In Focus This Week
Local election officials are uniquely qualified to effectively, inexpensively combat disinformation
By Spenser Mestel
This story has been updates 9:45 a.m. Friday April 9.
There is no off-season when it comes to elections, but now, when the public spotlight is a little less intense, is a good time to start preparing for the next rounds of disinformation and misinformation.
As both a poll worker in New York City and a voting rights journalist, I know how difficult it is to communicate with the public, especially about technical details. I also know that, on top of running elections, you’ve probably got a thousand other responsibilities, from issuing liquor licenses to handling death records.
However, you are uniquely well qualified to combat election disinformation. As a local election admin, the public trusts you more than they trust the media, politicians, or federal officials. So how can you do it quickly and effectively? Let’s use the Election Integrity Partnership’s recent report, which offers three recommendations.
Recommendation #1: Flag misinformation on social media platforms.
This is relatively easy. There are dedicated email addresses, portals, and means of communicating directly with the social media companies set up exclusively for state and local elections officials to report disinformation. Non-elections officials reading this can help out by reporting it directly to the social media outlets (here’s how on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter).
Recommendation #2: Establish trusted channels of communication with voters using a .gov website, traditional media, and social media.
For now, let’s just talk about traditional media (we’ll get to social media next). [Ed. Note: electionlineWeekly will be covering the .gov issue next week.]
As a reporter, I can tell you this: outlets are always looking for stories, so don’t wait for them to contact you. If there’s a local reporter who covers elections, email them and introduce yourself (see template below). If you aren’t sure who has that beat, look at the masthead and email a few of the editors.
Even if you don’t have a specific story (breaking: everything going as planned), remind them of upcoming elections and key information: how to register, where to find your polling place location, what’s on the ballot, etc. Every article also needs art, so offer to provide high-resolution images, which you should keep in an easily-accessible and shareable folder, and indicate when you’re available for interviews.
Feel free to use this template:
I’m the [job title] for [whatever jurisdiction], and I wanted to reach out, introduce myself, and remind you of the upcoming primary on June 22nd. On the ballot will be the races for mayor, city council, public advocate, and comptroller, and we’ll be using ranked choice voting for the first time.
There’s a great explainer of RCV on our website, along with information on registering, requesting an absentee, and becoming a poll worker (we currently need about 200 more). I’m also free to speak with reporters on Thursday afternoons, and we can provide high-res images as well.
Follow us on Instagram here.
Great to meet you,”
When it comes to television, invite the local news channel to come film B-roll (is anything more hypnotic than high-speed ballot processing machines?), and also reach out to publications that cater to under-served voters, like high school newspapers and nursing home newsletters. These groups are likely covering the elections already and would love a helping hand.
Recommendation #3: Tell a start-to-finish story for each voter’s ballot, including how to register to vote; ensuring one’s registration is up to date; where, when, and how to vote; and how votes will be counted and reported, including the timing of that process.
Social media is probably the best way to distribute this kind of information. Ideally, you’d have a full-time staffer to handle your digital communications (*laughs hysterically*), but since that’s probably not the case, it’s better to do one platform well than all of them poorly. So, here’s a breakdown of each one from least to most labor intensive (and if you want more guidance, I recommend this episode of “High Turnout, Wide Margins” with King County’s social media guru Halei Watkins).
Facebook allows you to post text, images, and video and mostly caters to voters 40 years and older. The slowest and least personality-driven of the platforms, you should aim to post here once or twice a day, but be ready to respond to comments.
Who to follow:
New York City’s Board of Elections does a good job of posting relevant information in fun, consistently-branded ways.
Twitter also accommodates text, images, and video but limits each post to 280 characters, though you can link posts together (called a thread). The platform of choice for journalists, Twitter is a great way to see the local and national conversation about voting, but it moves quickly and therefore requires a lot of time and vigilance. Aim to post at least eight times a day.
Who to follow:
Harris County, Texas, who’s mastered the art of combining voting info and popular memes; ElectionBabe, creator of #ElectionTwitter; David Becker, Executive Director for The Center for Election Innovation and Research; Rick Hasen, author of Election Law Blog, and me.
Instagram is a little trickier because you have to post images, whether they’re photos, graphics, or videos, but you can leverage and adapt what you already have (I recommend creating your posts in Canva, which is free). Aim to post once or twice a day.
Who to follow:
King County, Washington takes materials it already has, like explanations of an upcoming special election in multiple languages, and turns them into fun and legible graphics. In order to post regularly, it also supplements with profiles of voting activists and its staff.
The entry barrier to TikTok is high because it requires video clips that are highly edited. Unless you’re extremely motivated or have a dedicated social media person, I’d stick with the other channels, though some election admins are doing it well (see below).
Who to follow:
Tok The Vote is, unsurprisingly, a TikTok-native account created to register younger voters. Boone County is relatively new to the platform but does a great job of capturing its fun, irreverent energy.
This app, currently available only for iPhone users, may seem intimidating but is actually quite simple: Users meet in moderated rooms and talk (no text or video). Think of it like radio for your phone, but more casual. [Editor’s Note: Elections officials should be aware that there are some security concerns about Clubhouse and the Shanghai-based company that runs the site’s infrastructure.]
Who to follow:
I have a Clubhouse group that hosts discussions about voting every Thursday night. Please join us!
A few other recommendations:
Make non-news events news. Don’t be shy about explaining behind-the-scenes processes, like how a risk-limiting audit works and what the results were.
Pictures sell. Even for text-heavy platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, it helps to include graphics. Just make sure they’re formatted correctly (here’s a size guide).
Details matter. Instead of saying that ballots are collected from drop boxes once a day, tell voters that a bipartisan team of election officials, each wearing neon yellow “BOE” vests, checks the drop boxes around 5pm every day (including weekends!). When voters can picture the process, they’re more likely to remember it.
Assume you’re always being recorded. Last December, a poll worker in Georgia was filmed throwing away a piece of paper. Whoever posted the video on social media claimed it was a ballot (it was actually the instructions for filling out the absentee), and once that cat is out of the bag, it’s impossible to set the record straight.
At the very least, have an email (and respond to it). The best way to stop disinformation is before it starts, so make sure your voters have a way to communicate with you — or they’ll fill the void with less reliable sources.
Spenser is a poll worker and voting rights journalist based in Brooklyn. He writes a weekly newsletter called Spenser’s Super Tuesday.
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Election News This Week
The Illinois State Board of Elections voted unanimously to put Director Steve Sandvoss on leave “out of an abundance of caution” after Sandvoss told police he was the subject of an attempted extortion scheme. Sandvoss, who has led the state agency since 2015 and worked for the board in various capacities for 33 years, reported being a victim of an online extortion attempt last week. He informed the Illinois State Police, which has begun an investigation. Sandvoss, 55, was at the helm of the election board, an independent state agency governed by a board of four Democrats and four Republicans, during an alleged Russian cyberattack on 20 state election systems in June 2016. A news release from the SBOE didn’t give any indication whether another attempted Russian hack was involved in the attempted extortion scheme. But the release said that based on Sandvoss’ description, the scheme “appeared typical of many such online scams.” Because the attempt involved a top official at the agency, the board took the “cautionary step” of placing Sandvoss on paid leave.
Vote Local: A handful of states held local elections this week and overall things went relatively smoothly. While all locations offered in-person voting, vote-by-mail once again proved to be popular amongst those who turned out. Severa counties in Illinois experienced issues on Tuesday. In Champaign County, the county clerk’s website went down around 7pm on election night was restored about 12 hours later. Clerk Aaron Ammons said he’ll be talking to the office’s cyber-security team and website developer to find out why there was a problem with the website. Officials in McHenry County said they are working to resolve what they called anomalies found in the results. According to a notice posted on the county’s election results page, the county clerk’s office, along with election hardware and software vendors, worked “late into the night and earlier into the morning” to determine the cause of tabulation issues. The clerk’s office expects to count votes again on Thursday, according to the notice. Thirty polling locations in Cook County were forced to stay open late to make up for opening late when election judges failed to show up. In Anchorage, Alaska a flood of last-minute voters over the weekend and on Tuesday were among several reasons that Anchorage election officials fell behind in a key part of the ballot-counting process on election day, which slowed the overall ballot tabulation, officials said Wednesday. A large number of ballots with corrections and stray marks also contributed to the issue, elections officials said in a news release late Wednesday. Officials in Jackson, Mississippi say a post by a mayoral candidate that claims 200 people were denied the right to vote isn’t true. The social media post alleges that voters were “denied the right to vote at precincts they voted at in November.” But city and county election commissioners said the precincts used in November were county precincts and they don’t always coincide with municipal election precincts.
The kids are alright, Part I: This week, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Montgomery County Probate Judge J.C. Love, III announced a pilot program that will put voter registration kiosks on college campuses in the county. The kiosks will link directly to AlabamaVote.gov and will be located in high traffic areas on the campuses. “We are excited to offer this new option for Montgomery County voters to participate in the electoral process, and we hope this model will serve as an example for other Alabama counties to follow,” Love said in a press release. The pilot program is set to be in place for three years, which will see Alabamians through the 2022 election cycle. “The Office of the Secretary of State is thrilled to support Judge Love in his pursuit of registering more of our state’s college students to vote. Shortly after taking office, Judge Love made a concerted effort to extend his outreach into the community, and we commend him and his office for their innovation and eagerness to promote voter registration,” Merrill said. Campuses receiving the kiosks will be Alabama State University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Faulkner University, Huntingdon College, Troy State University Montgomery and Trenholm State Community College.
The kids are alright, Part II: This week Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evenen honored 17-year-old Grand Island High School student Kendall Bartling with the first ever Secretary of State Citation. Bartling has been working with the Hall County Election Office for a while and also recently training to be a deputy registrar. “I’ve not had a chance to vote in an election yet,” he said after receiving the recognition. “In the absence of that I have just dedicated myself to make sure others are able to exercise that.” Bartling registered more than 50 new voters just in the last five weeks. “Even if you don’t register voters at events or if you just have conversations with people, it’s better to do something then to do nothing,” Bartling said. “Even just my conversations with people got four or five people to register outside of events.” “On behalf of the state of Nebraska and its citizens, I commend you for your extraordinary service to strengthening the American democracy,” Evnen said, “and for your high personal values and dedication.”
Tell Her Your Story: Reporter Jessica Huseman is looking for elections officials that have cool hobbies that she can then feature in the Votebeat weekly newsletter. Votebeat is a pop-up newsroom dedicated to local, independent, nonpartisan coverage of election integrity. You can submit your hobby here.
Put a ring on it: I often joke that I’m married to my job and recently I decided to make it official by putting a ring on it! My amazingly talented friend Lori makes jewelry and she custom designed this amazing VOTE ring for me. But it’s not just for me, she’s made it available on her website and now you can have one too! Support a small businesswoman and democracy. It’s a pretty great combination.
Personnel News: Kammi Foote, clerk/recorder/registrar of voters for Inyo County, California is stepping down to take a job with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022. Beth Ann Snyder has retired from the Fayette County, Ohio board of elections. Hamilton County, Tennessee Election Commissioner Secondra Diane Meadows has been appointed to the to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Standards Board. Michele Wright has resigned as the Prince William County, Virginia registrar of elections. Norm Green has stepped down as the Chautauqua County, New York Democratic Election Commissioner. Sarah Bormann is the new Oneida County, New York Democratic Election Commissioner and Nichole Shortell is the new Republican Election Commissioner. Inez James has been appointed to the Loraine County, Ohio board of elections. Yvette Tubbs Carver has been appointed to the DeKalb County, Tennessee election commission. Matt Finfgeld has been named the new Richland County, Ohio board of elections director. Linn County, Iowa auditor Joel Miller is considering a run for secretary of state. Former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has been tapped by President Joseph R. Biden to head up the General Services Administration.
Federal Legislation: U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Rev. Raphael Warnock, and U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn and Congresswoman Nikema Williams announced the reintroduction of the bicameral Voter Empowerment Act, legislation originally authored in the House by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, who passed away last year. This legislation would help protect the voting rights of people across the country by ensuring equal access to the ballot for every eligible voter, modernizing voter registration, and helping to eliminate deceptive practices that deter people from voting. The Voter Empowerment Act is a cornerstone of the For the People Act, a transformational voting rights, anti-corruption and clean elections reform package. The Voter Empowerment Act takes a comprehensive approach to close the gaps in voting access and ensure that every American can participate in the electoral process. Specifically, it would do the following:
- Requires states to make available online voter registration, correction, cancellation and designation of party affiliation.
- Requires states to automatically register to vote any eligible unregistered citizens.
- Establishes same-day voter registration, including during early voting.
- Prohibits purging of voter rolls by limiting the authority of states to remove registrants from the official list of eligible voters in elections for federal office in the state based on interstate voter registration crosschecks.
- Makes it unlawful to hinder, interfere or prevent an individual from registering to vote, and requires the Election Assistance Commission to develop best practices for states to deter and prevent such violations.
- Requires states to promote access to voter registration and voting for persons with disabilities and older individuals. Funds grants to improve voting accessibility for persons with disabilities and creates a pilot program to allow persons with disabilities to register and vote from home.
- Prohibits Voter Caging
- Prohibits the use of returned non-forwardable mail as the basis for removing registered voters from the rolls. Prohibits challenges to eligibility from individuals who are not election officials without an oath of good faith factual basis.
- Requires at least 15 consecutive days of early voting for federal elections. Requires that early voting locations be near public transportation, in rural areas and open for at least 10 hours per day.
- Prohibits a state from imposing restrictions on vote by mail, requires the state to implement a program to track and confirm receipt of mail ballots, and requires the prepayment of postage and return envelopes.
- Prohibiting Deceptive Practices and Preventing Voter Intimidation
- Makes it unlawful to provide false information about elections in order to hinder or discourage voting.
- Increases penalties for voter intimidation and prescribes sentencing guidelines for those individuals found guilty of such deceptive practices.
- Restores federal voting rights to individuals with a criminal record, so long as they are not serving a felony sentence in a correctional facility. Requires states and the federal government to notify individuals convicted of state or federal felonies, respectively, of their re-enfranchisement.
- Reauthorizes Election Assistance Commission
- Requires each state to comply with any EAC request for post-election survey following any regularly scheduled general election for federal office
- Directs the Election Assistance Commission to assess the security, cybersecurity and effectiveness of the Commission’s information technology systems
Alaska: According to the Anchorage Daily News, he Alaska Legislature is considering an unusually large number of proposals to change the state’s election system. Eight different ideas — two from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration, three from legislative Democrats and three from legislative Republicans are under consideration. Three of the bills would increase or decrease Alaskans’ ability to vote by mail in state elections, while others would require more financial disclosure from political campaigns or address the powers of the Division of Elections. Asked whether it supports or opposes any of the legislation, the division said it intends to remain neutral.
One a multi-part bill that would allow Alaskans to register to vote right up until Election Day and give mail-in voters a chance to fix mistakes with their ballots. The bill would also raise poll workers’ pay, permanently waive the witnessing requirement for absentee votes and instruct the Division of Elections to count mail-in votes starting before Election Day, delivering results quicker.
Another bill would allow someone as young as 16 to preregister to vote. At age 18, the Division of Elections will send them a voter card, and they will be allowed to vote.
Senate Bill 39, which was proposed before the 2020 election but has gained momentum since then. The bill proposes new security measures, including the tracking of absentee ballots, but more controversially would roll back a program that automatically registers Permanent Fund dividend recipients to vote. That program was approved by voters in a 2016 ballot measure. As written, the bill would also prohibit some communities from holding elections by mail and prevent the state from holding elections by mail. Municipal elections in some larger cities, such as Anchorage and Juneau, would not be affected.
Sen. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) has proposed a bill that would require additional financial disclosure by the funders of ballot measures.
Rep. Sara Rasmussen (R-Anchorage) has proposed a bill that would require earlier disclosure from ballot measure backers and supporters of recall campaigns. In part, the bill is intended to address the fact that no one involved in the recall campaign against Gov. Mike Dunleavy has been required to disclose their contributions.
The governor’s office has proposed a bill that would expand the ability of the Department of Law to investigate elections issues.
Another bill would allow the state to conduct statewide elections entirely by mail in towns and villages with fewer than 750 people. That measure is intended to solve the problem of recruiting poll workers in small towns and villages. Other parts of the bill would allow the Division of Elections more power to audit results and put into law the requirements for an acceptable absentee ballot.
Arizona: An election bill to purge inconsistent voters from the popular permanent early voting list is in limbo after the state House took the highly unusual step of cutting off debate. SB1485, would remove people who don’t return their mail ballot for two consecutive election cycles from the permanent list, which allows voters to automatically receive a ballot before each election. About 75% of Arizona voters are on the list. Affected voters would get a postcard asking if they want to remain on the list, and would be removed if they don’t respond. Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers did not explain his decision to abruptly cut off debate, but it suggests at least one Republican was not going to support the bill. With a slim 31-29 majority, the GOP must be united to pass legislation without Democratic support. A spokesman for Bowers, said there will be discussions about amending the bill, and he expects it to come back to the House floor in the future.
The Senate has approved a bill that would ban private funding for elections. The measure was sent to Gov. Doug Ducey following a party-line vote. Democrats warned the measure could starve election offices of the funds needed to run secure and efficient elections. Democrats say the measure is one of several voter suppression bills that could get votes in the Legislature in the coming days weeks. Democrats say the grants wouldn’t be necessary if the Legislature provided enough money to county election officials to run elections. However Republicans argued if the Legislature doesn’t stop it, election funding will become the newest way for corporations and wealthy donors to wield influence, said Sen. J.D. Mesnard, (R-Chandler). “This makes dark money look like a bright day,” Mesnard said. “We should be proactively stopping that before it becomes embedded in America’s election system.” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs used $4.8 million from the Center for Election Innovation and Research for an advertising campaign telling voters when and how to vote, encourage signup for the permanent early voting list, recruit poll workers and combat misinformation before and after the election. Nine counties — Apache, Coconino, Graham, La Paz, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, Pinal and Yuma — also received grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life
Arkansas: House Bill 1715 by Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, would ban the distribution of unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters by designated election officials and would make the possession of more than four absentee ballots by one person a rebuttable presumption of intent to defraud. The legislation would also require that signatures on absentee ballots be compared with signatures on voters’ original registration certificates. The chamber sent HB1715 to the state Senate on a 74-22 vote that was largely along party lines.
House Bill 1803, also sponsored by Lowery, would give the state Board of Election Commissioners the authority to institute corrective actions in response to complaints and would expand the types of violations about which county election boards can make complaints. Lowery noted that it would give the state board enforcement power for a subpoena and would allow commissioners to call in the Arkansas State Police to conduct investigations. The House approved HB1803 78-18, again mostly along party lines.
Colorado: The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee advanced a bill that would allow voters with disabilities to return voted ballots online, a provision that pitted disability advocates against election security experts. Senate Bill 21-188 from Sen. Jessie Danielson seeks to build on legislation the Wheat Ridge Democrat championed in 2019 that allows voters with disabilities to access a ballot online. Under Danielson’s Senate Bill 19-202, a ballot can then be marked, printed and returned, which allows voters with disabilities to cast a ballot privately and independently. After being signed into law in May 2019, Danielson said Secretary of State Jena Griswold quickly implemented the legislation and it has largely been successful save for one hiccup: few voters with disabilities have a printer. Scott LaBarre, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, said while testifying to the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee in support of the bill that less than 7% of Denver voters who attempted to the utilize provision in Danielson’s previous bill were successful in doing so in last fall’s election. Danielson’s latest bill attempts to address that problem by moving the ballot return process online in a similar fashion to ballots returned by Colorado’s military and overseas voters and in cases of emergency. The bill received pushback from election security experts such as C. Jay Coles, the senior policy associate with Verified Voting, who told lawmakers “multiple cybersecurity experts have concluded that internet voting currently is unsafe.”
Connecticut: At the last scheduled meeting before its deadline for reporting bills to the floors of the House or Senate, the Government Administration and Elections Committee approved nearly a half-dozen bills would create a state voting rights act and increase voter registration and ballot access.
Senate Bill 5, a priority of the Senate Democratic majority, would authorize the secretary of the state to expand the successful “motor voter” program that registered voters at the Department of Motor Vehicles to other agencies, including the Department of Social Services. It also would end Connecticut’s status as one of the few states outside the Deep South that bars parolees from voting until they pay all fines owed.
Senate Bill 820 would create a state voting rights act, giving people the right to sue municipal legislative districts that are drawn in ways that undercut the influence of racial minorities. If the bill comes to a vote in the Senate, one question will be whether the same standard suggested for municipalities also should apply to the General Assembly, whose districts will be redrawn this year in response to population shifts found by the 2020 Census.
House Bill 6205 would slightly expand the use of absentee ballots, capitalizing on a Supreme Court decision during the COVID-19 pandemic that interpreted a constitutional reference to sickness more broadly than a voter’s illness.
Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that will allow people to use the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to vote by absentee in any election, primary or referendum held before May 20. Lamont’s latest order related to the public health and civil preparedness emergencies is similar to the order that allowed voters to use absentee ballots during the elections in 2020. Lamont’s new order also provides municipalities and regional school boards with additional flexibility in scheduling budget hearings, meetings, and votes to account for logistical challenges posed by the pandemic.
Illinois: Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill yesterday permanently expanding measures implemented during last November’s General election. Pritzker signed House Bill 1871 into law yesterday that will make ballot drop boxes permanent and expand curbside voting in the state. Under this legislation, election officials can install ballot drop boxes where Illinois voters can submit mail-in ballots without proper postage. Voters can turn in vote-by-mail ballots at any collection site through the close of polls on Election Day. The drop boxes will be secured by locks and can only be opened by election authority personnel. The Illinois State Board of Elections has also been given leeway to also implement further security measures. Election officials are required to collect and process all ballots at the close of each business day. In addition, the law lets local election authorities establish curbside voting for Illinoisans to cast their ballot during early voting or on Election Day. Prior to this law, it was only available to those with a temporary or permanent disability who may have issues entering a polling place. It also allows the Illinois State Board of Elections to distribute any funds left over from the Help America Vote Act to help local election authorities maintain ballot drop boxes. The law takes effect immediately.
Indiana: The House Elections and Apportionment Committee discussed a bill this week that makes changes to the absentee vote by mail law and the ability to change election dates during an emergency, which Republican members argued will ensure election security and Democratic members argued is a form of voter suppression. The bill — authored by Sen. Erin Houchins, R-Salem, Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, and Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute — does not allow a county election office employee to write in the driver’s license number or last four digits of a Social Security number associated with a voter’s registration onto an absentee ballot application. Instead, the bill requires the voter to write in their driver’s license number or last four numbers of their Social Security number on their absentee ballot application that is on file with their election board office. The bill also doesn’t allow the Indiana election commission to expand vote by mail options, and prevents the commission or the governor from changing the election date during emergencies.
Kentucky: Gov. Andy Beshear (D) has signed into law bipartisan legislation that would formalize some of the emergency election rulemaking that took place in 2020. The bill takes some of the elements of the pandemic election plan put in place by Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams and makes them permanent. Things like voting supercenters — where a voter from any precinct in the county can vote — and the online absentee ballot request portal will now become permanent fixtures in Kentucky elections. As will absentee ballot drop boxes and three days of early in-person voting for all registered voters. At the same time, the bill accomplishes a major priority for Republicans — cleaning the state’s voter rolls. Kentucky was under a federal consent decree to remove people from the voting rolls who had died or moved away. Adams, who played a large role in crafting the bill alongside the Kentucky County Clerks Association and the State Board of Elections, touted the fact that the bill added security measures. “While other states are caught up in partisan division, here in Kentucky we lead the nation in both making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Adams said.
Maine: A measure offered by Rep. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth, would require Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to establish a system that allows online voter registration by January 2023. Maine currently allows any eligible voters to request registration materials online, by phone or in person but doesn’t allow voters to submit or have their application to vote approved electronically. Pierce’s bill would allow voters to register, change their address and update or change their party affiliation all online. Lawmakers who support online registration bill, L.D. 1126, say it is long overdue and will remove cumbersome barriers that now exist for many voters. Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, among the supporters of the bill, says the shift will save voters time but will also save the state and local governments money. “Processing electronic applications is a fraction of the cost of processing paper applications,” Doudera said in written testimony. “Arizona, the innovator in paperless voter registration, experienced a reduction in per-registration costs from 83 cents per paper registration to 3 cents per online registration.”
The Legislatures Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee approved a bill that would require the state to conduct post-election audits. “At its heart, this bill is about promoting ongoing election integrity and public confidence in our elections,” Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said in testimony supporting the legislation. “It’s not about what we’re not doing. Maine elections are well run. It’s about what we can do in the future to prevent problems before they occur.” Bill sponsor Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth) said she has worked with local officials and has confidence Maine’s system is secure and accurate, with important protections like paper ballots and a “robust chain of custody” in place. Although the cost of the program has not been determined, Grohoski said it would likely involve additional staff for Bellows’ office. No one testified against the measure.
The Legislature is once again being asked to pass voter ID as a way to increase confidence in elections- this time following all the controversies of 2020. Maine already requires people to show proof of who they are and where they live when they register to vote. But when those voters actually go to the polls they just have to state their name and address, with no requirement to show an ID. Now four bills are being proposed that would mandate voter photo ID at the polls.
Massachusetts: The Agawam City Council voted 6-5 against a resolution that would have petitioned the state Legislature to require voters to produce proof of identity and return to the pre-pandemic rules that allowed mail-in voting only in cases of necessity for medical, religious or travel reasons. Sponsors of the non-binding resolution — Councilors George Bitzas, Cecilia Calabrese and Mario Tedeschi — said universal mail-in voting is an invitation to fraud, and an unfunded state mandate, placing a burden on the local town clerk and election workers to process the ballots and vouch for their accuracy by comparing signatures.
Minnesota: There’s a new push at to change how Minnesota’s Election Day registration process works. Senate Republicans have included a provisional ballot system in their State Government Operations omnibus bill. How it works, essentially, is that ballots cast by people who register on the day of the election wouldn’t be counted and added to that day’s totals. Their ballots would be placed in limbo as provisional ballots, and their votes could be added to the total later if local election administrators can verify their addresses and other eligibility criteria. Republicans would prefer to end same-day registration altogether but they offer this as the middle ground between the current system and imposing a hard deadline to register weeks before an election. Minnesota’s same-day system allows voting-age adults the opportunity to make a last-minute decision to participate. Or it lets people re-register if they’ve changed addresses since the last time they voted. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, opposes the idea of switching to a provisional ballot system.
Rhode Island: A series of bills seeking to make permanent the temporary voting measures implemented during the pandemic has been brought before the R.I. General Assembly. The measures include removing the witness notary requirement for mail-in ballots and installing permanent mail ballot drop-off boxes. The Rhode Island Board of Elections supports a majority of the proposals, though none have yet to be voted on.
South Carolina: Rep. Russell Fry has introduced a bill to require photo ID for absentee voting in South Carolina. Fry said he introduced the bill with dozens of colleagues based on a portion of Georgia’s new voting law. “While SC has not seen the level of disfunction as have other states because our laws are already robust, this change in the law allows a simple, but critical, way for South Carolina to protect the integrity of our elections,” Fry said. South Carolina requires photo ID to vote in person and Fry said he would like to see that expanded to absentee voting as well. Fry also said the state will give an ID to anyone who is unable to get one.
Washington: Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has signed a bill into law automatically restoring the voting rights of ex-felons upon their release from confinement. Rep. Tarra Simmons was convicted of assault in 2001 and of drug and theft charges in 2011 was the chief sponsor of the legislation. Simmons and other supporters said the measure would help encourage former prisoners to reintegrate into society and that it was a matter of racial justice, as those on parole in Washington are disproportionately people of color. More than 20,000 people stand to regain their voting rights when the law takes effect next year.
West Virginia: Under House Bill 2592, local elections would be required to be held at the same time as state elections. The bill has been approved by the House of Delegates and is now under consideration by the Senate.
Senate Bill 565 is under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. — The bill alters the start and end dates for early in-person voting by 4 days. There are still the same number of days early in-person voting, but it will end six days prior to the election. Currently, early in-person voting ends two days prior to elections. The shift would end early in-person voting the Friday and Saturday before elections, two popular days. There would still be two weekends available for in-person early voting. The bill narrows the cycle from the current four years to two years to identify voters who may have moved without a forwarding address, have another name, died in another state or might otherwise have become ineligible. That starts the process earlier to give clerks time to reach out and clarify a voter’s situation. It takes six years from the start of the process for the purge. No voter’s eligibility is canceled for “failure to vote” alone. The bill clarifies that voters have the option to accept or decline to register to vote while at the DMV. The current law assumes opting in, giving people the option of declining.
Wyoming: The Senate has approved a bill that would require voters to show a form of accepted ID in order to vote in person. The list includes forms of ID that can be used to register to vote in Wyoming: a driver’s license, state or tribal ID, passport, military ID, or a Wyoming public school, university or community college ID. The bill, though, also includes a Medicare card as an accepted form, an option that’s been pushed by Wyoming AARP to maintain voting access for older Wyomingites. The Senate amended the bill to include Medicaid cards as well, though that still needs approval from the House before sending the bill to the governor’s desk. Despite the very few cases of voter fraud in the past two decades in Wyoming, supporters of the bill say it’s a way to make voters feel confident in the voting system, and prevent future fraud. Gillette Sen. Jeff Wasserburger said he supports the bill, but hopes the state will be able to educate residents on the potential new law before the next elections. The bill also includes a fee waiver for getting a state ID only to vote. Gov. Mark Gordon (R) has signed the bill into law.
Alabama: The Freedom From Religion Foundation and Secretary of State John Merrill ’s office have jointly requested that a court dismiss the case, which was filed last year over a required oath for would-be voters that includes the words “so help me God,” court documents show. The updated form still includes the wording, but it also has a box that allows registrants to opt out of the religious portion of the oath “because of a sincerely held belief.” Applicants still must “swear or affirm” to requirements including being a U.S. citizen; being eligible to vote; and not being affiliated with groups that advocate the overthrow of the government. The Wisconsin-based foundation filed suit on behalf of four atheists who argued the oath was a religious requirement that violated their constitutional rights. One of the plaintiffs, Randall Cragun, said he had refused to register to vote in the state because of the oath but could do so now. “It is disappointing that the state prevented me from voting in the 2020 elections, but I am looking forward to participating in the future, and I now have a better appreciation of the value my voice and other individual voices contribute to shaping the state,” Cragun said in a statement.
Arizona: In a letter to the Senate’s hired auditors, attorneys for the non-profit voting-rights group Protect Democracy and three Phoenix firms warn that the auditors’ plan to knock on doors to search for voters likely violates state and federal law. The lawyers say lawsuits could follow if the audit proceeds as planned. “These tactics – no matter their intent – constitute illegal voter intimidation and might expose your companies to both civil and criminal penalties,” according to the letter to the four firms working on the audit. “Should you proceed with your current proposed Statement of Work or engage in any other conduct that intimidates Arizona voters, your companies may be named as defendants in federal civil rights lawsuits, thereby exposing you to money damages, the payment of attorneys’ fees, and court injunctions. The same conduct also may expose your companies, officers, and employees to criminal penalties.” The lawyers demand that the auditors cease all potentially illegal activity and retain all records related to the audit.
Florida: WTPS in Tampa Bay is reporting that Gov. Ron DeSantis is refusing to agree to have criminal charges dropped against a 20-year-old Naples man accused of hacking the governor’s voter registration file. The refusal comes as a plea offer by the prosecutor in the felony case was set to expire this week, according to messages between the state attorney’s office and defense lawyers. DeSantis, who has been subpoenaed in the case to testify at a possible trial, would not consent to a so-called “diversion offer,” Collier County prosecutor Deborah Cunningham wrote in an email. The South Florida man wrote a letter of apology to the governor, his defense lawyer said. Anthony Steven Guevara was charged in October – days before the 2020 election – with unauthorized computer access and altering someone’s voter registration without their permission, both felonies. Guevara told investigators he found the governor’s birthdate on Wikipedia and used it to access the voter registration record, then changed the governor’s address. The governor discovered the change when he tried voting in Leon County, which includes the state capital of Tallahassee and was told his address pointed to a home in West Palm Beach. DeSantis was able to correct the issue and vote.
Georgia: A fourth lawsuit has been filed over the state’s new voting law. The suit was filed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta and alleges that the new law will disenfranchise Asian American voters by reducing access to absentee voting. he case takes issue with limits on ballot drop boxes, new ID requirements, restrictions on absentee ballot application mailings and a shorter deadline to request absentee ballots. Asian American voters in Georgia will suffer a disproportionate impact since they cast absentee ballots at higher rates than other racial groups in 2020, according to the lawsuit. “This bill is not only an attack on Asian Americans, it’s an attack on all Americans who cherish democracy and freedom,” said Stephanie Cho, executive director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. “This reactionary, racist and backward bill is a stain on Georgia, the beating heart of the civil rights movement.”
In the fifth lawsuit filed against Georgia’s new elections law, organizations that mailed millions of absentee ballot request forms to Georgia voters last year are alleging it illegally curtails their voter outreach. Under the law, groups are only allowed to send absentee ballot applications to Georgians who haven’t already requested a ballot or voted. The restriction on mailings arose after voters complained that they received multiple letters asking them to request absentee ballots, even after they had already done so. Organizations would have to check public election records to make sure they aren’t sending repeated ballot request forms to voters. They face a $100 fine for each duplicate absentee ballot application that’s processed by county election offices, according to the law. “This law makes it virtually impossible to run vote-by-mail application programs that help Georgians cast their ballots,” said Tom Lopach, president of the Voter Participation Center and the Center for Voter Information, two of the plaintiffs in the suit. “That’s why we’re fighting back today against this assault on democracy and will keep working to ensure every American can make their voice heard.” The lawsuit seeks to block the law based on the First Amendment’s free speech protections.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones threw out many of Fair Fight’s claims in a 2018 lawsuit, ruling against challenges to registration cancellations, too few voting machines, inadequate poll worker training and ballots rejections. What’s left are narrow allegations about Georgia’s “exact match” voter registration policy, voter list accuracy and absentee ballot cancellations. Jones granted the state’s request for summary judgment on large parts of the lawsuit, building on his February order that scaled down the case based on jurisdictional issues. Jones’ latest ruling covered the merits of the case. When the case goes to trial, Fair Fight will continue opposing election procedures that make it difficult to vote in Georgia, said Lauren Groh-Wargo, the organization’s CEO. Part of Jones’ ruling rejected Fair Fight’s challenge to Georgia’s “use it or lose it” law, which cancels voter registrations if potential voters don’t participate in elections for several years. Jones wrote that canceled voters aren’t significantly burdened because they can re-register to vote. “The court finds plaintiffs have not shown that the process is applied differently to any class of voters,” Jones wrote. The lawsuit was filed three weeks after Election Day in 2018.
Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) who was arrested after knocking on the door of the governor’s office as he made televised comments in support of the sweeping, controversial new election law he’d just signed will not be charged, a prosecutor said. “While some of Representative Cannon’s colleagues and the police officers involved may have found her behavior annoying, such sentiment does not justify a presentment to a grand jury of the allegations in the arrest warrants or any other felony charges,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in an emailed statement.
Maine: Concerns about how the town of Hudson conducts elections have arisen for the third time in less than a year, most recently over a list that identified 15 voters who requested absentee ballots in a municipal election. The Maine Constitution guarantees voters the right to ballot secrecy, so selectmen are asking a Superior Court justice to determine the validity of disputed ballots in its recent close election for Board of Selectmen. The request for judicial intervention comes after candidates could not agree on voters’ intent in a March 31 recount. Hudson is a town of about 1,600. Questions are swirling around absentee ballots that Town Clerk Laurie Saunders numbered and for which she kept a corresponding listing showing which voter received each ballot. That system violates the guarantee that how a person votes is secret. Also, the absentee ballots the town distributed were different from those given to residents who voted in person, another violation of election laws, according to former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.
Michigan: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a motion Wednesday to include new information in a case involving three Michigan attorneys and one Texas attorney who made statements against Dominion Voting Systems during the 2020 presidential election. Nessel says their lawsuit was “frivolous” and was an “effort to disenfranchise Michigan’s voters and undermine public trust” in the election’s outcome, according to a news release. The new filing seeks to bring forward relevant statements made by Texas attorney Sidney Powell in a motion she filed. Powell later said “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.” In January, Nessel filed a motion for sanctions against Powell and Michigan attorneys Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttila. The motion, filed with federal Judge Linda Parker of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, seeks to recover attorneys fees totaling about $11,000. “These attorneys seemingly made statements they knew were misleading in an effort to further their false and destructive narrative,” Nessel said. “As lawyers, fidelity to the law is paramount. These individuals worked to further conspiracy theories in an effort to erode public trust in government and dismantle our systems of democracy. Their actions are inexcusable.”
Nevada: The Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments this week in the disputed Clark County Commission race that former Secretary of State Ross Miller won but just handful of votes. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The central legal issue to be determined: Whether the election between the two candidates in November was “prevented,” as defined under a state statute because there were many more discrepancies than the slim margin of victory. If the Supreme Court decides that the discrepancies did prevent the election, it would overturn a ruling by Clark County District Court. Miller won the seat by 15 votes in a race where 139 voting discrepancies were identified. Discrepancies occur when the number of votes counted at a precinct do not match the number of voters who signed in to cast a ballot. It is a normal error during elections and unrelated to fraud, officials say, and typically happens when a voter checks in but does not vote, or vice versa. The discrepancies do not generally cause concern, but they inserted a degree of uncertainty about the outcome in the race for the commission District C seat because the number of discrepancies was far greater than the margin of victory.
Ohio: The Stark County Board of Elections has followed through on its promise to file a lawsuit against county commissioners for refusing to fund the purchase of Dominion voting machines. The elections board filed the 69-page complaint Friday in the Ohio Supreme Court, and a motion Monday to expedite the case due to a “fast approaching election-related deadline of June 15, 2021.” The board is seeking an order from the Supreme Court directing county commissioners to acquire Dominion Voting Systems Image Cast X machines. The bipartisan elections board unanimously voted to adopt the machines for use in Stark County’s elections nearly four months ago. The machines, according to the complaint, are similar to the voting machines that the county has used since 2005 and competitive in price. The county has hired competing Columbus law firms to represent the elections board and commissioners in the dispute. The elections board had planned to have the new voting machines available for the May 4 primary election, the complaint says. However, the new machines now won’t be in place for the primary or Aug. 3 special election. It is feared that without an order from the Ohio Supreme Court, the machines will not be in place for the Nov. 2 general election as well, according to the lawsuit. The Board of Elections maintains that “without new voting machines, the BOE will have to continue to use its old machines that break down more often and are becoming increasingly expensive to fix as replacement parts are harder to obtain,” the complaint states. The Board of Elections reported in the lawsuit that it made repeated efforts to avoid litigation, but claim the commissioners will not perform their legal duty to purchase the voting machines unless under court order.
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected Lorain County Democrats’ plea to overturn Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s veto of Sharon Sweda’s appointment to the Board of Elections. In a 6-1 decision, with Justice Michael Donnelly the sole dissenter, the high court upheld LaRose’s rejection of the former county commissioner’s appointment to the elections board Monday. County Democratic Party Chairman Anthony Giardini, who serves on the elections board, said he now plans to submit Inez James’s name to LaRose for consideration. Giardini said, as he was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision against Sweda’s appointment. “It tells me that in their view a secretary of state has a very wide latitude in making these decisions,” he said. “But as I told the executive committee, I believed that our chances of success were about 50/50. I do believe the effort was worthwhile. I think it’s a battle we had to fight. So I’m not sorry we did, but it is what it is.”
Utah: San Juan County will continue to provide voter assistance in Navajo through the 2024 elections, according to a settlement agreement filed in federal court. The agreement, reached between the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, San Juan County and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, is an extension of an existing settlement reached over ballot access. The ACLU and Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission sued alleging that the county’s switch to vote-by-mail blocked ballot access. As part of the settlement extension filed last week in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City and obtained by FOX 13, the county will continue to provide language assistance and in-person voting in Montezuma Creek, Navajo Mountain and Monument Valley. “There may also be additional locations upon agreement of the parties,” the settlement states. San Juan County also agrees to provide a specific “Navajo liaison” for six months leading up to any election who will focus their efforts on “educating Navajo voters about voting-related issues such as: voter registration; Language Assistance Locations and hours of operation; voter registration instructions and deadlines; filing requirements for local offices and deadlines; ballots, mail-in ballots including instructions and deadlines, and early-voting information.” The settlement, which was originally reached in 2018, will now be extended through the 2024 election cycle.
Wisconsin: Lawyers for Gov. Tony Evers (D) filed court papers asking for more than $250,000 in legal fees incurred from challenges to the 2020 presidential election filed by former President Trump and his GOP allies. The state is seeking legal fees from two different lawsuits that were filed in a Milwaukee federal court. Evers is seeking $145,174 from one suit filed by the Trump campaign alleging that state election officials likely tainted over 50,000 ballots in the state. Evers filed in another case seeking $106,780 in legal fees from a lawsuit brought against the state from William Feehan, the chairman of a local Republican Party in the state, which also alleged that election officials tampered with ballots in the election.
North Carolina: The State Board of Elections is launching a new website to help combat myths and falsehoods that spread about elections. The webpage is designed to debunk conspiracy theories and false claims about elections, while also providing facts. The State Board office is also now offering a new way to report misinformation. An email has been set up to help answer questions and verify information. Simply email, firstname.lastname@example.org to have officials research claims or posts and respond accordingly. The State Board already responds to these types of falsehoods through press releases and social media. Each Monday, a “Mythbuster Monday” post is shared on Twitter. “Election officials across the United States agree that misinformation is a top threat to our elections today. It is harmful to the elections process, eroding public trust in the hard work election officials do every day,” said Karen Brinson Bell, State Board Executive Director.
Opinions This Week
Alabama: Voting rights
Connecticut: Voter suppression
Indiana: Election legislation
Kansas: Election legislation
Maine: Online voter registration
Michigan: Access to voting
Missouri: Election legislation
Nevada: Election reform
Ohio: List maintenance
Wyoming: Election reform
Collaborative Approaches to Cybersecurity & Incident Response Planning: The National Association of Secretaries of State, with support from The Democracy Fund is presenting a three part webinar series on cybersecurity, media literacy and strategies for communicating #TrustedInfo—all topics we’ve heard that you’d like to hear more on! Webinar 1’s goal is to educate member offices and others on opportunities available for collaboration to improve statewide preparedness to prevent and respond to incidents impacting election administration and other state government operations. 2:30 to 4pm Eastern. When: April 14. Where: Online.
Geo-Enabling Elections: Strengthening election systems with GIS: NSGIC and the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) are delighted to announce a new online series for election officials and GIS professionals who want to keep up with the latest trends in election technology. Our five free 60-minute training sessions will explore the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to increase the accuracy and reliability of election data. The series takes place over five consecutive Thursdays, May 6th to June 3rd, and is designed for state and local election administrators, as well as GIS professionals seeking to understand the specific opportunities and challenges of working with elections offices and their data. The course builds off NSGIC’s Best Practices Guidance for Geo-Enabling Elections. When: Begins May 6. Where: Online.
Media Literacy Education: The National Association of Secretaries of State, with support from The Democracy Fund is presenting a three part webinar series on cybersecurity, media literacy and strategies for communicating #TrustedInfo—all topics we’ve heard that you’d like to hear more on! Webinar 2’s goal is to define what public media literacy is, engage the national media literacy group and suggest resources/connections/examples for states. Featuring a nationally renowned expert on media literacy. 2:30 to 3:30pm Eastern. When: May 17. Where: Online.
Communication Strategies & Promoting Trusted Election Information: The National Association of Secretaries of State, with support from The Democracy Fund is presenting a three part webinar series on cybersecurity, media literacy and strategies for communicating #TrustedInfo—all topics we’ve heard that you’d like to hear more on! Webinar 3’s goal is how election officials can effectively communicate to the media and the public about trusted election information. By using specific communications tools, leveraging media and having a robust communications strategy built on #TrustedInfo’s foundation, election officials can promote credible, accurate election information as well as build confidence in the process. 2pm to 4pm Eastern. When: June 9. Where: Online.
IGO 4th Annual Conference: The IGO 4th Annual Conference is scheduled for July 15-21 at the Sheraton New York Times Square in New York City. Check please visit the IGO website for more information about agendas and registration. When: July 15-21. Where: New York City.
NASED Summer Conference: Twice a year, NASED members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. The Summer 2021 conference is scheduled for August 13-16 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, Des Moines, Iowa. Check please visit the NASED website for more information about agendas and registration. When: Aug. 13-16. Where: Des Moines, Iowa.
NASS Summer Conference: Twice a year, NASS members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. The Summer 2021 conference is scheduled for August 13-16 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, Des Moines, Iowa. Check please visit the NASS website for more information about agendas and registration. When: Aug. 13-16. Where: Des Moines, Iowa.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Administrative Specialist III (Ballot Collection Lead), King County, Washington— This is an amazing opportunity to be engaged in the election process! The Department of Elections is recruiting a Ballot Collection Lead for the Elections Services Division. Under the direction of the Ballot Collection & Logistics Supervisor, this position will provide logistical support for ballot collection, fleet, and warehouse tasks and lead processes, projects and temporary staff. With over 70 ballot drop box locations throughout King County, this is a work group that continues to grow and evolve. This is a great opportunity for a detail oriented person with warehouse/receiving, data entry and strong interpersonal skills. King County Elections (KCE) manages voter registrations and elections for more than 1.4 million voters in King County, the largest vote-by-mail county in the United States. KCE’s mission is to conduct fair, open and accurate elections. As a leader in providing inclusive elections, KCE is focused on three key priorities – (1) actively identifying and working to remove barriers to voting at both the individual and community level, (2) strengthening relationships with community and governmental partners, and (3) creating a culture of professional growth and development, openness and inclusion. The Department of Elections is searching for an energetic and resourceful professional who likes to “get stuff done”. The Ballot Collection Lead position in the Elections Department combines an exciting, fast-paced environment with the opportunity to cultivate talents and apply a variety of skills. The ideal candidate will thrive in an innovative, fast-paced environment and will not hesitate to roll up both sleeves, work hard, have fun, and get the job done. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant IT Chief, Dallas County, Texas— Manages, oversees and performs technical and administrative work of information technology for the Elections Office. Provides technology vision and leadership in the development and implementation of the elections technology program while assisting the Elections Administrator in strategic, tactical and elections related compliance. Oversees the design, implementation and evaluation of systems to support end users in productive use of computer hardware and software; collaborates with the County’s Information Security Officer, IT operations, IT applications to ensure best-in-class recording and elections security, infrastructure and client services. Directs and oversees IT projects and systems to ensure security, quality control and efficiency; facilitates the development of each project to meet customer needs. Plans and implements enterprise information systems to support elections operations. Manages and directs IT personnel to establish workload priorities; coordinates projects and reporting of activities while maintaining workflow estimates. Facilitates communication between staff, management, vendors, and other technology resources within the organization and with outside stakeholders. Provides project management oversight for key initiatives and division-level responsibilities. Manages the division budget expenditures and related administrative tasks. Plans, directs, and monitors the development, installation and maintenance of computer programs and associated computer operations necessary to achieve functional departmental systems. Develops the design specifications of computer systems, programs and operating systems, with the following core competencies: Security Analysis, Design, Business Process Improvement, Data, Modeling, Development, Planning, Implementation, Test Script Development, Monitoring/Controls, Troubleshooting/Problem Solving, Documentation and Service Motivation. Collaborates with the Information Security Officer, IT Operations, IT Applications and PMO to ensure best-in-class procedures and security standards for the security of all elections information and established IT programs. Directs and/or assists in the resolution of highly complex or unusual business problems that cross various IT disciplines and agency boundaries. Develops and establishes department standards and procedures, including application development, quality assurance, incident management, documentation and project management. Evaluates, plans, reviews, and recommends long-range enhancements for computer hardware, software and data communications equipment. Performs other duties as assigned. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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 Program Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Certification Program Manager performs high level management of multiple state and federal certification activities. The Certification Program Manager assists with developing the state certification roadmap in conjunction with internal stakeholders, communicates the roadmap to other departments, and provides direction for Certification Project Managers for individual certification campaigns. Additionally, the Certification Program Manager is responsible for ensuring that equipment inventory is appropriately utilized and tracked. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Counsel, The California Citizens Redistricting Commission— The California Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) seeks a Chief Counsel with demonstrated experience and expertise in implementation and enforcement of Administrative or Constitutional law, combined with the background and knowledge to support the Commission’s redistricting mission. The applicant should be a creative problem-solver with strong communication, negotiation, and relationship building skills. A strong candidate for this position will have a background in the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act requirements and experience advising public commissions, boards, agencies or departments. This is an exempt executive assignment position, non-tenured, full time, and is appointed by the Commission. Employees of the Commission occupy non civil service positions serving at the pleasure of the Commission. This position is Limited Term 24 months. It will not become permanent; it may be extended or be canceled at any time. The position will be located in Sacramento, California. Frequent travel may be required. The Commission is a 14-member body created by the passage of the Voters FIRST Act, in 2008. It is charged with redrawing the California State Senate and Assembly, State Board of Equalization, and Congressional districts based on information gathered during the 2020 census. The Commission must draw the districts in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of reasonably equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians. It is a further mandate that this process be conducted in an open and transparent manner, allowing for participation by the public. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Director, Registration and Elections, Fulton County, Georgia— Aides the Director in supervising, directing, and evaluating assigned staff: makes hiring or termination decisions/recommendations; establishes workloads and prioritizes work assignments; approves/processes employee concerns and problems and counsels or disciplines as appropriate; approves leave/vacation requests; completes employee performance appraisals; develops, interprets, trains staff in, and enforces operations, policies, and procedures. Tracks each election cycle as a project; determines best practices to track each task and staff during an election project in order to keep the Director abreast of developments and/or potential delays that could impact operations. Assists the Elections Director with projecting, managing and maintaining adequate and accurate election and grant budgets and expenditures. Oversees and manages registration, absentee, elections and administrative functions of the department; provides oversight of logistical operations of elections to include equipment deployment, warehouse operations, early voting activities and poll worker training and assignment; oversees and monitors the development and maintenance of the department’s annual project plan; ensures standard operating procedures are routinely reviewed, updated and maintained; participate in the development and maintenance of the department’s contingency plans for operations; implement and manage the department’s cross training program and production of position desk procedures. In the absence of the Director, will represent the department to media, voters, other departments, municipalities and other stakeholders: represents department at Board of Commissioners meetings; serves as liaison with Secretary of State’s office with regard to elections and voter registration; serves as Supervisor of Elections and Chief Administrative Officer for the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, including ensuring implementation of Board policies, scheduling meetings, and preparing/approving agendas and minutes; and communicates with these and other individuals/entities as needed to coordinate work activities, review status of work, exchange information, or resolve problems. Prepares or completes various forms, reports, correspondence, and other documentation, including performance appraisals, memos for new positions, budget proposals, news releases, and PowerPoint presentations; compiles data for further processing or for use in preparation of department reports; and maintains computerized and/or hardcopy records. Maintains a current, comprehensive knowledge and awareness of applicable laws, regulations, principles and practices relating to registration and elections processes; maintains an awareness of new trends and advances in the profession; reads professional literature; maintains professional affiliations; and attends workshops and training sessions. Collaborate with director to respond to Board of Registration & Elections, Board of Commissioners and the media. Salary: $80,188 – $120,282. Deadline: April 30. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Director, Lake County, Ohio— The Lake County Board of Elections (Painesville, Ohio) is accepting applications for the position of Deputy Director of the Board of Elections. Situated in Northeast Ohio along Lake Erie, Lake County boasts a strong local economy with diverse dining, entertainment and housing options. Lake County ranks 12th in the State of Ohio in voter registration population with approximately 163,000 registered voters, 56 polling locations and 163 precincts. The Board plans to implement a new voting system in 2021, which is one of the many exciting projects the new Deputy Director will assist with upon appointment. The Board’s 7 full-time employees and numerous seasonal employees offer decades of combined election experience and are committed to administering free and fair elections. The successful applicant will be affiliated with the Republican Party and will reside and register to vote in Lake County within 30 days of being appointed. Additional minimum qualifications include the following: a high school diploma or have attained the equivalency of a high school diploma (GED). College level education is desired. Baseline understanding of the rules, processes, procedures, and equipment used in local election administration, including: Operating voting machines and other automated office equipment; managing a successful and efficient database; using, understanding and applying election law terminology; understanding the basics of Ohio’s “sunshine laws” governing open meetings and public records; and, receiving and implementing assignments and instructions from board members and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. Managerial requirements, as demonstrated by previous work experience, include the following: Effective written and interpersonal communication abilities; strong organizational skills and attention to detail; familiarity with relevant state and federal human resources policies and practices; familiarity with the handling of budgets and public appropriation of funds; ability to perform duties as assigned by the law, the board of elections, and/or the Secretary of State; ability to convey or exchange information, including giving and managing assignments or direction to board personnel; ability to adapt and to perform in a professional manner under stressful or emergency situations; ability to comprehend a variety of informational documents; and, ability to conduct self at all times in a professional and courteous manner. Ideal candidates will have previous employment at a Board of Elections or similar elections office and experience with programming elections using hardware and software provided by Election Systems and Software (ES&S) as well as Triad Government Services voter registration software. Starting salary is negotiable and recruitment is open until the position is filled. The successful applicant must consent to and pass a statewide criminal background check. Application: Qualified applicants must send cover letter and resume to Lake@Ohiosos.gov or mail hardcopy of the same to: Attention: Board Members; Lake County Board of Elections; 105 Main St. Ste. 107, Painesville, OH 44077
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 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.
Election Superintendent, Mason County, Washington— The Election Superintendent is responsible for the overall management, supervision and implementation of all facets of voter registration and of all federal, state and local elections. This includes the preparation, distribution, process and tabulation of ballots, ballot and election security and secrecy of each voter’s ballot. All of these tasks must be performed while maintaining accuracy, efficiency and transparency. This position must utilize county and grant funds in the most effective way to implement short and long-term goals, organize personnel, facilities, and time to assure optimum services to Mason county. This position requires a high level of complex computer skills and the ability to be the public face of the department. Salary: $5,175-$6140/month. Application: Mason County Human Resource 411 North 5th Street, Shelton, WA 98584.
Records and Assessment-Deputy Clerk, Hood River County, Oregon— Bring your sense of adventure because Hood River County is made for exploring and is one of Oregon’s favorite playgrounds. Walk along the waterfront, discover hidden waterfalls, or cycle the trails in the Post Canyon mountain bike network. It will be hard to resist water sports on the Columbia as you will be living in the windsurfing and kiteboarding capital of the world. Located in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Hood River County has an opening for a Deputy Clerk. The ideal candidate would have 3 years of work experience in a County Clerk/Elections office and 3 years of management experience. You will be responsible for supervising document recording and records management. You will be participating in budget preparation and assisting with the monitoring of fiscal operations of the department. You will supervise and direct the processing of voter registrations and maintaining the voter address library. You will oversee conducting all elections held in the County; establishing ballot drop sites, ordering and maintaining election supplies, certifying ballot information, ballot design, receiving ballots and many more duties specific to the election process. If this is you, we are eager to hear from you. Salary: $4,486 – $6,006/month. Deadline: April 16. Application: For the complete 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.
Senior Information Security Specialist, Oregon Secretary of State’s Office — The primary purpose of this position is to administer the information security program and serve as the technical security advisor for the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. This accomplished in part by, but is not limited to: Ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of agency information assets by providing guidance on security incidents, security features and/or risks in a given information systems environment. Work with Federal, State and County Election offices on cybersecurity best practices on Elections and voting systems. Provide system administration for information security hardware and software. Monitor, track compliance and document incident handling responses on existing systems. Conduct Information System Security Engineering activities at the subsystem and system level of design and provides security consultation on proposed designs. Enforce compliance with Configuration Management (CM) and Information Security governance to ensure IT policy, directives and guidance are followed on agency systems and Election systems. Complete Vulnerability scans, Information System Security audits, analysis, risk assessments, vulnerability assessments, intrusion detection/prevention and log monitoring of computing resources. Provide support for system engineering life cycle from the specification through the design or hardware or software, procurement and development integration, test, operations, and maintenance. 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.
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