In Focus This Week
Guides on providing for the safety of election officials and workers.
By Ryan Chew
The events of 2020 brought the threat of violence into the elections arena at a scale not seen in any of our lifetimes. Online forums focused attention on individual election officials, staff and even temps and contractors. Personal details were unearthed, people were threatened, their houses approached and picketed, in some cases by people visibly armed. In other cases, physical confrontations developed at outlying election sites. The Elections Group has issued two guides on providing for the safety of election officials and workers.
The first paper, Defending Democracy: Protecting Election Officials from Digital Threats, describes the nature of the online threat, and offers suggestions for creating a wall around your personal information and visibility online to make it harder for trolls to find you or your family.
Social media is often the vehicle for gathering information about a target and coordinating and delivering an attack on them. Personal social media profiles reveal a lot about a person and the people who are important to them. Harassment on social media can occur in replies to a user’s own posts. Limiting access to social media accounts can help prevent some types of attacks.
However, online mobs looking to ‘dox’ an election official, identifying and publishing their home address, contact information and other private details, can find sources more quickly than they can be taken down during a crisis. Election officials should consider searching online for their personal identifying information now and making efforts to scrub old accounts and seek to have other sources taken down. Defending Democracy offers suggestions on services that can assist you in getting this done.
Online threats can function as a sort of mental rehearsal, so any mention of locations or of violence should trigger strong security measures. What began online in 2020 did at times culminate in real-world confrontation. Participants in online forums showed up at election warehouses or ballot drop boxes and pursued staff because of misunderstandings and false assumptions about what they saw.
The second paper, Running Elections Without Fear: Ensuring Physical Safety for Election Personnel [Due out early next week], focuses on steps that offices and individuals should be taking both now and if threat levels again rise, to shield election personnel from these actual physical confrontations.
Though doxing was the precursor of some threatening behavior targeting individuals, other attacks were less predictable, the product of suspicion directed at a jurisdiction. Running Elections Without Fearenvisions a broad security plan encompassing all staff and poll workers. We suggest building a relationship with law enforcement now, starting by developing a shared understanding of the nature of the threat. Election officials, like judges, manage a foundational institution. Intimidation of election officials should be viewed as a special category of crime, like a terroristic threat, more dangerous to our society than other threats and violence, justifying a strong law enforcement response, not only investigative, but also protective.
We recommend channeling most communication with law enforcement through a chosen, consistent liaison, ideally someone who can make site visits periodically through the election cycle to better understand the unique elections environment. The need for security must be balanced against the election principles of transparency and openness, a complication that it can be important for law enforcement to internalize. Local law enforcement agencies typically have a protective services unit. They may be able to provide not only advice about office security, but personal security measures for individual staff. In the event of a crisis, we believe election personnel do merit direct measures of protection, and we outline some steps in the guide.
We hope our guides will prove unnecessary as future elections take place. Preparedness can help deter attacks, identify those involved in threatening behavior more effectively, and ensure that election officials, staff and poll workers remain safe.
In Their Own Words
Overseas and Military Voting Laws Demonstrate that National Norms are Possible
Look to our history of the Soldier Voting Act, the Federal Voting Assistance Act, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act for a model of how federal legislation can respond and evolve to meet the needs of our citizens.
By Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, CEO
U.S. Vote Foundation
For democracy to function, it must include all of us. It’s the “people,” after all, who give government its legitimacy. When participation hovers at roughly 50 percent – more or less, depending on the election – it makes those of us in the voter-service sector wonder how well we’re doing as a nation. And while 2020 saw the highest turnout since 1900, a 66% rate is still a “barely passing” grade in most American schools. To avoid full-on failure, we clearly need a fix – especially one that most Americans already want, like absentee voting.
Several pieces of legislation have been introduced to federalize at least some facets of elections, including absentee voting. Despite Congress enjoying clear authority to regulate federal elections, pushback against country-wide norms persists. But legislators, at both state and federal levels, should note that predecessors have united at several points in our collective history to nationalize elections matters, with great success – and in the spirit of democratic ingenuity.
In the thick of World War II, when American solidarity was at an all-time high, members of Congress banded together to pass the Soldier Voting Act of 1942. After all, who with a straight face would deny the franchise to four million deployed men (and women) risking their lives in Europe to “gain the inevitable triumph”? Initially, the law guaranteed active-duty, deployed members of the armed forces the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot, a necessity considering few states made specific absentee allowances for servicemen.
Two years later, following low turnout (28,000) from the newly protected population, plus concern over the law’s silence on absentee options for those serving within the country (albeit not in their home-state), Congress amended the act, requiring states to permit any soldier (here or abroad) to either vote by state absentee ballot or use a federal form. As a result, turnout among this population, in just the first year following amendment, increased ninety-fold, including among voters of color. A national norm had produced a country-wide benefit.
Congress didn’t stop there. Roughly a decade later, it passed the Federal Voting Assistance Act, which created a postcard application for both registration and absentee ballot that states were “encouraged” to accept from servicemembers. Since additional requirements were needed to hold the states accountable, the Senate and House of Representatives, during Pres. Reagan’s second term, passed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) by voice vote (meaning, it was nearly unanimous).
Now, all states were required to offer absentee registration and voting to military employees, their families, and civilians living abroad, as well as provide them with a federal emergency back-up form (FWAB) to be used in any state. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, passed in 2009, extended these protections by requiring states to mail absentee ballots to those making timely requests 45 days before an election. The MOVE Act also allowed overseas voters to request their ballots electronically, updating the law to reflect our modern time.
It took several decades to get it right – and additional improvements are still needed to ensure all voters abroad have the information they need to make timely requests – but the string of laws addressing overseas voters demonstrates that national norms are not only possible but preferable. And they can be accomplished by Congress.
Some might say, Fine, let’s agree on norms for our service men and women who risk their lives to defend our freedom, but not for ordinary Americans here at home. True, most citizens aren’t risking life and limb, wearing fatigues, while stationed in a foreign desert. But that doesn’t make their contributions here at home – whether as a working mom with three teens, a truck driver delivering goods that fuel a thriving economy, or an auto worker making “made in America” a reality – any less essential. And such criticism doesn’t address the very real fact that most Americans lead complex, often harried lives, and desperately need options beyond standing in line on Election Day.
Absentee voting permits access for citizens living abroad, whether in the military, working for a multi-national company, or backpacking through Thailand. It also ensures that no American need balance the importance of picking up one’s kid from school against civic duty. Indeed, absentee voting was enormously successful in the 2020 election: according to U.S. Vote Foundation’s 2020 research findings, 99.5% of domestic and 92% of overseas survey respondents received their absentee ballot in time to meet the return deadline. Moreover, according to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans want the option of no-excuse absentee voting for all elections, not just during a pandemic. Early voting, whether absentee or in-person, has the additional benefit of letting state administrators process votes before the frenzy of Election Day. There’s really no downside.
Whether we overhaul our elections system all at once, or make key changes piecemeal, our federal government should expand in-person and absentee options for all citizens, whether they’re pursuing the American dream at home or fighting for our chance to live it while abroad. Only when we give all citizens an equal shot at consistent participation will we truly make good on the promise of making democracy an inclusive reality for all. And the thing is, it’s not a heavy lift.
Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat is the president and CEO of U.S. Vote Foundation, a nonprofit that works to ensure that all citizens become voters. The foundation serves domestic, overseas and military voters through its US Vote and Overseas Vote websites.
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Election News This Week
Stewards of Democracy: In the latest installment of Stewards of Democracy, researchers take a look at How Local Election Officials Trained for the Job, Ensured Cybersecurity and Adapted to the Pandemic. Increasingly, local election officials also must be experts in many fields: human resources, information technology, direct mail processing, public relations, cybersecurity… the list goes on and on. And in 2020 there was a completely new skill to learn — how to conduct an election during a pandemic. This post, researchers examine responses to the 2020 Democracy Fund/Reed College Survey of Local Election Officials to uncover key ways local officials prepare to do their jobs effectively and respond to a continually changing elections landscape. Researchers found that: Most local election officials report receiving training, but effectiveness varies; Ongoing training is required for most local election officials, but many are motivated to attend for other reasons; Large portions of local election officials performed most of the tasks associated with cybersecurity; Local election officials in smaller jurisdictions were less likely to report that they had complete plans to conduct background checks; Local election officials feel well-guided on election security by state and federal authorities; Local election officials in larger jurisdictions are more likely to belong to a state, national or international association; Amid the pandemic, local election officials were most likely to consult a local or state resource for guidance; and local election officials in large jurisdictions consulted more sources for COVID-19 planning.
Arizona Audit: The Senate mandated audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona continued this week. According to former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who has been hired to oversee the audit, about 200,000 ballots have been recounted so far. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division sent a letter to Senate President Karen Fann to respond to concerns the department has about the security of ballots and potential voter intimidation. Pamela S. Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the division, asked for Fann’s response to its concerns with an explanation of “the steps that the Arizona Senate will take to ensure that violations of federal law do not occur” during the audit. In an another letter, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs warned Bennett to bring the Republican election audit he’s overseeing into compliance with state laws and regulations. “I’m not sure what compelled you to oversee this audit,” Hobbs writes. “But I’d like to assume you took this role with the best of intentions. It is those intentions I appeal to now: either do it right, or don’t do it at all.” If Bennett doesn’t comply, Hobbs could take him back to court for breach of contract. Bennett is now Senate Republicans’ liaison for the audit. Additionally, the current lease for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds runs out May 14 and with auditors nowhere near completion, Bennett told reporters the Senate is trying to amend its agreement at the coliseum to continue working past May 14, a deadline in the contract Bennett previously vowed would be met. The coliseum is booked for upcoming high school graduations and Bennett has since said there’s no deadline for when the audit and recount must be complete. Bennett claimed it’s possible firms could store ballots and equipment at the coliseum, wait out the week’s worth of high school graduation ceremonies, and resume counting the following week. “There’s no use rushing,” Bennett said Monday. “Accuracy is more important than speed, and whatever it takes to get it done right, that’s what we’ll do, and that’s what the contractors will do.”
Vote Local: Just because it’s the election low season (trying to make this a thing instead of off-year) doesn’t mean there are no elections at all and this week voters in several states headed to the polls for local and special elections. Overall, despite some rainy weather in spots things went well this week although there were some issues. Antrim County, Michigan, at the heart of one of the 2020 controversies, has to use rented equipment for several township elections because the voting machines in those townships are part of an ongoing lawsuit involving the vendor. While voter turnout is rarely high during the election low season, Loraine County, Ohio saw only a 6.6 percent turnout, the lowest in recent history. Trumbull County, Ohio reported its lowest turnout for spring local elections in 15 years. In Jefferson County, Texas, several voting machines lost power for a brief period of time at one polling location, but a technician was quickly able to bring them back online. In LaVernia, Texas results were delayed until about 1 a.m. after election officials were forced to do a hand recount after it was discovered there was a missing ballot. The mystery of the missing ballot was solved on Monday, when a voter returned to City Hall with the paper ballot issued by the voting machine.“They left without placing the ballot in the box,” La Vernia City Secretary Brittani Porter advised, saying the individual was unaware they needed to insert the printed ballot into the ballot box to complete the voting process.Elections officials in Dallas County, Texas are promising a full review after some polling places were closed for hours during Saturday’s election. Workers at the Dallas County Elections Department confirmed that issues at six polling sites resulted in delays. Mayor Johnson said he has asked Dallas County Elections Administrator Michael Scarpello to conduct a full review. He is eager to understand what happened and why. “The integrity of our elections is paramount, and any issues must be corrected before the June 5 runoff to ensure that all of our eligible voters are able to take part in the democratic process,” the mayor said. And voters in Austin, Texas approved several elections-related ballot measures including Proposition D which would change the dates of the city’s mayoral elections and Proposition E which would implement a ranked choice voting system for city elections.
Youth Vote: In 2019 the Colorado Legislature approved a law that allows 17-year-olds, who will be 18 by the time of the general election, to vote in the primary. However, in November 2020 voters approved a constitutional amendment—Amendment 76—which specifies that only U.S. citizens 18 and up can weigh in during elections. Now lawmakers must figure out how to reconcile the two. “Every single 17-year-old that I knew that was eligible for this presidential primary exercised their right to vote during it,” said Spencer Wilcox, a politically active 16-year-old. “This is something that we really want to do. We want to be involved with the political process, and the passage of this amendment put that in jeopardy.” he state now has three options: Repeal the 2019 statute, leave it on the books but still follow the constitutional amendment (the constitution trumps state law), or have a 17-year-old sue for a decision, Denver attorney and DU professor Christopher Jackson said. In the presidential primary in March 2020, 10,063 17-year-olds voted. In the June 2020 state primary, 4,380 17-year-olds voted. Both times, a larger percent of Colorado’s 17-year-old eligible voters turned out than the next age group, 18-34-year-olds. In a statement, Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold said she still supports allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries, especially because: “Colorado saw historic turnout for young voters in 2020 and it’s important that we encourage participation at a young age.” However former Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R) who served as attorney for Amendment 76, said the constitutional amendment sets the minimum requirements for voting and it had overwhelming support. A legislative committee that’s tasked with making sure the state’s laws work with each other or recommend changes has taken up the issue twice this year, and decided to hold off on a position as of late April. Sen. Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City), who is on the committee, told The Denver Post that while state attorneys believe the statute allowing 17-year-olds to vote is now null and void, it’s not completely clear what should happen. The final decision, he said, lies with the courts.
Personnel News: Madison County, Illinois Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza announced that she will seek a third term in 2022. After four presidential elections and thousands of local and state contests, Spartanburg County, South Carolina Elections Director Henry Laye is retiring. He’ll be replace by Adam Hammons who has been director of Berkeley County Voter Registration & Elections since 2013. Smith County, Texas Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez has resigned after three months on the job.
In Memoriam: Gary McGee, chair of the Currituck County, North Carolina Board of Elections has died. He was 73. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill he received a Master of Public Administration from NC State. Gary worked in local government for his entire career. The forever leader, Gary helped North Carolinians all across the State, from Pittsboro to Watauga County, to 20 years as City Manager of Hickory, and later on the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk. Never fully retiring from public life, his most recent honor was being appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper as Chair of the Currituck County Board of Elections.
Pat Mansard, former Vigo County, Indiana clerk has died. She was 82. She served as Vigo County clerk for four terms and chief deputy for two terms when her husband, William L. Mansard, was elected to the position. She also was a long-time member of the League of Women Voters [LWV] of Vigo County. She’s dedicated her life to empowering voters and strengthening our democracy,” Carly Schmitt, League president told the Terre Haute Tribune Star. “Pat was a dedicated member of our League for 30 years and believed very much in our mission and supported our progressive values.” According to David Bolk, former Vigo County Circuit Court judge, Mansard “was very committed to doing elections in the right way … She wanted them to go well, she was serious about training and getting the public involved and getting people involved in elections.” Carolyn Callecod, who has worked with Mansard for many years through the League of Women Voters, described her as “a phenomenal woman. She was so passionate about people voting. She was passionate in the League and what she did for the community. She went above and beyond; she would be in that [Clerk’s] office early in the morning, sometimes at 5 a.m.”
Federal Legislation: Congressional Democrats have tweaked their marquee voting-rights, campaign-finance and ethics bill ahead of a Senate committee vote next week, addressing concerns raised by elections administrators but forgoing a more radical rewrite of the legislation. The changes to the For the People Act come after the bill passed the House on a largely party-line vote in March and ahead of a critical vote Tuesday in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee that could advance the legislation to the floor. What has changed are some of the requirements and timelines related to the bill’s mandates for early voting, voting by mail, automatic voter registration and voting system standards. In several cases, states or local jurisdictions will be given more time or more leeway to follow through on the bill’s mandates. The changes are contained in a package of revisions known as a “manager’s amendment” that was circulated to senators on Wednesday by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is shepherding the bill through the Senate as Rules Committee chairwoman. Klobuchar’s proposal will provide a new baseline for potential further amendments in the committee or on the Senate floor. A Democratic aide involved in the revisions to the bill said the changes were made in consultation with state and local voting administrators of both parties, including groups such as the National Association of Election Officials and the National Association of Secretaries of State. The aide was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Among the latest changes is a tweak to one of the bill’s key mandates, requiring states to provide at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, with polls open at least 10 hours a day. The revisions now provide limited exemptions for jurisdictions with fewer than 3,000 registered voters, as well as those jurisdictions that mail ballots automatically to all voters. The changes also loosen a requirement that early voting be offered on the Monday before Election Day. After some officials raised concerns about the administrative burdens, Monday voting would now become optional, though jurisdictions would still have to meet the 15-consecutive-day rule. Several tweaks have also been made to vote-by-mail standards. Because of concerns about meeting state certification deadlines, the mandated minimum window for accepting mail ballots has been changed from 10 days after Election Day to seven days. (All late-arriving ballots must have been postmarked by Election Day.) And, while the initial bill required authorities to allow requests as late as five days before Election Day, that window has been extended to seven days.
Alabama: The Legislature passed legislation to allow local election officials to fill the ranks of the workers who work the polls during an election with workers who reside outside of the voting precinct in which they are assigned. The poll workers hired would still have to be residents of the county in which they work. House Bill 312 is sponsored by state Rep. David Wheeler, R-Vestavia. Wheeler asked that the Alabama House of Representatives vote to concur with the changes made to the bill by the Alabama Senate. The local boards of registrars would still have to give priority to hiring applicants from within that precinct. The House voted to concur on a 92 to 0 vote. According to the legislation: “The appointing board, or a majority of them acting as an appointing board, not more than 20 nor less than 15 days before the holding of any election in their county, shall appoint from the qualified electors of the respective precinct county, necessary precinct election officials, which shall include at least one inspector, to act at each voting place in each precinct. “Precinct election officials shall be registered voters in the county in which they serve, but are not required to be registered at the precinct in which they serve; provided, that first priority. Provided, first priority may be given to the appointment of poll workers and alternate poll workers who are registered voters at their respective precincts, so long as the board determines that the poll worker is qualified for appointment as a poll worker.”
Arizona: Arizona voters who forget to sign their mail ballots would have to fix the problem by 7 p.m. on election day under legislation approved Thursday by House Republicans. The measure codifies in state law the rules as implemented for the 2020 election and blocks a five-day curing period after the election, which Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tried unsuccessfully to implement to settle a lawsuit filed by the Navajo Nation. Before 2020, policies for handling missing signatures varied by county. Voting rights advocates condemned the legislation and urged Gov. Doug Ducey to veto it. The measure would require county election officials to notify voters who fail to sign their ballots. But critics say those who return them on Election Day or shortly before would not have time to fix the problem. Voters who do sign their ballots but have the signature rejected because it doesn’t closely match the one on file would still get five days after the election to resolve the issue. The measure passed the Senate earlier then year then stalled in the House. It was revived on Thursday and sent to Ducey as all election-related bills remain in limbo in the Senate because of a disagreement among Republicans.
Colorado: A House panel advanced a bill that seeks to allow blind or otherwise print-impaired voters to privately and independently vote by returning marked ballots online. But a host of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, warned in a report to states ahead of last fall’s election the bill’s provisions would amount to a “high-risk” endeavor that could compromise election integrity by allowing hackers to manipulate ballots and election results “at scale.” Senate Bill 21-188 was carried through the Senate by Sen. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, where it passed on a near-party line vote. In the House, the legislation is sponsored Democratic Reps. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, and David Ortiz, a Littleton Democrat who now uses a wheelchair after a helicopter crash while serving in Afghanistan left him with little muscle control below his waist. The proposal seeks to build on legislation that allows voters with disabilities to access a ballot online, which Danielson championed in 2019. 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.
Florida: The Florida Legislature approved along party lines a multitude of changes to the state’s elections laws including a ban on possessing multiple vote by mail ballots and restrictions on the use of ballot drop boxes. Relenting on a number of ideas that were strongly opposed by county elections supervisors and Democrats, the bill now heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk is far less onerous than what Republicans were proposing over the last month. The bill does not ban drop boxes, an idea DeSantis endorsed earlier this year. It does not require someone show an I.D. when leaving a vote by mail ballot in a drop box, which elections supervisors warned would have created long lines. It also does not include the strict signature-comparison requirements for validating vote by mail ballots that some feared would require millions of Floridians to update their signatures with their county elections office. It does restrict people from possessing more than two vote by mail ballots, reimposing a ban on ballot collection that Republicans did away with 20 years ago. Possessing more than two ballots is already outlawed in Miami-Dade County, a response to a series of scandals involving people illegally obtaining ballots and pressuring voters. Senate Bill 90 also would require ballot drop boxes to be used only during early voting hours, and must be manned during those times. The 150-foot ban on soliciting voters at polling sites would also apply to drop box locations. Most of the bill makes dozens of technical and administrative changes to the state’s vote-by-mail laws. Elections supervisors would be given more time to count vote by mail ballots and be required to regularly report online the number of ballots submitted and counted. They would also have to allow candidates’ observers to closely watch, and easily dispute, the duplicate ballot process. That’s the process where supervisors duplicate ballots that are wet, wrinkled or otherwise too damaged to run through voting machines. They would also be prevented from changing the locations of drop boxes within 30 days of an election. The vote passed the Senate 23-17, and in the House of Representatives 77-40. DeSantis was expected to sign the bill at press time.
Louisiana: A bill to extend early voting from seven to 10 days during presidential elections was approved unanimously by a Louisiana House committee Wednesday. Rep. Frederick Jones, D-Monroe, offered his bill after the record voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election. Louisiana saw more than 2.1 million people vote in November, and 986,000 of them voted early in-person. The bill originally extended early voting for every election, but after financial concerns from the registrars of voters, Jones limited the bill to presidential elections. The extension of early voting comes with a price tag of $400,000 to the state, including pay for poll workers. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin noted that while early voting provides a great convenience to voters, extending this period for every election would come with challenges for his office and the registrars. Limiting the bill to presidential elections also allows for more time to adjust election timelines.
Minnesota: The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate has passed a requirement that voters show a photo ID, even though opposition from DFL Gov. Tim Walz and House majority Democrats makes it unlikely to become law this year. The vote for the Republican-backed bill was 34-32 and fell along party lines. Supporters say the voter ID measure would protect election integrity. Critics argue that it would suppress the vote. The debate has gone on for years, and Minnesotans rejected a voter ID constitutional amendment in 2012. Under the bill, eligible Minnesotans would need to show a photo ID when voting in person or when casting an absentee ballot. A new provisional ballot system would be established for people unable to produce an ID on Election Day. There would also be a new voter identification card established and provided free to those who need it. A companion bill in the House has not received any committee hearings. There are just two weeks left in the session, with budget work expected to occupy nearly all of that time.
Montana: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) on signed into law House Bill 429, requiring a majority of lawmakers in both the House and Senate to approve of any emergency suspensions of the election laws in the state. If the Legislature isn’t in session at the time, the new law requires the Secretary of State to poll lawmakers on the proposed change in election laws within three days of the governor’s request. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, and was brought as a response to Bullock’s decision to allow all-mail primary and general elections in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. All but a handful of Montana’s 56 counties opted to hold their elections by mail ballots only. HB 429 passed on a party-line vote in the Senate last month, although it had picked up some Democratic support when it passed the House in February. It became effective upon being signed by Gianforte.
New Hampshire: A House-passed bill to move the state primary election from the second Tuesday in September to the fourth Tuesday in June appears to have receptive audience among the members of a key Senate panel at this early stage of consideration. But even if the bill eventually passes the Senate, it appears that it would face a veto by Gov. Chris Sununu. The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee has yet to vote a recommendation on House Bill 98 but following a public hearing on Monday, there appeared to be a consensus in favor of the concept, with details yet to be addressed. The bill passed the House on a 195-174 vote on April 8. But at a news conference later the same day, Sununu said the current system is strong and he saw no reason for a change. “We have a very unique system here,” Sununu said. “I’m not for moving the primary. You start down a slippery slope.”
New York: The Senate Election Committee on Monday advanced a bill meant to address the issue of out-of-precinct voting. The proposal is aimed at ensuring ballots are still counted for all the offices or ballot questions they are eligible to vote for, as long as they are in the right polling site in their county. General election data gathered by the group VoteEarlyNY released on Monday found 13,800 ballots were disqualified after voters appeared at the wrong polling site. “The 2020 data confirms what has been reported anecdotally for years,” said VoteEarlyNY Co-Founder and Voting Rights Counsel Jarret Berg, “That each election thousands of legitimate voters have their ballots tossed and their right to vote fully and needlessly frustrated. Against this backdrop, a modern safeguard that counts the eligible votes on ballots cast by registered New Yorkers, rather than entirely discounting them, will improve due process and significantly reduce the disenfranchisement of eligible voters, ensuring more accurate election results.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation into law expanding felon voting rights, according to the state legislature, allowing for people on parole in the state to be eligible to vote as soon as they leave prison. The law codifies a 2018 executive order that allowed for Cuomo to individually pardon parolees. According to the bill text, Department of Corrections officials are required to provide a voter registration form as the felon is leaving the facility. Previously, parolees would have to wait a period of four to six weeks to receive a pardon and then must register to vote on their own. The law goes into effect immediately, although some portions are delayed until 120 days after its signing, according to the bill text. The New York legislature passed the bill in April.
North Carolina: The House elections committee voted along party lines for a GOP measure that requires traditional absentee ballots to be received by county officials by Election Day in order to be counted. Like a similar bill in the Senate, it would eliminate the current three-day grace period in state law for county boards to receive ballot envelopes in the mail that are postmarked by the date of the election. Against the wishes of Republican legislators, that period was extended to nine days for last November’s election following a lawsuit settlement between the State Board of Elections and a pro-union group addressing the pandemic and mail delays. In contrast to the Senate measure, the House bill also would direct county elections boards to send absentee ballots to applicants starting 63 days before the date of an even-numbered year general election, instead of the current 60 days. The distribution date for primaries also would be 53 days before the election, instead of 50. North Carolina’s current 60-day window made the state the first in the nation to allow voters to turn in ballots in early September for the Nov. 4 election. Now it would be even longer.
North Dakota: The Legislature has sent a sweeping election bill to the governor after a late snag over whether to identify endorsed and petition candidates on the primary ballot. House Bill 1253, brought by Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, is 83 pages detailing changes for election administration. It includes language updates and provisions for matching absentee ballot application signatures, helping people with disabilities vote and enabling technology additions, such as QR codes for smartphones. “We’re just making the best system in the country a little bit better,” said Louser, who began working on the bill with the secretary of state’s office in July 2020. One provision of House Bill 1253 limits voters to 30 minutes “to mark and cast the ballot after receiving the ballot from the election judge.” If a voter wanted to take longer than 30 minutes after the last person in line at closing time received a ballot, he or she could submit the ballot as marked or continue to mark it and have it counted at the county canvassing board meeting. Louser said that provision likely wouldn’t be enforced on most voters, is “designed for the end of the night” to speed election work and has no penalty. The bill does not include an amendment Louser proposed that mirrored language from a bill the Senate earlier defeated in imposing a three-hour election results deadline. Opponents said that time limit would exacerbate stress to produce election results. The House adopted a conference committee report and passed the bill unanimously. The Senate on Thursday did the same, 44-3, after initially rejecting the first conference committee report on Monday over concerns about a provision that would indicate on the primary ballot whether state and legislative candidates were endorsed or petition candidates. The provision ultimately was removed. The bill reduces some deadlines for post-election work, such as entering voters into the central voter file, which is a record of who has voted. North Dakota has no voter registration. The bill also extends the time frame for county canvassing boards to meet, from six days after each election to 13 days. The bill imposes a Class A misdemeanor on people who knowingly accept private money for running elections. Louser said lawmakers felt “no outside, private money, especially big tech, should be allowed to come in and attempt to influence any election in North Dakota.”
Texas: The House Committee on Elections has approved Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) sweeping election legislation. SB 7 passed on a 5-4 vote in the House Committee on Elections. is the author of the bill. SB 7 would require applicants to affirmatively indicate eligibility when they register to vote and when applying for mail ballots. Also, it would standardize polling hours across the state as well as prohibit dropbox locations for mail ballots. The bill would also allow cameras into rooms where vote counting is taking place. The bill will now go to the Committee on Calendars for possible placement on the House floor.
Wisconsin: Democratic legislators introduced a bill that would require all elected state officials to serve as poll workers during elections. The legislation wouldn’t apply to members of the judiciary, but it would apply to Wisconsin’s Senators and Assembly members. The only exception is if the official is on the ballot. Representative Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) said during a press conference today that the proposal will increase transparency in the state’s election processes. “By requiring our non-judicial state elected officials to receive the same training as election officials in their district, we can increase knowledge, understanding and confidence in an election administered fairly and without doubt,” Appleton said.
Arizona: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday threw out what is likely the last legal challenge remaining about the choice of Arizona voters of Joe Biden for president. Without comment the justices refused to consider a request by Pinal County resident Staci Burk that she should be allowed to pursue her claims of evidence of election fraud. She wanted access to the ballots to prove that some were invalid. The justices, however, never actually got to look at those claims. In fact, that wasn’t even part of her petition to the high court. What Burk wanted — and what the justices refused to grant her — is a hearing over the question of whether she was an “elector’’ under Arizona law who had standing to bring such a claim in the first place. It was that lack of standing that allowed state courts, right up through the Arizona Supreme Court, to ignore her claims. In her underlying claims, Burk alleged widespread fraud and improper tallying by voting machines. She also claims that someone had flown a batch of ballots into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, some of which Burk said were taken to the Maricopa County ballot tabulation center. Burk never got a hearing on her claims after her case was tossed last year by Pinal County Superior Court Judge Kevin White who concluded she had no legal right to sue because she did not fit the legal definition of “qualified elector.’’ She charged that her registration had been illegally canceled and sought a hearing. But White also found that Burk, who represented herself, waited too long to file suit. The state’s high court reached the same conclusion.
The Arizona Democratic Party and other critics of the state Senate’s audit of Maricopa County election results reached a settlement in a lawsuit with top Republican legislators, guaranteeing certain measures for ballot security and voter privacy as well as access for observers and reporters to witness the process. Though the state Democratic Party and County Supervisor Steve Gallardo initially sought a restraining order to stop the audit, arguing it did not include adequate measures to protect ballots or voter privacy, the settlement allows the audit to continue. Still, the party touted the settlement as a victory. And it adds to orders a judge has already issued requiring that voter privacy is maintained and ballots protected. It also gives force to agreements the Senate has hashed out during the process to allow access. The settlement stipulates that written procedures made public following a judge’s order last week will remain in place throughout the process. That comes after observers raised concerns that officials overseeing the audit were making changes on the fly. The settlement requires, too, that the Senate will ensure voting systems, voter information and ballots are secured to prevent unauthorized access. And under the agreement, images of ballots that the Senate has obtained and images that its contractors are currently making at the coliseum will not be released without a court order.
California: California Governor Gavin Newsom did not abuse his powers when his office required all voters be sent vote-by-mail ballots for the 2020 general election, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled this week. In March 2020, Newsom declared a state of emergency in the early days of the pandemic and just days after voters headed to the polls during primary election season. Newsom issued an executive order to send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters ahead of the November general election. Newsom’s election orders were made under the California Emergency Services Act (CESA). Republican lawmakers argued Newsom completely sidestepped the state Legislature and the governor unconstitutionally changed California’s election laws. But a three-judge panel from the Third District Court of Appeal said timing is everything and ruled that Newsom did not overstep his authority. Presiding Judge Vance Raye, Judge Ronald Robie and Judge Jonathan Renner made up the panel and wrote the unanimous 21-page opinion.
Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday appointed a special counsel to represent the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office in the investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis into former President Donald Trump’s actions in Georgia during the 2020 election. Kemp made the appointment of attorney Jack Sharman, of Birmingham-based Lightfoot, Franklin and White, by executive order. The order noted that Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who would typically represent the Secretary of State’s Office in any legal matters, “has declined representation of the Secretary of State in this matter.” It did not explain why. While Sec. Brad Raffensperger does not appear to be a subject of the investigation, the secretary’s office has been asked to preserve any records or docments that could be relevant to it. The office’s legal representation would presumably, at a minimum, be tied to cooperation with such requests.
Iowa: Polk County District Judge Scott Rosenberg has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that is tied to concerns over the state’s actions on voter registration in the months before the 2020 election. In July 2019, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat, filed a public-records request with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican. After no response from Pate’s office to the public-records request, Miller filed a complaint with the Iowa Voter Registration Commission. Pate filed a motion asking the commission to dismiss Miller’s complaint, arguing Miller had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The commission heard arguments on Pate’s motion and ultimately decided on a 2-1 vote to dismiss Miller’s complaint without a hearing. Miller appealed that decision to Iowa District Court, arguing that the commission, rather than permitting Miller to present testimony and evidence to support his complaint, simply accepted “the unsubstantiated factual assertions” offered by Pate. In February, the commission, represented by the office of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the case. In his ruling, Rosenberg stated that ordinarily, litigation related to elections becomes moot after the election passes, but both the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and Iowa’s own administrative complaint procedures contemplate filing complaints and providing election-related remedies after an election is over. “HAVA and the Iowa administrative procedures provide Miller with the right to pursue injunctive relief with respect to a past election,” Rosenberg ruled. “If the Court granted Miller’s petition and remanded to IVRC for a contested case hearing on the merits, IVRC would retain the ability to grant injunctive relief related to the 2020 election for violations of HAVA.”
Louisiana: Having gotten what they wanted last fall — expanded early voting and mail balloting in the last presidential election — voting rights advocates in Louisiana are trying to dismiss the lawsuit they filed seeking safe voting opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. But, with their eyes on future elections, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, and Attorney General Jeff Landry, both Republicans, are pressing on with an appeal. They want a ruling that U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick’s expansion of voting opportunities last fall was an overreach in which the judge took actions reserved for lawmakers. The plaintiffs, including the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, say the issue is moot. Their lawsuit dealt only with the November and December Louisiana elections, and they have a right to have it dismissed, they argued Tuesday in a court filing. The two Republican leaders say the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should rule anyway. Otherwise, they say in court briefs, “this case—if not addressed by this Court—could become a roadmap for similarly timed future actions.” The voting rights advocates filed a dismissal motion in Dick’s court Tuesday. They also have one pending at the 5th Circuit. The 5th Circuit hasn’t ruled on the motion. It has issued an order scheduling arguments on the appeal for June 7.
Mississippi: Three candidates have filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court seeking to overturn the results of the April 6 primary. The candidates, Aldermen Fred Esco, Rodriquez Brown, and Tim Taylor, each lost their bids for re-election and have brought suits to challenge the results. This is the second time the three have found themselves in court in connection to Canton election issues. All three point to discrepancies to back up their claims the election results should be set aside. Absentee voting started March 27, days before the April 6 primary. Under state statute, absentee ballots are supposed to be made available to voters 45 days before party primaries. However, ballots were not printed on time, in part, because of challenges brought by Esco, Brown, Mayor William Truly and his wife Natwassie Truly. “This failure to provide the statutory 45-day period for absentee voting disenfranchised many Canton Democratic primary voters, including many who would have voted for Esco if given the time and opportunity required by statute,” his suit states.
North Carolina: A trial on North Carolina’s latest photo voter identification law concluded last week. Now a panel of judges must decide: were Republicans in the legislature motivated at least partially by racial bias? Or were they purely trying to carry out the public’s desire for secure elections? The three state judges hearing the lawsuit didn’t immediately rule following three weeks of testimony and arguments on the law, which implemented a photo ID mandate added to the North Carolina Constitution by voters in November 2018. Paul Brachman, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said evidence showed Republicans rushed through the law without seeking bipartisanship and protections for voting rights before losing their veto-proof majorities in early 2019. Brachman pointed to a 2016 federal appeals court ruling, which struck down a 2013 photo ID law and other voting restrictions on grounds of racial bias, as proof the 2018 voter ID law suffered from the same flaw. Voter ID under the 2013 law was carried out briefly during the 2016 primary. David Thompson, an attorney representing House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger and other GOP legislators, sought to separate the voter ID laws from what he acknowledged was the state’s otherwise shameful history on voting rights. And he said the bill received more than just token Democratic support. Key moments in the trial surrounded the role of Democratic Sen. Joel Ford of Charlotte, who is Black and one of the bill’s cosponsors. Thompson said there are many changes from the 2013 law designed to improve ballot access while ensuring only legal citizens can vote. Superior Court Judges Nathaniel Poovey, Michael O’Foghludha and Vince Rozier didn’t say when they’d rule, but planned to receive more legal filings in mid-May. Poovey ran for office as a Republican. The other two judges ran most recently as Democrats. Any decision likely will be appealed to the state Supreme Court. There are other voter ID lawsuits pending in state and federal court. The law isn’t currently being enforced.
Texas: Secretary of State Ruth Hughes asked a Fifth Circuit panel to dismiss two voting rights lawsuits from the Texas Democratic Party, one challenging voter registration rules and the other a law Democrats say was passed to disenfranchise left-leaning college students by placing restrictions on temporary polling places. Days before the state’s voter registration deadline for the 2018 midterm elections, then-Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos issued a press release telling voters online registration is not allowed in Texas, and advising counties applications submitted through a cellphone app created by the advocacy group Vote.org were not complete because they contained digital signatures. Following Pablos’ guidance, county registrars notified 2,400 would-be voters their applications had been rejected as incomplete. After Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed fellow Republican Ruth Hughs as secretary of state, the Texas Democratic Party sued her in San Antonio federal court in January 2020, claiming the state’s “wet-signature rule” requiring a hand signature on a physical document is unconstitutional. Hughs claims she has sovereign immunity because the Texas Democratic Party is taking issue with part of the Texas Election Code that county voter registrars enforce.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voter suppression | Voting machines | Restoring faith in elections | The Big Lie, II | Election transparency | Ranked choice voting | Fox News
California: Election season | Ranked choice voting | Voter suppression | San Luis Obispo County | Fresno County | Recall
Connecticut: Voting rights | Voting laws
Arizona: Audit, II, III, IV, V | Election legislation | Voter registration
Florida: Election reform | Citrus County | Election legislation, II, III, IV
Hawaii: Election referees
Maine: Ranked choice voting
Maryland: Election reform
Montana: Election legislation, II, III
Nevada: Partisan election reform
New Hampshire: HR1
Ohio: Free and fair elections
Rhode Island: Election legislation
Texas: The Big Lie | Get out the Vote | Voting rules
West Virginia: Voter registration
Wisconsin: Election reform
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.
Campaign Finance Director, North Carolina State Board of Elections— The primary purpose of this position is to oversee the agency’s administration of campaign finance disclosure, auditing, and the non-compliance process, supervise the program analysts and disclosure specialists, and develop processes, procedures, policies, and training for the laws and regulations for state and county campaign finance administration and for committee treasurers, candidates, and other regulated entities. This position works collaboratively with other agency divisions including Election Administration, Training & Outreach, Business Operations, Legal, and Investigations. The position works closely with the Associate General Counsel focused on campaign finance to ensure policies and procedures are legally compliant. This position works with legal and investigations to provide input on campaign finance investigations. It also provides recommendations on policies, advisory opinions, and investigations to the agency’s executive director and board members as needed. 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.
Customer Support Consultant, Hart InterCivic— The Customer Support Consultant is responsible for providing application and hardware support to Hart InterCivic customers via telephone and email for all Hart InterCivic products. The Customer Support Consultant is also responsible for monitoring all requests to ensure efficient, effective resolution. The successful Customer Support Consultant will work directly with customers and other staff members. The position is responsible for responding to customer contacts, dealing with issues in a professional manner, providing technical direction to customers in a manner they can understand and being a customer advocate. The Customer Support Consultant must have outstanding written and verbal communication skills. 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. 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.
Election Director, Jefferson County, Colorado— The Elections Director leads the division responsible for planning, organizing, and executing the federal, state, and local elections in one of the top swing counties in the country. With significant autonomy, the Elections Director performs high-level technical and administrative activities, responsible both for setting the division’s strategy and ensuring flawless day-to-day operations, as required in elections. The Elections Director also liaises with internal and external stakeholders, fostering collaboration from across the political spectrum for all the division’s activities. The ideal candidate will be a solutions-driven professional with a desire to set the bar for accessible, efficient, and transparent election administration. This person must be innovative and data-driven, must be relentlessly detail-oriented, and must come to work every day thinking how to further expand the accessibility of our elections, while also ensuring their integrity and security. The candidate must also have the proven ability to move between diverse tasks with ease, and must thrive in a high-stress, high-scrutiny environment. Deadline: May 10. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Processing Supervisor, San Diego County, California— Election Processing Supervisors organize, direct, and supervise the activities of sections within the Registrar of Voters’ – Voters Services Divisions. Position responsibilities include but are not limited to: planning, scheduling and coordinating activities related to vote-by-mail ballots, sample ballots, election mail pick-up, voter records and registration, training, election equipment and warehouse; providing lead work in special projects and assignments; providing interpretations and ensuring proper implementation of Federal, State and local laws regulating elections. 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.
General Registrar, Prince William County, Virginia— The General Registrar is an appointed state employee and sworn official with overall responsibility for administering the provisions of Virginia election laws under guidelines established by the State Board of Elections and the Prince William County Electoral Board, including the duties and powers of the General Registrar as stated in Title 24.2 of the Code of Virginia and in compliance with other federal, state and local laws and policies. With yearly and frequent elections, the General Registrar is responsible for the oversight of a large and complex voter registration and election administration agency with approximately 20 full-time employees and more than 1,000 election officers. The General Registrar consults with, advises and reports to the Prince William County Electoral Board on all issues relative to election administration and voter registration. The General Registrar, working with the Electoral Board identifies suitable polling places, acquires and test voting and other equipment, recruits and trains Officers of Election, and obtains technical support and financial resources. Learn more about us on a virtual tour by clicking here. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Policy Associate, National Conference of State Legislatures— The policy associate will work in NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program in NCSL’s Denver office. Broadly, this position includes research, analysis and program/meeting planning related to election administration. Primary duties will include collecting and maintaining data related to election legislation; responding to research requests; maintaining webpages and other internal and external resources; coordinating speakers, agendas and logistics for meetings; and developing connections with state legislators, legislative staff and subject-area experts. Public speaking will be minimal at the beginning but will expand with experience. The policy associate will work under the direction of supervisors and in collaboration with other Elections and Redistricting team members. The policy associate may also have responsibility for independent research projects, databases or webpages. All major work products will be reviewed by senior professionals or project managers. Travel several times a year will be expected. Salary: $4,199 /month. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Regional Service Technician, Hart InterCivic— A Regional Service Technician responds to all customer requests ranging from training requests, to phone support requests, to onsite repair of voting equipment requests. This individual is one of the local customer’s support routes. The position requires residency in Harris County, Texas. The Regional Service Technician handles all Return Material Authorization (RMA) requests for external customers for all Hart InterCivic Verity products within his/her region and provides on-site customer support and troubleshooting on an as-needed basis. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Registrar of Voters, San Diego County, California— The Registrar of Voters is an executive management position that leads the Department and provides eligible citizens of San Diego County with widespread and ongoing opportunities to register and vote in fair and accurate elections for all federal, state and local offices and measures; and provides access to the information needed to utilize the initiative, referendum, and recall petition processes. Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree and five years of management level experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the classification. The ideal candidate for this position will have executive level decision-making skills in the area of election administration, as well as organizational and political acumen in order to advise and provide direction for ROV programs and services. Candidates familiar with election administration principles, campaign finance, election technologies, voting procedures, and federal and state election laws, are preferred. This recruitment will remain open until the position is filled. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for consideration. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Research Director, Center for Election Innovation and Research— The Research Director will report to the Executive Director and lead CEIR’s research initiatives. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, matters pertaining to voter registration, voter access, election integrity and security, and election policy, generally. The Research Director will set goals aligned with CEIR’s mission and provide the research team with strategic direction on how to reach those goals, all while ensuring the rigor, integrity, and quality of all research activities. 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.
Virtual Event Planner, Early Voting Information Center— The Early Voting Information Center (EVIC) at Reed College seeks out a virtual event planner and project manager with a strong understanding of United States politics, particularly as it relates to election policy, to help lead, coordinate, plan, and execute an applied research project focused on understanding and strengthening the capacity of local election administrators in the United States. EVIC seeks out an individual who can help to coordinate and engage academic teams, local and state elections officials, and other stakeholders engaged in the research efforts. The lead project team is located in Portland, Oregon, but remote work is possible. Time demands are expected to be ten hours/week with some variation, beginning on or around May 1stand ending October 31, with a possibility of extension. Application: Interested candidates should send a short letter of interest, qualifications, and description of applicable experience; and a resume or curriculum vita to Karen Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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