In Focus This Week
Summer reading and listening
If you can’t leave work at work, we’ve got some books and podcasts for you
By M. Mindy Moretti
Odds are, many elections officials didn’t get much of a summer vacation last year.
Between the pandemic and the presidential election, it was a busy year. And while were still dealing with both on different levels, hopefully the summer of 2021 means a bit of time away from the office with friends, family and maybe a good book (or podcast).
If you’re like us and simply cannot leave work at work, we’ve pulled together some elections-related “beach” reading for your summer travels as well as a few podcasts to listen to in the car on your way down the ocean (as my friends in Maryland like to say).
The books we’ve rounded up are limited to editions that have been published in the last year or two. We’ve linked them through their Amazon descriptions however you may want to also consider making your purchases through Bookshop.org which makes donations to local bookstores.
Happy reading. Happy summer. Hopefully happy time off.
The Administration of Voter Registration: Expanding the Electorate Across and Within the States by Thessalia Merivacki: This book examines the dynamics behind shifts in voter registration rates across the states and adopts a framework of collaborative governance with election administration at its center. The book starts by introducing readers to the “voter registration gap,” an aggregate measure of variance in voter registration, and demonstrates how it fluctuates between federal elections. To explain why this variance exists, the author examines the relationship between federal reforms, such as the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act; and state-level reforms, such as Online Voter Registration. Thessalia Merivaki argues that the weak relationship between the two is not surprising, since it hides dramatic variations in administrative practices at the local level, which take place in shorter intervals than the most frequently used two-year estimates. In closing, she shows that challenges to successfully registering to vote persist, largely because of how, when, and where eligible citizens have to register.
Becoming a Democracy: How we can fix the Electoral College, gerrymandering and our elections by Kristin Eberhard: The United States wasn’t built as a democracy. The Senate doesn’t represent people. Both sides hate gerrymandering and the courts refuse to fix it. Our right to be heard is defeated by voter suppression and an Electoral College system that concentrates power in a handful of states and too often reverses the popular vote. But within our flawed system, we have the tools to tackle our most stubborn election problems by flexing state and local power (no constitutional amendments or courts required). This should be the last American election that works against the people. Kristin Eberhard, Director of Democracy at Sightline Institute, thoughtfully researched how the U.S. election system is unjust to many by design, and walks us through 10 big but practical ideas for making our elections free, fair, and secure.
A century of votes for women by Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder: How have American women voted in the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment? How have popular understandings of women as voters both persisted and changed over time? In A Century of Votes for Women, Christina Wolbrecht and J. Kevin Corder offer an unprecedented account of women voters in American politics over the last ten decades. Bringing together new and existing data, the book provides unique insight into women’s (and men’s) voting behavior, and traces how women’s turnout and vote choice evolved across a century of enormous transformation overall and for women in particular. Wolbrecht and Corder show that there is no such thing as ‘the woman voter’; instead they reveal considerable variation in how different groups of women voted in response to changing political, social, and economic realities. The book also demonstrates how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press, and scholars.
Election Insiders: Behind the scenes with the people who make your vote count by Gloria Shur Bilchik: Election Insiders is an entertaining journey into the inner workings of voting, focusing on the people behind the scenes—the mapmakers, poll workers, warehouse crew, signature sleuths and others who do this democracy-defining work. In a lively, reader-friendly narrative, election workers at all levels share the ups, downs and unexpected challenges that make election day tick. Some of their stories are alarming, others are amusing, and many are reassuring. Bilchik’s thorough reporting encompasses more than a year of in-depth interviews and off-the-cuff conversations, examination of public documents, attendance at board meetings and equipment demonstrations, hands-on training, and live election day observations. The result is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into a backstage world that we voters usually don’t see, but one that we all depend on to keep elections fair and secure.
Elections 2020: Controlling Chaos by Kim Wyman and John Wyman: Delivering an inside look at election administration during the tumultuous 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Kim and John Wyman define the modern threats of asymmetric warfare to the U.S. election critical infrastructure. From Russian interference operations, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns to claims of voter fraud and rigged elections, Election 2020: Controlling Chaos spells out the negative impacts of Covid-19, foreign interference, and partisanship on our elections. Since 1993, Kim has been a champion of voting by mail. She has led the country by helping create a vote-by-mail system that virtually eliminated voters waiting in long lines on Election Day. Wyman is a certified election administrator who has successfully managed 120 accessible and secure elections over a nearly 30-year career. She provides unique perspective on what is needed to protect the integrity of American democracy.
How we vote by Kathleen Hale and Mitchell Brown: In How We Vote, Kathleen Hale and Mitchell Brown explore what is at the heart of our democracy: how elections are run. Election administration determines how ballots are cast and counted, and how jurisdictions try to innovate while also protecting the security of the voting process, as well as how election officials work. Election officials must work in a difficult intergovernmental environment of constant change and intense partisanship. Voting practices and funding vary from state to state, and multiple government agencies, the judicial system, voting equipment vendors, nonprofit groups, and citizen activists also influence practices and limit change. Despite real challenges and pessimistic media assessments, Hale and Brown demonstrate that election officials are largely successful in their work to facilitate, protect, and evolve the voting process. Using original data gathered from state and local election officials and policymakers across the United States, Hale and Brown analyze innovations in voter registration, voting options, voter convenience, support for voting in languages other than English, the integrity of the voting process, and voting system technology. The result is a fascinating picture of how we vote now and will vote in the future.
Let Us Vote: Youth voting rights and the 26th Amendment by Jennifer Frost: “Let Us Vote!” tells the story of the multifaceted endeavor to achieve youth voting rights in the United States. Over a thirty-year period starting during World War II, Americans, old and young, Democrat and Republican, in politics and culture, built a movement for the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution, which lowered the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen in 1971. This was the last time that the United States significantly expanded voting rights.
Old Enough: How 18-year-olds won the right to vote and why it matters by Sheri J. Caplan: Celebrate your right to vote! No other book alludes to such seemingly unrelated subjects as peanut butter cups or Mr. Potato Head on the way to providing a concise history of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment and explaining its importance while delivering a strong non-partisan call for young voter turnout. Old Enough breaks the norms commonly found in non-fiction by thoughtfully addressing a significant topic in a well-researched but accessible and lighthearted way. Appealing to both reluctant and avid readers alike, the intended audience spans ninth graders to adults. The book highlights primary sources and includes drawings, historical images, a timeline, notes, and bibliography.
Securing American Elections by R. Michael Alvarez, Nicholas Adams-Cohen, Seo-young Silvia Kim and Yimeng Li: The integrity of democratic elections, both in the United States and abroad, is an important problem. In this Element, we present a data-driven approach that evaluates the performance of the administration of a democratic election, before, during, and after Election Day. We show that this data-driven method can help to improve confidence in the integrity of American elections.
Social Media and Democracy by Nathanial Persily and Joshua A. Tucker: Over the last five years, widespread concern about the effects of social media on democracy has led to an explosion in research from different disciplines and corners of academia. This book is the first of its kind to take stock of this emerging multi-disciplinary field by synthesizing what we know, identifying what we do not know and obstacles to future research, and charting a course for the future inquiry. Chapters by leading scholars cover major topics – from disinformation to hate speech to political advertising – and situate recent developments in the context of key policy questions. In addition, the book canvasses existing reform proposals in order to address widely perceived threats that social media poses to democracy.
Thank you for voting by Erin Geiger Smith: Voting is a prized American right and a topic of debate from the earliest days of the country. Yet in the 2016 presidential election, about 40 percent of Americans—and half of the country’s young adults—didn’t vote. Why do so many Americans choose not to vote, and what can we do about it? The problem, Erin Geiger Smith contends, is a lack of understanding about our electoral system and a need to make voting more accessible. Thank You for Voting is her eye-opening look at the voting process, starting with the Framers’ perspective, through the Equal Protection amendment and the Voting Rights Act, to the present and simple actions individuals can take to increase civic participation in local, state, and national elections.
Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting by Joshua A. Douglas: An expert on US election law presents an encouraging assessment of current efforts to make our voting system more accessible, reliable, and effective. In contrast to the anxiety surrounding our voting system, with stories about voter suppression and manipulation, there are actually quite a few positive initiatives toward voting rights reform. Professor Joshua A. Douglas, an expert on our electoral system, examines these encouraging developments in this inspiring book about how regular Americans are working to take back their democracy, one community at a time. Told through the narratives of those working on positive voting rights reforms, Douglas includes chapters on expanding voter eligibility, easing voter registration rules, making voting more convenient, enhancing accessibility at the polls, providing voters with more choices, finding ways to comply with voter ID rules, giving redistricting back to the voters, pushing back on big money through local and state efforts, using journalism to make the system more accountable, and improving civics education. At the end, the book includes an appendix that lists organizations all over the country working on these efforts. Unusually accessible for a lay audience and thoroughly researched, this book gives anyone fed up with our current political environment the ideas and tools necessary to effect change in their own communities.
When women vote By Stephanie F. Donner and Amber McReynolds: When Women Vote highlights the challenges Americans, particularly women, face when trying to vote in the current voting system, and the amazing things that happen with reform. We make the case for further voting reform and for removing bias in the voting process by sharing stories and experiences of women voters and leaders throughout the United States.
For those long drives when you’d prefer to listen to something other what will inevitably become the unofficial song of summer there are some podcast alternatives.
High Turnout Wide Margin: First and foremost on list is of course High Turnout Wide Margins a podcast from Boone County, Missouri Clerk Brianna Lennon and St. Louis County, Missouri Directory of Elections Eric Fey. It’s a great podcast about elections, not politics, but elections. There are now more than 30 episodes available to listen to covering a range of topics from election security to vote by mail to the creation of the EAC to of course, audits.
The Improvement Association: From the makers of Serial and The New York Times: The Improvement Association is a this five-part audio series where the reporter Zoe Chace travels to Bladen County, N.C., to investigate the power of election fraud allegations — even when they’re not substantiated. Who exactly is making the accusations? And in small-town politics, where rumors and allegations abound, how can you be sure who is telling the truth?
American Elections Wicked Game: From the host of the American History Tellers and American Scandal, this new podcast will explore all 58 presidential elections to discover that there never ever was a “good ole’ days,” and that presidential politics has always been played dirty.
This is Democracy: From the University of Texas, the future of democracy is uncertain, but we are committed to its urgent renewal today. This podcast will draw on historical knowledge to inspire a contemporary democratic renaissance. The past offers hope for the present and the future, if only we can escape the negativity of our current moment — and each show will offer a serious way to do that! This podcast will bring together thoughtful voices from different generations to help make sense of current challenges and propose positive steps forward. Our goal is to advance democratic change, one show at a time. Dr. Jeremi Suri, a renowned scholar of democracy, will host the podcast and moderate discussions.
Democracy Matters: From the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, a podcast exploring themes related to civic engagement in order to build a more inclusive, just, and equitable democracy.
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Election News This Week
DOJ Civil Rights: This week, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Kristen Clarke as the head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke is the first Black woman to serve in that role. Clarke was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 48, largely along party lines. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, broke with her party to support Clarke’s confirmation. Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, did not vote. Clarke, 46, is the former president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She also managed the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. According to The New York Times, Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who grew up in a Brooklyn housing project earned degrees from Harvard and Columbia Law School. Clarke is best known as a leading advocate for voting rights protections. Her expertise will make her a key player in the administration’s effort to push back on laws that could restrict access to the ballot box. During her confirmation hearing, Clarke, said that she would use all of the tools at her disposal, including the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Citizens Voting Act, to ensure that eligible Americans continued to have the right to vote.
Threats to Democracy: A new report from Anchorage’s city clerk describes the runoff election for mayor as rife with “intense scrutiny,” “unprecedented harassment of election officials” and the “dissemination of disinformation to sow distrust among voters.” According to the Anchorage Daily News, the clerk’s office portrays an election as run successfully by city officials and election workers. But it also describes incidents including “disrespectful, harassing and threatening behavior” toward election officials from some campaign observers and members of the public. The clerk’s report says following the spreading of “inaccurate, misleading disinformation about the election,” one comment on social media said elections officials “should be publicly executed.” Other comments on social media called for elections officials to be fired. The report does not say on what social media site or in what context the comments were made. Incidents included election officials being “accosted in the parking lot,” and officials being watched, photographed and their license plate numbers recorded while going to or from work. “Although it may be legal to photograph people and cars in public areas, the intensity and tone appeared to be geared towards intimidating officials rather than serving a legitimate purpose,” the report said.
Audit Updates: Two audits of the 2020 election continued this week with another potentially looming in Georgia after a judge’s ruling, although based on the court order, that one will play out much differently. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the most widely reported of the two ongoing audits, it was another roller coaster week after the review resumed following a week-long break to accommodate high school graduations. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told Maricopa County officials in a letter on Thursday that her office may not allow the county to reuse hundreds of vote-counting machines that the county gave the state Senate for its general election audit. KJZZ has a conversation with The Elections Group’s Jennifer Morrell about some of the things she saw when she was allowed to observe the audit. The IT company that was in charge of running the hand recount is no longer involved in the audit. The contract with Wake Technology Services, Inc. ended May 14, the original completion date for the hand count, and the company chose not to renew its contract, according to Randy Pullen, an audit spokesperson and former state GOP chair. The audit of the vote in Windham, New Hampshire entered its third week and outside auditors continue to focus on a machine used to fold ballots that is typically used to send out DMV registrations. In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Dominion Voting Systems had to caution local governments that outside audits of the 2020 election results would be illegal and would void the machines’ security warranties. In letters sent to the Cheboygan and Antrim county clerks Benson said the county boards have “no authority” to order audits — and instructed election clerks not to provide access to unaccredited outside parties to conduct them.
Suffrage: A new historic marker was unveiled last week in Huntsville, Alabama in an effort to showcase the difficult road for suffrage in the Yellowhammer State. The purple “Votes for Women” markers the first of six planned for Alabama cities and funded by the William Pomeroy Foundation. The remaining monuments will be in Decatur, Birmingham, Selma, Tuskegee and Mobile. According AL.com, The fight for women’s right to vote in Alabama was caught up in the state’s fight to keep Black citizens from voting. “Since Alabama had spent so much time and energy disenfranchising its Black citizens in (the Constitution of) 1901, the last thing they wanted to do was open a door that would allow more Black people to vote through an equal suffrage amendment,” ” Historic Huntsville Foundation CEO Donna Castellano said Wednesday. “Fortunately for Alabama, Tennessee made that decision for us,” Castellano said. Alabama did strike back with its literacy test, poll tax and requirement that voters own property. But Castellano said after the 19th Amendment “124,000 Alabama women did register to vote, more than any other state in the South.” She repeated for emphasis: “More than any other state in the South.” That is important, Castellano said, because of how women changed Alabama with their votes. “There was legislation which restricted the employment of children in coal mines and textile mills,” she said. “Alabama women’s votes did that. There were bills passed that provided for health care facilities in rural Alabama counties. They funded education and teacher training, and they also got rid of Alabama’s convict labor lease system, which was a form of institutionalized slavery through Alabama’s prison system.” “Things began to change when Alabama women got the vote,” Castellano said. “They certainly made an impact.
Congratulations! Congratulations to Thurston County, Washington Auditor Mary Hall for being named the 2020 Auditor of the Year by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. According to the Nisqually Valley News, Wyman presented the award to Hall during the 2021 Washington Association of County Auditors annual meeting held earlier this month, stated a news release. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the auditor’s office held a drive-thru Voting Center on the campus of South Puget Sound Community College. “When it became evident COVID-19 would pose significant obstacles to voter access and safety, Auditor Hall stepped up to coordinate a safe place for her staff and Thurston County voters,” Wyman said. “From organizing a drive-up service, to equipping staff with necessary PPE to keep them and customers safe at all times, her team took every precaution to prepare for the influx of in-person activity.” Hall said she didn’t earn the award by herself. “The staff we have at the auditor’s office are a dedicated and unique group,” she said. “We knew we had to pivot hard at the beginning of the pandemic. They did not blink for a second.” The drive-thru model at the college was later used by the county’s public health department to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Wyman pointed out Hall’s legislative record, which included an effort to secure state funding for elections and expand access to the ballot. Hall was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Service last year and the Heavy Hitter Award by her fellow county auditors to recognize her legislative efforts.
Sticker News: Congratulations to third grader Vivian Marchetti and sophomore Mary Sejer for winning the recent “I Voted” sticker contest in Arapahoe County, Colorado. Marchetti won the “Future Voter” contest and Sejer won the contest for regular “I Voted” stickers which will be included in all mail ballots in November. The winning designs were selected by county election’s employees with the artists’ names and schools removed, according to a release. Marchetti, 8, helped her father canvas for local city council candidates and wanted her design to reflect the power of voting, according to the clerk’s office. “I was thinking about how people should vote and that if more people vote it can actually change the world,” she said. Seiser, 16, wanted to express that elections are a powerful tool for giving all people a voice, the release said. “I was just trying to show the diversity of the County and especially of Colorado,” she said. “Diversity, to me, means we all come together as one to achieve common goals and make the world a better place.”
Personnel News: Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs has resigned. Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has announced her plans to run for governor. Chris Harvey is stepping down as the Georgia director of elections. Ron Reiter is the new Carroll County, Tennessee election commission chairman. Current Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck is planning to run for Idaho secretary of state. Susan Inman has joined the Pulaski County, Arkansas election commission. Kerri Tompkins has been appointed the new Scott County, Iowa auditor. Republican State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita has announced her plans to run for Arizona secretary of state. Matt Olsen has been nominate to serve as assistant attorney general for the National Security Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.
In Memoriam: Jeanette James, a longtime Muscogee County, Georgia election official has died. She was 72. James worked in the Muscogee County Elections and Registration Office for more than a decade. “She took it very seriously and wanted to make a change. Whenever she was at work, she would talk immensely about the job that she does, people that she have made, the friends that she had made here,” said Tracy Brown, son of James. Nancy Boren, executive director of the elections office had this to say about James: “Jeanette and I took a chance with each other and out of that chance grew an amazing relationship of loyalty, trust and value. She valued me as her friend, someone willing to take a chance on her. I valued her love for me and her job. She never met a challenge she couldn’t overcome. She loved the people of this community and served them each day with the same zeal she lived her life.”
Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has signed a bill into law a bill banning curbside voting in Alabama. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, passed the House of Representatives 74 to 25 on March 18 and the Senate 25 to 6 on May 17, after several attempts by Democrats to run out the clock on the legislation. Allen’s bill bans the placement of voting machines outside of polling places and the transportation of ballots into or out of voting areas except in establish pre- and post-election voting procedures. Supporters of the legislation said it would ensure ballot security; opponents said it would make it more difficult to vote, particularly for individuals with physical disabilities.
Arizona: The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a measure to strip Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, of her ability to defend election lawsuits, a seemingly partisan retaliation for her sharp criticism of the party’s controversial election audit. The bill, which passed both the state’s House and Senate Appropriations committees, puts the attorney general, Republican Mark Brnovich, in charge of defending all lawsuits through January 2, 2023, which is around the end of his and Hobbs’ current terms. “The legislature intends that the attorney general make all strategic decisions regarding election litigation and be allowed to intervene on behalf of this state if the attorney general determines, in the attorney general’s sole discretion, that the intervention is appropriate,” according to the bill. The bill also states that the attorney general cannot represent or provide legal advice to the Secretary of State, which is generally the chief elections administrator, or the Department of State on any matters through June 30, 2023. But it allows the secretary to hire one full-time “equivalent position” to serve as legal advisor to represent them, but blocks the secretary from “spending or incurring indebtedness to employ outside or private attorneys to provide representation or services.”
Lawmakers have tentatively approved a measure — which still awaits a final roll-call vote —that could have voters facing an investigation and possible criminal charges if their ballot signature does not match the signature on file. Currently, when a ballot comes in by mail, election workers compare the signature on the envelope with what they have on file, whether from prior elections or other records. If they appear to match, that’s the end of it and the ballot is tallied. If they don’t match, election workers attempt to contact voters to find out if they actually cast the ballot and any reasons why the signature has changed, with the most common reasons including age or illness. An affirmative response from the voter “cures” the ballot and ends the process. Otherwise the ballot is not counted. Senate Bill 1241 would require all unmatched signatures and “uncured’’ ballots be referred to state or county attorneys who then would launch their own investigation.
By a 31-29 margin, with two Republican senators joining Democrats in opposition, the House rejected a Senate-passed measure that would have added identification requirements for mail-in ballots. Under current law the only thing required on an early ballot envelope is a signature. Senate Bill 1713 sought to add a new requirement that those voting early fill out and submit with their early ballot an affidavit that includes their date of birth and then either their driver’s license number, non-operating state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
California: A panel of California legislators voted to kill a bill that would have created a statewide holiday on election day, a measure designed to keep voters energized following near-record turnout in the 2020 election. The measure, AB53 by Assembly Member Evan Low, D-Campbell, would have given state workers and public-school children and teachers the day off and encouraged private companies to do the same. It was one of dozens of bills that died Wednesday — without debate — as the Assembly and Senate appropriations committees moved hundreds of bills through a procedural bottleneck for legislation with significant fiscal impacts. Low, however, said he would not stop pushing for the holiday because California should be taking aggressive steps to keep turnout high, particularly as some states pass laws making it harder to vote. Low introduced a similar measure last session, which died over concerns that it would cost about $67 millions to give state workers another holiday. This year, Low proposed to move the President’s Day holiday to election day on even-numbered years to reduce the estimated cost. Still, Low’s office said the bill died largely over fiscal concerns. Some legislators wanted to expand the bill to require private employers to offer the holiday, which could have increased the cost significantly.
The Rancho Mirage city council voted unanimously to move away from April elections when the city was the only city holding an election in Riverside County, to coincide with the California Voter Participation Rights Act. That law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, prohibits cities from holding a municipal election on a day other than a statewide general election day if there has been a “significant decrease” in voter participation. “Significant decrease” is defined in the law as 25% less than the average voter turnout within the city for the previous four statewide general elections, City Clerk Kristie Ramos said. When the California Voter Participation Rights Act became law, Rancho Mirage’s city clerk and attorney conducted an analysis and found a 22.67% difference in turnout for the city versus the statewide general elections.
Connecticut: Statutory restrictions on absentee voting that can deny ballot access to Connecticut voters in some circumstances would be repealed under legislation passed on a 117-28 vote by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate. Absentee ballots are unavailable to some voters with reasonable or even compelling excuses for not going to the polls: firefighters working 24-hour shifts, nurses anticipating overtime and parents home caring for sick or dying children. The Connecticut Constitution empowers the General Assembly to allow absentee ballot voting only in cases of “absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness, or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity.” Separate from an effort to amend the state Constitution to allow no-excuse absentee voting, the bill would remove additional limits imposed by state law: Absences must be during “all hours of voting” and sickness and disability are defined as those of the voter. Rep. Dan Fox, D-Stamford, co-chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, said the bill makes elections law comport with the Constitution and noted that the state Supreme Court already has taken a broader view of “sickness” by upholding the state’s temporary law allowing anyone to vote by absentee during the pandemic.
A bill approved by the state Senate would make a number of changes to state election laws to ease the process of registering to vote as well as restoring the voting rights of people on parole. The Senate sent the bill to the House for consideration on a 25 to 10 vote after three hours of debate. Proponents hailed the legislation as modernizing Connecticut’s election system and encouraging voter participation. “I think [the bill] reflects a common sense look at our election laws and trying to look at our existing laws in terms of how can we ease voting for as many people in our state as possible,” Sen. Mae Flexer, co-chair of the Government Administration and Election Committee, said. In addition to restoring voting rights to parolees, the legislation attempts to expedite voter registration. The bill requires other state agencies to join the Department of Motor Vehicles in automatically sending voter registration applications for qualified residents to local registrars. The bill would also allow e-signatures for election forms and applications, negating the need for voters to print out forms and mail them. It would allow voters to take up to two hours of unpaid time off from work to cast ballots, and it permits voters with disabilities or reading challenges to have assistance at the polls. Other provisions include making permanent the ballot dropboxes installed last year to accommodate increased use of absentee ballots during the pandemic.
Idaho: The legislation that allowed Idaho to be among the most prompt states reporting its election results in the November election expired Dec. 31, and despite passing the Senate unanimously on Feb. 18, a proposal to make the change permanent died without a hearing in the House this year. Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, who chairs the House State Affairs Committee, said he decided not to hold a hearing on the bill in the panel he chairs during this year’s legislative session, allowing the bill, SB 1070, to die instead. “Ultimately, I made the decision not to,” Crane told the Idaho Press. The bill adjusted some deadlines for county clerks to send out absentee ballots to voters amid a huge surge in absentee ballots, and most importantly, allowed them to open and scan absentee ballots that they received — but not count them — starting seven days before the election. Otherwise, the ballots couldn’t have been opened until Election Day.
Louisiana: Seven bills and one House resolution about voting and elections advanced through the House and Senate committees on governmental affairs. The resolution, sponsored by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, provides criteria for considering redistricting plans to draw boundaries for seats in Congress and the state Legislature based on 2020 Census information. Senate Bill 224, sponsored by Rep. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek, would mandate that a Louisiana driver’s license number or the last four digits of a Social Security number be included on an absentee ballot. The bill would allow for an absentee ballot to be challenged if information provided at the polls did not match a voter’s registration data. Senate Bill 220, also sponsored by Cloud, would require the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to examine election processes to prevent election fraud. Senate Bill 63, which would clarify that hand delivery of an absentee ballot must occur in a voting registrar’s office, an early voting location during early voting or a mobile voter registration unit. House Bill 138, which would require registrars of voters to conduct a supplemental canvass to identify voters who have moved and need to update their voter registration addresses. House Bill 329, which would allow all minors to accompany a parent or legal guardian into a voting machine to help educate them about voting. House Bill 330, which would allow for an increase in poll commissioners in each voting precinct during the presidential preference primary election to help fix any problems more quickly. House Bill 388, which would extend the time for a parish to prepare and verify absentee mail and early voting ballots before election day to enable parishes to count ballots more quickly.
The state will add four days to early voting period for presidential elections, after state senators gave final passage to the proposal with a unanimous, bipartisan vote. The bill by Rep. Frederick Jones, a Democrat from Bastrop, will increase in-person early voting for the presidential elections from seven days to 11 days. The measure heads next to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign it into law.
Michigan: The Houses has a adopted, by voice vote, a resolution that calls a sweeping voting rights bill in Congress supported by Michigan’s chief election administrator a “massive overreach into state election administration.” The Republican-sponsored resolution adopted Tuesday states that the federal legislation “would force many misguided policies on states” and seeks to “reaffirm states’ rights … to establish election laws.” Speaking on the House floor, Rep. John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs, who introduced the resolution, said that Michigan’s election rules “should not be dictated to us by people from off places serving in Washington, D.C.” Republicans claim that the federal legislation would prevent election officials from maintaining accurate and up-to-date voter rolls, enforcing voter ID standards and regulating ballot harvesting, which would create “chaos in election administration” and “invite voter fraud.”
The Senate tweaked some of the more controversial parts of its election legislation package this week. The Senate Election Committee unanimously approved substitutes to two bills during a May 26 hearing. The first addressed a bill requiring absentee ballot applications to be submitted with a photocopy of personal identification, while the other prevents the secretary of state’s office from mass-mailing absentee applications. The first substitute came with Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, which now allows the applicant to verify their identify with either a driver’s license or personal ID number, the last four digits of their social security number, in-person verification with a local clerk or the photocopy option. The other substitute came with Senate Bill 310, sponsored by Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, a former Secretary of State. The new version of the bill would still restrict the Secretary of State from mass-mailing absentee ballot applications, but makes clear that a link to the application form must be publicly available online.
Nevada: The Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee voted to support passage of a bill making it easier for people with disabilities to register and vote. AB121 essentially makes available to all disabled people the same infrastructure currently used by uniformed military and those serving overseas. The disabled, like those in the military, would be able to register electronically, request an absentee ballot electronically and cast their ballot . AB121 also requires the Secretary of State to set procedures for local election officials for the handling, accepting and counting of absentee ballots received from disabled voters through an electronic system. It further provides that the deadline for receiving, accepting and recording those ballots from those with disabilities is the 7 p.m. closure of the polls on election day, the same as for military voters. The vote in committee to send AB121 to the floor for a vote was unanimous.
Extensive election reform bills supported by Nevada Democrats passed out of their second committee Tuesday night, inching forward as the end of the legislative session looms large. Bills that would make Nevada the first presidential primary in the country, make permanent many of the voting changes put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and make changes to the state’s voter registration system were passed out of the money-focused Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. Assembly Bill 321, which would automatically send mail-in ballots to active, registered voters in Nevada, received the most debate over cost. The committee also heard Assembly Bill 126, which would switch Nevada to a first-in-the-nation primary. The bill comes after the chaotic 2020 Iowa caucuses had such a delay in results that many prominent Democrats backed ending caucuses outright. The bill also calls for a presidential primary to replace the caucusing process, where Nevada is one of a handful of states that still tabs its presidential delegates using the caucusing system.
New Hampshire: The Republican-led Senate has voted to back its own versions of House plans to overhaul the state’s campaign finance system, and to add a photo-requirement for people who register at the polls without state-approved identification. The bills are among several GOP-backed bills this year that seek to modify current laws around voting and elections. The photo-requirement bill would force voters who register on Election Day without a photo ID to have their picture taken. The photo would be affixed to an affidavit attesting to the voter’s identity and kept on file. For these bills to reach the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu, the House and Senate must reach agreement on final language.
A state Senate committee voted unanimously to approve a bipartisan proposal to move New Hampshire’s state primary election date from the second Tuesday in September to the second Tuesday in August, but the change would not take effect until 2023. The amended bill, if eventually enacted, would mean the state primary election will remain where it is – as a post-Labor Day event – through the 2022 midterm elections. The first statewide election that it would affect would be in 2024. Secretary of State William Gardner has opposed any change in the date. He said Monday after the committee vote that he continues to oppose it because he continues to believe it would hurt turnout to have the primary election in the middle of the summer. Gov. Chris Sununu also continues to oppose a change, his spokesperson told WMUR. The governor made it clear in April that he supports the current date, saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Spokesperson Ben Vihstadt said Sununu has not changed his mind. But members of the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee agreed with House proponents that the current date of the primary, on the second Tuesday in September, leaves too little time for a fair general election campaign. House supporters have said the current seven-week period between the primary and the November general election favors incumbents, who, generally, are less likely to have serious primary challenges and can prepare for the general election well in advance while a challenger who survives a hard-fought primary then has to scramble to compete.
The House Election Law Committee approved a proposal that would create separate processes for state and federal elections, in response to federal voting reform currently before the U.S. Congress. In a vote along party lines, the House panel approved the amendment, 11-8. The amendment was added to Senate Bill 89, bipartisan omnibus legislation dealing with election law, which was also approved along party lines. The amendment was introduced last week by Rep. Barbara Griffin, a Goffstown Republican. Wednesday’s public hearing had the most people signed up to testify before the Election Law Committee so far this session. The vote on the amendment was held the same day. Kyri Claflin, a supervisor of the checklist in Concord Ward 5, called the proposal a “nightmare” for election officials. “The amendment doubles the work for election officials because you would have one set of laws and procedures that apply to federal elections and a second set of laws and procedures that apply to local and state elections,” Claflin said during a press conference held by the For the People Act New Hampshire Coalition before the hearing. Claflin said the amendment would create “an unworkable situation” for local election officials. The proposal has the support of the Secretary of State’s Office, which hosted a controversial briefing on the For the People Act last month. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan expressed his support for the amendment, testifying on behalf of the office.
New Jersey: The he Assembly unanimously passed a bill (A-3394/S-854/237) to require all New Jersey students in an appropriate middle school grade to complete a civics course beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. The course would address the values and principles of the American system of constitutional democracy, the function and limitations of government, and the role of a citizen in a democratic society. The New Jersey Center for Civic Education at Rutgers University would provide curricula, professional development and technical assistance for both middle and high school civics education. The bill would be known as “Laura Wooten’s Law” in recognition of Mercer County’s longest-serving poll worker, who volunteered a record 79 continuous years before she passed away.
New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation that makes it easier to establish early voting sites for certain elections. Instead of just using population, sites will now open based on where the most eligible voters are. This applies to special, primary and run-off primary elections. Previously, people may have had to drive to a spot outside their district to vote early. “New Yorkers should have access to early voting in the places where they live, and the law required county boards of elections to put early voting sites during special elections in places where there weren’t actually eligible voters,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement Friday. “This legislation implements a quick and commonsense fix to the law so that New Yorkers who want to vote early have a convenient polling place to do so, not a far-off location they won’t have time to reach. “We’re committed to making voting as easy as possible and giving New Yorkers ample opportunities to vote in ways convenient to them, and this law moves us in the right direction to further expanding voting access and making sure everyone can participate in our democracy.”
Oregon: Voters who mail their ballot in Oregon would no longer need to guess whether it will arrive in time for Election Day, under a bill that passed the state House. Instead, House Bill 3291 would ensure ballots are accepted as long as they’re postmarked on or before Election Day, and reach elections officials by one week following the election. The bill also would allow county clerks to begin counting ballots when they’re received, rather than waiting until a week before an election, and change some elections-related dates. HB 3291 passed the House on a 39-21 vote, with two Republicans joining unanimous Democrats in support. The bill now moves to the Senate. Advocates for the bill say it gives voters an easy rule to go by: they need to either mail or drop off their ballot by Election Day to ensure it’s counted. That’s a change from Oregon’s current process, in which elections officials typically warn voters to mail their ballots roughly a week before Election Day to ensure they’re received in time. The state’s county clerks, who would see changes to the way they conduct elections, could not reach agreement on HB 3291.
Rhode Island: The House of Representatives has approved legislation introduced by Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) that would allow for the early certification of mail ballots. The bill (2021-H 5890A) would also establish a new and more comprehensive mail ballot voter signature verification process. “This legislation establishes a transparent review process by requiring two people to review and compare each voter’s signature with the signature found in the Central Voter Registration System,” explained Shanley in a release. “The CVRS is a statewide database that includes the signatures that are found on voter registration cards, making it easy for officials to verify those signatures on mail ballots.” The legislation would also allow the Board of Elections to begin the certification of mail ballots 20 days prior to Election Day and require notice of such certification sessions. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2021-S 0623) has been introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
Georgia: Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero agreed to unseal more than 145,000 Fulton County absentee ballots. The details and timing of the review must still be determined. But the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the county want to scan and examine the ballots to determine whether they are legitimate. Amero made clear the ballots must remain in the custody of Fulton election officials. The latest Georgia review cannot change the election results, which were certified months ago and have already been confirmed by multiple recounts. But the plaintiffs say an examination of ballots would get to the bottom of what they see as suspicious activity by election officials at State Farm Arena in November. Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts, a Democrat, blasted the review in a statement. “It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election,” Pitts said. “The votes have been counted multiple times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found. “The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health crisis,” Pitts said. Amero made it clear the ballots must remain in the possession of county officials, citing federal and state law. But he left the details of the review to be sorted out in a future order. He said he wants to protect the integrity of the ballots and the anonymity of the voters who cast them. Amero said he intends to order the absentee ballots to be scanned by county officials to produce high-resolution images. The plaintiffs want to examine those images to determine whether they are fraudulent. For example, the high-resolution images could be used to determine whether ballots were filled out by hand or mass produced by a copy machine, they say.
Maine: Voters with disabilities have reached a settlement agreement with the state over a 2020 lawsuit filed against the state and municipalities for not providing an electronic alternative for paper absentee ballots. The settlement agreement, which is technically pending as the court has yet to act on a motion to dismiss, marks a step in voter rights and compliance with the American Disabilities Act. The agreement requires the state and municipalities to provide electronic absentee ballots to those with print disabilities. According to the agreement, “‘print disabilities’” are those that interfere with the effective reading, writing, or use of printed material. By way of example, this definition includes, but is not limited to, those persons who are blind or visually impaired, those with cognitive or learning disabilities, as well as those with a physical disability that interferes with holding and manipulating paper or a pen or pencil. The four towns in the suit are required to pay $2,500 each as part of a Joint Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, which was filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, according to court documents. All settlement agreements are required to have an endpoint. The settlement agreement technically ends Nov. 30, 2024, but the state and municipalities have expressed their intent to remain in compliance in perpetuity.
Minnesota: The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the state’s ban on voting for people serving felony sentences, disappointing civil rights and racial justice organizations who argued the restriction contradicts the state’s constitutional guarantee of voting rights. Judge Matthew Johnson, appointed by former Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2008, penned an opinion detailing the court’s findings. In it, Johnson wrote that the ability of the state to cut off felons’ voting rights as part of their sentence was baked into its constitution, and that the fact that four plaintiffs were out of prison on probation or supervised release did not mean their civil rights had been violated or needed to be restored. “There is no language in [Article VII of Minnesota’s Constitution] that reasonably could be understood to mean that a felon’s civil rights are restored by his or her release from incarceration or by being placed on probation without any incarceration,” Johnson wrote. “Appellants’ argument effectively would require this court to add words to article VII, section 1, which we are unwilling to do.” The Legislature, he found, had the right to determine when and how felons’ civil rights are restored, and had done so by establishing that they are restored when a sentence is discharged, either by court order or by its expiration. Johnson was joined in his opinion by Judges Carol Hooten and Randall Slieter, both appointees of former Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.
Ohio: The Ohio Supreme Court in a 6-1 ruling said that state law requires the Stark County commissioners to fund the purchase of Dominion voting machines. The court granted the Stark County Board of Elections its request in April for a court order mandating the commissioners appropriate county funds, about $1.5 million, for the purchase. The court’s opinion stated that contrary to what the commissioners argued, a state provision requiring payment of expenses to come from money appropriated by the commissioners did not apply to the purchase of the voting machines. “I’m very pleased and happy that they saw the law the same way we did,” said Samuel Ferruccio, the chairman of the Stark County Board of Elections. “I think it’s now in the county commissioners’ lap for them to pay for the voting machines.” Jeff Matthews, the director of the elections board, said in a prepared statement: “We look forward to the County Commissioners moving per the Court’s order to expeditiously acquire the new voting equipment so that it will be in place for the November election. The system has been fully certified as reliable and secure by the bipartisan U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the bipartisan Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners.”
Washington: A lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Marissa Reyes, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Latino Community Fund of Washington against Benton, Chelan, and Yakima counties cites violation of the 14th and 15th Amendment stating their ballot system “discriminates against Latino voters and other racial minorities.” Amongst several voter disenfranchisement that voting and human rights attorney Molly Matter and LULAC President Domingo Garcia cited, they said mail-in-ballots are usually rejected for three reasons. Late ballots, ballots without any signature, or ballots with mismatched signatures. In 2020, mismatched signatures was the most common reason in Washington state why a ballot was discounted. Latinos made up most of that demographic. In Benton County, ballots by Latino voters and those with Spanish surnames were 3 times more likely to have their ballots rejected. The defendants include those involved in handling the mail-in ballots which are Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton, Prosecutor Andy Miller and Commission Chairman Jerome Delvin – all who make up the Benton County Canvassing Review Board. The defendants also include Yakima County’s Auditor Charles Ross, Prosecutor Joe Brusic and Commissioner Ron Anderson; as well as Chelan County, Auditor Skip Moore, Prosecutor Douglas Shae and Commissioner Bob Bugert. The lawsuit states that the county auditors, prosecutors, and commissioner’s have not communicate clear standards to voters on how their handwriting must match in addition to the fact that Latinos in Eastern Washington and nationwide have much higher rates of having their ballot rejected because of handwriting compared to non-Latino voters stating it is racially biased discrimination. The lawsuit goes on to write it is a “flawed system,” saying no two signatures by the same person are the same. Their claim is that giving the county board of canvassers, who have authority over counting ballot signatures, violates due process because it denies Latino voters ballots based on the board’s own discretion and doesn’t give Latino voters due process to explain themselves. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s ask that the defendants declare that their system violates the Constitutional Amendments and Federal Voting Rights Act and adopt a better standard of determining matching signatures amongst other “prayers for relief” which include, declaring that the defendants have violated the United States Constitution, as well as section 2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act, design a process that does not discriminate/allows a person to cure their ballot (fix their signature) upon issue, and publish the number of rejected ballots for the general public. The lawsuit was filed May 7th and defendants have until the 28th to respond.
New York: The New York State Board of Elections has finally issued its unanimous approval for New York City to use software to tabulate the ranked-choice vote results in the upcoming primary. According to Gothamist, the approval comes after more than 18 months of back and forth between the city and state over the process required to test and implement the Universal Ranked-Choice Voting Tabulator, the software selected by the city which was developed by a non-partisan non-profit called The Ranked Choice Resource Center. It wasn’t until January of this year that state officials finally agreed to allow the mandatory testing and certification to take place. The state did identify a handful of issues with the URC tabulator, which was submitted for certification testing in March. The one outstanding issue is related to the security protocols the city BOE needs to establish.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: 2024, II | Courts | Vote by mail | Voting rights, II | Threats | 2020 | Voter suppression | DOJ Civil Rights Division
Arizona: Audit, II, III, IV | Secretary of state
Florida: Election legislation | Courts
Georgia: Voting rights | Secretary of state race
Idaho: Secretary of state
Louisiana: Voter access
Maryland: Vote by mail
Michigan: Election legislation
Minnesota: Voting rights
Mississippi: Voter suppression
Missouri: Paper ballots
Montana: Election reform, II
New Hampshire: HR1
New York: Out-of-precinct ballots
Ohio: Election legislation | Voting rights
Pennsylvania: Election night | Voting problems, II | Vote by mail | Westmoreland County
Texas: Election legislation | Ranked choice voting | Poll workers
The New Danger in Voting Legislation: Georgia, Texas and other states are pursuing legislation that will make it more difficult to vote, especially for voters of color. Less attention has been paid to a second threat: giving the legislature a greater hand in who counts votes and how they are counted. Will this reform improve or damage the integrity of elections and the confidence of voters in their results? An impressive panel joins us: Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine; Michael T. Morley, Associate Professor, Florida State University College of Law and Moderated by Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor, Elections Program, Democracy Fund. When June 4, 12pm Central. Where: Online.
Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials: Register now for the California Voter Foundation’s webinar, “Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials” on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 11 am- Noon Pacific time on Zoom. This free webinar will feature a presentation by Grace Gordon, UC Berkeley Master of Development Practice graduate and author of a new California Voter Foundation report to be released on June 8th, titled, “Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials Resulting from the 2020 Election”. This report has been six months in the making and was developed in consultation with CVF President Kim Alexander and CVF Board Chair & Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen. The report and webinar will provide an in-depth look at Ms. Gordon’s research findings on the nature and extent of harassment of election officials in numerous states and the reforms needed to protect democracy’s frontline workers. Guest panelists include: Matt Masterson, Stanford University; Tiana Epps-Johnson, Center for Technology and Civic Life; and Amber McReynolds, National Vote at Home Institute: When: June 9, 11am Pacific. Where: Online
Continuing Threats to Free and Fair Elections Virtual Summit: Elections are more than ballots, polling places, and voting machines. The human component of administering elections was exposed to unthinkable stress and attack during the 2020 cycle. It nearly reached the breaking point. Whether it was persistent and recurring misinformation and disinformation, threats to the personal safety of full-time and volunteer elections office staff, or challenges to the independence of the voting process by political actors, our country is hurtling towards a cliff of retirements of the people who understand voting more than any others. Without dedicated and knowledgeable staff ready and willing to run elections, easy access to a secure ballot cannot be guaranteed for anyone. The Brennan Center, the Ash Center, and the Bipartisan Policy Center invite you to explore the challenges to voting in America and necessarily solutions. The organizations will also be releasing a report. When: June 16 12pm to 2pm Eastern. 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.
NCSL Redistricting Seminar: Salt Lake City will host the last installment of NCSL’s Get Ready to Redistrict: Seminars for Practitioners and Others. If you are a legislator, legislative staffer, commissioner, commission staffer, an outside advocate or just an interested member of the public, these seminars are for you. In two days, NCSL will deliver knowledge and practical instruction that you can customize for your state and your role in the process. If you’ve come to an earlier serminar, expect to: Focus on practicalities—anything you need to know to get the job done; A chance to visit with your vendors to ensure that you know what your state’s capabilities are; We’ll review what going to court entails (because almost all states will be in court!); and The census is the hottest question in town, and we’ll have answers. You can meet the experts who you might want to bring to your state (I was going to say consult, but some are free and some are not—but all faculty will make themselves available). Where: Salt Lake City. When: July 14-16.
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.
NCSL Base Camp: In a dynamic online setting, NCSL Base Camp brings together policy experts on a wide range of topic areas to educate policymakers and legislative staff. When: Aug. 3-5. Where: Online
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 9-10 and will once again be held virtually. Check please visit the NASED website for more information about agendas and registration. When: Aug. 9-12. Where: Online.
NASS Summer Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) will convene in person for the 2021 Summer Conference. It will be held August 13-16 in in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference will feature committee meetings, discussions and various workshop sessions on election administration, cybersecurity, business services, state heritage and more. A preliminary conference agenda is available online here. In addition, an expo area will have a limited number of NASS Corporate Affiliates on-site showcasing their products and services. Please note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health recommendations will be observed throughout the conference. Learn more about the venue’s COVID-19 safety requirements here. There will also be a limited virtual component for those unable to attend in person. Registration for the conference will open in late-May. When: Aug. 13-16. Where: Des Moines, Iowa.
National Conference of State Legislators Legislative Summit: The Legislative Summit is NCSL’s premier annual event and provides a platform for legislators, staff and other public policy professionals to learn from the nation’s foremost experts, as well as each other, about solutions to the country’s most pressing issues. Watch for registration and hotel details in early June 2021. When: November 3-5. Where: Tampa, Florida
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 II (Language Services), King County, Washington— This is an amazing opportunity to be engaged in the election process! The Department of Elections is searching for Language translation professionals to support the following languages: Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese. This job posting will be used to fill multiple short term temporary positions to support the Language Services Program. These individuals must be able to read, write and understand at the language proficiency testing level used by the Department. These positions will translate and proof documents and web materials in Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese; conduct research, and provide administrative support to other election work groups as needed during elections. These positions are expected to begin on June 1, 2021 and last approximately one month. In this role you will have the opportunity to: Translate or proof election-related documents and web materials to Spanish, Korean, Chinese or Vietnamese including but not limited to: voter registration information, letters and other correspondence to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) voters including, notice of elections, ballot titles and voters’ pamphlet information, candidate statements, ballot measures, resolutions and related materials; and Review, edit and proofread all translated documents produced by translation service providers and others for accuracy, clarity and consistency. Salary: $22.57 – $28.75 Hourly. 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.
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.
Departmental Analyst, Michigan Department of State— This position serves as the Disclosure and Filings Analyst within the Disclosure, Filings and Compliance Division within the Bureau of Elections, Michigan Department of State. The Division is responsible for administering the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, Lobbyist Registration Act, Casino Registration Act and Michigan Election Law. The Analyst will support the Division’s functions through research and analysis of disclosure reports, campaign statements and ballot-access filings, with emphasis on working cooperatively to address deficiencies and correct noncompliant filings; developing and updating training materials and user manuals; and providing training to the regulated community. Salary: $21.66 – $33.95 Hourly. Deadline: June 8. Application: For a complete job listing and to apply, click here.
General Registrar, Prince William County, Virginia— The Prince William County Electoral Board is seeking a General Registrar to provide leadership and management in the Office of Elections in Prince William County, Virginia. We are one of Virginia’s fastest-growing counties with a diverse population of 470,000 citizens and over 300,000 registered voters. 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. Deadline: June 16. 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.
Training Coordinator, Hillsborough County, Florida— The Supervisor of Elections administers all federal, state, county, municipal and special district elections in Hillsborough County. It’s our responsibility to process all voter registration applications received from qualified Florida residents, and also to educate Hillsborough County residents about registering to vote. We issue Voter Information Cards to all newly registered voters, and reissue those cards when there are changes to a voter’s registration information or polling place. Maintaining our voter database is a huge undertaking and one we take great care with. We hold countywide elections, as well as municipal elections for the City of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, and work with the county and municipalities periodically on reapportionment, redistricting and drawing precinct boundaries. Candidates for county, district and special district offices file and qualify for candidacy with our office. We also receive the forms and financial reports that candidates, committees and political parties are required to file. And our office verifies and certifies all petition signatures for candidates and ballot initiatives. The Training Coordinator is responsible for leading training programs and other special projects within the department of Poll Worker Services and Training. These may include but are not limited to developing processes and writing procedures, training and coaching temporary staff, implementation of services, polling place and poll worker record maintenance, and back-up to management on daily tasks. Salary: Starting salary $36,000-$46,000 annually. Deadline: June 11. 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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