election coordination, including deployment of materials to coordinating entities and Voter Service and Polling Center. This task may require operation of a motor vehicle; Assists with various special projects; Lives out the Vision, Mission, and Core Values of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office, maintains a supportive environment conducive to teamwork. Salary: 13.50 – 16.90 per hour. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Communications Associate, Center for Tech and Civic Life — When you think about elections, you might think about popular candidates, “I voted” stickers, and all sorts of paperwork and deadlines. But behind the scenes are thousands of election administrators in state and local governments who are working hard to make sure ballots are counted and voices are heard. To serve every community and make democracy work, election administrators need 21st-century tools and training. You can help them get it! As the CTCL Government Services Communications Associate, you will grow and engage our network of election administrators (what we call ELECTricity) and connect them with resources like CTCL training courses and ElectionTools.org. You’ll work with the Government Services team and report to the Impact and Learning Manager. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Success Manager, Dominion Voting Systems, Denver— The Customer Success Manager role started on a simple promise of transforming customer engagement from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’. Our CSM’s know that when our elections customers purchase Dominion Voting products that this is only the start of a meaningful exchange between Dominion Voting and our customers. Our CSM’s build value over time by balancing customer benefits and company profits. As the CSM, you will be the first voice of the customer and you will be responsible for the customer’s overall success, as defined by the customer. You will be successful in this role if you have superb people leadership skills, customer empathy, elections knowledge and experience, Dominion Voting product knowledge, and excellent project management skills. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections & Chief Registrar, Beaver County, Pennsylvania — This is administrative work managing and administrating the County voter registration and election processes, in accordance with the County Code, the policies of the Board of Commissioners and/or Board of Elections and Federal, State and Local laws and regulations. The employee is the Chief Registrar and reports to the Board of Commissioners who sit as the Board of Elections. This position supervises a staff of technical and clerical employees and establishes election and office policy and procedures consistent with Federal, State and local law. Performs related work as directed. The list of essential functions, as outlined herein, is intended to be representative of the tasks performed within this classification. It is not necessarily descriptive of any one position in the class. The omission of an essential function does not preclude management from assigning duties not listed herein if such functions are a logical assignment to the position. Develops procedures consistent with applicable law for the registration of eligible voters and the maintenance of all election records for the county and it’s municipalities and school districts. Assigns, reviews, plans and coordinates the work activities of others. Provides work instruction and employee training. Maintains work standards and evaluates employee work performance. Responds to employee issues and grievances. Recommends and/or approves the selection, transfer, promotion, salary increase, discipline and/or discharge of employees. Creates automated systems for the storage and retrieval of all voter registration data and creates various reports and analyses. Manages all elections including the selection of polling localities, ballot format and production, purchase and set up of all equipment and supplies, training of staff and election officers regarding absentee ballots, write-ins, recounts, tallying, posting of results and issuing certificates to successful candidates. Issues, receives and decides the sufficiency of nomination petitions certificates of candidates and petitions for change to election districts. Prepares office and election budgets. Oversees campaign expense laws, financial interest statements of candidates for office, elected county officials and supervisors. Conducts preliminary investigations of allegations of election fraud and/or other violations of the election code. Ability to develop a working knowledge of the principles and practices of Pennsylvania election laws and the operation and maintenance of voting machines. Knowledge of computer technology, such as data management, work and spreadsheet applications. Knowledge of computer applications sufficient to learn the specific programs and technology of election equipment. Salary: $55,000 – $67,000 a year. Application: For the complete job listing and apply, click here.
Elections Administrator, Harris County, Texas— Harris County seeks an Elections Administrator to plan, coordinate, lead, and manage the newly established Office of the Elections Administrator under Chapter 31 of the Texas Election Code. The Elections Administrator will act as the county voter registrar, administer all local, state, and federal elections in Harris County, and oversee Harris County’s elections operations, including voter registration, public education and outreach, and recruitment and supervision of election judges and poll workers. The Elections Administrator will also work to modernize Harris County elections, expand access to registration and voting, and ensure voting is fair, easy, efficient, secure, and accessible for all eligible Harris County voters consistent with the Texas Election Code and Federal regulations. Deadline: Sept. 21. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Administration Specialist (Consultant), The Carter Center— The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering; it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health. In 2020, The Carter Center will engage on election issues in the United States. Drawing on our international experience and knowledge of election administration and standards, the Center would analyze critical issues, raise public awareness, and engage experts and election officials, including on possible discretionary administrative steps that officials can take to increase electoral transparency and bolster public confidence. To support these efforts, the Center is creating a Study Team of senior election experts. We are currently recruiting a highly qualified Election Administration Specialist to join the Study Team. The expert will help to strategize the Center’s engagement on key issues relevant to US elections. The position will be from roughly September 1, 2020 – Jan 31, 2021. While The Carter Center is based in Atlanta, GA this work may be conducted remotely. Application: Please send a resume and cover letter to email@example.com.
Grants Associate, Center for Election Innovation and Research— The Grants Associate will report to the Operations Manager and will help with the subgrant awarding process and will also be responsible for post-award subgrant financial management. The Grants Associate will track subgrant funds, compile any information needed to comply with reporting requirements, and perform the following activities: Review subgrant financial reports and supporting documentation to ensure that expenditures comply with donor requirements; Assist with review of documents pertaining to the subgrant approval process to ensure completeness and compliance with relevant regulations; Assist with providing post-award guidance to subgrantees, including basic terms of signed agreement, reporting schedule, and documentation of allowable costs; Ensure Operations Manager has information needed to prepare subgrant related journal entries for monthly accounting; Assist with month-end and year-end financial closings; Participate in program meetings, planning, and problem-solving meetings as needed; Help develop and maintain subgrant trackers and project files, ensuring integrity of data; File/organize financial documents as needed. This is an excellent opportunity for a highly motivated, detail-oriented individual who wants to join a quickly growing nonprofit that seeks to make a substantial, positive, nonpartisan impact on elections and American democracy. The Grants Associate role is a full-time job. CEIR’s office is in Washington, DC, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CEIR staff are working remotely for the foreseeable future. Therefore, while we prefer applicants who live in the Washington, DC Metro Area, we will also consider qualified applicants who live elsewhere. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
HAVA Administrator, Nevada Secretary of State— The Nevada secretary of state’s office is seeking a HAVA Administrator. The incumbent in this position will manage the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant and in this capacity will work with members of the State Elections Division, county registrar of voters, and other elections related positions in the federal, state, and county governments to manage the application of the HAVA grant and support the conduct of state and federal elections. This position will be a key member of the State elections team and will be primarily responsible for the analysis and interpretation of federal and state elections law. This position will supervise up to six other elections-related employees. State employee Benefits – Medical, dental, vision care, life and disability insurance programs are available; eleven paid holidays per year; three weeks of annual leave; three weeks of sick leave; state defined benefit retirement plan; tax-sheltered deferred compensation plan available. State employees do not contribute to Social Security; however, a small Medicare deduction is required. Salary: $66,628.08 – $100,161.36. The Secretary of State’s Office is located in downtown Carson City, near beautiful Lake Tahoe in Northern Nevada, which offers a destination location to live, work and play. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Policy Associate, National Vote at Home Institute— Under the general direction of the National Policy Director, the Policy Associate is responsible for supporting the policy goals of the National Vote at Home Institute (NVAHI), including the design and implementation of mail ballot policies and procedures nationwide. The Policy Associate is responsible for internal data capture and interpretation in a shifting policy landscape and will also contribute heavily to data analysis and strategy decisions that the data informs. As an entrepreneurial and growing nonprofit, NVAHI seeks an energetic, flexible, and creative team member to help us grow our impact. The compensation range for this position is$45,000-$60,000/year depending on experience. This position is remote and requires a personal computer, phone, and access to the internet. Applications: For those interested in applying, please send a resume, cover letter, and references to National Policy Director Audrey Kline at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Policy Associate”
Project Associate, Center for Tech and Civic Life — When you think about elections, you might think about popular candidates, “I voted” stickers, and all sorts of paperwork and deadlines. But behind the scenes are thousands of election administrators in state and local governments who are working hard to make sure ballots are counted and voices are heard. To serve every community and make democracy work, election administrators need practical, research-based approaches that can improve their operations. These include things like voter registration, resource allocation, and language access. As the CTCL Projects Associate, you will learn about the complex challenges that voters face and help election administrators address those challenges. You’ll work with the Government Services team and report to the Senior Project Manager. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Coordinator, Center for Election Innovation and Research— CEIR seeks a qualified, full-time Project Coordinator to join our team. The Project Coordinator will report to the Program Director and will be responsible for monitoring project progress, promoting communication, and ensuring key milestones are met. The Project Coordinator will partner with CEIR’s Research manager and other project staff to create project action plans and coordinate resources. This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced and highly motivated individual who wants to join a quickly growing nonprofit that seeks to make a substantial, positive, nonpartisan impact on elections and American democracy. CEIR’s office is in Washington, DC, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all CEIR staff are working remotely for the foreseeable future. Therefore, while we prefer applicants who live in the Washington, DC Metro Area, we will also consider qualified applicants who live elsewhere. 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.
State Audit Expansion Specialist, Verified Voting— A critical component of election security is the ability to determine whether the computers that counted the votes counted them correctly. To do that, jurisdictions must have a system that incorporates paper ballots that are retained for recounts and audits. After the election, the paper ballots must be checked against the computer-reported results via a rigorous statistically sound audit, called a risk-limiting audit. Verified Voting is working with election officials to implement risk-limiting audits in as many jurisdictions as possible for the 2020 elections. The State Audit Expansion Specialist will report directly to the Director of Science and Technology Policy and will be primarily responsible for the education and outreach required to build trust with election officials in order to implement statewide RLAs of swing states. The State Audit Expansion Specialist will also support the design, development, implementation and reporting of audit pilots in a variety of jurisdictions, and will be able to contribute to the formulation of state and local audit policy. Salary Range $65,000-$75,000. Application: Please submit a resume and a short cover letter regarding your interest in the position and salary requirements to: email@example.com. commensurate with experience.
Technology Associate, Center for Tech and Civic Life— When you think about elections, you might think about popular candidates, “I voted” stickers, and all sorts of paperwork and deadlines. But behind the scenes are thousands of election administrators in state and local governments who are working hard to make sure ballots are counted and voices are heard. To serve every community and make democracy work, election administrators need 21st-century tools and training. You can help them get it! As the CTCL Government Services Technology Associate, you will implement streamlined, digital learning experiences that advance the tech and communication skills of America’s election administrators. You’ll work with the Government Services team and report to the Program Manager. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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