In Focus This Week
Lessons Learned from the 2020 Election
A new report produced for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
The 2020 election showed us a robust and resilient electoral system, according to a new report released today by the Election Data & Science Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The report, commissioned by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, evaluates the core functions of election administration in the 2020 election, with focused analysis on those parts for which data are available.
A record 160 million Americans voted in the 2020 election. For the first time in American history, over half of those votes were cast before Election Day. These historical markers exist alongside the logistical challenges faced by voters and election officials because of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges faced as the society and economy at large grappled with how to function in light of pervasive mobility restrictions and public health precautions.
We find the U.S. election system proved to be highly effective in the 2020 election despite being one of the most divisive and challenging elections in history. Even with record turnout and significant logistical hurdles for both voters and polling locations, the report finds that Americans overwhelmingly had a positive voting experience. Election officials avoided worker shortages and instituted safety measures that made Americans feel safe and generally enthusiastic about voting.
But the report also finds that vote-counting has been slowing down for 30 years, and the unprecedented cost of implementing safety measures at election caused chaos across federal, state and local governments. The vote-counting process after Election Day was also messy, with record numbers of mail-in ballots causing delays across the country.
The purpose of this report is to provide an account of how the American system of election administration responded to the significant barriers erected by the pandemic challenges. It is temporally bounded by the presidential primaries at the beginning of the calendar year and the certification of the results at the end. For the most part, the report relies on analyzing the mountain of data produced administering the election and during the period after it. The report is comprehensive in its scope, touching on voter registration, the conduct of in-person and mail voting, paying for the election, tabulating the vote, voting technology, and voter confidence.
The main lesson learned from the 2020 election is that the system was robust and resilient. Voters turned out at historical levels; they reported a positive experience when they did. This resilience had two principal sources, the hard work of election officials and the enthusiastic response of the society. In the end, members of the election administration profession developed a wide range of new capabilities and competencies; the society increased its sense of responsibility for the system’s robustness. One hopes that government and society at all levels will continue in this spirit over the coming years to improve the election administration system even more.
To view the report, visit https://electionlab.mit.edu/research/lessons-learned-2020-election.
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Election News This Week
Election Security News: This week, the Center for Internet Security, Inc. announced three new additions to the team to lead its elections security efforts. The names should be very familiar to everyone. Former Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar will head the CIS elections security mission as the vice president of election operations and support, Kentucky State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing will serve as the senior director of elections security and South Carolina Elections Director Marci Andino will assume a leadership role as the director of the EI-ISAC. “CIS is delighted to have Kathy Boockvar, Jared Dearing, and Marci Andino assume key leadership roles in our work supporting U.S. elections organizations,” said CIS President and Chief Executive Officer, John Gilligan. “Kathy, Jared, and Marci come to CIS with extensive recent experience advancing the security of our elections infrastructure, and we are thrilled to be able to leverage that experience for the benefit of our EI-ISAC members and the elections infrastructure at large.”
Vax and Vote: Attempting to increase voter turnout and COVID vaccination rates, Broward and Palm Beach County will offer both at early voting sites in the upcoming special primary election. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link and Broward Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott said they hope “Vote and Vax” helps bring about more voting and more vaccinations. “Many of the communities in District 20 have low vaccination rates. Vote & Vax is a great opportunity for Broward voters to elect their candidate and elect NOT to get COVID. The whole community wins,” Scott said via text message. The League of Women Voters of Florida praised the plans to combine vaccinations and voting. “We are thrilled that these opportunities will likely reach those in communities with lower vaccination rates. This decision made by local government officials has the opportunity to increase voter turnout and will benefit not only the health of community members but our overall democracy,” statewide communications manager Blake Summerlin said via email. After she read about vax and vote, Link said she reached out to Dr. Alina Alonso, the state health department director for Palm Beach County. Vax and vote will be offered at four Palm Beach County early voting sites starting the first day of early voting, Oct. 23. Though early voting runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Link said vaccinations would be offered starting at noon. Vote and vax will be offered at all six early voting sites in Broward. Consuelo Kelley, senior director of communications & policy at the Elections Office said arrangements are close to final for the state health department in Broward to administer the shots during all hours of early voting, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
An Update on Pumpkin: Just in time for PSL season, it’s time for an update on everyone’s favorite Pumpkin. electionline Weekly first wrote about Pumpkin the Elections Cat at the Athens County, Ohio board of elections in 2013 and then again 2017 and now it’s time for an update especially because Pumpkin seems to be even more famous! “People seem to be more interested in taking pictures of Pumpkin than in ballots,” Athens County Board of Election Director Debbie Quivey told the Athens News. Pumpkin has become quite the social media darling. A recent photo of Pumpkin having a disagreement with a dog passing the elections office garnered 3,000 likes and 300 retweets on Twitter. He even has a Pumpkin fan page on Instagram with over 5,000 followers. On Reddit, his photos regularly circulate in niche groups such as “cats with jobs” and recently received over 40,000 positive interactions on a photo of him with the caption “would you elect him.” Quivey said Pumpkin’s fame is the talk of the office, and his most recent confrontation with the dog was the talk (and source of laughter) among staff. “We can’t help it, we just think it’s so funny he’s so popular,” Quivey said.
Sticker News: Congratulations to Giuliana DiBenedetto, a sophomore at New Paltz High School in Ulster County, New York for winning the county’s “I Voted” sticker contest. State Sen. Mike Martucci, R-New Hampton, presented DiBenedetto with an official Senate Certificate. The Ulster County Legislature also awarded her the “Pride of Ulster” award for her design at their Aug. 17. DiBenedetto, who said in a press release she has always considered herself an artist, credited one of her “greatest teachers,” Todd Martin, for teaching students to use Google Draw in the classroom to enter the sticker competition. “Giuliana’s design was unique, creative, and fun,” Martin said in the release. “To me, it has a playful feel to it.” Speaking about her winning design, DiBenedetto said she included a loudspeaker because she wanted to express the idea that voting gives people a voice. “I believe that everyone should exercise their right to vote and express their opinion because in many other countries people don’t get to have a voice or an opinion,” she said. Wanting her design to be “a little quirky,” she decided to draw the letters instead of using a computerized font. The winning design took her roughly 40 minutes to create. More than 50 students submitted designs.
Congratulations! Congratulations to the City of Williamsburg, Virginia for winning the Virginia Municipal League’s 2021 Innovation Award in the category of risk managements for its drive-thru voting system during the 2020 election cycle. Over the course of five weeks, the City of Williamsburg’s Voter Registrar organized two drive-thru elections, merging Williamsburg’s two physical voting locations into a single drive-thru system at the Williamsburg Fire Department. “We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition from the Virginia Municipal League,” Director of Elections Tina Reitzel said. “It is a testament to the hard work and innovation of the City government and its dedicated employees, who not only designed, prepared, and implemented this drive-thru system, but served as election volunteers.”
Personnel News: Congratulations to Monmouth County, New Jersey Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon who has been sworn in as president of the Statewide Constitutional Officers Association. Beth Lechman is the new director of elections for Centre County, Pennsylvania. Linn County, Iowa Auditor Joel Miller has announced his bid for secretary of state. Athena Moorer is the new director of voter registration and elections for Bamberg County, South Carolina. Kim Roy is the new interim clerk for the town of Cohasset, Massachusetts. Alldrein Murray has joined the Chatham County, Georgia board of elections. Michael Owens has announced his run for Georgia secretary of state. Bob Aurandt has joined the Mahoning County, Ohio board of elections. Gerard Ramalho has announced his candidacy for Nevada secretary of state.
In Memoriam: Lynda Midgett, the longtime Dare County, North Carolina director of elections has died. She was 77. In addition to serving as the director of the board of elections, Midgett also served as the deputy tax collector for the county for a total of 30 years of service to Dare County. Midgett was active in the Town of Manteo, serving as Chairman of the Special Events Committee for July 4th, Lighting of the Christmas Tree, Dare County Christmas Parade, as well as coordinating Dare Day and being a part of that celebration from the beginning. She has served as Chairman of the Dare County Arts Council, Sea and Sound Arts Council, President of the Manteo Woman’s Club as well as Chairman of several State organizations. She prepared meals during hurricanes and other events that took place at Emergency Management for not only the control group but also others who were apart of the support team. She received the Key to the Town of Manteo on March 7, 2001 and was also honored by being named an Honorary Citizen.
Federal Legislation: U.S.Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in support of her bill to name the Cheyenne federal building after women’s rights pioneer Louisa Swain. The bill was unanimously approved by the committee today and will next be considered on the Senate floor. S. 2126 would rededicate the federal building located at 308 W 21st Street in Cheyenne, Wyoming in honor of Louisa Swain’s historic vote. In 1869, Wyoming became the first state or territory in the U.S. to continuously recognize women’s voting rights as equal to the voting rights of men, and Louisa Swain was the woman who cast the historic first vote under that law on September 6, 1870. At 70 years old, Swain – a Laramie resident – cast her vote in the general election of 1870, which was 50 years before women’s voting rights were recognized in the rest of the country.
Alaska: The Kenai, Alaska City Council approved election legislation that included the correction of absentee ballot affidavits, authorization for the city clerk to determine candidate qualifications and shorter retention of candidates’ personal information. In addition to codifying some of the city’s existing election processes, the new legislation also means the City of Kenai is more closely aligned with the Kenai Peninsula Borough regarding the administration of elections. The city already collaborates with the borough to administer municipal elections. The new code — Chapter 6 — contains 11 sections that outline, respectively, general provisions, voter qualifications, filing for office, administration of elections, polling site procedures, absentee voting, ballot counting procedures, canvassing and certification of election results, election recount, contest of election and special elections. The legislation, which Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz has described as the city being given a “blank slate,” completely repealed and replaced Kenai’s existing code related to elections. Heinz participated in a work session with the city council earlier this month in which she provided a sectional analysis of the new code and fielded questions from council members about the policy.
Florida: In 2007, 77.6% of city voters cast ballots in favor of a charter amendment that calls for the use of instant runoff voting in municipal races. Although the amendment was adopted, the city never made the change to ranked-choice ballots — because the necessary technology wasn’t available. This week the Sarasota city commission voted 4 to 1 to partner with Rank My Vote Florida to seek a declaratory judgment that affirms local governments have the authority to use ranked voting for their elections. A majority of the board supported the idea Monday, noting the electorate had codified a change to ranked-choice elections more than a decade ago. But on Tuesday, Commissioner Erik Arroyo expressed a desire to revisit that decision despite his vote in favor of the legal challenge. As a result, the city has not made a final decision on the declaratory judgment, and the commission will discuss the topic again at a future meeting.
Michigan: Wayne County Commissioners approved a pair of resolutions proposed by Commissioner Jonathan C. Kinloch (D-Detroit) supporting efforts to expand voting access and opposing a proposed ballot proposal that would essentially repeal a 2018 voter-approved initiative that reduced restrictions, specifically regarding absentee voting. “This sends a message that we stand up for access to the ballot box,” Kinloch said. The first resolution specifically supports the Advancing the Vote, Protecting Democracy agenda proposed by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The second opposes while the second opposes a ballot proposal currently under consideration that would not only overturn the 2018 initiative but prevent the governor from vetoing any new voter access restrictions. The vote on each resolution was 14-1, with Commissioner Terry Marecki (R-Livonia) casting the lone no vote in each instance.
Pennsylvania: The prime sponsor of a vetoed voting reform bill said he reintroduced the measure after Gov. Tom Wolf shifted his public opinion on some components of the legislation over the summer. Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said House Bill 1800 would bolster voting rights “through three broad concepts of increased access, increased security and modernization.” “We know access and security are not mutually exclusive,” he said. Grove began circulating a co-sponsorship memo for his bill, dubbed the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act, after Wolf told the Philadelphia Inquirer he “pre-judged” a prior version and refused to negotiate on it because he doubted GOP leaders’ sincerity.
Two bills, sponsored by Senator Scott Martin (R-13) were approved by the Senate State Government Committee The first of the two bills, Senate Bill 56, will require successful write-in candidates to receive at least the same number of write-in votes as would be required if they had filed signed nomination petitions. The second bill, Senate Bill 551, “amends the Pennsylvania Constitution to eliminate a mandate that requires a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines when voting for the retention of justices, judges or justices of the peace.” Both bills will now go to the full Senate for consideration. Since it is a constitutional amendment, Senate Bill 551, must pass both the House and the Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions before being placed on the ballot for voters. “It is important that we continue to take incremental steps to improve our elections,” Martin said. “We must ensure that we reduce ballot confusion, reduce wasted ballot space and provide the opportunity for qualified interested candidates to hold public office. These bills do just that.”
Sens. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Dave Argall (R-Pottsville) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow counties to begin pre-canvassing ballots three days in advance. New bar codes would track mail-in ballots and certain deadlines would be extended to help the counties. Right now, voters can request a mail-in ballot up to one week before Election Day, leaving a small amount of time to verify the voter, send out the ballot and get it back. The proposal would move that back to two weeks before Election Day if the ballot is being requested by mail and not in-person. The in-person deadline would stay at one week. SB878 was scheduled for a public hearing at press time and according to Argall, if all goes well, plans to call for a committee vote to advance the measure.
Wisconsin: A new state Assembly bill is proposing to move the Wisconsin Elections Commission from Madison to Wausau. State Rep. Steffen, R-Green Bay, one of eight sponsors for Assembly Bill 511, testified before the Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight at a public hearing on Wednesday. “By having (the Elections Commission offices) centrally located in the state, we can guarantee access to all candidates,” said Steffen. “It will save the state of Wisconsin taxpayers well over $100,000 every year. And it also provides an opportunity to take that very first step, one that has been attempted for well over a decade, to move our state government a little closer to people.” The Elections Commission is one of more than 60 state agencies and commissions. Under current state law, all commissions must be located in Madison. The bill’s sponsors argue that moving the offices to Wausau, where rents are cheaper, would save taxpayers money. In addition to cost saving, Steffen said the move to Wausau would benefit elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Come election season, all elected officials must submit their nomination papers in-person to the Elections Commission. Moving the offices closer to the geographic center of the state would make this easier, said Steffen.
Arizona: The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and Arizona Senate leaders have reached a settlement related to the review of the 2020 general election. The county will answer the Senate’s questions about its routers and will no longer seek Senate repayment for potentially compromised voting machines. The agreement, approved in a 4-1 vote by the county’s board of supervisors on Friday ends weeks of debate over the county potentially losing a large chunk of money from the state. The county will answer the Senate’s questions about its routers through a special master — former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg — who will have access to the routers and Splunk logs, which are logs showing internet activity. The agreement marks an end to months of quarreling between county and Senate leaders about the Senate’s review of the county’s 2020 election. The audit wrapped up in July, and results are expected Sept. 24. As part of the agreement, Fann will send a letter to Brnovich saying the county has now complied with the Senate’s outstanding subpoenas and no further action on his part is warranted. Also under the agreement: Shadegg will have the “sole authority” to hire one to three computer technology experts to assist him; The questions will be limited to the county’s routers and Splunk logs in relation to the election; Non-public information about the Sheriff’s Office or law enforcement, courts and personal identifying information will not be provided; The county will pay for the cost of the special master; and The county will provide any digital images of ballot envelopes demanded by the Senate, but not yet provided by the county.
Colorado: Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters has denied wrongdoing and requested to remain in her role overseeing elections this fall. Her attorney said Peters was well within her legal right to share information about the county’s Dominion Voting Systems equipment with a non-employee during an annual system upgrade. Data from the machines were featured in screenshots shared by QAnon supporters and released by the right-wing website Gateway Pundit, by those eager to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election. A court filing in response to an effort to remove Peters from overseeing elections in Mesa said the leak of information was not Peters’ intent, but rather she was trying to preserve records and to better analyze how the state conducted system updates. “Unfortunately, there was an unauthorized release of information on one or more publicly available web sites,” said a filing in District Court in Mesa County from attorney Scott Gessler. In the filing, Gessler, a Republican and former Colorado secretary of state, said the decision by current Secretary of State Jena Griswold to file a lawsuit to remove Peters from overseeing this fall’s election as a result was “wholly disproportionate” and violates Colorado law, “which vests local control over elections in a locally-elected official.”
Georgia: Superior Court Judge Brian Amero asked Georgia election investigators and the GBI to provide an update about any investigations into allegations involving the casting of counterfeit ballots in last year’s presidential election. Amero’s request came during a hearing on a lawsuit seeking to inspect about 147,000 absentee ballots cast in Fulton County in an effort to find fraud. “It is important to me that we know whether or not counterfeit ballots have been introduced into the mix,” Amero said in court. The lawsuit is based on sworn statements by two Republican election auditors who alleged there were “pristine” ballots with perfectly filled-in ovals during an audit in November. Two other Republican ballot counters claimed some absentee ballots lacked creases from folding ballots into envelopes. Amero put the lawsuit on hold for 20 days to give the secretary of state’s office and GBI time to respond. Amero previously dismissed the case against Fulton’s elections board and the county itself, but he allowed the lawsuit to continue against individual members of the elections board.
Kansas: Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson declined to block part of a controversial voting law from being enforced, rejecting arguments it could criminalize voter registration events conducted by civic organizations in Kansas. The ruling came two days after both parties sparred over HB 2183, which contains a range of provisions related to who can collect and return advance ballots, among other items. That bill is one of two new election laws passed this year under legal challenge from four groups — the League of Women Voters Kansas, Loud Light, Topeka Independent Living Resource Center and Kansas Appleseed — in state court. Their core objection centers on a provision in the bill that criminalizes impersonating an election official, arguing they have been forced to shut down their efforts to register Kansans to vote over fear they could be charged with a felony. They pushed to block that part of the law from being enforced so they can restart their work as the lawsuit moves forward. Watson rejected their core arguments in a 15-page ruling, noting the statute requires an individual “knowingly” misrepresent themselves as an election officer in order to break the law. Because the groups clearly identify themselves as non-governmental bodies, Watson wrote they wouldn’t run afoul of the law — even if an individual misinterpreted their purpose. She said the civic groups “downplay the word ‘knowingly’ … almost to the point of ignoring it.” She said this also undercut their claims that the law in question is overly sweeping and vaguely written. “The scenarios described by Plaintiffs in their affidavits do not help them,” Watson wrote.
Mississippi: The authors of Mississippi’s 1890 constitution had racist intent when they stripped voting rights from people convicted of some felonies because they chose crimes they thought were more likely to be committed by Black people, an attorney argued Wednesday in a federal appeals court. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should overturn most of Mississippi’s felon disenfranchisement plan, attorney Donald B. Verrilli Jr. argued on behalf of people with felony convictions. The case could affect thousands who have lost voting rights. “Because the 1890 provisions were unconstitutional, they were invalid from the moment that they’re enacted,” Verrilli said. Attorneys representing the state said Mississippi dropped burglary from the list of disenfranchising crimes in 1950 and added murder and rape to the list in 1968. They said in written arguments that those changes “cured any discriminatory taint on the original provision.” The Mississippi Constitution strips voting rights from people convicted of 10 felonies, including forgery, arson and bigamy. The state attorney general issued an opinion in 2009 that expanded the list to 22 crimes, including timber larceny, carjacking, felony-level shoplifting and felony-level bad check writing. In the case heard this week, the plaintiffs did not challenge disenfranchisement of people convicted of murder or rape. Judges asked several questions during the hourlong hearing but did not indicate how or when they might rule.
Montana: Labor organizations, disability rights advocates and voters have announced another lawsuit challenging a new state law that ends Election Day voter registration in Montana. The Montana Federation of Public Employees, Montana AFL-CIO, Montana Association of Centers for Independent Living and ten individual voters from around the state have filed suit in the state’s 8th Judicial District Court in Cascade County. They argue the elimination of same-day voter registration creates a particular burden for working people and those with disabilities. “House Bill 176 should never have been passed and signed into law,” said MFPE President Amanda Curtis in a statement. “The unconstitutional law is a slap in the face to more than 70,000 Montanans of every political stripe who have used election day registration and to the large bipartisan majority of Montanans who voted to maintain election day registration in 2014. Not only that, but HB 176 unfairly targets working Montanans, many of whom do not have the luxury to visit county election offices during regular business hours. We will do everything within our power to oppose this law on behalf of all working Montanans and their families.” The individual plaintiffs have all used same-day registration, and in many cases claim they would not have been able to vote if it had not been in place.
North Carolina: In a 2-1 decision, a panel of North Carolina judges struck down the state’s voter ID law, saying Republican lawmakers who passed it were motivated “at least in part by an unconstitutional intent to target African American voters.” The decision is another blow to nearly a decade of Republican efforts to require photo identification at the polls in North Carolina, but it’s not the final word. It likely will be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and there are two other cases pending – one in state court, one in federal – targeting the law. The decision doesn’t change anything at the ballot box for now, because the court had already forbidden the state from requiring photo ID at the polls while the issue works its way through the courts. Municipal elections scheduled for this fall were set to go without the requirement, despite a majority of North Carolina voters adding a photo ID requirement to the state constitution in a 2018 referendum. The judges, both Democrats, based their decision on much of the same logic used to strike down a previous North Carolina voter ID law, 2013’s House Bill 589. “In reaching this conclusion, we do not find that any member of the General Assembly who voted in favor of S.B. 824 harbors any racial animus or hatred towards African American voters,” the judges wrote. “But rather, as with H.B. 589, that the Republican majority ‘target[ed] voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party. Even if done for partisan ends, that constitute[s] racial discrimination.’” Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey, a Republican, said in his dissent that “not one scintilla of evidence was introduced” during the April trial “that any legislator acted with racially discriminatory intent,” and he noted the bill had support from a handful of black lawmakers as it moved through the legislature.
Pennsylvania: Democrats in Pennsylvania’s state Senate sued in a state court to block a Republican-approved subpoena seeking voter information and to put a stop to what Republicans call a “forensic investigation” of last year’s presidential election. Democrats had said they would sue within days after the Republican-controlled Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted Wednesday to issue a subpoena. The subpoena seeks detailed state election records, including communication with counties and the names of who voted in last year’s presidential election, their birth date, address, driver’s license number and the last four digits of their Social Security number. The 53-page lawsuit, filed by all 21 Senate Democrats, contends that the Senate Republican bid to investigate the election illegally treads on the court’s duties, violates state law over election audits and seeks information that is barred from public disclosure. “The latest ploy by the Senate Republicans is unprecedented and completely unwarranted,” Democrats said in a statement. “All aspects of the certified 2020 election have been thoroughly reviewed and adjudicated in the courts with no findings of irregularities or fraud. The timeframe to contest the 2020 certified election results is long overdue.”
Texas: Harris County will not have to throw out potentially thousands of ballots from people 65 and older who received unsolicited mail-in voting applications, after the Texas Supreme Court denied a petition from a conservative activist and others. Activist Steven Hotze, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, Houston ISD trustee candidate Gerry Munroe and a group of Harris County voters filed the petition earlier this month in an effort to keep Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria from sending more applications before the November election. Court documents show scans of applications the voters allegedly received in recent months without requesting them. The petition also asked the court to order Longoria’s office not to count any votes from people who received ballot applications without requesting one. “If the Legislature had wanted to require the clerk to send the application to vote early to all registered voters sixty-five or older, they could have done so,” the petitioners wrote. “Additionally, if they wanted the clerk to have this option, they could have provided it in the language of the statute. Instead, the Legislature limited the mandate to provide the application only to those who request it.”
Washington: In recent days, lawsuits have been filed in Snohomish, Whatcom and Clark counties alleging auditors used uncertified voting equipment and manipulated thousands of ballots in an unspecified statewide race last year. Each suit seeks a “full forensic audit” conducted in the same manner, and with the same technology, as one carried out in Arizona earlier this year — which has thus far yielded no evidence of widespread fraud. The legal pursuits in this state, expected to expand to more counties this week, are steered by Washington Election Integrity Coalition United, the lead plaintiff in the suits, and whose leader, Tamborine Borrelli of Gig Harbor, has crisscrossed the state in search of residents willing to join the effort.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voting rights, II, III | Federal election legislation, II, III | Joe Manchin, II | Voter fraud | The Big Lie | Amy Klobuchar | Election security funding | Same day registration |Election reform | Threat to democracy
Florida: Broward County
Kansas: Wyandotte County
Michigan: Election workers
Missouri: Jay Ashcroft
Montana: Federal election legislation
New Mexico: Election officials
New York: Election reform
Texas: Election integrity
Utah: Ranked choice voting
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.
Consultant, The Carter Center— The Democracy Program at The Carter Center works globally to support democratic elections and strengthen participatory democracy, consistent with human rights. The overarching objective is to enhance democratic governance and increase effective political participation for all, especially groups that have been historically disadvantaged or that face political, cultural, or socioeconomic barriers. This includes women, racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, youth, elderly people, and other marginalized groups. This consultant position will support the U.S. Election Project within the Democracy Program including a team of Carter Center staff and a consultant team, to conduct a short-term assessment of election related issues in Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, focusing on the electoral/political environment and the landscape for non-partisan election observation. Key Responsibilities; In close coordination with, and assisted by relevant project staff, participate in remote meetings with a broad range of relevant stakeholders in Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, or Michigan in order to provide expert analysis and advice to Carter Center staff on electoral developments and the landscape for non-partisan election observation in the state; Together with project staff, assist in identifying and contacting key stakeholders such as political leaders, election officials, and civil society representatives to organize remote meetings to inform the assessment; Prepare written talking points and background information in advance of meetings; In consultation with other project staff, collect data to inform planning for a potential election observation mission; Conduct other necessary prep work to support the assessment; Draft a 4-6 page report on the findings of the assessment mission including analysis on key electoral and political issues in Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, or Michigan and assist in drafting a 2-page trip report for Carter Center senior management; and Remain available for consultation (phone or email) as final decisions are made by Carter Center staff regarding project implementation in Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, or Michigan. 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.
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.
Registrar of Voters, San Joaquin County, California— San Joaquin County is seeking an experienced and dedicated professional to join the executive team to provide strong leadership and administrative oversight of the Registrar of Voters Office. This is an executive, department head level position which reports directly to the County Administrator and is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the work of the Registrar/Elections staff. The Registrar manages all phases of the election process and should have an in-depth understanding of the Elections Code and have demonstrated experience in management, supervision, employee development, budgets and activities of an Elections Office. The ideal candidate is expected to provide strategic management of the Registrar of Voters Office and must model strong work ethics and leadership skills, including accountability for oneself and others. Salary: $124,215- $150,984. Deadline: October 15. 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.
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Cuyahoga County, Ohio Board of Elections has approximately 1,000 poll booths available at no charge. If your county is interested in these poll booths, please contact Cuyahoga County at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216-443-6428.