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August 19, 2021

August 19, 2021

In Focus This Week

U.S. Election Assistance Commission releases 2020 EAVS
2020 saw highest turnout in EAVS history

This week, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released the 2020 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS). The EAVS collects election administration data from local election jurisdictions in all 50 states, the territories, and the District of Columbia. The EAVS report includes voter registration, military and overseas voting, vote by mail, early and Election Day polling operations, voter participation, and election technology. The EAC submitted the 2020 EAVS to the 117th Congress on August 16, 2021 and it is now available on the EAC’s website.

Some highlights from the 2020 EAVS:

  • This election saw the highest turnout of any federal general election recorded by EAVS to date with 67.7% of the citizen voting age population casting ballots that were counted.
  • More than 209 million people were active registered voters for the 2020 general election and more than 161 million voters cast ballots that were counted for this election.
  • 30.5% of voters cast their ballots in-person on Election Day, and 43.1% of the electorate cast their ballots utilizing vote by mail.
  • States reported a total of 132,556 polling places where 775,101 poll workers assisted voters with in-person early and Election Day voting.
  • The percentage of poll workers ages 18 to 25 and 26 to 40 increased to 6.2% and 15.0%, respectively.
  • The percentage of poll workers ages 61 to 70 and 71 and older decreased to 27.3% and 20.1%, respectively.

“The data from the 2020 EAVS report gives us important insight on an unprecedented election during a pandemic. As election officials, academics, and the Congress continue to study and learn from the 2020 elections, the EAVS data will serve as a foundation for analyzing best practices and informing the future of election administration,” said EAC Chairman Donald Palmer.

The EAC this week also held a virtual roundtable discussion on the 2020 EAVS and 2020 Elections Lessons Learned.

The 2020 EAVS data and the accompanying Election Administration Policy Survey (Policy Survey) are used to provide an overview of each aspect of the elections process:

  • Turnout, voting methods, polling places and poll workers, and election technology are covered in Chapter 1, “Overview of Election Administration and Voting in the 2020 General Election,”
  • Key laws, rules, policies, and procedures that govern U.S. elections are covered in Chapter 2, “Election Law and Procedure: The Policy Survey,”
  • Voter registration and list maintenance are covered in Chapter 3, “Voter Registration: NVRA and Beyond,”
  • Voting by individuals covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is described in Chapter 4, “Military and Overseas Voting in 2020: UOCAVA,”, and
  • Finally, the methodology of EAVS and the survey instruments are discussed in Chapter 5, “Survey Methodology and Procedures.”

The 2020 EAVS marks the ninth iteration of the biennial survey.

In 2008, the EAC began administering the Statutory Overview which asks states a series of open-ended questions about their specific election laws, definitions, and procedures. Beginning in 2014 the data complied for the EAVS is combined into one report per survey. Prior to 2014, the EAVS consisted of three reports: the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Report, the Uniformed and Overseas citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Report, and the Election Day Survey. Additional information about the EAVS and previous reports are available on the EAC’s website.

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Election News This Week

Vote Verification Task Force: Eight Chief Election Official members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) came together to form the Task Force on Vote Verification to discuss the critical issue of post-election audits. The bipartisan group developed six recommendations for states to consider, which can be found here. These recommendations were approved by the full NASS membership on August 16 during the 2021 NASS Summer Conference. NASS President and Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, and NASS Immediate-past President and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver co-chaired the task force. “With many NASS members serving as their state’s Chief Election Official, we know firsthand the im­portance of expertly conducting and overseeing credible, transparent and accurate post-election audits. We are proud of the bipartisan work the task force was able to accomplish by developing nonpartisan recom­mendations for states to take into consideration when evaluating their post-election audit processes and procedures. It is our hope this will make a positive impact within the election community and beyond,” Ar­doin and Toulouse Oliver stated jointly. The other members of the task force included: Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Min­nesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, and Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan.

Inquiry Begins in Georgia: The State Election Board appointed a bipartisan panel to investigate Fulton County’s elections management, a performance review sought by Republicans that could lead to a state takeover of the heavily Democratic county. Fulton is the first county to undergo a performance review created by Georgia’s new voting law, passed by the state’s GOP majority in the Legislature. After the review is completed, the State Election Board will have the power to replace Fulton’s election board with a temporary superintendent who would have authority over vote counting, polling places and staffing. State Election Board members said they hope the performance review will compel Fulton to fix problems with absentee ballot processing and vote-counting procedures. The board voted unanimously to approve the appointees to the panel. “I encourage folks to keep trying to improve and not just throw up their hands,” said Matt Mashburn, a Republican appointee to the state board. Sara Tindall Ghazal, a Democratic appointee, said the performance review panel should resist “tremendous political pressure on both sides to come to preordained conclusions.” The performance review panel’s members are Republican Rickey Kittle, chairman of the Catoosa County elections board; Democrat Stephen Day, a member of the Gwinnett County elections board; and Ryan Germany, general counsel for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

COVID-19 Updates: With COVID cases spiking throughout the country, we’re back on the pandemic beat here at electionline. In Alabama, COVID-19 is no longer a permitted excuse to request an absentee ballot Birmingham and Mobile city officials asked Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill to reinstate last year’s emergency rules and allow COVID-19 to be a valid excuse for absentee voting. Merrill, in a July 28 letter to Mobile city officials — which was also forwarded to Birmingham — said there were no plans to re-instate 2020 rules that allowed concerns about the pandemic as a valid excuse. Merrill, in his letter, said the previous emergency rules expired on May 17. He said the expiration of Alabama’s “State of Emergency” on July 6, also played a role in not re-instating them. “Based on these and other considerations, such as our better understanding of COVID-19 and ways to protect against it, we currently have no plans to re-institute the emergency rules,” Merrill said. In Broward County, Florida, Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott has told poll workers that they must be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they wish to work during the upcoming special primary and general elections to fill a congressional vacancy. He said his directive, which he vetted with the office’s legal counsel, is designed to enhance public safety. “Our poll workers have to engage in close quarters, personal contact with potentially hundreds of voters. So it’s not just for the safety of the public, but for the safety of the individuals who are poll workers as well. We want to keep everybody safe,” Scott said in a telephone interview. “Considering the circumstances and looking at the statistics as to how this Delta variant is spreading, it is important that we do everything we can to keep the public and to keep our employees safe.”

Youth Vote: The Tennessee secretary of state’s office is launching an award for Tennessee high schools which meet student voter registration thresholds. High schools across the state that register 100 percent of the eligible students, who are 18 or older by the next election, to vote will earn the Anne Dallas Dudley Gold Level Award. High schools that register at least 85 percent of the eligible students, 18 or older by the next election, will earn the Anne Dallas Dudley Silver Level Award. Tennessee law allows students who will be 18 or older on or before the next election to register to vote. “Our state and our nation are stronger when every eligible Tennessean is registered to vote and casts a ballot on Election Day,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “We are working with county election commissions across our great state to make sure students know that it has it has never been easier to register to vote in Tennessee and to encourage them to make their voices heard by going to the polls on Election Day.” The Secretary of State’s office will present high schools that earn the Gold Level Award with a commemorative plaque and recognize students who led the registration efforts with certificates. For Anne Dallas Dudley Silver Level Award schools, the Secretary of State’s office will mail certificates recognizing the students who led the registration efforts. Anne Dallas Dudley helped lead the successful effort to get the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified nationwide and in her home state, Tennessee. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to pass the amendment giving women the right to vote.

Personnel News: Ralph Jones has resigned as Fulton County, Georgia’s voter registration chief. Cynthia Luczak has stepped down as the Bay County, Michigan clerk. Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence) has announced tentative plans to run for Rhode Island secretary of state.

In Memoriam: Charles Bostic, a member of the Danville, Illinois election commission has died. Bostic served on the commission for 17 years and was currently the commission’s vice char. Barbara Bailey, chairwoman of the Danville Election Commission Board, says Bostic was very dedicated in his service. ‘’He was always there to help us,’’ said Bailey during an interview with VermilionCountyFirst.com News. Bailey said Bostic had studied the State Election code book and was very familiar with it.  She added Bostic had been interested in  politics for years.  His term on the Danville Election Commission Board was to have ended in December.

Election Security News

CISA: Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in an interview with The Associated Press that she was focused on ensuring the federal agency stays out of politics, builds trust among state and local election officials and continues to provide critical support and guidance on how to increase cyber defenses. “It’s incredibly important that we develop the right collaborative partnerships with all state and local election officials so that they know, regardless of what party they are, we are here to provide resources to help them ensure the safety and security and resilience of their elections,” Easterly said. Easterly also spoke at the recent National Association of Secretaries of State Conference where she said, “With respect to getting that information out, this absolutely has to be a team sport and, frankly, a whole of nation effort. Ensuring that we can tap into all of you to help amplify getting the facts out and busting the myths that are out there that prevent people from having full faith and confidence in our election system is something that we’re going to have to do together in close partnership.”

Colorado: The FBI has joined a Colorado district attorney’s office investigation into how voting machine login information wound up on a QAnon-affiliated video, CNN reported. Courtney Bernal, an FBI spokesperson for the Denver field office, told CNN that the agency is assisting Mesa ​County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein’s office “on the forensic review and analysis of county voting systems to determine if there was a potential federal criminal violation.” Additionally, the Mesa County commission and Secretary of State Jena Griswold are at odds over how to replace Clerk Tina Peters. The commission argues that it is their responsibility and they have tapped former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams for the job. Griswold disputes the commission’s assertion and has appointed former clerk and now Treasurer Sheila Reiner. Both Reiner and Williams are friendly to each other. And until this gets resolved by the secretary of state and the county commission, they are working together. “We’ve sent correspondence out to staff. We’ve let them know that with major decisions we’re going to be conferring because the critical thing is until that gets resolved, we want to make sure that we’re in sync on the major decisions that need to be made,” said Williams.

Legislative Updates

Federal Legislation: House Democrats introduced the latest version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, intent on beefing up a civil rights-era law cut back by a series of Supreme Court decisions. The effort still faces significant Republican opposition, however, and the prospects of a filibuster in the Senate. The bill comes after a series of House committee hearings over the past several months to establish a legislative record for modern efforts to suppress minority groups’ voting power.  The bill is designed to respond to several Supreme Court decisions, including the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision that invalidated the mechanism for the Justice Department to preclear election law changes and the Brnovich v. DNC decision from July that restricts when an election change that causes a disproportionate impact to minority communities violates the law. The new language would provide a rolling review of preclearance — meaning the Justice Department could review election law changes in a state if it meets a certain threshold of violations. If a state accumulates 15 violations in 25 years, or 10 with one statewide violation, it would be subject to preclearance for a decade, according to the language introduced Tuesday. The bill would also add another category of “practice-based” preclearance, which would give the Justice Department oversight when a jurisdiction takes certain actions like switching from district-based to at-large elections. Sewell said that such practices have been used in the past to dilute minority votes and should be subject to extra scrutiny. Other new provisions in the bill would create a new test for violations after the fact, which Sewell said comes as a response to the Brnovich decision. The language introduced Tuesday includes two new tests: one for vote dilution cases, such as during redistricting, and another for vote denial claims, such as for a voter ID case. Another provision would allow for the Justice Department or other plaintiffs to sue over a law that has been passed but not yet implemented. That comes in response to testimony during hearings where advocates complained that litigation over a law found to be discriminatory could take years to overturn — with multiple elections occurring in the interim.

U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, led his colleagues in introducing the Frank Harrison, Elizabeth Peratrovich, and Miguel Trujillo Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021 (NAVRA) – landmark voting rights legislation that will protect the sacred right to vote and ensure equal access to the electoral process for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and voters living on Tribal lands. NAVRA would enact key measures, such as allowing Tribes to specify the number and locations of requested voter registration sites, drop boxes and polling locations on Tribal lands, and authorizing Tribal ID cards for voting purposes. The bill would also help establish state-level Native American voting task forces to address the unique voting issues faced by voters on Tribal lands by authorizing a $10 million Native American Voting Rights Task Force grant program. It would also require prior Tribal notice and consent before States and precincts could remove, consolidate, or otherwise reduce access to voting locations on Tribal lands. “The Native American Voting Rights Act is a key piece of legislation in the ongoing work to protect and expand native voting rights throughout the country,” said New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. “The Act highlights challenges faced by voters on tribal lands and empowers sovereign tribal governments to find appropriate solutions for their communities. I’m happy to endorse this legislation and I appreciate Senator Ben Ray Luján’s work in bringing it forward and seeking input from my office. I’m especially encouraged that many of the proposals in the Act track current New Mexico law which has some of the most protective voting rights laws in the country.”

Michigan: The Michigan House approved a trio of bills seeking to shore up access to electronic voter information and extend the retention periods for election documents.  The bills are among dozens of pieces of Republican-sponsored legislation that have stirred controversy as opponents, especially Democrats, argue they falsely imply there were shortcomings in the security of the 2020 presidential election. One bill introduced by Rep. Sarah Lightner, R-Springport, would change state election law to limit access to the qualified voter file to the Secretary of State’s office and credentialed election officials; county, city and township clerks; and those tasked with maintaining or securing the file.  It would remove “designated voter registration agency” from the list of individuals able to access the file. The bill passed 75-33.  Another bill introduced by Rep. Phil Green, R-Millington, would prohibit the electronic poll book at precincts or absent voter counting boards from being connected to the internet until all results have been tabulated. The practice already is in place in precincts throughout the state, prompting some opponents to allege the new law would only serve to confuse. The bill passed 77-31. A third bill introduced by Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord, changes election law to extend retention requirements for ballots from 30 days to 22 months for ballots used in a state or federal primary or election. The retention of election returns — such as tally sheets, absent voter records or poll lists — would be reduced from two years to 22 months.

State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) introduce House Bill 5282 which aims to protect election workers from harassment. The bill, if passed, will make it illegal to harass, intimidate or prevent election workers from performing their duties. Those found guilty of doing so will be charged with a misdemeanor and up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine. “This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s an issue of taking care of those who step up to do this vital but underpaid, temporary “Republican and Democratic election officials alike are being terrorized by conspiracy theorists insisting that the election was stolen despite all evidence to the contrary. This is dangerous to our democracy and to those who work hard to ensure we can exercise our right to vote.”

New York: State Senator Pete Harckham (D, Mount Kisco) is pressing for reforms statewide at boards of election with two new bills that will, respectively, increase structural efficiencies and require BOE officials to comply with the state’s code of ethics for public employees. Harckham introduced a new bill that will categorize all members, officers, and employees of the boards of elections statewide as public employees. This will ensure that all hirings of board of elections employees are based on their performance on a civil service exam instead of the current arrangement, which he said encourages patronage, nepotism and ultra-partisanship. Another bill (S. 6220) Harckham introduced earlier this year requires all board of election employees to adhere to the state’s code of ethics for public employees. The code stipulates employees cannot have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect, or engage in any business or transaction or professional activity or incur any obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their duties in the public interest.

Ohio: Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives proposed sweeping voting restrictions last week that would impose new hurdles for voters to register and cast a ballot. The legislation, if passed, would require voters to present state issued photo identification to vote, eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes and more. Some of the key changes under House Bill 387, sponsored by Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia: Absentee voting: Current law allows any Ohio voter to obtain an absentee ballot to mail in for any reason. HB 387 would only allow this if a voter is disabled, ill or meets other narrow exceptions. It also blocks the Secretary of State from its practice of mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters. Voter identification: Current law allows Ohioans to use either a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, military ID or paycheck as voter identification at the polls. HB 387 would only allow state-issued photo identification, with exemptions for people with religious objections to being photographed. Drop boxes: Prohibits boards of elections from processing and counting any ballots returned to a drop box, usually sited outside a county board of elections. Some voters used them in the 2020 election to avoid crowded precincts amid a COVID-19 surge occurring at the time. Voter machines: Blocks elections officials from approving or certifying voting machines unless they’re made in the U.S.; open up their “object code” and “source code” to public inspection; use blockchain technology along with paper ballots; and are not connected to the internet.

Texas: The Texas state Senate passed Senate Bill 1, an election overhaul bill that would add new restrictions and criminal penalties to the voting process, on a 18-11 party line vote. The final vote was taken fewer than 20 minutes after a 15-hour filibuster of the bill from state Sen. Carol Alvarado concluded. The bill will next head to the House, where Democrats have delayed its passage by vacating the Capitol, though its eventual passage in the Republican-led legislature is virtually assured. SB1 includes broad new protection and access for partisan poll watchers, mail-in ballot restrictions, a drive-thru voting ban, restrictions to the early voting timeframe, video surveillance and assistance restrictions. While the bill does add one extra required hour per day of early voting, it sets a specific timeframe in which voting must be done — banning extended hours and 24-hour voting, a measure used during the pandemic in Harris County that local officials testified was especially popular with voters of color. SB1 also further restricts local election officials, for example, adding criminal penalties for sending unsolicited ballot request forms. Some Democratic amendments, like a cure process for mail-in ballot mistakes, were accepted in the final version of the bill.

Legal Updates

Federal Litigation: New York State Judge David Cohn this week signaled skepticism toward Fox Corp’s bid to dismiss Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion lawsuit that accused Fox News hosts and guests of making defamatory claims about the voting technology firm during the network’s coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. During an oral argument held virtually, Judge David Cohen made comments sympathetic toward Smartmatic, which in February sued Fox here and two of Donald Trump’s former lawyers, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, after the attorneys falsely accused it of rigging votes against the former president. Smartmatic is a London-headquartered company with a U.S. unit based in Florida. The judge questioned whether there was any basis whatsoever for claims Powell and Giuliani made about Smartmatic during appearances on Fox News and Fox Business, like that the company was banned in Texas. “How is that not defamatory?,” the judge asked. “Did any evidence ever come to light that Smartmatic was banned in Texas?” A lawyer representing Fox Corp. argued that Fox News had a right under the U.S. Constitution’s protection for press freedom to report on newsworthy claims made by Trump’s lawyers. Cohen did not say when he would rule on Fox’s motion to dismiss

Arizona: The Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Pima County Recorder’s Office announced they’ve reached a settlement in the case to reinstate the tribe’s early voting site.  For the last three years, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has been advocating for the recorder’s office to reinstate an early voting site in its reservation, going so far as to file a lawsuit against the recorder’s office in 2020. According to the settlement that was signed Thursday, for every statewide primary and general election from now till the end of 2024, the tribe will have an early voting site within its reservation. A deadline to keep them on track is in February 2022 — that’s when the tribe and recorder must agree upon a location. When Gabriella Cázares-Kelly won the election for recorder last year, she promised the community that an early voting site for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe would be one of her top priorities.  “The closure of the Pascua Yaqui early voting site is a clear, modern day example of how Native American voting rights continue to remain under threat,” Cázares-Kelly said. “It reminds us that we do not all start from the same starting line and some communities have to work harder to exercise our most basic and fundamental right.”

Mi Familia Vota, Arizona Coalition for Change, Living United for Change in Arizona and Chispa Arizona filed suit in the U.S. District in Arizona this week challenging two new state election laws claims the policies are unnecessary and designed to make it harder for Arizonans to vote. Those new laws, adopted earlier this year by Republican lawmakers, would remove an estimated 150,000 voters who don’t vote frequently from Arizona’s early ballot mailing list and give voters who forget to sign their early ballot envelopes less time to fix the issue and ensure their vote is counted. They’re asking a judge to prohibit state election officials from enforcing the law on the grounds that they violate the U.S. Constitution and parts of the Voting Rights Act because of the policies’ “discriminatory intent” and, they argue, a lack of a legitimate state interest to change the way the elections are run.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp ordered the Arizona Senate to turn over thousands of outstanding documents related to the Maricopa County election review by Aug. 31, even as the legal battle over some records held by the private contractor running the effort lingers. The Senate’s attorney, Kory Langhofer, said the Senate is preparing about 10,000 documents, including emails about the audit, to release in an online reading room where records from the audit are posted. Kemp ordered their release in two weeks. A nonprofit group called American Oversight sued the Senate for records from the audit, as did The Arizona Republic. Both cases are ongoing. The Senate has said it will produce records that are in its possession, but not records held by its contractor, Cyber Ninjas.

California: Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff tentatively denied a petition that was filed against Los Angeles County election officials over the high costs of the Measure A recount last year, stating that the projected $240,000 cost of the recount did not violate anyone’s constitutional voting rights. Beckloff denied the Long Beach Reform Coalition’s request for the court to order county election officials to pick up the tab for collecting the roughly 100,000 ballots cast in the March 2020 election so they could be counted at a “reasonable” cost, which the coalition contended was outlined in the county’s estimated recount fee schedule. A final ruling is expected soon. In his tentative ruling, Beckloff said that while some voting laws, like those that restrict access to voting, are subject to strict scrutiny, the cost of a recount is not one of those rules. “The right to vote is separate and distinct from the right to request and obtain a recount,” Beckloff wrote in his tentative ruling. “Similarly, a right to obtain a vote recount is separate and distinct from the right to ensure one’s vote is properly counted in the first instance.” Beckloff added that the county did not deny the group’s statutory rights to conduct a recount, instead it was the cost that led the coalition to end its recount efforts.  Beckloff said that state law allows for election officials to pass on the cost of a recount to the requesters and added that the coalition failed to draw a clear line in which the cost of a recount becomes unconstitutional.

Maryland: Two Republican political candidates are asking Maryland’s highest court to reverse the decision by a Circuit Court judge to throw out their lawsuit intended to block Annapolis from mailing ballots to registered voters in its upcoming elections. The appeal filed to the Maryland Court of Appeals repeats the arguments made in an initial filing to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in late July that the Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections — along with the county elections board, which helps administer the city’s elections — violated City Code by offering a vote-by-mail option to all registered voters and paying for the return postage. The high court granted that request for an expedited response on whether the court will consider hearing the appeal. Annapolis is set to begin mailing ballots for the Sept. 21 primary elections on or about Aug. 30.

North Carolina: A trial is underway this week in Wake County Superior Court of the future of ex-felon voting rights in the Tarheel State. According to the News & Observer, lawyers for both the Republican-led Legislature and for a group of challengers argued that the state’s law stripping voting rights from convicted felons has shameful roots in racial discrimination. However, two sides disagree strongly on the motivations behind the current version of the law — and specifically as it applies to people who have already finished serving their time in prison, and have rejoined society, but nevertheless remain forbidden from voting. Felons in North Carolina aren’t forever banned from voting, but they are banned as long as they remain on probation or parole. And that post-prison prohibition is the focus of a lawsuit whose trial began this week.

Texas: The Texas Supreme Court ruled this week that House Democrats who refuse to show up to the state Capitol in their bid to prevent Republican lawmakers from passing a voting restrictions bill can be arrested and brought to the lower chamber. The all-Republican court sided with Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dade Phelan — and ordered a Travis County district judge to revoke his temporary restraining order blocking the civil arrest of Democratic lawmakers whose absences have denied the chamber the number of present members needed to move any legislation. “The legal question before this Court concerns only whether the Texas Constitution gives the House of Representatives the authority to physically compel the attendance of absent members,” Justice Jimmy Blacklock wrote in the court’s opinion. “We conclude that it does, and we therefore direct the district court to withdraw the TRO.”

Opinions This Week

National Opinions: Voting rights, II, III, IV, V | Competency | Voter ID | The Big Lie | U.S. Supreme Court

Arizona: Ballot review

California: Universal voting | Recall process, II | Voting rights

Colorado: Mesa County, II

Illinois: David Orr

Missouri: Ranked choice voting;

New York: Election transparency, II

Pennsylvania: Ballot review, II, III

Upcoming Events

How Veterans Can Protect American Democracy: Democracies around the world are under attack and authoritarianism is on the march in nations like Turkey, Venezuela, Hungary, and Poland, resulting in an unprecedented loss of public faith in our institutions and troubling hyper partisanship here at home. Many Americans understand that democratic values must be protected and passed from one generation to the next, and few take this obligation more seriously than the men and women who have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and placed their bodies in harm’s way in the defense of the nation. This spirit of service to the country does not end when one leaves the military, and most veterans believe it is their duty to continue to protect American democracy as engaged citizens. Brookings will host a two-part panel discussion on the state of American democracy and the role veterans can play to protect American democracy. Where: Online. When: August 24, 10am Eastern.

March On For Voting Rights: On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King led 250,000 people on a historic March On Washington. There, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, calling on the nation to rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. At the time, Black Americans were living under the tyranny of laws—called “Jim Crow” laws— that legalized racial discrimination. His speech that day has become one of the defining moments in American history. Today, state legislatures are pushing America back to the Jim Crow era with laws that reinstate systemic discrimination at the ballot box. That is why, on August 28, 2021—58 years to the day after his father’s march—Martin Luther King III will help to lead Americans on another march to demand federal voting rights protection. When: August 28. Where: Washington, DC and cities throughout the country.

NISGIC Annual Conference: The 2021 NSGIC Annual Conference will be held September 20 – 24 as a hybrid event at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel and leveraging technology to provide for virtual participation, as well. The safety and comfort of conference participants are paramount. We will be following all guidance in place at the time of the conference and working closely with venues to ensure full care is given. We understand that not all conference attendees will be able to join us in person. Those participating virtually can expect a rich experience with interactive plenary presentations, networking opportunities, and participatory workshops and other sessions. (We’re so sure you’re going to enjoy the experience, we urge you to consider participating from home or another space where you can give it your full attention.) Whether you attend in-person or virtually, the NSGIC Annual Conference is the hub of critical connections for state, local, tribal, and federal GIS policymakers and coordinators, private sector partners and solution-providers, and other leaders in the geospatial ecosystem. Like nowhere else, the NSGIC Annual Conference is a place where relationships are built, information is shared, and collaborations are born. When: September 20-24. Where: Hybrid—Dallas & Virtual.

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 mmoretti@electionline.org.  Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.

Campaign Manager, Bipartisan Policy Center— BPC is currently seeking candidates for a new role—Campaign Manager—to support the work of the Elections Project. The Elections Project explores and analyzes the entire election ecosystem, from voter registration to casting a ballot to the counting and finalizing of results. Its goal is to help policymakers enact sustainable bipartisan policy reforms, informed by election officials, that improve the voting experience for a diverse electorate. The Elections Project most recently launched the Business Alliance for Effective Democracy. BPC created the Business Alliance to provide an objective forum designed to facilitate proactive corporate engagement on polarizing election policy issues. The Alliance—comprised largely of Fortune 100 companies—focuses on concrete actions that corporate stakeholders can take to shore up our democracy in this fraught political moment. The Elections Project also runs BPC’s Task Force on Elections. This group of 28 state and local election administrators seeks achievable, bipartisan policy solutions that can be implemented well across the country. The Task Force forms the basis of the Elections Project’s focus on state-based policy reforms for voting. 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.

Election Administrator, Bell County, Texas—From being an expert on election law to understanding election machine technology to being a detail-oriented person while still seeing the big event that is an election, the Elections Administrator must take ownership of the entire election process from start to finish. This position directs the daily operations of the elections office to ensure the lawful conduct and integrity of Federal, State, County, and local elections. The Elections Administrator performs the duties and functions of the Voter Registrar for the county; performs election-related duties as may be required by federal, state, and/or local law; is responsible for the conduct of elections, to include but is not limited to: preparing ballots, ordering ballots, furnishing and maintaining election equipment and supplies. Deadline: September 16. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Deputy Director, Oregon Secretary of State Office— In this critical management role in the Elections Division, you will be responsible for directing coordination, accessibility, and execution of Oregon’s nationally recognized vote by mail system. The primary purpose of this position is to assist the Division Director in the execution of the statutory responsibilities and general operations of the Elections Division. You will collaborate with the Elections Director and Elections Manager to develop the Division’s budget, organizational goals and objectives as well as advance the direction of the Division. As the subject matter expert, you will coordinate the conduct of elections at the state and local level. You will perform supervisory functions including, but not limited to: hiring, training/coaching, planning, assigning, prioritizing and reviewing work, evaluating performance, implementing disciplinary action and responding to complaints. In conjunction with the Director, you will act as liaison to the 36 counties across the state and oversee units closely related to public elections management. These are primarily: systems and databases required for elections management as well as processes, statutes, rules, and staff involved in management of the elections cycle, with a focus on initiative, referendum, and referral, and candidate procedures. Salary: Monthly range $6,941 – $11,276. Deadline: August 22. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Director, Boulder County, Colorado— The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has an opening for an Elections Director that serves at the pleasure of and reports directly to the elected Clerk and Recorder. The Elections Director position is within the Deputy of Elections job classification. The Elections Director is one of the office’s six Leadership Team members, third in command of the Clerk and Recorder organization and oversees a staff of twelve permanent Elections Staff members (and upwards of 600 election judges during certain election times). The Elections Division provides comprehensive elections services for Boulder County, including voter records, voter services, ballot processing, technical and logistical support, and end-to end election administration. Commitment to building an inclusive, forward looking, continual improvement, and supportive work culture is required. This position leads the team and is accountable for the execution of compliant, accurate, accessible and transparent elections for a county of nearly 250,000 voters. This position will ensure the integrity and accuracy of the election management processes in accordance with federal and state laws, Secretary of State rules and Clerk and Recorder policies. Salary: Hiring Range: $89,256 – $128,544. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Election Services Supervisor, Contra Costa County, California— Are you an innovator and high achiever? Service driven? Dedicated to quality? We are seeking an experienced election administration professional to plan and supervise warehouse operations in one of the state’s and nation’s largest counties. Contra Costa County has more than 700,000 registered voters and a population of 1.1 million. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Contra Costa County offers great salary and benefits in addition to a collaborative and fast paced work environment. If your election experience includes tremendous overtime during an election, be prepared for a new experience. As the Warehouse Operations Supervisor, you will: Direct operations at two warehouse locations; Monitor and maintain item inventory using an electronic inventory management system; Direct the preparation and packing of election supplies and equipment; Direct returned vote by mail ballot scanning and sorting process; Plan and oversee the collection of vote by mail ballots from secure drop boxes and USPS. Salary: $65,420.64 – $79,519.20. Deadline: August 22. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Executive Director, South Carolina Election Commission— The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the State Election Commission and has the responsibility for the overall direction and management of the Agency, ensuring the mission, goals and objectives are accomplished. The Executive Director also serves as the chief state election official for the State. The position has supervisory authority over county boards of voter registration and elections and is responsible for the oversight of the statewide voter registration system, conduct of elections, certification of election results, hearing election protests and appeals, statewide electronic voting system and administration of mandatory training and certification program for county election officials. Provides supervisory authority over county boards of registration and elections. Oversees statewide voter registration system, statewide voting system and other election related technologies used to conduct elections. Oversees a compliance audit program of county boards.  Keeps commission members informed about election related matters, commission meetings, election certifications and protests and appeals. Establishes policies and sets strategic direction of the agency. Works with public and private partners to protect the state’s critical election infrastructure. Ensures agency operates efficiently, cost effectively and according to state fiscal and human resources guidelines and state law. Oversees public relations and agency outreach efforts to ensure the agency maintains a positive public image. Serves as liaison with General Assembly. Attends legislative meetings, presents testimony and budget requests. Represents the agency with advocacy groups, political parties, partners and other customers. Oversees statewide training efforts for county and municipal election officials and poll workers. Seeks opportunities for agency growth, innovation and improvement. Salary: $114,933 – $178,168. Deadline: September 7. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Executive Director, National Vote at Home Institute— NVAHI (“Vote at Home”) is now accepting applications to fill its top leadership position of Executive Director. Vote at Home’s Executive Director will serve in a chief executive role and report directly to the board of the National Vote at Home Institute (a non-partisan, 501 c (3) organization). National Vote at Home Institute is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to making sure every American can vote in secure, safe, accessible, and equitable elections by expanding and improving vote by mail, absentee and early voting processes and supporting election officials, Secretary of States, Commissioners, and boards. The Vote at Home Executive Director shall be responsible for managing all aspects of the organizations’ operations, including: Strategy. Recommending, implementing, and effectively executing all VAH policies and key strategies and programs as approved by the board. Budget. Fundraising and budget administration, to ensure Vote at Home’s financial sustainability and the effective and efficient expenditure of available funds. Management. The proper management and supervision of all staff, contractors, and contracts to promote diversity and equity, ensure a collaborative and productive workplace, and comply fully with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Partnerships. The creation of collaborative partnership relationships with other key organizations and individuals to help promote and amplify VAH’s work. Communication. The effective communication, in a wide variety of public and private forums, of Vote at Home’s vision, mission, key strategies, and core messages. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Technical Specialist, Buncombe County, North Carolina— This position is part of a team managing physical election equipment and associated software. Primary responsibilities include preventative maintenance of voting machines, logic and accuracy testing, supply management, leading the mock election process, preparing laptops for voting locations, security monitoring, and in-house technology troubleshooting. The primary purpose of this position is to provide specialized technical work supporting election-specific systems related to voting equipment, elections software, audits, and precinct compliance. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication and organizational skills as this position requires significant coordination with outside departments and vendors. Responsibilities include budgeting and leading a team of personnel during elections to support voting locations. Overtime, including some weekends, is required during election periods. Warehouse management experience and IT experience preferred. Salary: $22.50-$29.81.  Deadline: Aug. 31. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Information Security Officer, Virginia Department of Elections— The State Board, through the Department of Elections (ELECT), shall supervise and coordinate the work of the county and city electoral boards and of the registrars to obtain uniformity in their practices and proceedings and legality and purity in all elections. It shall make rules and regulations and issue instructions and provide information consistent with the election laws to the electoral boards and registrars to promote the proper administration of election laws. Ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the administration of elections through the administration of the state-wide voter registration system, campaign finance disclosure application and other agency applications and solutions. Ensuring that the systems perform to the expectations of the users and conform to applicable federal and state laws and Board rules and regulations. Leads ELECT’s Information Security Program to ensure ELECT Systems remain confidential, integrity is maintained, and ELECT systems remain available for all users. Ensures ELECT systems meet federal, Commonwealth of Virginia and agency security standards. The position will work with ELECT development teams, network service providers and security staff of the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure security requirements are included in SDLC activities. Responsible for creating and maintaining security policies, artifacts, tracking vulnerability remediation and updating system security plans to meet changing business, security and technology requirements. Responsible implementing and monitoring security controls for ELECT’s information technology systems. Oversees Information Security Program, ELECT’s Data Privacy Program and ELECT’s Locality Security Program including Voting Systems and Voter Registration System Security. Salary: Up to $150,000.  Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Policy Analyst, Bipartisan Policty Center— BPC is currently seeking a Policy Analyst to support the work of the Elections Project. The Elections Project explores and analyzes the entire election ecosystem, from voter registration to casting a ballot to the counting and finalizing of results. Our goal is to help policymakers enact sustainable bipartisan policy reforms, informed by election officials, that improve the voting experience for a diverse electorate. The Policy Analyst will play a central role in the development and implementation of the Election Project’s research and advocacy priorities. This analyst role is new and will include all existing priorities of the Elections Project as well as build on newer efforts focused on federal voting reforms. The Policy Analyst must be well-versed in election administration, eager to promote free and fair elections through evidence-based policy research. The position will report to the Director of the Elections Project Matthew Weil and work closely with others on BPC’s elections team. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Poll Worker Coordinator, Hillsborough County, Florida— These may include but are not limited to poll worker record maintenance, developing process and writing procedures, training and mentoring temporary staff, implementation of services, and back-up to management on daily tasks and supervision of staff. Coordinate poll worker recruitment, assignments, and scheduling. Provide oversight, audit and instruction to temporary employees on data entry and maintenance of poll worker records. Process and audit poll worker applications entered into the database for accuracy. Process poll worker payroll and training related forms. Assist in analyzing and resolving issues with poll worker applications, assignment requests, training completions, and other Poll Worker Services areas. Provide supervision, training and instruction to temporary staff. Champion and implement paperless workflows using available technologies, resources and tools. Communicate internally with other department and outside agencies. Respond to poll worker inquiries via email, text message, phone, or face to face. Provide friendly, courteous customer service and resolve issues in a timely manner. Assist, as needed, with securing training facilities, Early Voting sites, and Election Day polling places. The Supervisor of Elections will require all applicants scheduled to attend an on-boarding session on or after August 30, 2021 to show proof of being fully vaccinated before their employment can begin. Fully vaccinated is two full weeks after final vaccination shot. Salary: $36,000-$46,000, Deadline: September 16. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Registrar of Voters, San Diego County, California— The Registrar of Voters of the County of San Diego is an executive management position reporting to the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer. The Registrar 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 provide access to the information needed to utilize the initiative, referendum, and recall petition processes. Salary:  $170,000 – $190,000. 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 Director of Election Security, CIS— CIS (Center for Internet Security) is the trusted guide to confidence in the connected world. CIS collaborates with the global security community to lead both government and private-sector entities to security solutions and resources. CIS is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The Senior Director of Elections Security works within the Operations and Security Services (OSS) Department at CIS and reports to the Vice President of Elections Operations. The Senior Director of Elections Security partners with key internal and external stakeholders and experts in the elections and standards communities to lead CIS efforts in developing best practices, processes, and tools to support the security of elections systems. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Vice President of Election Operations and Support, CIS— CIS (Center for Internet Security) is the trusted guide to confidence in the connected world. CIS collaborates with the global security community to lead both government and private-sector entities to security solutions and resources. CIS is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Reporting to the Executive Vice President for Operations and Security Services (OSS), the Vice President for Election Operations will oversee all elections-related efforts within CIS, most importantly the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) and related elections community support sponsored by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This position will also manage election-related projects and activities that are funded by third parties or self-funded by CIS. The Vice President for Election Operations will lead an organization comprised of the CIS staff working on election-related efforts and will be responsible for outreach to U.S. state, local, tribal, and territorial election offices as well as private sector companies, researchers, and nonprofit organizations involved in supporting elections. This position may work remote in the US, with travel to our offices in Albany, NY and Washington, DC as needed. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Voter Registration Specialist, Wake County, North Carolina Board of Elections— The Wake County Board of Elections is currently seeking an experienced customer service professional to join our Voter Registration Team. The ideal candidate will be a detail-oriented, data entry guru with exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills. As a part of the Voter Registration Team, you are responsible for connecting written information with computer data. Salary: Hiring Range: $17.49 – $23.60. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.


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