In Focus This Week
A primary interrupted
September 11, 2001 New York primary halted by terrorist attack
By M. Mindy Moretti
Primary election day on September 11, 2001 in New York dawned without a cloud in the sky. Temperatures were moderate, humidity was low, the sky was a cerulean blue. It was the kind of election day every official dreams of.
In New York City and a handful of other jurisdictions in the state, polls had opened without incident at 6am. The remainder of the polls in the state where elections were being held were set to open at 12pm.
On the ballot in New York City were Democratic and Republican primaries for mayor and numerous races for city council which had just expanded to 51 members.
Douglas A. Kellner, current co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, was Democratic commissioner from Manhattan on the New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE) at the time. Kellner, who typically spent election day out in the field visiting some of Manhattan’s 300+ polling sites was instead in a borough office monitoring a new trouble reporting system.
According to Kellner, the day started with only routine problems. Then, two hours and 46 minutes after polls opened in New York City, that dream of a picture perfect primary day quickly turned into a nightmare.
“The first plane crashed into the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. We had a clear view of the huge fire from our office about a mile away. We all assumed it was a horrible accident. Seventeen minutes later, I was looking out the window and saw the second plane flying low above the Hudson River and then crash into the other tower of the WTC,” Kellner said. “When we saw the second plane crash, nearly all of us immediately knew it was not an accident. We wanted to know more.”
Kellner said officials were desperate for news and so they eventually commandeered a television set from a modeling agency that shared the office building with the NYCBOE.
“We were receiving frantic calls from the field,” Kellner said. “Five poll sites near the World Trade Center had been evacuated or taken over by first responders. Poll workers throughout the borough were calling to ask whether they could shut down.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Wilkey, who was then executive director of the New York State Board of Elections, was in town from Albany for primary day. Wilkey said that while he typically arrives at the Board of Elections office for the opening of the polls, that morning he happened to be getting a later start.
“I was waiting for the car [at the hotel] and it didn’t come and didn’t come and my phone was ringing like crazy and I turned on the TV and looked out the window down towards lower Manhattan and thought ‘Oh My God,’” Wilkey said.
Back in the borough office, Kellner and his Republican counterpart Commissioner Fred Umane who was out in the field, began discussing what to do about the election given the fearful calls to the office and that Umane was reporting back about fears and concerns at the polling site he was visiting. Kellner said they understood only the mayor or the governor had the emergency power to close the polls.
“I telephoned the executive director at the general office of the New York City Board of Elections, just two short blocks from the World Trade Center,” Kellner said. “He agreed to help me reach the mayor’s office. That proved to be impossible. In the meantime, at 9:59, the South Tower collapsed. I learned about the collapse from the horrified screams of our clerks who watched it out the window. Two minutes later, the executive director telephoned me to say that the New York City Police Department was withdrawing their police officers from all poll sites.”
Kellner and Umane knew they had no legal authority to shut down the election, but they felt they had no alternative.
“I conferred with the judges assigned to election duty in our office, but they said they had no authority, and it would have to be our decision. I thought that this was one of those decisions that would end my career if I got it wrong. How could an election commissioner decide to cancel an election?” Kellner said. “We issued the directive to have the staff inform our poll site coordinators to shut down their poll sites in an orderly manner and direct the poll workers to go home. I telephoned the executive director to inform him of our decision. A few minutes later, he telephoned the Queens Supreme Court justice assigned to rule on all cases arising in the mayoral primaries. The judge verbally agreed to close all the poll sites throughout the city. Remarkably, just two minutes later we saw on national television the report that New York City had cancelled the primary election.”
Wilkey meanwhile was working the phones to Albany to both the governor’s office and the state board of elections office in an effort to get all polls closed that day and the election postponed. Gov. George Pataki eventually called a halt to voting that day.
According to Kellner, the debate over holding the replacement primary began even while the fires were still burning downtown.
“I emphasized that it was important for our democracy to reschedule the primary as soon as practically possible,” Kellner said. “A couple of days later, a special session of the State Legislature cancelled all votes cast on September 11 and reset the primary for September 25. They enacted special absentee ballot provisions to accommodate voters who lived in the downtown New York quarantine zone.”
A new election was scheduled for September 25 with a runoff on October 10.
“Watching the whole operation come together was amazing,” Wilkey said. “Not only were they [BOE staff] numbed by what had happened, but they had to immediately go to work and do this all over again. From my point of view, it was incredible and heroic.”
In short order, all the lever voting machines that survived that day — one polling place near Ground Zero suffered significant damage and one of those voting machines is now on display at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum — were returned, reset and prepared for the new election.
Kellner, said it was a herculean task for the board of elections to prepare for the new election during that short window. The board’s main office was in the quarantine zone and moved to a makeshift office under the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
A larger task facing the board of elections than the recalibration and quick redistribution was the fact that the firm that printed the poll books was located in the World Trade Center and the voter database records were lost. According to Kellner, it took a major effort to recover the backup from its Iron Mountain storage site and to print and distribute new books in time.
Additionally, the board of elections had to find replacements for poll sites taken over by emergency uses, those sites served about 100,000 Manhattan voters.
“We had a particularly difficult time arranging new poll sites for Greenwich Village; we had to close a street and erect tents for a poll site with 10,000 assigned voters,” Kellner said. “The police reported to us that there were credible threats of terrorist attacks at several poll sites located in major buildings. Everyone was on edge, but staff working non-stop for those two weeks were able to manage the logistics for the replacement primary. It was a major step to prove that New York could recover from the horrible tragedy.”
As if all this wasn’t enough the board of elections had to do most of this without their director. Daniel DeFrancesco, the board’s executive director at the time required surgery that could not be delayed.
“’Tom, I’ve got a problem. I talked to my doctor and postponing the surgery is not an option,’” Wilkey recalls DeFrancesco saying to him on September 12. Wilkey agreed to stay in the city and help as much as he could with preparations. Wilkey said the times he had to go down to the office or near Ground Zero were particularly emotional because at one point, the State Board had offices on the 33rd Floor of the South Tower and Wilkey was very familiar with the building and knew many people who worked there.
“I remember going back the following Monday or Tuesday [to the city board of elections office] and getting into that area you had to go through all kinds of security and when you got down there it looked like a war zone,” Wilkey said. “And you got out of the car, the air was still thick, still smoke from the debris, it was overpowering and you just stood there and looked. And then to get down there on the day of the runoff, they took groups of us down but it was like, oh my god, this once glorious building and all of the people….”
Wilkey said he fielded calls from elections officials all over the country with offers of help, but ultimately it was the NYCBOE staff that pulled off the election and runoff.
‘That office gets criticized for a lot of things,” Wilkey said. “Things are gonna happen and mistakes are gonna be made and I’ve seen them now through three separate crises [September 11, Super Storm Sandy, the pandemic] and they had to go in and put on an election, and I think sometimes those heroic efforts get overlooked and they need to be honored and congratulated.”
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Election News This Week
In Defense of Election Officials: With elections officials continuing to be threatened and harassed following the 2020 election, this week the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR) announced a new project to help. The Election Official Legal Defense Network (EOLDN) connects licensed, qualified, pro bono attorneys with election administrators who need advice or assistance in the face of threatened prosecutions or physical threats. Election workers from all over the country, at the state and local level, can contact EOLDN over the internet or by phone at any time, to request to be connected to a lawyer who can help them, at no cost. This service is available regardless of the election official’s political affiliation, or whether they work in a blue or red state or county. ”Election officials face an increasing wave of state laws subjecting them to criminal penalties for performing their professional duties, while at the same time facing threats of violence to themselves and their families,” CEIR Executive Director David Becker, and Bob Baur and Ben Ginsberg, co-chairs of EOLDN, said in a statement This comes in the wake of the 2020 election and its aftermath, despite that election being the most secure and transparent election in American history, with record turnout, during a global pandemic. These attacks on election officials, the referees in democracy, must be fought and election officials need to know they are not alone. The Election Officials Legal Defense Network will provide these public servants with the advice and protection they need, at no cost.”
The Ida Effect: This week, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin asked Gov. Jon Bell Edwards to delay the state’s fall elections in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Ardoin asked Bell to move the primary to November 13, which was the original runoff date for the October 9 election. Ardoin said the runoff should now be December 11. “A number of issues stemming from Hurricane Ida’s devastation, including questions about nursing home operations, postal service delivery, extensive power outages, polling location damages, and election commissioners and staff members still displaced, would make holding the election on its original dates virtually impossible without impairing the integrity of the election,” Ardoin said. Along with election day voting, early voting dates also will be pushed back. If past protocols are followed, and if the new primary date is Nov. 13, the new dates for early voting in the primary will be Oct. 30-Nov. 6, except for Sunday, Oct. 31. “The situation is a mess,” long-time Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer told Gambit, adding that he had recently asked Ardoin to recommend the delay. “We have more than a thousand poll commissioners scattered about, some with destroyed homes, and Lafitte and Grand Isle are just about destroyed.” Ardoin made his recommendation based on assessments conducted by local clerks of court, many of whom have seen their parishes devastated by the storm. During a federally declared emergency, Edwards has the authority to change the election date, in consultation with legislative leaders. Silas Lee, a sociology professor at Xavier University said postponing the election makes sense. “People are traumatized,” Lee says. “They’re focused on trying to rebuild their lives. There’s also a lot of displacement. When people leave their homes, which offer emotional and physical security, and their lives are disrupted by a sudden catastrophic disaster such as this, it causes what psychologists call ‘collective stress.’ It’s very intense. “In south and southeast Louisiana, they’re not focused on elections. They’re trying to regain their social footing. Many don’t even feel human right now. They’re challenged by the stress of living and trying to get services back. Everything is disrupted. It’s even more of a challenge because we have a natural disaster on top of Covid, which is still very much a factor. No word yet on whether or not Ida’s destruction will also impact November elections in New Jersey and New York City.
California Recall: Elections officials throughout the Golden State continued to prepare for next week’s recall election. In addition to processing ballots, manning early voting centers and getting ready for in-person voting on election day, officials are also combatting a torrent of mis- and disinformation about the recall. A leading candidate in the recall race and commentators on Fox News have recently raised the prospect of voter fraud and the California Republican Party has created an “election integrity” website for voters to report suspicious election activity aiming to “ensure every vote is counted and verified.” The propping-up of voter fraud claims in California is being fiercely criticized by one of original recall organizers who called the claims both false and a disservice to the state. “I think the people, the pundits of the world like Tomi Lahren and others who are fueling this fire, need to back off,” Randy Economy, a former Trump campaign volunteer who previously served as a key advisor and spokesman in the recall effort, told USA TODAY. “I think it’s most important for the candidates to make their case on why they should be the governor and why Newsom should go,” Economy told USA TODAY. “To continue to make this a circus-like atmosphere is not doing anybody any good.”
Ranking the Votes: An analysis by Politico has found that while 90 percent of Democratic voters in New York City used the new ranked choice voting system to pick a nominee for mayor, an economic divide emerged between those who adopted the practice fully and those who did not. According to the publication, analysis of recently released election data shows that some whiter, wealthier neighborhoods were more likely to employ the new ranking system than lower income areas of the city, many of which are home to Black, Latino and Asian communities. And voters in the south Bronx had a higher incidence of ballot mistakes, which invalidated some of their picks. Taken together, the data suggests a largely successful but uneven rollout of the new practice, which was pushed by the de Blasio administration and good government groups and influenced by the candidates themselves — some of whom likely swayed the behavior of their supporters. Overall, the vast majority of voters who weighed in on the Democratic nominees for mayor and comptroller filled out their ballots without incident. In most districts, less than 2 percent of ballots contained an error in which the voter tried to rank multiple candidates as one selection, which would have invalidated that particular ranking. But several neighborhoods in the South Bronx had a slightly higher share of erroneous ballots, and many overlapped with lower usage of ranked-choice voting.
Personnel News: Lisa Manning is no longer the White County, Georgia elections supervisor. Deborah Pereria has resigned as the Berkley, Massachusetts town clerk. Jessica Parker is the new Sullivan, Maine town clerk. Hanover Town Clerk Betsy McClain has retired. Mark Munroe is retiring from the Mahoning County, Ohio board of elections. DeKalb County, Illinois Clerk Doug Johnson announced that he will not be seeking re-election. James Blatchford is the new West Newbury, Massachusetts clerk. DeKalb County, Georgia Elections Director Erica Hamilton is on extended leave. Dwayne Harris is the new municipal clerk in Howell, New Jersey.
California: The Senate has approved legislation to make vote-by-mail permanent in the Golden State. The state Assembly voted to do that months ago. But because the Senate made some changes to the proposal, the Assembly must vote on it one more time before sending it to Newsom, who will decide whether to sign it into law. Republicans opposed the bill citing a recent incident in Los Angeles County where a man was found sleeping in his car with 300 unopened ballots for the Sept. 14 recall. California’s state government does not print and mail ballots. That job falls to the state’s 58 county governments, which vary in size and funding. Since most of the state’s more than 22 million registered voters already vote by mail, this bill — if it becomes law — would require an additional 2.3 million ballots to be mailed for statewide elections.
Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has signed SB1 into law. SB 1 is set to take effect three months after the special legislative session, in time for the 2022 primary elections. While SB 1 makes some changes that could expand access — namely increasing early voting hours in smaller, mostly Republican counties — the new law otherwise restricts how and when voters cast ballots. It specifically targets voting initiatives used by diverse, Democratic Harris County, the state’s most populous, by banning overnight early voting hours and drive-thru voting — both of which proved popular among voters of color last year. The new law also will ratchet up voting-by-mail rules in a state where the option is already significantly limited, give partisan poll watchers increased autonomy inside polling places by granting them free movement, and set new rules — and criminal penalties — for voter assistance. It also makes it a state jail felony for local election officials to proactively distribute applications for mail-in ballots, even if they are providing them to voters who automatically qualify to vote by mail or groups helping get out the vote.
In the waning hours of the second special legislative session, by a 17-14 vote the Senate approved Senate Bill 97 that would create a new county-level auditing process for elections and give all state or county party officials the ability to trigger mandatory reviews. It was filed by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who has acknowledged the Senate is “operating a little bit at warp speed” to move the legislation in the waning days of the special legislative session. The House never considered it, as time ran out on the special legislative session.
Wyoming: At a meeting of the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee in Sheridan, committee members: Voted to table a bill that would create open primaries in the state; Voted 8-5 against a bill that would have implemented ranked-choice voting. The committee will not sponsor it during the upcoming session, but an individual lawmaker could sponsor it; Voted 11-2 to introduce a bill that would give county clerks more time to process absentee ballots before Election Day; and Advanced two bills related to creating runoff elections to the committee’s next meeting, where members will decide whether it will get committee sponsorship. The draft bill would give county clerks more time to process absentee ballots before an election, allowing them to count absentee ballots beginning on the Thursday or Friday before Election Day, if needed. The votes still would not be made public in any way and would not be incorporated into the total vote count until after polls close on Election Day. Additionally, by a 7-6 vote, the committee voted to advance a bill shift the state’s elections to a runoff system, but not a ranked choice system.
Georgia: Rep. Philip Singleton (R-Sharpsburg) has joined a lawsuit seeking to bring Georgia’s electronic voting equipment into compliance with Georgia law. Filed by VoterGa.org, the suit alleges that the state’s voting machines, purchased in 2019, don’t comply with the 2019 state law that requires machines to produce a voter-verifiable paper trail. The suit asks for a declaratory judgement finding the machines do not comply with state law, as well as temporary and permanent injunctions against their use.
Hawaii: U.S. District Judge Jill Otake denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six former residents who claimed they were wrongfully denied their right to vote in the 2020 U.S. election because they moved to Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The plaintiffs in the case argued that had they moved to a foreign country they would have retained their right to vote in U.S. elections, but because they moved to non-state territories, they were wrongfully denied that right. The lawsuit was originally filed on behalf of Air Force veteran Randall Jay Reeves, who moved to Guam in 1996 to work for the Federal Aviation Administration, but lost his ability to vote after being transferred to Hawaii in 2002 before going back to Guam. Another plaintiff, Vicente “Ben” Borja, a Navy veteran who is now the lead plaintiff in the case, lived in Hawaii before moving to Guam in accordance with his wife’s dying wishes. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in October 2020 to challenge Hawaii’s Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act, or UOCAVA, enacted in 1986, which they claim violates their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the Constitution. The complaint notes that even citizens who have never set foot on U.S. soil are eligible to vote, yet former Hawaii residents who move to Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands or American Samoa, all legally considered U.S. territory, must currently forfeit that right. The defendants, which includes the federal government and Hawaii’s chief election officer, twice sought to have the case dismissed, claiming the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution
North Carolina: The state Court of Appeals blocked a lower-court ruling that would allow convicted felons who’ve finished their time behind bars but are still on probation or owe fines to register to vote in North Carolina. A divided three-judge panel said about 12 days ago that these people should be able to vote, and it issued a court order to that effect, opening the door for people in that situation to register. With Friday’s decision from the Court of Appeals, the state’s prohibition against felons voting until they have completed their entire sentence remains in place while the lawsuit runs its course. Plaintiffs in the case quickly asked the state Supreme Court to reverse the reversal, filing Friday afternoon for an immediate temporary stay. “Unless this court acts, over 56,000 people who have already been told they can legally vote will be disenfranchised, and the administration of North Carolina’s upcoming municipal elections will be thrown into confusion,” attorneys said in their filing. Here’s the status for now, and going forward unless the N.C. Supreme Court acts: People who have completely finished a felony sentence, including paying fines and finishing any supervised release, can vote in North Carolina, as has been the case for decades. People who have finished their active sentence, but are still on probation or still owe money, cannot vote.
Texas: In separate federal lawsuits filed in Austin and San Antonio, a coalition of groups that serve Texans of color and Texas with disabilities and Harris County sued the state over Senate Bill 1 before it was even signed into law, arguing it creates new hurdles and restrictions that will suppress voters and unconstitutionally discourage public officials and organizations from helping Texans exercise their right to vote. The lawsuits claim the legislation violates a broad range of federal laws — the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — and the First, 14th and 15th Amendments. “Egregiously, SB 1 takes particular aim at voters with disabilities, voters with limited English proficiency — who, in Texas, are also overwhelmingly voters of color — and the organizations that represent, assist, and support these voters,” the plaintiffs in the Austin lawsuit wrote in their complaint. The plaintiffs in the San Antonio lawsuit, which includes Harris County, also raise claims that lawmakers intentionally discriminated against voters of color in pushing the legislation. The plaintiffs attack head on the lack of evidence that fraud is a widespread problem in Texas elections. In the San Antonio lawsuit, they argue SB 1’s “additional burdens and restrictions” cannot be justified by invoking “unspecified and unproven voter fraud” when there is no proof that it occurs “beyond the very few examples already identified through Texas’s pre-existing processes and procedures.” “Rather … SB1 is a reaction to Texas’s changing electorate, which is now more racially diverse and younger than ever before,” they wrote in their complaint. The League of United American Citizens has also filed suit against the law in U.S. District Court in Austin. “LULAC strongly opposes this attack on our voting rights and freedoms because they have one and only one purpose: to dilute our voice at the ballot box and continue to stop electoral change in Texas,” LULAC National President Domingo Garcia said in an emailed statement. “Texas voters deserve fair, open, and transparent elections, not a process rigged to deny our communities, whose numbers are growing, the right to vote.”
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling that the state is on the hook for $6.8M in legal fees — the last vestige of the legal battle over the 2011 restrictions the state set on what forms of photo identification are accepted at the polls. The Texas attorney general’s office had appealed that lower court ruling, which found the plaintiffs in the litigation — Democratic U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, individual voters, voting and civil rights groups, the NAACP-Texas and the Texas House’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus, among others — were the “prevailing parties.” “It seems obvious that they are,” the 5th Circuit judges wrote Friday. “Plaintiffs successfully challenged the Texas photo ID requirement before our en banc court, and used that victory to secure a court order permanently preventing its enforcement during the elections in 2016 and 2017.” “The State of Texas obviously cannot go back in time and re-run the 2016 and 2017 elections under a photo ID requirement,” the 5th Circuit judges wrote in their Friday ruling.
Washington: Franklin County admitted this week that county commissioner elections violate a state voting law by discriminating against Latino voters. Now, attorneys for the county are asking for time to fix the system so it complies with the Washington Voting Rights Act, according to court documents filed this week The county has been accused of keeping Latino voters separated by voting districts and silenced by having at-large elections. “The size of the Latino population in Franklin County and the existence of polarized voting among its citizens is factually supported,” they wrote in the court documents. “To argue otherwise, Franklin County would have had to cherry-pick small, outlier precincts that stand contrary to the overall trends of the 105 precincts,” they wrote. While they agreed that the way commissioners are elected needs to change, they are asking for time to get input on how the districts should be redrawn. They are asking to have until Nov. 15 to present a proposal to the court.
Mobile Voting: This week, the University of California, Berkeley announced that it is assembling a group of cybersecurity experts and former election officials to study mobile voting and develop guidelines for its future use. The working group will be based out of Berkeley’s Center for Security in Policy, which will spend the next 12 to 18 months analyzing historical uses of internet-connected voting — including in several recent election cycles — and the feasibility of new technical standards that could offer greater layer. “I think it’s worthy of consideration,” said former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the center’s founder and head of the working group. “Given where technology is today, this is something that if it’s going to be used and used more widely, we need to make sure it’s used in the right way.” The group includes: Matt Masterson, a former senior adviser at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; Amber McReynolds, a former election director for the City of Denver who was recently named to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors; and Josh Benaloh, a senior cryptographer at Microsoft. “We want to be able to look at where it’s been conducted to see how it’s gone, and if more jurisdictions want to add mobile voting to their menu,” Napolitano told StateScoop. “It’s to provide a set of standards that can be used to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
Opinions This Week
Alabama: Federal legislation
Florida: Federal legislation
Maine: Election fraud
Maryland: Open primaries
Missouri: Ballot cure
Nebraska: Ballot review
North Carolina: Voting system
Utah: Federal election reform
West Virginia: Voting rights
Democracy, where do we go from here?: The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. They focus on connecting state officials, law enforcement leaders, and pro-democracy partners across America with the tools and expertise they need to safeguard our democracy. They are more than a think tank—they are an action tank. They are committed to making sure every vote is counted, every voice is heard, and every election is safe. This Spotlight Speaker Series will feature Ambassador Norman L. Eisen (ret.), the Co-Founder and Executive Chair of the States United Democracy Center and Joanna Lydgate is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the States United Democracy Center. When: September 13, 7pm Eastern. Where: Online.
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.
Ranked Choice Voting Citizen Engagement Forum: Curious if there might be better alternatives to our elections system? Been hearing about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and want to learn more? Join us as we tackle the topic through a nonpartisan lens, with an opportunity to have your questions answered by those most familiar with RCV. Our volunteer moderated panel includes Cara McCormick, co-founder of The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, the historic campaign that made Maine the first state in the nation to adopt ranked choice voting for its state and federal elections. When: September 28, 8pm Eastern. Where: Online.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
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.
Communications Liaison, 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. Participates in all aspects of the communications department, engaging in a wide range of community outreach efforts to register voters and provide information about voting and elections, as well as working on event planning, marketing, media outreach and candidate services. Salary: Salary starting $44,790. – $55,987. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Communications Manager, Sarasota County, Florida— This position of Communications Manager is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of communication initiatives for the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections. These communication efforts include sharing timely and relevant elections-related information with voters, media, government agencies and internal staff through written and electronic communication mediums. This nonpartisan and nonpolitical position supports the mission and responsibilities of the supervisor of elections, provides guidance and leadership to temporary and permanent office staff regarding all communications activities. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office— The Lt. Governor’s Office is seeking a Director of Elections to provide administrative leadership and management to the Elections Office. The Director of Elections oversees the coordination of elections administration with county clerks and municipal recorders. These activities include election official and poll worker training, voter registration, election result tabulation and canvassing, voter outreach and filing federal reports. Report directly and regularly to the Lieutenant Governor on all Director of Election duties, including election administration, legal, legislative, public outreach, campaign finance, lobbyist regulation, budget, and staff issues. Election Administration Duties: Interact with state, federal, county, and municipal officials to ensure efficiency; provide analysis and interpretation of election and reporting requirements under the law; Interpret, clarify, explain, and apply election policy and procedures, practices, federal and state laws and regulations, etc.; Coordinate with state political parties and candidates each cycle; Coordinate with 29 counties to unify election practices and provide training; Coordinate with federal partners such as EAC, FVAP, DOJ, DHS/CISA; Oversee the research and response to voter inquiries and complaints; Coordinate with state and federal partners to keep elections safe and secure; Oversee primary and general election preparation; Oversee candidate signature verification; and Oversee initiative and referendum process. Salary: $28.70 – $55.66 Hourly. Deadline: September 23. 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.
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.
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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