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March 11, 2021

March 11, 2021

In Focus This Week

What the new VVSG 2.0 means for state, local elections officials
It will likely be years before effects are apparent in marketplace

By M. Mindy Moretti

Earlier this year, after a six-ish year process, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) voted to approve the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) 2.0.

The VVSG are a set of guidelines for voting systems, which the EAC has adopted to be the specifications and requirements against which voting systems can be tested to determine if a system can obtain EAC certification. VVSG 2.0 is the third iteration of the guidelines since they were first approved in 2005.

According to the EAC, the VVSG 2.0 represents a significant advancement in defining guidelines that will serve as the cornerstone of the next generation of voting systems. It lays the groundwork for 21st century voting systems that are desperately needed with improved cybersecurity, accessibility, and usability requirements. The VVSG 2.0 also supports various audit methods supporting software independence to confirm the accuracy of the vote and increase voter confidence.

This all sounds great, but what exactly does it mean for state and local elections officials, especially in the post-2020 world?

Eddie Perez, Global Director of Technology Development, OSET Institute said state and local elections officials need to be patient and moderate their expectations.

“It will likely be years before the effects of VVSG 2.0 are apparent in the marketplace, in terms of having new voting systems to buy,” Perez said. “…[W]hile the passage of newer, more modern requirements for auditability, accessibility, and security are an important step forward and beneficial to U.S. election administration, by themselves, they are not likely to produce overnight improvements in election officials’ concerns about the slow pace of technology change, costs, and relatively limited choices for voting technology.”

Next Steps for Certification
According to the EAC, the manual allows manufacturers to start certifying components incrementally to VVSG 2.0 while they work on making their full systems compliant.

“Much of this testing can be reused when they bring their full systems in for VVSG 2.0 certification and should reduce the complexity of testing required and amount of time a new system certification with no existing baseline might otherwise take,” said Mona Harrington, executive director of the EAC. “The EAC is committed to continuous review of the program to remove unnecessary friction points while improving the quality and integrity of certified systems.”

While manufacturers can submit minimal software changes (formerly known as de minimis changes), what counts as “minor” remains murky, experts said. It also remains unclear whether the EAC will allow manufacturers to patch or update existing certified systems, without additional EAC testing, when security patches or updates are available.

Because the VVSG 2.0 voting system standards and the testing and certification program that goes with it are both new, it will take even more time for manufacturers to do the research, development, and testing required to make new systems. Perez likened the process to turning a battleship.

“I predict that the very earliest that VVSG 2.0-compliant systems could exit federal certification and be ready for the (additional, sometimes long) state approval process will be 2023,” Perez said. “That’s an optimistic timeline, for more ambitious manufacturers. In terms of broad trends, I don’t think the U.S. will see many EAC- and state-certified 2.0 compliant systems actually purchased and deployed until probably 2025 and beyond. And I predict that the peak of the new “refresh cycle” across many states is likely to be in 2026 and 2027, before the 2028 Presidential Election.”

Perez thinks  that for manufacturers and election official buyers alike, 2025, after the Presidential Election, is likely to be the beginning of the “sweet spot.”

“The brave 2023 buyers or the early adopters in 2025 are likely to be closely watched by many election officials and they will pave the way for a more general refresh of voting technology across the country in 2026 or 2027, before the 2028 Presidential Election,” Perez said. “For many of those buyers, this means that about ten years will have elapsed since their last voting system purchase, in 2017 or so. This also means that voting systems designed to the new VVSG 2.0 standard are likely to still be in use in some jurisdictions around 2040 – two decades from now.”

Implementation and Costs for Elections Officials
The passage of VVSG 2.0 does not have an immediate impact on the voting systems state and local elections officials are currently using. According to Perez, election officials are likely to face changes in the future if and only if their states choose to either decertify older systems or if states require EAC certification to the newest VVSG 2.0 requirements as a prerequisite for state approval.

Eventually jurisdictions are most likely going to need new equipment that meets these new standards. It is doubtful that any existing equipment will be compliant.

“It is unlikely that a jurisdiction’s current system could meet all requirements. Most voting system vendors participated in the VVSG working groups and have incorporated changes to meet some of the requirements, but it is unlikely that a jurisdiction’s current system – in its current configuration – could meet all requirements,” explained Ryan Macias, consultant/SME – Infrastructure Security & Technology with RSM Election Solutions, LLC and former acting director of the EAC Testing and Certification Program.

Macias said election officials should speak with their voting system vendors to determine what it is going to take to bring their current systems into compliance with the requirements.

“I am sure all voting system vendors have, or will be, mapping their current configurations against the new requirements,” Macias said adding that hardware, and the firmware that runs the hardware, needs updating just like software does.

While there are ways to update firmware, many voting systems use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware that goes end-of-life (EOL) meaning that it is no longer supported or available, Macias explained. The election community recognized hardware will need to be modified more often than previously and included requirements in the VVSG for COTS hardware to address this concern.

According to Perez, broadly speaking, anyone hoping for dramatic changes that would make certification less expensive or faster will be disappointed and it’s difficult to say for sure whether systems designed for 2.0 compliance will be more expensive, or not.

“My instinct tells me that voting system manufacturers know how small and price-sensitive the industry is, and they also have lots of experience that tells them how much state, county and local government officials are willing to pay for their products,” Perez said. “My expectation is that, no matter how much additional complexity and/or cost comes with the new requirements, manufacturers will continue to try to price their products similarly to what election officials are used to today.”

Sunsetting Current Systems
The EAC is currently drafting a VVSG lifecycle policy that will address things like the sunset of older versions.

“With all jurisdictions that require EAC certification or testing to VVSG standards currently on VVSG 1.0, we will be cautious not to cause recently acquired systems to fall out of support or to create a situation where jurisdictions are forced to upgrade before they are ready,” explained Harrington. “To this end, we will consult with all key stakeholders to ensure that the policy does not result in unintended negative consequences.”

The passage of VVSG 2.0 does not have an immediate impact on the voting systems that election officials are currently using, in the field.

Component Certification Pilot Program
The EAC has created a component certification pilot program that is designed to evaluate the feasibility of component testing using the common data formats required in VVSG 2.0. Under this program, a component manufacturer would need to identify an existing VVSG 2.0 certified system or systems that their component is compatible with and should be evaluated against. A voting system test lab would then evaluate the component against all applicable VVSG 2.0 requirements as well as artifacts (data interchange files, ballot formats, etc.) of the relevant certified system(s) to determine compatibility and compliance with the requirements.

“A successful pilot will demonstrate that the common data formats are sufficient for the level of interoperability required by a stand-alone component interacting with a certified system,” Harrington said. “An unsuccessful pilot should provide valuable information on where new common data format definitions are needed or where existing definitions can be bolstered to provide the desired level of interoperability.”

Harrington added that it should be noted that a “system integrator” already has the ability (under the 2.0 version of the manual as well as the newly approved 3.0 version) to bring a “hybrid” voting system in for testing and certification that is made up of components from various voting system manufacturers.

“While most systems currently use proprietary data interchange formats that limit this type of integration, the EAC is hopeful that the interoperability requirements in VVSG 2.0 may enable these hybrid voting systems to be certified in the future,” Harrington said.

VVSG 2.1? 3.0?
We’ve all been there. You buy a new piece of technology and you’re barely out of the store with it before it becomes obsolete. Moving forward, Harrington said the EAC plans to review the VVSG, test assertions, and manuals annually to create a more agile program that is responsive to changing conditions and technological developments.

“Where required, such as with the VVSG principles, guidelines, or requirements, updates will follow the HAVA prescribed process with review by our advisory boards as well as public comment periods,” Harrington said. “The EAC will take great care that this regular update cadence does not create a situation where the ‘goalposts’ are constantly shifting for voting system manufacturers and will maintain compatibility with previous iterations.”

If this compatibility cannot be maintained, the version of the VVSG would be incremented (from 2.x to 3.0) to reflect this and would require updated laboratory accreditation as well as a defined implementation timeline.

“The EAC is committed to continuous review and improvement of our testing and certification program, including the VVSG,” Harrington said. “Our hope is that VVSG 2.0 can be updated regularly instead of relying on wholesale changes that take years to develop, vet, and approve.”


BPC Patriot Award

BPC Honors All the Local and State Election Officials
By Matthew Weil

The United States has never seen an election like the 2020 Presidential cycle. Aside from the incredibly high interest from supporters of both parties, the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the middle of the primaries, lasted through the November election, and is still with us today.

Elections are, at their core, a human process. Thousands of professional election officials recruit and train millions of volunteers to process voter registrations, operate polling places, and count the nearly 160 million ballots cast.  Faced with seemingly impossible odds, America’s state and local election officials rose to the challenge of maintaining democracy even with the added challenge of social distancing, changing primary schedules, and the rapid implementation new methods of voting. Their ability to adapt quickly to these circumstances is a testament to the skill and commitment of these too often unheralded public servants.

State and local election officials, and all of their staff and volunteers, also risked their health and safety throughout 2020. Some were stricken ill by the pandemic, and worse, sadly some died. The extremely high stakes and tensions of the 2020 presidential contest brought down upon many of them threats and intimidation requiring round the clock police protection and physical separation from their loved ones. Still, they endured.

The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC works to address the key challenges facing the nation, by driving principled and politically viable policy solutions on a range of important policy areas.  We believe in a constructive collision of ideas. That’s why we host the BPC Task Force on Elections, a group of currently serving local and state election officials from twenty-five different states and representing jurisdictions across the political spectrum. We are also convinced that this year it is crucial to highlight and celebrate election officials’ capacity for achievement despite the political pressures and strains during and after the 2020 election.

BPC created its Patriot Award in 2016 to recognize leaders who demonstrate political courage and exceptional leadership in their careers, even during the most partisan of times. The award honors Americans who, in placing the interests of the nation above all else, bring credibility and honor to government. In 2020, BPC honored Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) with its fifth annual Patriot Award. Previous honorees have been former OMB and CBO director Alice M. Rivlin (2019); Governor Tom Kean, Sr. (R-NJ) and Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) as 9/11 Commission co-chairs (2018); President Joe Biden (2017); and Congressmen John Lewis (D-GA) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) (2016).

Free and fair elections underpin our democracy. That’s why it seems exceptionally fitting that our nation’s election administrators be honored in that same pantheon as previous BPC Patriot Award Honorees. At a virtual ceremony on March 10, 2021, BPC presented its sixth annual Patriot Award to New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin on behalf of all local and state election officials across the country.

In accepting the award, Secretary Oliver said, “The work of government is the work of bringing people together to solve problems in spite of our differences…. Election administration has a certain unique place within our government that fits me well because there’s truly no room or purpose for partisanship.” She added that “too often, even the work of election administration is clouded by partisan aims that undermine the ideals of our democratic republic…. This, however, simply tells me the work is not finished. The problems are not solved. Being the recipient now of an honor like the Patriot Award puts into even greater focus why I do this work and where we can all go from here.”

Secretary Ardoin noted that “as Louisiana’s elected Secretary of State, I’m proud to be the public face of our citizens and the 474 employees of our office, and our election partners throughout the state, who fought through never-before-seen circumstances like early voting lines, voter registration deadlines, COVID-19 protocols, multiple natural disasters, and other previously unforeseen issues.” He concluded with a “pledge to continue the level of excellence that this award is founded upon and will work to provide our state and—through my leadership of NASS—our country with a strong defense of our electoral system.”

“I wish BPC could have presented each and every dedicated election administrator with their own Patriot Award this year. I know administrators aren’t in it for the notoriety, but each and every one of you deserves the biggest ‘thank you’ for your dedication to the best of American ideals. Thank you for all that you did in 2020 and continue to do everyday to improve the voting experience.”



Election News This Week

“Let the people vote!” This week, on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, President Joseph R. Biden (D) signed an executive order on voting rights. The order directs federal agencies to expand access to voter registration and election information. That includes directing heads of all federal agencies to submit a “strategic plan” to the White House within 200 days on how their departments can promote voter registration and participation. Additionally, the U.S. federal chief information officer will coordinate across federal agencies to “improve or modernize” federal websites and digital services that provide election and voting information under the order.  “Every eligible voter should be able to vote and have that vote counted,” the president said in a virtual address to the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast on Sunday just before signing the order. “If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote.”  Biden’s executive order would also:

  • Direct federal agencies to assist states with voter registration efforts under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
  • Order the General Services Administration to improve and modernize the federal voter registration website Vote.gov.
  • Order recommendations on leave for federal employees allowing them to vote or volunteer as nonpartisan poll workers
  • Direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to evaluate and publish recommendations on steps needed to ensure the online federal voter registration form is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Direct Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to establish procedures to annually offer each member of the armed forces the opportunity to register to vote in federal elections, update voter registration or request an absentee ballot.
  • Direct the attorney general to establish procedures to provide educational materials on voter registration and voting for all eligible individuals in federal prisons or on probation by federal court.
  • Establish a Native American voting rights steering group that will work with tribal organizations to identify best practices to protect voting rights of Native Americans.

American City & County typically honors one public servant as the Exemplary Public Servant of the Year, but for 2020 the magazine decided to instead honor the nation’s county clerks and elections officials. Not only was there a global pandemic to contend with, but trust in our election processes were severely eroded. “Poll workers and officials were required to make critical last-minute decisions on how to best hold an election during the worst health crisis this country has seen in over a century, all the while being demeaned and undermined from all angles. It’s for this fortitude, perseverance and sacrifice that American City & County has made the decision to honor and uplift these individuals. You quite literally pulled democracy back from the precipice, and for that we all owe you a debt of gratitude.” Congratulations to everyone, you deserve this award and a lot more.

The U.S. Postal Service’s Inspector General released a reports this week that says the Postal Service processed almost 134 million pieces of election mail — ballots and voter registration materials — sent to and by voters from Sept. 1 through Nov. 3. Of that, 93.8% was delivered on time to meet the agency’s service standard for first class mail of two to five days. That’s an increase of 11% from the 2018 midterm elections. It’s also, the inspector general noted, 5.6% better than on-time delivery rates for all first class mail, a standard the Postal Service has not met for five years. The Post Office’s goal for on-time delivery of first class mail is 96%. The report credited the Postal Service for implementing “extraordinary measures to accelerate the delivery of ballots to ensure they were included in the election process.” “This included expedited delivery of ballots through Express Mail and postmarking and sorting ballots for local delivery at delivery units, rather than sending them to mail processing facilities,” the report said. It found fault with communications about election mail process changes with local mail-handling managers, which it said risked delaying some election mail, and recommended the Postal Service issue clear guidance about those procedures in future elections.

What exactly is going on in Green Bay? Recently, the Green Bay Press-Gazette and Wisconsin Spotlight, a conservative website have published reports that the city’s clerk was essentially pushed out by the mayor and that the city improperly allowed a consultant with Democratic ties to play a central role in planning for the November election. The Press-Gazette found that former City Clerk Kris Teske complained for months before she resigned that the mayor’s office had overtaken election planning however city officials dispute her account. The city of Green Bay and Democrats also say the Wisconsin Spotlight report made “egregious and false accusations” about the integrity of the November election in Green Bay, that the city followed state and federal laws, and that the allegations are “completely without merit.” “The election was administered exclusively by city staff,” a city of Green Bay statement said. “No ballots were ever in the care or custody of these consultants.” At a recent informational hearing of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections lawmakers heard testimony from former Brown County Clerk Sandy Juno, election observers and an attorney who possibly faces discipline for making baseless claims in a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s election results. City officials were not called to testify at the hearing. Republicans have called for the resignation of Green Bay’s mayor. Democrats on the committee did not attend in person or question the witnesses. In a statement after the hearing, Reps. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, and Jodi Emerson, D-Eau Claire, said Republicans were fueling “conspiracies and falsehoods” about the November election.

Personnel News: Roxanna Moritz is stepping down after 14 years as the Scott County, Iowa auditor.  Kristi Royston is stepping down as the Gwinnett County, Georgia elections director. Shanie Bourg, an elections administrator for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office is the new Ascension Parish registrar of voters. Marco Sommerville has been sworn in to the Summit County, Ohio board of elections. The Luzerne County, Pennsylvania council has voted to remove Stephen Urban, Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt and Keith Gould from the county’s board of elections.

Legislative Updates

Federal Legislation: Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday reintroduced legislation to designate funding to provide cybersecurity training to election officials. The Invest in Our Democracy Act would establish a $1 million grant program to cover up to 75 percent of the costs of tuition for cybersecurity or election administration training for state and local election officials, along with their employees.  The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) would oversee the grant program, with EAC employees also eligible to receive funding for training. The bill was originally introduced in 2019 by Klobuchar and Collins but did not advance in the Senate.


Alabama: The Senate has approved Senate Bill 45 that would authorize an audit of the election results in three Alabama counties immediately following the 2022 election.  The purpose of the limited post-election audit is to determine the accuracy of Alabama elections. Beasley said that the secretary of state’s office received $800,000 to conduct the limited, post-election audit from the federal government prior to the 2020 election.  “It is not going to take any money out of the state general fund, and I don’t think it is going to take any money out of the counties involved,” Beasley explained. “The audit will include a North Alabama county, a Central Alabama county and a South Alabama county. One county has to be of large population and one has to be rural.”

Arizona: The Senate has approved a bill that would scrap existing laws that determine the validity of early ballots based on county election workers matching voters’ signatures on the ballot envelopes with their signatures on file. Instead, early voters would need to provide an affidavit with their date of birth and number of a state driver’s license, identification card or tribal enrollment card. If they don’t have such identification, they would have to send a copy of any other federal, state or locally issued ID card. The proposal by Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, would first require someone to provide their voter registration number. Then they would have to enclose a physical copy of something showing their address, such as a utility bill, vehicle registration form, property tax statement or a bank statement dated within the past 90 days.

The House approved HB 2569 in a party-line vote. The legislation would ban election officials at all levels of government — city, county and state — from receiving private funds to help pay for any aspect of election operations, including voter registration. Republican Rep. Jake Hoffman, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s a matter of election integrity. That means keeping elections free of influence or interference, he said.

Arkansas:  Republican legislators in Arkansas filed a bill that would move the end of early voting from the Monday before election day to the Saturday before. If passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson, the proposal would change the end of early voting from 5 p.m. on Monday to the Saturday at 4 p.m. before the election. This would effectively shorten the amount of days to early vote by one day. Currently, Arkansans can vote starting 15 before election day. The bill has been referred to the Senate committee on state agencies and governmental affairs.


Connecticut: Resolutions to let voters consider allowing early and no-excuse absentee voting cleared the Government Administration and Elections Committee, marking the first step in a long process to amend the state constitution.  If approved by the legislature, the resolutions would send ballot questions to Connecticut voters asking for greater flexibility to change state election laws. One resolution applies to laws on no-excuse absentee voting. The other regards laws on early voting. The committee left its votes open until Friday evening, but members present voted largely along party lines for the resolution on absentee ballots. Some Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the resolution on early voting.



Delaware: Rep. Brian Shupe is planning to introduce legislation to remove dual registration requirements. Shupe explains that right now most Delaware residents have to register twice to gain access to all elections in the State. First they register with the State, for statewide elections. But then also with their local municipality to be eligible for local elections. The former Milford Mayor references his hometown saying they have about 10,000 people who live there but only about 1500 are eligible to vote locally. “A lot of people just don’t know and they will actually show up on election day and they’ll just assume that they registered through the State of Delaware, they’ve been registered for 20 years . . . and they show up and they say, ‘I’m sorry you had to register separately with they City of . . .,’ whatever it is,” says Shupe.

Florida: A bill that would put limitations on vote by mail and ballot drop boxes has cleared the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. The committee voted 4-2 along party lines to advance SB90. In addition to banning the use of drop boxes for voters to drop off ballots, the bill would only allow “immediate” family members to collect and deliver ballots for voters. That would seek to prevent “ballot harvesting,” which involves other people being able to collect and deliver ballots. Among other things, the bill would require voters to resubmit requests for vote-by-mail ballots for the 2022 elections, even if they have already submitted a request under current law. Also, the bill would prevent supervisors from providing vote-by-mail ballots unless requests are made and require voters’ signatures to match the most-recent signatures on file. The bill has the backing of the state’s Republican governor but many local elections officials have spoken out against the legislation. Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays, a former Republican senator, said many people don’t have immediate family members who could help with vote-by-mail ballots. He said current law allows voters to designate in writing other people who can pick up ballots. “Do you have any idea how many people, like my dear mother, don’t have immediate family members living nearby, thus they won’t be able to have their ballot picked up for them,” Hays said.

Georgia: The Georgia Senate passed a bill to roll back no-excuse absentee voting and require more voter ID, which would create new obstacles for voters after Republicans lost elections for president and the U.S. Senate. The legislation would reduce the availability of absentee voting, restricting it to those who are at least 65 years old, have a physical disability or are out of town. In addition, Georgians would need to provide a driver’s license number, state ID number or other identification. The Senate approved the bill on a party-line 29-20 vote, a one-vote majority of the chamber’s 56 senators required by the Georgia Constitution for legislation to pass. Four Republican senators excused themselves, along with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, the Senate’s presiding officer who opposed the bill but doesn’t get a vote. The bill now advances to the state House of Representatives. “America is at a turning point right now. Our democracy is in peril and our society divided along increasingly partisan lines,” said state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta. “It will not work. Voters see through transparent attempts to cling to power through suppressive and anti-democratic means.” Republicans said additional safeguards are needed to restore voter confidence and prevent the possibility of voter fraud, but state election officials have said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud.

Senator Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) has filed a bill that would merge the Chatham County Board of Elections with the Board of Registrars. Merging the two boards has been something both Democrats and Republicans have considered for a few years, but this is the first concrete step taken toward actually getting it done.  “Chatham County needs to look at not only streamlining these boards and the process but look to become more efficient,” Jackson said. “It works well in 99% of the counties in Georgia, so I think it’s something that has to come to pass.” The split board is a rarity in the state. Chatham is one of the only counties in Georgia that splits the responsibilities surrounding elections work between two offices. The other is Union. As the bill is currently written — which is subject to change before being voted on — the merged board would be called the Board of Elections and Registration of Chatham County. The new board would take the form of the current BOE’s elected members: five board members, two democrats, two republicans and one chairman.

Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed Senate File 413 into law. Under the new law, early voting will be cut to nine days, more mail-in ballots must be received by the time polls close on election day and poll will be close at 8pm instead of 9pm on Election Day. “It’s our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election. This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot,” Reynolds said, in a statement.


Maryland: House Bill 1048, sponsored by Del. Jheanelle K. Wilkins (D-Montgomery), would allow registered voters to opt-in to an absentee ballot list so they wouldn’t have to reapply for a mail-in ballot before every statewide election. The bill also would set new requirements for upkeep of the absentee ballot list: Voters could be removed if they are removed from the state voter registration list, if any mail sent to them by election officials is returned as undeliverable, or if they don’t return an absentee ballot for two consecutive statewide general elections. House Republicans attempted, but failed to add five amendments to the bill, including requiring voters to apply in-person, with a government-issued ID, to be placed on the list to automatically receive an absentee ballot.

The Student and Military Voter Empowerment Act, sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, was passed by the House today with a bipartisan 104 – 23 vote. Under the legislation, universities must create a Student Voting Plan to ensure that students have information about voter registration and mail-in ballot request  deadlines, polling locations, and transportation options.  It also allows military members to register to vote online using the Common Access Card, which is a Department of Defense-issued ID card. And it has local Boards of Elections reach out to military installations, university campuses, and nursing homes when deciding where to place precincts.

The Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would prevent people from carrying a gun in or near a polling place in Maryland. But lawmakers spent over half an hour debating whether certain exceptions should be made for law enforcement officers. Senate Bill 10, introduced by Sen. Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery), would ban people from carrying or displaying a firearm on the premises of a building being used as a polling site during an election, including in a parking lot, and would prevent someone from carrying or possessing a firearm within 100 feet of a polling place.

House Bill 1345 would create consistent design standards for mail-in ballots. It would also standardize what’s called ballot curing – or allowing voters to fill in missing information or fix incorrectly completed ballots.

HB1020 would allow for curbside voting across the state. Two election judges would be required to visit each curbside voter as they fill out their ballots.

Massachusetts: A fast-tracked push to extend mail-in voting and early in-person voting for springtime elections, and extend flexibility for cities and towns to re-schedule municipal elections, is taking a short breather so the public can weigh in. Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues said during Thursday’s Senate session that his committee would accept written testimony on the bill, H. 73, until 10 a.m. Monday, an hour before the Senate gavels into its next session. The bill would extend COVID-19 vote-by-mail provisions currently slated to expire at the end of March for three additional months, allowing voters to cast ballots early by mail for any municipal or state elections held through June 30. Municipal officials would also be able to authorize early in-person voting for annual or special municipal elections held on or by June 30.

Michigan: The House passed a series of election reform bills aimed at cleaning up Michigan’s voter files and changing the election process to accommodate voters’ shift toward absentee voting after a record number of Michiganders cast absentee ballots in the November presidential election.  A pair of bills introduced by GOP lawmakers that passed the House would require voters with unknown birth dates and those who haven’t voted in a long time to take steps to ensure their registration isn’t cancelled. Democratic lawmakers accused their Republican colleagues of crafting legislation based on misinformation about the security of Michigan’s election.  Other bills passed by the House would press clerks to stay current with their election training, consolidate precincts, require clerks to create a permanent absent voter list and expand the number of voting jurisdictions that establish designated counting boards to process and count absentee ballots. A bill introduced by Rep. Matt Hall, R-Emmett Township, that passed the House 61-48 largely along partisan lines would require the Secretary of State to send a postcard to voters assigned a placeholder birth date on their voter file. The House approved a bill that requires the Secretary of State to send a notice to registered voters who have not voted since the 2000 general election.  A bill, introduced by Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township, would require a list of the names of county and local clerks who aren’t current with their continuing election education training to be published on the Secretary of State’s website. Once clerks can provide evidence that they’re current with their training, their name would be removed. It passed the House 87-22.  The final two pieces of election reform the House lawmakers passed would allow clerks to consolidate precincts, require clerks to maintain an permanent list of absentee voters and change the rules for the counting boards charged with processing and counting absentee ballots.

Missouri: A House committee has approved a bill that would add at least one electronic voting machine per polling location for blind or visually impaired voters. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Yolanda Young (D-Kansas City), said the motivation behind her sponsorship of House Bill 324 involved consideration for visually impaired senior citizens, and as it relates to voting. “If you’re a senior, you typically deal with some of the problems of aging, which includes visual impairments,” Young said. “My community has a high degree of diabetes, high blood pressure and so forth, which affects their vision.” Chip Haley, a member of the Missouri Council of the Blind, said the bill includes an important factor in regard to elections. “It addresses that issue where it not only speaks to the issue of making accessible voting available during federal elections, but during all elections, whether it be state or local, it doesn’t matter, and that’s very important,” Haley said.

New Hampshire:  Republicans in the Senate voted to advance a bill that would add new identification requirements to the state’s absentee balloting process, over the objections of disability rights advocates and others who warned it would create unnecessary burdens on voters who cannot easily obtain the necessary documentation. The original bill required voters to obtain a photocopy of their drivers’ license or other forms of identification when returning an absentee ballot. The latest version of the bill, passed along party lines Thursday, instead alters the ID requirements for requesting an absentee ballot. It also allows voters to provide the last four digits of their Social Security number or another form of identification deemed acceptable by their local clerk.

A House bill would completely revamp current New Hampshire election laws, and place new limitations on who, how, and when people can vote in the state.  New Hampshire House Bill 86 (HB86-FN) seeks to eliminate same-day voter registration and exact provisions of the National Voter Registration Act. Secondly, it would change New Hampshire’s primaries from semi-closed to closed, meaning voters must be registered with the party whose ballot they want to vote for prior to election day. The last measure is the one that will have the greatest impact on University of New Hampshire (UNH) students: in order to vote in the state of New Hampshire, students must prove they receive in-state tuition. This measure would effectively ban out-of-state students from choosing to vote in New Hampshire.

The House Election Law Committee heard testimony this week on several elections-related bills including House Bill 362 which would repeal the use of a student’s address at an educational institution as his or her place of domicile for voting purposes. Current law allows a student to claim domicile in the New Hampshire city or town in which he or she lives while attending the institution.

Another bill, House Bill 429, would remove a voter’s ability to show a college identification card in order to receive a ballot. The bill would also allow students who are legal residents of the state to receive in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. The sponsor, Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said it was a mistake to have those IDs in the law as an allowable means of proving domicile and obtaining a ballot because many students who show those IDs are non-residents.

Under House Bill 531, a person registering to vote within 30 days of an election or on election day who does not provide documentation showing he or she is domiciled in the town or ward in which the person seeks to vote will be allowed to register on a provisional basis and then be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The ballot would be set aside and not immediately counted, and the voter would have until five days after the election to provide the necessary documentation. If the documentation is provided, the vote would be counted; if the documentation is not provided, the vote would not be counted.

The committee took action on a number of other elections-related bills:

House Bill 61 and House Bill 516 would remove all current specific conditions under which a voter may obtain and use an absentee ballot — and in doing that, would legalize universal no-excuse absentee voting. Supporters said that as a practical matter, the state had universal absentee voting last year as people were simply able to cite health concerns about COVID-19 to vote absentee, but opponents said the 2020 process was specifically a response to the pandemic and should not be a permanent practice. House Bill 61 would also allow for partial processing of absentee ballots by city and town clerks prior to election day. The committee recommended the House kill House Bill 61 on a vote of 11-8 and voted 11-9 that the House kill House Bill 516.

— The committee recommended on an 11-9 party line vote that the full House kill House Bill 144, which would streamline the absentee voter request form.

House Bill 285 was recommended for passage by the House on an 11-9 party line vote. The bill would tighten the process for the secretary of state to verify local voter checklists.

— The Republican majority recommended passage of House Bill 291, which would require the secretary of state to issue detailed public reports on absentee voting information following elections. The vote that the bill ought to pass was 11-9 in favor.

House Bill 292, which would require a voter to verify his or her identity if he or she is requesting that an absentee ballot be sent to an address other than the address shown on the community’s voter checklist, was recommended for passage, 11-9.

— The committee voted 11-9 to recommend the full House kill House Bill 491, which would have allowed a voter to change his or her ballot after casting it if more than the allowable number of votes for an office were marked, either through an error by the voter or an extraneous mark on the ballot.

— The committee voted 20-0 that the House should kill House Bill 372, which would expand the enforcement of state election laws to include county and municipal attorneys, in addition to the authority currently held only by the attorney general’s office.

The committee also voted to retain until 2022 for more study and work:

House Bill 406, which would allow the public to observe the processing and counting of absentee ballots without obstruction and from six feet away. The vote was 12-8.

House Bill 537, which would move the state primary election from the second Tuesday in September to the first Tuesday in September in some years when necessary to comply with federal requirements to send ballots to uniformed and other overseas citizen voters 45 days before a general election. The vote was 20-0.

House Bill 480, which would allow public access to ballots that have been cast following recounts. The vote was 11-9.

House Bill 524, which would require the secretary of state to conduct recount the vote totals of five locations in the state that use electronic voting machines to verify the machine counts. The vote was 11-9.

New Mexico: Senate Bill 412 would let 17 year-olds vote in any state elections, which include school board elections, mayoral elections, county and city elections, just to name a few. However, they would not be able to vote in federal elections, which are presidential and congressional elections. The sponsor said this is a way for younger people to have a say in their communities. Teenagers who spoke out in favor of this bill said they’re impacted by decisions legislators make and want to be better represented. The bill cleared its first committee and it now heads to the Senate Judiciary. If passed, this would go into effect for the 2022 elections.

A proposal that could have opened the door to ranked-choice voting in New Mexico election was derailed Monday in a Senate committee. But backers of the measure vowed to bring back the idea, which allows voters to rank candidates by preference in what’s also described as an “instant run-off.” “We look forward to a further discussion about this next year,” said Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, after a tie 5-5 vote in the Senate Rules Committee left the measure effectively stalled. In its revised form, Senate Joint Resolution 22, would have authorized — but not mandated — the Legislature to permit the use of alternate voting methods like ranked-choice voting. It would have also required approval from state voters, likely in November 2022, in order to take effect.

New York: Queens Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal is set to introduce legislation that would require the New York City Board of Elections to report full candidate rankings in municipal elections, even if someone wins an outright majority under the new ranked-choice format. Rosenthal said his measure would foster “trust and transparency” in ranked-choice voting, which took effect this year after voters approved its introduction via a 2018 ballot measure. “When the ranked choice system was overwhelmingly approved, there was an expectation that the process would become more open and a plurality of voices would be heard,” Rosenthal said. “This legislation would help to achieve that goal as well as foster greater voter engagement and participation by giving New Yorkers the full scope of the electorate.”

North Dakota: A bill to stop private money from funding elections operations narrowly passed in the Senate on Monday, and is on its way to the governor’s desk. Bill supporters, like Sen. Shawn Vedaa, say outside money could influence elections, and counties already have enough funds. Those opposed to the bill expressed concern the law could go too far, by preventing a group from donating lunches to poll workers, for instance. Vedaa says the bill became necessary after Facebook offered millions in election administration grants to states ahead of the 2020 election. The Secretary of State’s office weighed in on the bill in committee, saying it generally opposes private money in elections, but not always. In 2020, Anheuser-Busch offered sanitizer to each state for elections, which the Secretary of State’s office said it did not accept for logistical reasons.

A bill that would’ve required a polling place in any city with a population of 1,000 people or more quickly failed in the Senate. “Due to redistricting coming up in the next couple years or shortly I should say, we won’t need this bill,” said Sen. Scott Meyer, R-Grand Forks. Meyer also said members of the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee spoke with the Secretary of State’s office and various county auditors and determined the bill was unnecessary because they’ll be allocating polling places.

Oklahoma: The Senate has approved two bills created to improve the accuracy and efficiency of state elections. SB 710 authorizes the Secretary of the State Election Board to join the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which a State Senate news release describes as “a multi-state partnership that uses data-matching tools to enhance the accuracy of voter registration lists.” SB 710 also allows the State Election Board to share data with ERIC, send Oklahoma’s voter registration notifications to eligible citizens not yet registered and notify voters who need to update their address for voter registration purposes.


Oregon: Oregon state lawmakers are considering a bill that would give residents the option of providing their racial identity, ethnicity and language preference when registering to vote. Those backing the measure say the publicly available data would allow for stronger engagement with voters of color and would make it easier for state and local elections officials to address racial inequity in voting access. Similar data is already collected in fields including education and health care to improve outcomes in different demographic groups, and the same should be done for the state’s elections. Providing demographic information would be voluntary. Oregonians currently have four ways to register to vote, and the bill would require that the option of providing race, ethnicity, and preferred language information be available in each manner. During a committee hearing, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, R-Canby, questioned the need for the information to be public, if the intent is to simply study participation. No one spoke in opposition to the bill during testimony or public comment.

South Carolina: The House voted 84-36, mostly along party lines, to pass House Speaker Jay Lucas’ proposal giving the state’s elections director broader power and supervision to ensure that county boards are complying with federal and state election laws, Lucas and other Republicans said. The original legislation included measures to also expand the State Election Commission board, giving House and Senate leaders the authority to appoint members — an authority only allowed right now by the governor. But the House stripped those provisions out of the proposal entirely, avoiding a longer fight on the chamber floor that would have delayed its passage. H.3444, would empower the State Elections Commission to “supervise and standardize the performance, conduct, and practices” of county election commissions and “ensure those boards’ compliance with applicable state or federal law or State Election Commission policies, procedures, and regulations.” Local elections officials are speaking out against the legislation. In a letter to lawmakers, Charleston County’s elections board chairwoman, Christie Companion Varnado, wrote that they were “deeply concerned about the implications” the proposal would have on them. “While uniformity in the election process is desirable in many respects, due to differences among the counties, one size does not always fit all,” Varnado wrote. Varndado said that the legislation would let the state agency “implement policies and procedures with absolute authority without having a full understanding of the distinctive nature and needs of each locality.”

Tennessee: The state legislature will no longer consider removing a Nashville judge from her position. The resolution to remove Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle from the bench failed Tuesday after more than an hour of debate in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee. Tennessee Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, who chairs the House subcommittee on elections and campaign finance, said he filed the bill in response to Lyle’s 2020 ruling to expand absentee voting during the pandemic — an action he deemed judicial overreach. The resolution drew staunch opposition from Democratic lawmakers, who were joined in part by Republican colleagues on Tuesday to speak against the resolution in subcommittee debate.


Texas:  Republican lawmakers have filed seven bills that would change voting access in Texas

SB 1115, would require all counties to observe the same early voting hours and days, prohibiting counties from expanding their hours as Harris County did last fall with the state’s first-ever 24-hour voting sites.

SB 1111, would requires the voter to provide documentation that the voter lives at the address where they are registered when they receive a confirmation request from the registrar. Bettencourt said this is specifically aimed at barring people from registering using a private P.O. box.

SB 1113 provides the Secretary of State the authority to withhold Chapter 19 funds if the voter registrar or elections administrator fails to remove in a timely manner voters who should be canceled from the voter roll.

SB 1114 boosts Secretary of State efforts by requiring registrars to cross-reference voter rolls and motor vehicle records where a person indicated that he or she is not a U.S. citizen, and remove ineligible voters.

SB 1110, which requires each Administrative Judge of each of the 11 districts in Texas to appoint judges who can hear issues raised by either a candidate or a political party within three hours of the request prior to Election Day and within one hour on Election Day.

SB 1112, which prohibits local election officials from suspending the requirement of the Early Voting Ballot Board to verify that the signature on the mail ballot application and the signature on the mail ballot are from the voter.

SB 1116, which requires transparency for cities, counties, and ISDs, who maintain a website, to place on their respective websites, no more than two clicks away from their homepage, any results of their elections.

Utah: The Legislature has approved a bill that would set a deadline for party switching ahead of a  primary election. HB 197 passed the House in February on a 41-30 vote and has now passed the state Senate on Monday with a 22-3 vote. The bill now awaits a signature from Gov. Spencer Cox. If signed, individuals wishing to change their party affiliation would need to do so before March 31.

The Utah Legislature has given final approval to a bill that would allow more cities to try ranked choice voting in their local elections, beginning this year. HB75, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, would broaden an existing ranked choice voting pilot project that the Legislature passed in 2018. The program allows municipalities to give the alternative kind of election a try before ranked choice voting is adopted more widely, if at all. Two Utah cities already adopted ranked choice voting for city council races: Payson and Vineyard. In 2019, Payson elected three city council members using ranked choice voting. Another bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, would have adopted ranked choice voting for all state or county primary elections with more than two candidates. However, HB127 died without a public hearing. The first version of HB75 would have required county clerks to administer this type of election if a city chose to try it, raising the hackles of county clerks who felt it would bring too many complications. An amendment that finally broke the logjam that had stalled the bill allows cities the option of contracting with a county clerk in a different jurisdiction to administer a ranked choice vote election.

Legal Updates

Florida: Circuit Judge Laurie Buchanan has dismissed a lawsuit by two losing St. Lucie County candidates for county commission. In their lawsuit, Ryan Collins and Christopher Thompson contested, without evidence, they “lost the election due to the large influx of mail-in ballots,” according to the court records. They presented no evidence to support the claim in their lawsuit complaint. Buchanan’s one-sentence decision to dismiss the case against Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker comes against the backdrop of calls from the state Republican Party for sweeping election reform. Some of the concerns raised in Tallahassee, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, mirror those at the heart of the local Republican lawsuit. An appeal has been filed.


Idaho: Idaho Attorney General Robert Berry says a northern Idaho school district was within its rights to remove an electioneering demonstrator from elementary school property on Election Day. In a legal analyses, Berry wrote that schools may may control their property even when it is being used as a polling place. “Idaho law requires schools to provide their premises as polling locations,” Berry wrote. “However, public schools are not traditional public forums. Schools may control their property while it is being used as a polling place, and may exclude individuals from school property not involved in the voting process.” Schools can also prohibit people from engaging in electioneering or similar activities within 100 feet of school property when the school is acting as a polling place, he wrote.

Indiana: Hoosiers who unsuccessfully pushed for no-excuse absentee voting in Indiana during the 2020 election are turning to the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming the constitutional arguments they raised will become even more pertinent as some state legislatures are already trying to restrict mail-in balloting. The plaintiffs in Tully et al. v. Okeson et al., 20-2605, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari  with the U.S. Supreme Court. They argue Indiana is violating the 14th Amendment and 26th Amendment by allowing voters age 65 and older to cast their ballots by mail but requiring voters age 64 and younger to vote in person. Pointing to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ conclusion in Tully that the “‘privilege’ of mail-in voting is not part of the constitutional ‘right to vote,’” the plaintiffs stressed the need for the Supreme Court to review. They assert the 7th Circuit decision deepens the existing splits among the state and federal courts over the application of the Supreme Court’s voting rights precedents. Indiana has yet to reply to the petition. “Particularly as dozens of states consider revisions to their voting laws in advance of the 2022 election cycle, the decision threatens to create significant uncertainty and disruption for voters, legislators, and election officials,” the plaintiffs’ petition states. “This Court should review, and set aside, the Seventh Circuit’s decision.”

Iowa: The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC) filed a complaint against Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and Attorney General Thomas Miller in Polk County District Court against the state’s new voting law. LULAC seeks an order prohibiting them from enforcing the law, claiming it infringes on the right to vote, especially for those in minority communities. “It creates an undue burden on our constitutional right to vote,” LULAC Political Director Joe Henry said in an interview. “It reduces the amount of time that that our community members can vote early. It reduces the amount of hours that people can vote on the day of the election. And it removes our community members who miss one general election, so they are invisible to us, and also places restrictions on county auditors on what they’re able to do to promote the right to vote.” The lawsuit alleges violations of the Iowa Constitution’s right to vote, free speech, free assembly and equal protection. “None of the bill’s challenged provisions will actually serve to make elections more secure or increase the public’s confidence in the electoral process,” the complaint states. “Instead, they will impose undue and unjustified burdens on a wide range of lawful voters, including some of the state’s most vulnerable and underrepresented citizens: minority voters, elderly voters, disabled voters, voters with chronic health conditions, voters who work multiple jobs, and voters who lack access to reliable transportation or consistent mail service.”

Mississippi: Voters in Canton are still awaiting their absentee ballots for upcoming municipal elections because incumbent Mayor William Truly is in court after the Democratic executive committee determined that he does not live in Canton. Ballots cannot be mailed until the court issues a ruling.



Wisconsin: The U.S. Supreme Court put an end to the 2020 election on this week by declining to hear a lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump to throw out thousands of ballots and let the Legislature pick the winner of the state’s 10 electoral votes. It was the last active legal challenge from Trump or his supporters to change the outcome of Wisconsin’s election. The Trump campaign in its lawsuit asked the Supreme Court to decide whether absentee ballots cast in the November election should be disqualified, arguing state and local election officials implemented “unauthorized absentee voting practices in disregard of the Wisconsin Legislature’s explicit command that absentee voting must be ‘carefully regulated.’ ” “This is the inevitable end to the ignominious litigation assault on Wisconsin’s November 2020 election,” Jeff Mandell, an attorney representing Gov. Tony Evers, said Monday. “It was clear from the outset that these efforts to overturn the will of the voters never had any merit.” A spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin deferred comment to the Trump campaign, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tech Thursday

Social Media: U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) released a nearly 2,000-page report compiling social media posts about the 2020 election from House Republicans who voted to overturn the results. The report lays out how some Republicans relentlessly pushed misinformation and conspiracy theories about election fraud, and kept at it even after Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol. “Statements which are readily available in the public arena may be part of any consideration of Congress’ constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities,” Lofgren writes. “Accordingly, I asked my staff to take a quick look at public social media posts of Members who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.” All information in the report was already available publicly, but this is the first comprehensive review of how lawmakers relentlessly promoted falsehoods about the election on Facebook and Twitter. It compiles posts between November 3, 2020 and January 31, 2021 from the 147 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election’s outcome. The report shows that some of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters in the House posted more than 100 attacks on the election’s integrity in less than three months.

Social Media: According to a new report from the Election Integrity Project, a handful of rightwing “super-spreaders” on social media were responsible for the bulk of election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol attack, according to a new study that also sheds light on the staggering reach of falsehoods pushed by the former president. The study’s authors and other researchers say the findings underscore the need to disable such accounts to stop the spread of misinformation. “If there is a limit to how much content moderators can tackle, have them focus on reducing harm by eliminating the most effective spreaders of misinformation,” said said Lisa Fazio, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the psychology of fake news but was not involved EIP report. “Rather than trying to enforce the rules equally across all users, focus enforcement on the most powerful accounts.” The report studied how these narratives developed and the effect they had. It found during this time period, popular rightwing Twitter accounts “transformed one-off stories, sometimes based on honest voter concerns or genuine misunderstandings, into cohesive narratives of systemic election fraud”. Ultimately, the “false claims and narratives coalesced into the meta-narrative of a ‘stolen election’, which later propelled the January 6 insurrection”, the report said. “The 2020 election demonstrated that actors – both foreign and domestic – remain committed to weaponizing viral false and misleading narratives to undermine confidence in the US electoral system and erode Americans’ faith in our democracy,” the authors concluded.

Texas: According to MOVE Texas, a 2020 court ruling allowing Texans to register to vote online when updating their driver’s license has now led over half a million to register to vote in the state. A judge ruled in September the state had to start allowing residents to add their names to voter rolls when updating driver’s license information after MOVE Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project sued, marking the first time online voter registration was allowed at all in Texas. The lawsuit successfully argued the National Voter Registration Act (also called the “motor voter law”), which requires states to let residents register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, should also apply if that process is online.

Opinions This Week

National Opinions: HR1, II, III, IV, V, VI | Voting rights, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII | Election doubting | Jim Crow | Sunday voting | LeBron James | Stacey Abrams | Voter suppression | Election legislation, II, III, IV | U.S. Supreme Court, II, III, IV | Election reform | Voting restrictions | Election preparation | Vote by mail | Voting advocates

Alabama: Secretary of state

Arizona: Election legislation

Florida: Election legislation | Voter suppression

Georgia: Election legislation, II, III, IV | Voting rights

Hawaii: Automatic voter registration, II

Idaho: Voter suppression | HR1

Maine: Online voter registration

Maryland: HR1 | Vote by mail

Michigan: Audit

Nebraska: Ranked choice voting

New Hampshire: Voting rights

New Jersey: Early voting

New York: New York City BOE

North Carolina: Voting rights

Ohio: Summit County, II

Pennsylvania: Local election boards | Election legislation

South Carolina: HR1

Tennessee: Election laws | Election legislation | Judicial attacks

Utah: Ranked choice voting

Vermont: Democracy

Wisconsin: Election legislation

Wyoming: Voter ID

Upcoming Events

Restoring Confidence in the U.S. Election System: The 2020 presidential election shook public confidence in the U.S. election system, leading to dozens of lawsuits and an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Join a virtual panel of experts as they offer recommendations about how to go about the vital task of rebuilding public trust in the administration of elections. When: March 16 at 4pm CST. 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 mmoretti@electionline.org.  Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.

Bilingual Coordinator/Clerk, York County, Pennsylvania— Assist in the voter registration and election process. Coordinates all bilingual activities of the Election/Voter Registration Office. Assemble and pack supplies for local election boards. Answer telephone. Assist in the voter registration and election process including scanning signatures. Assist at the front counter. File as required. Assist Spanish-speaking voters, candidates and other members of the public through interpretation and service. Coordinate all bilingual activities of the Election/Voter Registration Office. Speak before various community groups concerning the election/voter registration process. Other reasonable duties as assigned by Supervisor. Salary: $11.50/hr. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

CEO, Verified Voting — Verified Voting is seeking its next CEO for its 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) entities. In the course of completing its strategic plan, Validating 2020, Verified Voting has significantly expanded its team and programmatic capacity to address the urgent need for greater accuracy, security, and verifiability in elections. The organization is now looking for a dynamic and experienced executive to lead the Board and staff through its next strategic planning, implementation and evaluation process as it continues to fulfill its mission. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO will manage a team of seventeen. Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Organizational Strategy and Vision; Fundraising and Resource Development; Financial Management and Operations; Outreach and Communication; Human Resources / Staff Management; and Board Relations. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Certification Project Manager, Hart InterCIvic— The Certification Project Manager manages state and federal certification projects of our Hardware and Software products, under the direction of the Sr. Director of Product Management.  The Certification Project Manager must be able to exercise sound judgment and interact with regulatory authorities in a professional manner, particularly in high-pressure situations. Essential Duties and Responsibilities (Other duties may be assigned): Submit state/federal certification application materials; Plan for and coordinate logistics for onsite state/federal certification activities; Lead onsite state/federal certification activities; Provide follow up to state/federal certification activities. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Chief Information Officer, Maine Secretary of State’s Office — The Secretary of State is seeking candidates for Deputy Secretary of State Chief Information Officer.  The Deputy provides central leadership and vision in the use of modern information technology, streamlining operations by developing technological systems that will advance the overall mission of the Department of the Secretary of State including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions and the Maine State Archives.  The key focus of this position will include civic tech efforts to leverage technology to improve accessibility and usability of the Department’s services to the public. This includes modernization of Bureau of Motor Vehicles systems, automatic voter registration, online voter registration and working with the Maine State Archives to procure a new records management and digital archiving solutions. This position acts as the principal information technology liaison and technical advisor to the Secretary of State.  The Chief Information Officer oversees a professional team of twenty IT professionals in the Office of Information Services. Deadline: March 23. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Deputy Elections Administrator, Dallas County, Texas— Assists with the direction and oversight of absentee mail voting, early voting, and election day voting for 1.1 million registered voters; ensures the voter registration rolls are accurate and complete; and assists in the oversight of the campaign finance files for candidates and office holders. Coordinates with the County IT Department in managing the department’s purchased software solutions and developing internal software solutions; coordinates employee usage of software. Negotiates, drafts, finalizes and manages comprehensive election contracts with the Elections Administrator; ensures compliance of contracts for thirty (30) contracted elections per year; and presents briefings and orders for Commissioners Court, the Election Board and the Citizen Election Advisory Committee. Assists the Elections Administrator in managing the budget, monitoring purchases and developing strategic, operational, and budgetary plans. Manages daily activities of staff; reviews and approves delegated personnel functions with the Elections Administrator regarding hiring, evaluating, disciplining, training and terminating of early voting election judges and staff, the utilization of equipment, and the reporting of counted ballots and election results; provides direction and guidance to supervisory staff on personnel issues. Monitors, reviews and analyzes statutes, regulations, and election legislation to determine impact on election operations and to ensure compliance. Performs all functions of the Elections Administrator in his or her absence. Interacts with judiciary, department heads, elected officials, other County staff and the general public to resolve problems, provide information and communicate ideas. Performs other duties as assigned. Salary Range: $8,077-$10,081/month. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Director of Elections, Denver, Colorado — Do you have a passion for democracy and working in elections administration? If so, we want to hear from you! The City and County of Denver has an exciting opportunity for an appointed Director of Elections to serve in the Office of the Clerk & Recorder Paul D. López. Join our team of dedicated public servants in supporting residents while upholding public trust and integrity in our elections process. The Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder serves Denver residents through two primary divisions: Elections and Recording/Public Trustee. By making more than 11 million records available online and providing electronic recording, the Office of the Clerk and Recorder allows people to do business more efficiently 24 hours a day. It is responsible for managing technology to collect, preserve and disseminate records that reflect and verify ownership, transfer, encumbrance, and foreclosure rights of all real property in the City and County of Denver. It issues and records marriage and domestic partnership licenses; administers records for elections and lobbyist information, has executive authorization to formally execute all contractual agreements with the City, and has executive and legislative authorization to formally implement and publish all policies, ordinances and appointments in the City and County of Denver. The Elections Division within the Office of the Clerk and Recorder provides comprehensive elections services for the City and County of Denver, including voter records, voter services, ballot operations, technical and logistical support, and election administration. The Denver Elections Division is a national leader and vanguard of elections administration, with a reputation for innovative and voter-centric service. Salary Range: $99,649 – $159,438. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections and Voter Registration Manager, Snohomish County, Washington— The Snohomish County Auditor’s Office is seeking an experienced, collaborative professional to lead a dedicated team as the Elections and Voter Registration Manager.    The mission of the Elections and Voter Registration Divisions is to conduct fair, accountable elections and encourage people to understand and participate in the voting process. The successful candidate will manage a staff of ten, oversee a budget ranging from $4 to $7 million (depending on the election cycle), and will be a member of the Auditor’s Office leadership team. The successful candidate must have a deep commitment to ensure accessible, nonpartisan, secure, transparent elections. Salary: $86,276-$121,913. Deadline: March 31. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Director, Oregon Secretary  of State’s Office— Are you ready to put your experience in election administration, management, and practical skills to work leading an election division in a state that prides itself on its innovative election policy? Would you like to be part of a new, principled, equity-driven administration that is committed to empowering the public through election education, access, policy, and outreach? The State of Oregon is looking for you. This is an extremely visible, high profile position that serves at the pleasure of the elected Secretary of State. This position reports to the Deputy Secretary of State and serves as a member of the Agency’s executive management team. As the Elections Director for the State of Oregon you will: Ensure all election-related processes run smoothly and fairly, including initiative petitions, campaign finance, complaint response; Support election officials, legislators, members of the public, the media, and others with your election expertise; Ensure agency compliance with all relevant state and federal mandates; Support and encourage counties, candidates, campaigns, and voters to comply with election laws and procedures; Protect all election systems from outside interference; oversee development of programs to proactively combat misinformation campaigns and mitigate with accurate resources via multiple channels; Procure new Oregon Central Voter Registration System; Write policies, recommendations, strategic plans, and draft legislation; Manage a yearly budget of approximately $10 million and lead a team of approximately 40 people; Connect with employees to establish relationships to promote a strong division culture; Identify, needed skill sets to ensure employees are engaged and receive the necessary support, coaching, development, and training for continuous success; and Maintain and improve the culture of voting in Oregon. Salary: $8,842 – $15,240 Per month – Full Time.  Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Information Technology Director, Leon County, Florida: This is an executive level position on the management team at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office (SOE). Our IT Director is a highly innovative position that requires managing and protecting technology for the SOE, supervising technical staff, creating and maintaining documentation, budgeting for technology needs, and a devotion to protecting voting integrity. The IT Director supports the SOE’s mission and maintains operational continuity. They work closely with Leon County’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) Department and are expected to be available to respond to all technical issues and external threats. This role will often require technical support hours outside the traditional business schedule in order to monitor and assure the functionality and security of computer and network systems. Salary: $80,443-$132,731. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Program Manager, Maryland State Board of Elections — The Director of the Election Reform and Management Division manages and supports the State’s implementation of the Help America Vote Act, Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, and other federal election laws, develops and implements efforts to improve election administration, and oversees the duties assigned to the Division. The position also manages the State’s mail-in and provisional voting programs conducted by the local boards of elections and the agency’s voter education and outreach efforts. The Division oversees an audit program of the local boards of elections and statewide training and education programs for election officials. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Regional Service Technician, Hart InterCivic— A Regional Service Technician responds to all customer requests ranging from training requests, to phone support requests, to onsite repair of voting equipment requests. This individual is one of the local customer’s support routes. The position requires residency in Harris County, Texas. The Regional Service Technician handles all Return Material Authorization (RMA) requests for external customers for all Hart InterCivic Verity products within his/her region and provides on-site customer support and troubleshooting on an as-needed basis. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Registrar of Voters, San Diego County, California— The Registrar of Voters is an executive management position that leads the Department and provides eligible citizens of San Diego County with widespread and ongoing opportunities to register and vote in fair and accurate elections for all federal, state and local offices and measures; and provides access to the information needed to utilize the initiative, referendum, and recall petition processes. Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree and five years of management level experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the classification. The ideal candidate for this position will have executive level decision-making skills in the area of election administration, as well as organizational and political acumen in order to advise and provide direction for ROV programs and services. Candidates familiar with election administration principles, campaign finance, election technologies, voting procedures, and federal and state election laws, are preferred. This recruitment will remain open until the position is filled. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for consideration. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Senior Election Subject Matter Expert (SME), U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The Senior Election Subject Matter Expert (SME) is responsible to create EAC clearinghouse material to assist Election Officials, Voters, and other stakeholders with best practices, white papers, tools, data, training materials, instructions, and any other information that would be helpful to election administrators to assist with the Administration of elections. The incumbent will provide expert guidance regarding election administration that touches all facets of the agency to serve EAC stakeholders. The agency is filling multiple positions with this vacancy. Preparing and implementing programs and resources for election officials and voters. Major Duties: Updating and maintaining current Clearinghouse resources for election officials. Creating professional presentations, brochures, and training materials on all facets of election administration. Creating professional infographics using election-related data. Researching, collecting, and analyzing election data and presenting findings in reports, best practices, and white papers. Writing election related blogs and other publications regarding election administration. Making recommendations for reorganizing the EAC website to better serve its stakeholders regarding its Clearinghouse function. Researching and analyzing trends and identifying solution for election related challenges. Working closely with the senior advisor for programs and program directors to produce timelines for execution of work product and the expeditious issuance of reports, guidance to states, best practices and other documents, including factoring in timelines to accommodate review and comment of various draft documents. Recommends actions to alleviate conflicts within the timeline. Assists with work quality related to all agency Clearinghouse functions. Recommending action to ensure coordination and integration of program activities of each division including meetings and activities of EAC advisory boards. Serving as a team member on ad hoc teams convened to provide quick responses to special projects and studies which may cut across organizational lines, disciplines, and functions. Team participation is vital to effectively accomplish unit assignments. Successful participation in both routine and special assignments requires flexibility, effective interactive skills, and willingness to cooperate to enhance team accomplishments. Ensuring documents meet EAC standards and improve the agency Clearinghouse function. Identify areas that require improvement, establish working groups to assist with gaps. Provide feedback on election-related work quality including editing and guidance to staff to improve overall quality of work. Serving as the Project Manager for outsourced election work product as needed. Working with external stakeholders as needed. Reviewing Grant funding trends and preparing an analysis on trends of how the funds are being spent on innovative ways to assist stakeholders with ideas. Performing other related duties as assigned. Salary: $87,198 to $144,128. Deadline: June 3. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Senior Election Subject Matter Expert (SME), Accessibility, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The incumbent of this position serves as the Senior Election Subject Matter Expert (SME) Accessibility of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was established under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. HAVA was enacted to establish a program to provide funds to States to replace punch card voting systems, to establish the Election Assistance Commission to assist States with the administration of Federal elections, to otherwise provide assistance with the administration of certain Federal election laws and programs, and to establish voluntary voting system guidelines and guidance for States and units of local government with responsibility for the administration of Federal elections. EAC serves as a National clearinghouse and resource for information with respect to the administration of Federal elections. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), specifically requires states to make polling places accessible “in a manner that provides the same opportunity to people with disabilities for access and participation” as is provided to non-disabled voters. This includes accessible parking and paths of travel. Each polling place is also required to have at least one direct recording electronic voting system or voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities. HAVA also requires equal access for people with disabilities to registration by mail and a computerized statewide database, eliminating the need to re-register when people move (or re-register as a person with a disability) amongst other provisions. The incumbent is responsible to create EAC Accessibility related Clearinghouse material to assist election officials, voters, and other stakeholders with best practices, white papers, tools, data, training materials, instructions, and any other information that would be helpful to election administrators to assist with the administration of elections. The incumbent will provide expert guidance on accessibility related to election administration that touches all facets of the agency to serve EAC stakeholders. Salary: $87,198 to $144,128. Deadline: June 3. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Testing and Certification Program Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission — The Testing and Certification Program Director develops EAC policy, quality management system, and standard operating procedures for the Voting System Testing and Certification (VST&C) Program and Division. Works with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), regarding laboratory accreditation for laboratories seeking accreditation to test voting systems under the EAC program. Under HAVA, NVLAP does the initial laboratory assessment and makes recommendation to the EAC, through the Director of NIST on the accreditation of candidate laboratories. Manages Division personnel (i.e., current FTE, technical reviewers and new hires). Establishes, implements, and evaluates budget, working jointly with the EAC’s leadership and Executive Director to establish priorities for the VST&C Division. Manages voting system testing and certification efforts, including supervising contract staff, technical reviewers, and consultants. Oversees testing of voting systems developed by registered manufacturers to determine whether the systems provide required basic functionality, accessibility, and security capabilities. Serves as EAC lead/co-lead on critical infrastructure issues. Develops blogs, white papers and other informational material for stakeholders on election technology and cybersecurity. Serves as EAC lead for development efforts on Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and development of requirements for testing at the laboratories. Serves as the lead auditor on voting system test laboratory audits. Leads the Election Official IT Training Program. Represents the EAC and VST&C Program at stakeholder meetings and conferences. Performs other duties as assigned. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Voter Services Manager, Denver Clerk/Recorder— This position will lead the Voter Services team within Elections Division. The Voter Services Manager also: Manages 4 FTEs that provide customer service and data entry; Serves as the County Administrator for SCORE (Statewide Colorado Registration and Election database); Oversees the election judge trainers, edits and approves training for: Supervisor Judges, Registration Judges and Support Judges and succession planning; Provides recommendations for staffing needed to perform voter registration functions and answer the phones and emails during various phases of the election cycle; Acts as a subject matter expert in elections by continuously reviewing Colorado election laws to accurately inform and instruct the general public and internal staff; Prepares, processes and/or provides written reports and other documents as necessary or requested, in accordance with legal precedents or other specialized/technical procedures; Implements policies, programs, operating procedures for the voter services department; Contributes to the development of performance goals, documents performance, provides performance feedback, and provides information to inform the formal performance evaluation; Fosters an atmosphere of innovation in order to challenge the organization to think creatively, especially as it relates to positive citizen and customer experience opportunities; Coaches, mentors, and challenges staff; Champions continuous improvement, including devising new strategies and new opportunities; Leads staff development initiatives that include training, development; Performs other duties as assigned or requested. Salary: $81,572 – $130,515. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.


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