In Focus This Week
Ann Arbor, MI/UM team up for a Creative Campus Voting Project
“It felt like a place where students were invited and meant to be.”
By M. Mindy Moretti
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain
Following the passage of Proposition 18-3 (“Promote the Vote”) in Michigan in 2018, the Ann Arbor City Clerk’s Office began making plans to expand voter registration and absentee ballot opportunities for the 2020 election cycle, particularly with the more than 40,000 students at the University of Michigan.
A November 2019 resolution of council directed the city administrator to make funding available in the city clerk budget to provide for expanded hours and an additional “satellite” office.
“At this time, I began working with the government relations official at the University of Michigan to secure a location on campus,” City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry explained. “Fortunately, in our situation, relationships were already in place between the city clerk’s office and those on campus involved in voter outreach efforts.”
Meanwhile, at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design professors Stephanie Rowden and Hannah Smotrich were ramping up with Creative Campus Voting Project.
“The idea originated at the serendipitous intersection of several conversations across campus about student voter engagement,” Rowden and Smotrich explained. “As we were talking with Edie [Goldenberg (Political Science, Public Policy; and faculty advisor for the student org Turn Up Turnout)] about the best site for the satellite office, we were also in conversation with our partners at UMMA (University of Michigan Museum of Art) about building on our 2018 collaboration. We learned that due to Covid-19 UMMA’s beautiful, glassed-in gallery in the center of campus wouldn’t be used and — the lightbulb moment! — the idea of a satellite city clerk’s office in a gallery was born. Given our focus on using art and design to clarify and make the voting process more visible, the venue could not have been more fitting and the project aligned beautifully with UMMA’s commitment to foster civic engagement.”
The satellite office would be functional, but also welcoming and educational to all who saw it. Democracy at the local level would literally be on display, but at the same time, the artistic open approach offered a welcoming experience to a new voter that might be missed altogether in the traditional bureaucratic style of the city hall experience.
“We were all excited and the UMMA office was quickly accepted by both parties with a planned opening date of National Voter Registration Day in late September 2020,” Beaudry said.
Over six weeks, the satellite office registered 5,412 voters and collected 8,501 ballots.
“Having an office open and easy to access for 40 days leading up to a General Election ‘flattened the curve’ in terms of the demand on our staff and the last-minute push for registration changes,” Beaudry said. “Meeting the students where they are made for an easier Election Day for the Clerk’s Office and a better experience for all of our voters.”
Trained student volunteers welcomed their peers and helped them navigate forms and documents so they would be prepared for their turn with a clerk. Clerks were particularly attuned to the needs of first-time voters, both logistically and emotionally.
According to Beaudry in preparation for the changes in election administration due to Proposition 18-3 and later because of the pandemic, her office created a temporary job called a Voter Participation Specialist.
“We hired nearly 20 additional people in this role. To make sure the people at UMMA wanted to be there and wanted to work with young voters, we asked full-time and temporary staff who wanted to work at the satellite office versus City Hall, Beaudry said. “Some staff had concerns about the pandemic, others preferred to be behind the scenes preparing ballots for the mail, and some enthusiastically asked to work at UMMA every day. Those are the people that were chosen and they loved it.
The University provided the space at UMMA to the city at no charge. The city costs included staffing the office, computer equipment, and all of the usual supplies and materials needed to register voters and issue ballots. Rowden and Smotrich noted that they received grant from the University of Michigan’s Democracy and Debate Theme Semester to support our creative research and the visual implementation of the space, and the U-M Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning managed and compensated the student volunteers who assisted the City Clerk’s Office with line management and student questions.
As we’ve reported in the past, partnering with local design schools can be extremely beneficial to local elections offices and Beaudry endorsed that.
“No detail was missed. It was really amazing to see the artistic touches put on everything, including simpler easy-to-understand instructions. No bureaucratic forms,” Beaudry said.
This symbiotic relationship between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan seems like a stark contrast from some of the animosity that can be found between local officials and universities. Beaudry, Rowden and Smotrich all chalked this up to the long-standing good working relationship between the City and the University.
“The trust developed over many years between U-M and the City Clerk’s Office was the foundation for the project,” Rowden and Smotrich said. “We consider it a model for what town/gown collaboration can accomplish. There is no question that students, particularly new voters, benefited greatly from the easy access to the clerks; and the office and dropbox offered a convenience for the community as well.”
Beaudry and the team at Michigan are already working on plans for 2022 and 2024.
“We are planning to make arrangements for the same space at UMMA for 2022 and 2024 because it was so popular and so successful in 2020,” Beaudry said. “We hope to create a culture on campus that students know where to go and how to get registered and it’s this fun, welcoming space to experience your first time voting.”
You can read Rowden and Smotrich’s full report on the project here and their advice for other universities that may be seeking to expand their students’ civic participation they recommend the following:
- Start a conversation with your clerk. The collaboration offers many reciprocal benefits, including furthering the educational mission for the school and logistical ease for local government.
- Engage with the arts community on your campus to find a central location with a strong visual presence.
- Design a clear, calm environment that facilitates the process for student voters and clerks.
- Enlist and train student volunteers to help their peers feel welcome and prepare for their interactions with clerks.
- Publicize the opportunity through as many channels as possible, including student orgs and peer to peer channels. T-shirts, buttons, laptop stickers make voting visible and celebrate participation!
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Election News This Week
Stewards of Democracy: In this week’s installment of the 2020 Democracy Fund/Reed College Survey of Local Election Officials (conducted in summer 2020), researchers asked local election officials an extensive battery of questions about how they were preparing for the upcoming November election, including a special set of questions tailored to COVID-19 challenges. Researchers found the following:
- The Realities of Different Jurisdiction Sizes: Local election officials in smaller jurisdictions have much more on their plates than elections.
- Election Preparedness and COVID-19: Local election officials in smaller jurisdictions were least likely to say they had to adjust election planning due to COVID-19;Anticipated consolidation of polling places due to COVID-19 was low on average, mostly driven by larger districts; Facilities and poll worker constraints were most common reasons for polling place consolidation; Local officials largely expressed confidence in their preparations for conducting the election amid COVID-19; and Local election officials were least confident about having sufficient poll workers—especially bilingual ones—for Election 2020
- Where Local Election Officials Found Support in Responding to the Pandemic: Local election officials were most likely to consult local or state resources to inform their pandemic response; and Local election officials were most likely to find local or state resources helpful to their pandemic response.
- Managing a Surge in Absentee Voting and Voting by Mail: Local election officials in states with vote-by-mail experience expressed more confidence in meeting increased demand in 2020; and Local election officials generally expressed confidence in their readiness for Election 2020.
Good Trouble: Activists rallied in states all over the country this past weekend in support of voting rights and the National John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Day of Action. “Votorcades” rolled through dozens of states, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. The event was spearheaded by the Transformative Justice Coalition and supported by 100+ coalition partners including Public Citizen, Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) and The Leadership Conference. “We want to bring awareness and exposure that hey we are here in Gadsden County [Florida] and we’re not going to take any voters suppression and we’re going to move forward,” explained organizer Tracey Stallsworth. In Ohio, activists drove Sen. Rob Portman’s office to urge him to vote yes on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act., which proponents argue will protect the right to vote.
Back to School: The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law is launching a new fellowship to counter what many perceive as a backlash against voters’ rights. Named after benefactors Steve and Sandy Cozen, the fellowship will provide two years of funding for a graduate working to advance and protect voting rights. “Establishing this fellowship provides an important opportunity for our graduates to use their degrees to work in the critical areas of voter participation, access, and protection – in which there is currently much effort to restrict,” said Dean Ted Ruger.“The generosity and vision of the Cozens to help meet this moment ensures the law school’s continued commitment to access to justice for all, including protecting the ability and right to vote.” Projects funded through the fellowship will include legislative or legal reform aimed at addressing crucial voting rights issues, such as voter and felon disenfranchisement, barriers to voter registration and restrictions on absentee or mail-in voting, the school said. Projects will also include a direct service component where fellows will work directly with individuals or groups who are systematically disenfranchised to better understand the hidden barriers to voter participation and gather and analyze data to inform advocacy and drive real change. “Sandy and I strongly believe that our democracy and its institutions and norms, including the rule of law, are being challenged as never before by legislative attempts to restrict or deny the right to vote,” said Steve Cozen L’64, who is a member of the law school’s board of advisors and has previously served as an adjunct professor at the law school. “That basic right, we believe, is the cornerstone of our democracy and we will do anything we can to help preserve that right in a fully unencumbered fashion.” The fellowship will be open to applicants every other year beginning this summer. Third year Penn Law students and alumni who have graduated within the last seven years who can demonstrate that they have the commitment and skills to engage in this work are eligible to apply.
The Kids are Alright: A new study from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) estimates that half of young people, ages 18-29, voted in the 2020 presidential election, a remarkable 11-point increase from 2016 (39%) and likely one of the highest rates of youth electoral participation in decades. Our new estimate is based on newly available voter file data in 41 states. The full analysis includes an interactive map with state-by-state voter turnout data for ages 18-29 and 18-19. Key findings include: Youth voter turnout rates varied widely across the country. New Jersey (67%), Minnesota (65%), and Colorado (63%) had the highest statewide youth turnout rates, while South Dakota (32%), Oklahoma (34%), and Arkansas (35%) had the lowest. Electoral laws and policies had an impact. In aggregate, states with four or more facilitative election laws and policies had 54% youth voter turnout; states with one to three of these policies had 43%. Youth turnout was also highest in states that automatically mailed ballots to voters. Turnout among new voters is still lagging. We estimate that voter turnout among 18- and 19-year-olds was 46%. The newest eligible voters usually participate at lower rates, which highlights the need for Growing Voters and ensuring youth are ready to participate before they turn 18. The major increase in turnout is a testament to the tireless efforts of youth, advocates, educators, and organizers—but it’s also a reminder that it will take their concerted efforts to ensure that young people are prepared and encouraged to vote in 2022 and beyond.
Personnel News: South Carolina Elections Director Marci Andino is resigning effective Dec. 31. David Alford is retiring as the Florence County, South Carolina election director after 12 years on the job. The Smith County, Texas elections commission has accepted the resignation of Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez. Diana L. Johnston has announced her retirement from the Scotland County, North Carolina Board of Elections. Genoa Township, Michigan Clerk Polly Skolarus has been arraigned after being charged with a single, misdemeanor charge of Election Law – Failure to Perform Duty. Eileen McCracken is stepping down as the Hingham, Massachusetts clerk, a role she’s held since 1997. Keith G. Balmer has been sworn in as the new Richmond, Virginia general registrar. Paula Bluff is the new Lincoln County, Montana election administrator. Jessica Rodriguez is the new Henderson County, Texas election administrator. Justin A. Williams has been nominated to serve on the Maryland State Board of Elections. Erika Delaney Lew is the new Broomfield, Colorado city and county clerk.
In Memoriam: Jackie Winchester, the first woman to oversee elections in Palm Beach County, Florida had died. She was 91. Winchester was appointed by then-Gov. Reubin Askew in 1973 as the county’s supervisor of elections, taking the place of Horace Beasley, who had died weeks into his third term. Voters elected and re-elected Winchester six times until she retired in 1996. During her time as supervisor, Palm Beach County’s voter rolls more than doubled and Winchester transformed the office from using manual ballot tabulation to the computerized punch card system. Theresa LePore, who joined the elections office at 16 as a clerk two years before Winchester’s appointment, said Winchester was a hard worker, big on teamwork and emphasized attention to detail. “When Jackie came in, it was a different attitude. She was out there working with us,” said LePore, who was one of Winchester’s mentees and succeeded her in the office. Karen Marcus, former Palm Beach County commissioner whose 28-year tenure both as a Democrat and Republican began in 1984, said Winchester never let politicos intimidate her. “She had the kind of personality where if somebody was unhappy about something, she put it to bed right away,” Marcus said. “She didn’t let anybody trash or try to give her a hard time in the way she was running the operation.” LePore called Winchester a “trailblazer,” although she noted that “we didn’t think about stuff like that” at the time, about being the first woman in a certain position. “There was talk, but not like there is now of equal opportunity about women being in positions of power and that sort of thing,” she said.
Federal Legislation: The Senate Rules Committee deadlocked over Democrats’ sweeping proposed elections overhaul, setting the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor in the coming months that could determine the future of voting rights and campaign rules across the country. The tie vote by the Committee, with nine Democrats in favor and nine Republicans opposed, does not prevent Democrats from moving forward with the 800-page legislation, known as the For the People Act. Proponents of the bill hailed it as an important step toward adopting far-reaching federal changes to blunt the restrictive new voting laws emerging in Republican-led battlegrounds like Georgia and Florida. But the action unavoidably thrust a set of thorny questions into Democrats’ laps about how to proceed with an issue they view as a pressing civil rights fight with sweeping implications for democracy and their party. According to The New York Times, the bill as written faces near-impossible odds in the Senate, where Republicans are expected to block it using a filibuster and at least one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, remains opposed. Among other changes, the Democrats’ bill would essentially overwrite some of these recent state laws by requiring each state implement 15 days of early voting, no-excuse vote by mail programs — like the ones many states expanded during the pandemic — and automatic and same-day voter registration. The legislation also would restore voting rights to former felons and neutralize restrictive state voter identification laws that Democrats say can make it harder for minorities to vote. Republicans gave no indication they were willing to cede any ground to Democrats in a fight that now stretches from the Capitol in Washington to state houses across the country.
Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill which will remove the word “permanent” from the state’s permanent early voting list (PEVL), a method that was heavily used by voters in the 2020 election. He signed the controversial bill, SB 1485, less than an hour after the Arizona Senate passed it 16-14, along party lines. The new law dissolves the word “permanent” before references to the early voting list. County officials are now required to send a notice by Dec. 1 of every even-numbered year to any voters on the list who failed to vote using an early ballot in at least one primary or general election where a municipal, statewide, legislative or federal race was on the ballot over four years. Democrats have said the bill will remove at least 126,000 people from the early voting list — a number which would have been higher if the measure was applied for records based on the 2020 election.
Ducey has also signed into law a bill prohibits election officials from counting a ballot that is not properly signed by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Prior to the law’s passing, there was a five-day grace period to fix missing or inconsistent signatures.
Connecticut: In a bipartisan vote, the House advanced the first of two expected constitutional amendments to let Connecticut voters weigh in on the state’s election laws through a referendum question on early voting. Lawmakers are considering two voting resolutions this year. Both would put ballot questions before state voters to consider changing the constitutional language on Connecticut’s election policies. The House passed one of those resolutions on a bipartisan 115 to 26 vote. If the measure is approved by the Senate, voters will see a question at the polls next year on whether to allow early voting in Connecticut. During a debate on the resolution, House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said the proposal would give Connecticut residents the opportunity to join the 44 other states that allow some form of early voting. Rojas said the change could help residents who lead sometimes busy and unpredictable lives.
The House voted 104-44 on a bipartisan basis for a constitutional amendment to change the law and make it easier to obtain an absentee ballot. The spirited debate lasted nearly 4½ hours before nine Republicans joined with all Democrats in favor of the resolution. But the vote count fell short of the necessary 75% to fast-track the process under a complicated, multi-year process to make the changes. Since the measure passed by a simple majority in the House, the earliest that the amendment would appear on the ballot for the general public would be in November 2024 if also passed by a simple majority in the state Senate. The fastest way under the system would have occurred if 75% of the members in the House and Senate approved the constitutional amendment, which would then be placed on the ballot in November 2022. But lawmakers predicted before the vote that the chamber did not have the necessary votes for the fast-track result. If also approved by the Senate in the coming days, the question on the ballot would be: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to allow each voter to vote by absentee ballot?”
Delaware: Republican state lawmakers unveil a package of bills seeking to change voter ID laws and reform the election system as a whole. The package of bills are mostly aimed at discouraging voter fraud, according to House Minority Leader Danny Short (R-Seaford). Short says these bills aren’t a reaction to any actual cases of voter fraud seen in the First State. “We’re just saying we need to tighten it up, make it more reasonable — and try to make sure that things are done so that people have confidence in the system,” Short said. One bill would increase the penalty for voter fraud in the state, making it a felony and stripping the person of their right to vote for five years. Two of the bills would tighten voter ID requirements, both in person and voting absentee. Voters do not currently need to present a photo ID at the polls, and can sign an affidavit instead. This bill would remove that option, and require a voter without ID to use a provisional ballot that the Department of Elections would verify after the polls close. The last two resolutions call for examining the voter registration system for improvements, and reviewing the signature verification system for absentee ballots.
Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis enthusiastically embraced former the president’s demand for tougher election laws, signing into law a slew of new voting restrictions in a staged live broadcast despite previously touting how smoothly his state’s elections ran last fall. DeSantis (R) hailed the measure as necessary to shore up public faith in elections, but critics accused him of trying to make it harder to vote, particularly for people of color. DeSantis offered a string of justifications for the law, claiming it would prevent ballot “harvesting” and the stuffing of ballots into unmonitored drop boxes — though such practices were already prohibited in the state and there is no evidence they occurred last year. “We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box,” the governor said. County supervisors of elections opposed the bulk of the changes as mostly unnecessary and, in some cases, counterproductive. “It’s going to make it harder for people to vote,” said Broward Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott. Scott, who is Black, said it amounts to voter suppression, especially of people of color and older voters.
Illinois: Republican Sens. Sally Turner, of Beason, and Sue Rezin, of Morris have introduced legislation to standardize the way local authorities across Illinois handle elections, from the training of election judges to posting information about delays in ballot counting. The proposal, introduced last month as an amendment to Senate Bill 1326, dubbed the Election Standardization Act, addresses four areas of election practices. First, it would require each county and county clerk to establish training courses for election judges that incorporate material developed by the Illinois State Board of Elections. Currently, state board is required to develop those materials but counties are not required to use them. Those training materials would cover such topics as voter verification, campaign-free zones, electioneering, vote-by-mail procedures, provisional voting, and ballot handling and processing. Second, whenever there is a delay of delivering precinct tallies to a county clerk’s office, it would require the election judges in that precinct to submit an affidavit explaining the delay, and it would require the county clerk to post that information on the clerk’s website. Third, after each election, it would require the State Board of Elections to audit 5% of all election authorities, selected at random, to verify that they properly handled mail ballots that were received after the close of polls on Election Day. And finally, it would require election authorities to post on their public websites the processes and procedures they use for handling mail-in ballots.
Michigan: State Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would require “fact checkers” to register with the state and face possible fines for improper findings. House Bill 4813, along with HB 4814, would apply to members of the “International Fact Check Network,” according to the bill. That is an apparent reference to the International Fact-Checking Network — a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers from around the world. The lead sponsor of the bills is state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, who has promoted claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. The bill would require fact checkers to register with the Michigan Secretary of State and post bonds of at least $1 million. Affected parties could then bring civil actions against the fact checkers, and, if successful, collect damages from the bond amount. Fines could be up to $1,000 a day.
Senate Bill 305 would prevent the name or likeness of an elected or appointed official from being used on communication about election activity that was paid for with public money. Anyone who violates the rule, if it became law, would be fined $100 for a first offense and $250 for a second offense. The bill was one of the 39 election bills introduced by Michigan Senate Republicans that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been opposing. “Limiting our ability to most directly impact voters – and social media is one of the most direct ways that we can reach voters in a short period of time if we’re low-cost or no-cost – really hampers our ability to do our jobs as the chief voter educators throughout the state and throughout our communities,” said Benson. The bill directly called on the Secretary of State, city and county clerks, focusing on most of the ways those offices reach voters, including mail, billboard, and social media posts. Benson said, if passed, the bill would set up the state to have to deal with even more misinformation. The bill, which has not been addressed in committee yet, was sponsored by state Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and co-sponsored by state Sens. Kenneth Horn, R-Frankenmuth; Lana Theis, R-Brighton; and Jim Stamas, R-Midland.
Missouri: Missouri Republican lawmakers want Gov. Mike Parson to call a special session on election legislation, acknowledging voter ID and other GOP-backed measures won’t pass before Friday when the General Assembly adjourns. The House Elections Chairman, Rep. Dan Shaul, and six other Republican committee members on Wednesday sent a letter to Parson requesting the session and faulting the Senate for inaction on the bills. Their request received a boost from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, whose office said he supports a special session if the General Assembly can’t pass the legislation during the current session. The proposals would restore a voter ID law struck down by the state Supreme Court and more tightly regulate voting, part of a broad effort by Republicans nationwide to restrict ballot access following a presidential election featuring false and unsubstantiated allegations of fraud and corruption. A bill passed by the House in February would require voters to use forms of ID from a pre-approved list, such as a driver’s license. Those without required photo ID can cast a provisional ballot that would only be counted if the local election department verifies the voter’s signature with one on file.
New Hampshire: The Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee, during a lengthy meeting, did vote recommendations on the following bills: It voted 3-2 to suggest that the full Senate pass a bill that addresses a requirement that people who register to vote on Election Day without presenting a photo ID have their photo taken at the polling place. The committee also voted 5-0 to recommend that the full House pass legislation to allow political parties to be provided information regularly about absentee voter applicants.
New Jersey: A panel of lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a bill, A2763, that would let 17-year-olds vote in June primary elections starting in 2022 if they will turn 18 on or before the November general election next year. New Jersey law currently allows 17-year-olds to register to vote, but they cannot cast ballots until their 18th birthday. The bill would create the “New Voter Empowerment Act,” and advocates say it would encourage election participation in the Garden State. “It will form a voting habit the earlier we get them to engage,” said Uyen Khuong, executive director of Action Together New Jersey, a statewide organization that advocates for expanded voting rights. “It creates an ethos in participating in our democracy.” About 40,000 17-year-olds would qualify to vote in the primary every year if the bill is passed, Khuong said, citing the advocacy organization’s analysis of state voter registration data.
New York: Lawmakers approved several elections-related bills this week. A constitutional amendment ending the requirement voters have an excuse to obtain an absentee ballot was given final approval in the state Assembly on Tuesday along with a provision allowing New Yorkers to register to vote on Election Day. The amendments will go before voters in November for final consideration before they can be added to the state’s constitution. New York’s constitution lists only a narrow set of stipulations for voters to apply for and receive an absentee ballot in the days before Election Day. Another amendment approved by the Assembly on Tuesday allows voters to register and vote on Election Day. Both amendments are long-sought goals for good-government advocates, who have hoped the changes will increase voter participation and access at the polls. Lawmakers on Tuesday also approved measures that would allow absentee ballots to be requested electronically and allow for Election Day to be the last day an absentee ballot can be postmarked in order to be consistent with hand-delivered ballot deadlines.
North Carolina: The House approved legislation Thursday meant to ensure General Assembly leaders have more say in lawsuits targeting the laws the legislature writes. House bill 606 says that, if the state’s top lawmakers are part of a lawsuit, it can’t be settled without their permission. The measure is a response to a settlement last fall that changed the state’s absentee ballot rules, surprising Republican majority leaders in the General Assembly. The legislature had considered some of the changes that the lawsuit ultimately wrought – a later deadline for absentee ballots to arrive and changes in ballot witness procedures – and rejected them. A judge put them in place after attorneys with connections to the Democratic Party sued and said the state’s pandemic election rules weren’t constitutional, a matter eventually settled in a lawsuit with the State Board of Elections.
Ohio: A newly introduced voting overhaul bill in the Ohio House would put into law that absentee ballot drop boxes are only allowed at one place in each county and for a shorter length of time than in November’s election. Up to three boxes would be allowed at each county board of elections under House Bill 294. HB 294 also changes how people can register to vote, request absentee ballots, among other issues. The bill comes after a wave of election law changes in Republican-controlled states. Many Republicans falsely believe that widespread fraud in the 2020 election led to the loss of former President Donald Trump. The bill is called the Election Modernization and Security Act. HB 294 would allow Ohio voters to request an absentee ballot online, through a secure two-factor authentication, similar to the current online voter registration system. The window for people to request an absentee ballot would be reduced under HB 294 from the current deadline of noon Saturday before Election Day to 10 days before the election. New under the bill would be an option for Ohioans to register to vote when they visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It would also allow new addresses, driver license numbers, legal name changes and other such information to be updated. This would register as “voter activity,” resetting the clock on the process through which a voter can be purged for inactivity. In-person voting the Monday before an election would be eliminated – a request the lawmakers said came from many county boards of elections. It would be replaced with “Monday hours” that would be added to other early voting days. It would create a prioritized list of voter identification methods, as well as expand the list to allow electronic versions of voters’ bank statements or utility bills instead of hard copies, the lawmakers said. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s chief elections official, will work with the Ohio House as the bill moves forward, said his spokesman, Rob Nichols. “The bill makes it easier to register to vote, easier to vote absentee, and easier to vote on Election Day, and all the while maintaining Ohio’s high security standards,” Nichols said in an email.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill to expand early, in-person voting by one day during presidential elections. The bill Stitt signed late Tuesday will add one day of early, in-person voting from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before a presidential election. Oklahoma currently has 2 1/2 days of early, in-person absentee voting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The bill would also require voters to request mail-in absentee ballots earlier to ensure election officials have time to receive and count the ballot by Election Day.
Rhode Island: Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Dist. 15, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would require all official mail ballots to include a watermark for verification purposes. The legislation (2021-H 6316), which has garnered bipartisan support, would require the Secretary of State to include on all mail ballots it provides, an easily discernible watermark for verification purposes that is also approved by the Board of Elections. “This bill allows the voter and election officials to ensure that this is an official ballot, and not a replication made for nefarious purposes,” said Representative Fenton-Fung. “Let’s find common ground and bipartisan approaches to improve the security of our election system when we can; and to that, H 6316 is a great start.” The bill is modeled on legislation that was recently approved nearly unanimously by the Tennessee state legislature. The bill was touted as a simple and commonsense measure that would prevent election fraud while having little financial impact on the state.
Texas: Texas has become the latest Republican-dominated state to advance sweeping new limits on voting. The GOP-led restrictions cleared the Texas House on, starting with the a key vote at 3 a.m. It followed hours of debate that started the day before, and lawmakers are now likely to begin negotiating a final version of the legislation that will need approval before heading to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who signaled an eagerness to sign it. The bill, which returns now to the Senate is different from the original version. he original language in Senate Bill 7, approved April 1 on a party-line Senate vote, was removed in the House and replaced with language from a House bill that had largely different policy proposals, though there were areas of overlap. The original Senate and House-modified versions of SB 7, for example, banned local officials from sending unsolicited vote-by-mail applications to registered voters. Both also required people who help voters cast a ballot because of a disability or limited English proficiency to file a document disclosing their name, address and help provided. But the version of SB 7 approved by the House also stripped out several major Senate provisions, including: A ban on drive-thru voting and on overnight or 24-hour polling locations; A requirement that people who provide rides for three or more voters to a polling place fill out a form with their name, address and information on whether they also assisted the voter in casting a ballot; A requirement that voters applying for a mail-in ballot because of a disability acknowledge that they have a sickness or condition that prevents in-person voting; and • Language authorizing poll watchers to record video at a polling place, including a voter at a voting machine if the voter is suspected of receiving illegal help, though the recording cannot show the ballot. Both versions of the bill sought to protect poll watchers, who monitor election sites and vote counting on behalf of a political party or campaign, as essential to ensuring fair and accurate elections. The House, however, added limits on what can be photographed in polling places and adopted language allowing watchers to be removed for disruptive or illegal behavior. The House also added new crimes, including voting in Texas and in another state on the same day, as well as “vote harvesting,” defined as interacting with voters intending “to deliver votes for a specific candidate or measure.” The differences will likely need a conference committee of senators and representatives to work out, so it’s too soon to know what the final version of SB 7 will look like.
An East Texas state representative’s legislation to expedite the process by which dead Texans are purged from voter registration rolls has been approved in the Texas Senate phase. HB 1264, authored by Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney) was considered by the Senate Committee on State Affairs on Thursday. The passed the bill on a 7-0 vote and will be placed on the uncontested calendar for the Senate, mean it can be voted on without discussion. Under current law, there is no specified amount of time between a person’s death and when a registrar is required to remove their name from voter rolls.
Vermont: The House on approved legislation that would make universal mail-in voting a permanent feature of the state’s general elections. The bill, S.15, which passed in a vote of 119-30, would require local officials to mail ballots to all registered voters in the weeks leading up to November general elections. The bill, which first passed the Senate in March, was proposed after the state decided to automatically send voters ballots in the fall to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the polls. That change led to historically high turnout in the November 2020 election when 75% of voters opted to vote by mail. The bill would also give voters an opportunity to fix their mail-in ballots if they’re defective, meaning they can’t be counted because they were filled out or mailed back incorrectly.
Wisconsin: Republican lawmakers passed legislation that would largely prevent private groups from funding the costs of running elections. Also, Republicans approved bills that would limit who can return absentee ballots for others and tighten the rules for correcting errors on absentee ballot paperwork. All the proposals face likely vetoes from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers if they get to him.
On a party-line, 60-36 vote, the Assembly approved Assembly Bill 173, which would prohibit local governments from accepting donations from private groups to help run their elections. Any donations to the state for running elections would have to be distributed to local governments equally based on their populations.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 203, which would limit who could return absentee ballots for others. The measure, approved 21-12, is meant to prevent what Republicans label as ballot harvesting — having political groups collect many absentee ballots to return them to election officials.
The Senate approved, Senate Bill 212, would prevent election officials from filling in the addresses of witnesses on absentee ballot envelopes. That bill passed 20-13, with Republican Sen. Roger Roth joining all Democrats in opposing it.
Arizona: The Arizona Supreme Court declined to entertain the case of a group of anonymous voters who wanted to toss out the past two statewide general elections, depose the officeholders elected in them and install themselves as temporary leaders. The state’s highest court, in its ruling, said there was “no legal basis for the relief requested” by the group of 20, who had asked that their names be sealed for security reasons. The court also said it found no legal basis to keep the names of the 20 people who filed the pleading from public view, citing its open records policy. The Arizona Supreme Court said the group had until 5 p.m. Monday to file a pleading explaining why their names should remain shielded from public view. The lawsuit said the general elections held in 2018 and 2020 were invalid because the voting machines used in them did not follow the exacting certification process outlined in federal law. For good measure, the group also wanted to toss out the 2019 Tucson municipal election for the same reason. The group said since the machines’ certifications were not up to snuff, it called into question the validity of the election. The Arizona Supreme Court said it would not entertain the group’s bid to hold office for several reasons. One was that the latest election challenged was held six months ago. The ruling also said that such challenges need to show that the errors made in running an election would change the results. “The validity of an election is not voided by honest mistakes or omissions,” the court wrote in its ruling, citing a case dating back to 1887, when Arizona was still a territory. The court also said that while eligible voters have certain rights to bring challenges over voting machines before the court, “nothing in the statutes Petitioners cite grants them a private right of action to remove office holders and sit in their stead.”
Florida: The League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter and the Florida Alliance For Retired Americans filed a lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 90 just minutes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial new voting restrictions into law. The organizations were joined by several individual voters in their legal challenge of what they describe as “Florida’s voter suppression bill.” The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has separately filed a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, arguing Florida’s new law “greatly obstructs voting access.” “He just signed in a bill for restrictions…to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Lakeland NAACP President Terry Coney. “The League of Women Voters of Florida has fought SB 90 since its introduction, and we’re continuing our fight now,” Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, wrote in a statement announcing the 67-county lawsuit. “The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one party ruled legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.” “The lawsuit challenges provisions in the bill that impose restrictions on vote-by-mail drop boxes, the effective ban on organizations and volunteers from helping voters return their vote-by-mail ballots, and the requirements that force voters to request a vote-by-mail ballot more frequently and ban any non-poll worker from giving food or drink, including water, to voters waiting in line,” the League wrote. The complaint says that the bill seeks to “solve problems that do not exist” and “caters to a dangerous lie about the 2020 election.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a constitutional challenge to a measure that would limit contributions to political committees backing ballot initiatives. The ACLU argued in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tallahassee that the bill (SB 1890) “burdens and chills” free speech and association protected under the First Amendment. The bill, part of years of efforts by lawmakers to clamp down on ballot initiatives, would place a $3,000 cap on contributions to political committees trying to put proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. It was among 15 bills that DeSantis signed Friday and is scheduled to take effect July 1. The ACLU was heavily involved in passing a 2018 ballot initiative aimed at restoring the voting rights of felons who have fulfilled their sentences. It said in the lawsuit that it has developed other plans for initiatives to “expand voter participation in Florida.” The limit on contributions to political committees would make it difficult or, as critics contend, impossible to collect the 891,589 petition signatures needed to put proposed constitutional amendments on the 2022 ballot. Political committees in the past often have spent millions of dollars to gather petition signatures and get required Florida Supreme Court approval of the wording of ballot proposals.
Michigan: Two right-wing operatives accused of orchestrating robocalls designed to suppress voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election are heading to trial in Michigan over several felony charges. Last October, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed several felony charges against Jack Burkman, 54, from Arlington, Virginia, and Jacob Wohl, 23, from Los Angeles, for allegedly attempting to suppress votes in multiple U.S. cities — specifically those with significant minority populations — in the U.S. presidential election. According to officials, an investigation revealed that robocalls riddled with misinformation about mail-in voting were reported in Detroit and a number of other cities across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois. For Detroit, the calls specifically targeted residents with a 313 area code — nearly 12,000 of them — in August of 2020. Officials believe about 85,000 of the robocalls were made nationally. After Burkman and Wohl were arraigned in Michigan last October, the men reportedly filed a motion to have the case dismissed, which a circuit court judge denied in February. The pair appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in March and were denied again, meaning their case will be going to trial. Burkman and Wohl have both been charged with the following offenses: One count of election law – intimidating voters, a five-year felony; One count of conspiracy to commit an election law violation, a five-year felony; One count of using a computer to commit the crime of election law – intimidating voters, a seven-year felony; and Using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy, a seven-year felony.
Nevada: Several Republican former elected officials have dropped their lawsuit claiming Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske failed in her duties during the 2020 election. Former Assemblyman Al Kramer, former Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick and real estate developer Roger William Norman sued Cegavske in December, alleging their votes in 2020 were “diluted” by “many” ballots cast by noncitizens. It sought to force Cegavske into removing noncitizens from Nevada’s voter rolls — something her office has maintained is already done consistently throughout the year. The state asked a Carson City judge to dismiss the case in February, claiming a lack of evidence of noncitizen votes and no specific injury to the plaintiffs, since they were just three of more than 1.4 million Nevadans who voted in 2020. The motion also alleged a conflict of interest due to the plaintiffs’ selection of former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt as legal counsel alongside O’Mara.
New Hampshire: Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Dan St. Hilaire denied a request to halt the state-ordered audit of the November 2020 state representatives’ election in Windham. Windham resident Ken Eyring filed an emergency motion for an injunction, arguing that once the audit gets underway, the data stored in the town’s voting machines “could be destroyed.” He wrote in his motion, “It is critical to allow for the copying of all data prior to the forensic audit procedure to begin. Irrevocable damage would result otherwise.” Eyring objected to the town’s choice of Mark Lindeman of Verified Voting to be part of the audit team because Lindeman was among a group of election experts who called for a halt of a Donald Trump-inspired audit of 2.1 million votes in Maricopa County, Arizona. Eyring asked that the audit be delayed long enough for the data contained in the town’s voting machines and the paper ballots to be made available to the public. He further asked that the court order the release of all the documentation related to the audit under the state’s right-to-know law. But after a 30-minute emergency hearing St. Hilaire denied Eyring’s request. The judge said in ruling from the bench: “Getting the injunction requires a hefty amount of proof. The party seeking the injunction needs to show there is no adequate remedy at law to request the injunction.” He said that if there is an issue of voter integrity that should be addressed by the court, “The plaintiff needs to show clearly that he has a very good chance of success to prevail on the merits of that argument. “I believe the plaintiff has failed to do that.”
New Mexico: The state Supreme Court issued an opinion explaining its legal reasoning for ordering the state’s top election official to mail applications for absentee ballots to all eligible primary election voters last year during the public health emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic. “This remedy promoted the health of the voting public and election workers by making it easier for voters to cast their ballots from the safety of their own homes. We also honored the separation of powers by preserving the Legislature’s plenary power to set election procedures,” the Court wrote in a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil. “The writ we issued was designed to protect public health, promote free and open elections, and preserve the rule of law.” After hearing oral arguments in the case in April 2020, the Court ruled from the bench and directed Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver to mail applications for absentee ballots to all major party voters in the primary election. Voters would receive a ballot if they submitted a completed application. The Court announced it would later issue a written opinion with a detailed legal explanation for its decision. In the opinion, the Court explained that election laws do not provide for a statewide primary election conducted exclusively through a vote-by-mail arrangement and the secretary of state cannot “mail absentee ballots directly to voters without a prior request from the voters.” “Our equitable powers do not extend so far as to allow us to disregard procedures set forth by statute or to rearrange the Election Code,” the Court wrote. “To do so would violate the separation of powers.” But the Court determined that nothing in the Election Code prohibited the secretary of state from “encouraging voters to exercise their right to vote by mail and facilitating absentee voting” by sending every eligible primary election voter an application that could be used to request a ballot.
New York: Manhattan Judge Carol Edmead rejected a lawsuit from a group of city council members to bar ranked-choice voting from upcoming elections, ruling that the lawmakers waited too long to file the suit. Edmead said the council members also failed to show that elections officials and voters are ill-prepared to use the new system. “(Abandoning ranked choice voting) would do little more than create unnecessary confusion, delay, and prejudice to the Voters of the City of New York,” Edmead said in a 20-page decision. Six council members — all lawmakers of color from Brooklyn or Queens — filed the lawsuit in December claiming that the new system is stacked against minority voters. They were joined by several community groups, although others backed the city in defending the new plan. Edmead essentially ruled that it was not up to her to second-guess what she said appears to be a robust preparation effort by officials. The judge also noted that the lawmakers should have filed the suit as soon as they received key details of the plan that they oppose.
North Carolina: The Fourth Circuit revived an election watchdog’s challenge seeking documents in North Carolina that relate to the citizenship status of registered voters. “Upon our review, we hold that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint at this stage of the proceedings. Because discovery was not conducted, we cannot discern on this record whether the foundation may be entitled to disclosure of some of the documents requested,” U.S. Circuit Judge Barbara Keenan wrote in a 22-page opinion issued Monday. The Public Interest Legal Foundation sued the North Carolina State Board of Elections in 2019, alleging a violation of the disclosure provision in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). When North Carolina’s elections officials refused to hand over information that the group considers to be public record, attorneys with the foundation said, they had no other recourse but to sue the board and former executive director Karen Brinson Bell. U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle dismissed the case, concluding the foundation failed to state a claim under the NVRA. Boyle attributed his decision to the “sensitive nature” of the requested information. But the Fourth Circuit panel remanded the case to Boyle for further consideration.
Tennessee: Metro Nashville filed a lawsuit against the Davidson County Election Commission following its vote to allow a charter referendum on the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act (NTPA). The suit was filed less than 24 hours after the commission voted to put the issue on a ballot. Metro argues the petition is unconstitutional and does not meet referendum requirements. And the city is not alone. The Nashville Business Coalition also filed suit against the commission.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Election officials | HR1, II | U.S. Supreme Court | Early voting | The Big Lie | Native American voting rights | Ranked choice voting
Alaska: Election security
Arizona: Audit, II, III, IV | Early voting list
California: San Luis Obispo County | The Big Lie
Colorado: Voter suppression
Connecticut: Jail voting
Delaware: Election integrity
Florida: Election legislation, II | Alachua County
Georgia: Voting laws
Indiana: Voting rights
Massachusetts: Voter suppression
Montana: Election legislation | Voting rights
New Hampshire: Voter fraud
New Jersey: Saving democracy
North Carolina: Voting opportunities
Ohio: Election legislation, II
Texas: Ranked choice voting | Voting rights | Election legislation, II, III, IV | Voter suppression
Virginia: Voting rights
Washington: The Big Lie
Wisconsin: Ballot processing
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.
State Certification Testing of Voting Systems National Conference: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and after extensive discussion among members of the Conference Steering Committee, a decision was made to offer this year’s conference virtually. We are pleased to announce that VSTOP, with the assistance of at the Center for Internet Security (CIS), will be hosting the virtual conference sessions. The purpose of the conference is to share ideas and solutions for ensuring voting and election system reliability, transparency and integrity through better testing of systems. The primary goal of the conference is to provide a forum for practitioners and academics to share best practices for voting system testing and management, to explore more efficient and effective methods for testing and implementing voting and election systems, and to identify common challenges and potential mitigations to those challenges. Additionally, the conference is meant to be a vehicle to improve the flow of information between the federal, state, county, and municipality testing entities. When: June 16-18. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
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.
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 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.
Operations Manager, Michigan Department of State— This position serves to manage and support the Bureau of Election’s (BOE) Operations Section, including external and internal operations and performance activities. The purpose is to optimize the BOE’s daily functions and the performance and quality of BOE functions and external partner activities. This position supports BOE by managing vendor relationships, liaising with other State agencies and offices, managing grant and equipment distribution to local jurisdictions, overseeing special projects (including process improvements), serving as the main logistics point-of-contact for the Secretary of State website and phone functions (external), as well as for Department of State press and constituent relations questions. The position also provides second level supervision and leadership for the Data and Programs Unit within the Operations Section of BOE. The Data and Programs unit manages the Qualified Voter File, including the street index, ballot administration and candidate listing application, equipment, resource, and security implementation, along with analytics and requests and process tracking. Salary: $80,864 – $116,315. Deadline: May 19. 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 email@example.com.
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