In Focus This Week
Learning by Listening
How Qualitative Approaches Helps Research Understand Local Election Administration
By Paul Gronke
Professor of Political Science, Reed College
Director, Elections & Voting Information Center
Welcome to this second article in this three-part series from the Elections & Voting Information Center (EVIC) at Reed College highlighting developments in election science and the individuals conducting this critical work helps us to understand, improve, and advance the work of local election officials (LEOs).
Researchers Grace Gordon, policy analyst with the Elections Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), and Paul Manson, visiting assistant professor of political science at Reed College and research director at EVIC, are the subjects of this week’s article which recaps our recent chat about how they got involved in elections work, policy lessons from their recent research, and the value of “qualitative data” (non-numerical information drawn from first-hand observation, personal interviews, focus groups, and text responses from surveys) for helping us learn more about the people who conduct elections in the United States.
Paul Gronke (PG): Let’s start by discussing how you both got involved in elections work.
Grace Gordon (GG): My path to elections work was somewhat accidental. While getting my Master of Development Practice degree at Berkeley, I took a class that included a unit on cybersecurity and elections. I found it to be quite interesting and decided to do my capstone thesis on the online harassment of election officials. I quickly expanded that to include all types of harassment and threats that election officials experienced during the 2020 election. Guidance on this work from Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation (CVF) and Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County (California) Clerk and Registrar of Voters and CVF Board Chair was invaluable. And as I was doing my interviews with election officials, I realized how incredible the people are who work in elections – and how much I enjoy this work – so I decided to stick around. The final product of my capstone, Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials, is published on CVF’s website. That’s what led me to working with CVF, EVIC, and now BPC.
Paul Manson (PM): My path to elections was not quite as accidental as Grace’s. I was drawn into elections research as part of my PhD program in political science at Portland State University (PSU) where I served as Research Director for PSU’s Center for Public Service. Our center director was former Oregon Secretary of State Phil Keisling, who kicked off a lot of the vote-by-mail conversations we’ve had in the elections community over the past couple of decades. Phil and I would get together and chat about how to assess the impact of voting by mail. (Incidentally, Phil went on to found the National Vote at Home Institute where he currently serves on its board of directors.) That was my entry point, and then it became more formalized when I joined EVIC as a survey specialist to help administer our first Democracy Fund / EVIC at Reed College Local Election Official (LEO) Survey for the 2018 election. You’ve been stuck with me ever since, Paul!
PG: Grace, I know your interviews with LEOs touched on sensitive topics. How did you manage this difficult process?
GG: Like you said, Paul, the interviews were difficult. I was asking questions about threats and harassment and the impacts that they had on election officials in 2020. Looking back, I think that it’s hard to ask questions to strangers which are personal and can expose their vulnerability. Just look at some of the responses [shown below] that I highlighted in my report. Building trust and rapport was important, as was approaching these conversations from a place of care, empathy, and kindness. I’m thankful that the election officials with whom I spoke were willing to talk to me even though I was a graduate student and new to this space. It was a challenging experience for all of us and demonstrated that election officials have a wonderful ability to build connections, in spite of incredible stress and challenges that come with their jobs.
“I’ve heard and been told that I’m going to be picked up at any time and thrown in jail.”
“[I received] voicemails that said, ‘You’re going to rot in hell,’ ‘Don’t ever send me one of those damn things [vote by mail ballots] again,’ and ‘You’re going to get yours.'”
“A very few people left voicemails that concluded with some kind of threat like, ‘You’ll be sorry if you don’t,’ or ‘We’re coming for you if you don’t.'”
PG: Paul, tell us about some of the other work you do outside of the election space.
PM: I conduct public opinion research on environmental policy issues and disaster planning–essentially, questions about how the Pacific Northwest can prepare for a massive earthquake. I really see a lot of similarities between this work and my work in the elections space. Election administration and disaster preparedness are both administered locally, but with national impacts. They come down to local choices, personal perspectives, and whether we take science and expertise seriously.
PG: Let’s discuss the policy implications of your research. Grace, what would you say are the primary takeaways from your report?
GG: I think that the main takeaway is the desperate need for consistent funding in election administration. There is also a need for protections for election officials, including law enforcement protections. While there is a lot of work being done at the state and local levels on this issue, in addition to discussions at the federal level, much more focus is needed. Community- and network-building are also extremely important. The importance of state associations and continuing to bolster and support those networks cannot be overstated.
Lastly, the massive, thorny problem of combating mis-, dis-, and mal-information, which is going to continue to present a major problem going forward as our whole democracy works to grapple with this overarching issue.
PG: Paul, the paper that you presented at the recent Southern Political Science Association conference, The Stewards Speak: “One Change” to Improve Election Administration, and on which Grace also serves as co-author, is more traditional political science work. Are there policy lessons from this work?
PM: Absolutely! Echoing Grace, funding and resources were at the top of the list of things that LEOs mentioned when asked what “one change” could be made to improve elections. Resources can mean many things, however. We saw this with the shift to voting by mail as some LEOs told us that the resource needed in 2020 was physical space to store the paper. Broadly speaking, however, funding, resources, and capacity were the number one concern, voiced in different ways by different LEOs [shown below].
The second concern that jumps out in the LEO comments is what the public administration field calls “vertical relations.” Simply put, this is a desire among LEOs for more engagement with the rulemaking and legislative processes. Grounded knowledge about the nuts and bolts of elections can help inform choices being made at all levels. Finding ways to have early and regular engagement with LEOs in the policy making process is key.
The third takeaway is one we have referenced before in our LEO Survey reports: there is an enormous level of diversity among LEOs in terms of jurisdiction size, legal environments, and consequently, the problems they face. LEOs work in jurisdictions with over a quarter million voters and less than 5,000 voters. These are different worlds with different concerns, but they are united in wanting to do their jobs well and support democracy.
PG: I want to turn to qualitative research, which both of you did in your papers. In our first article of this electionline series, we profiled scholars doing complex quantitative analysis. Paul, why does it matter that we also have a qualitative perspective?
PM: I don’t think it’s useful to create false divides between quantitative and qualitative research. Sometimes we treat the first as rigorous and objective and the other as casual and subjective. In reality, qualitative research can be highly rigorous, and both Grace and I were very rigorous in our approach. Qualitative research is also very important when conducting research in areas which are experiencing rapid change. We know that in elections, for example, it’s sometimes hard to predict what will arise. That makes it difficult for a quantitative researcher to construct the right survey question or build the right analysis tool when they aren’t even sure of the specific issue. A qualitative, hands-on approach to research can help to identify emerging problems and surface issues that may be initially hard to measure. Qualitative research allows for local election officials to lead the research.
PG: Grace, what are you working on at BPC currently, and what do you see coming up in 2022?
GG: My role at BPC focuses on federal election reforms. The most recent paper that we issued is a collaboration with four other nonprofit think tanks across the political spectrum. In Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, we showed what it can look like when people come together and work to bridge divides. This paper shows that there is room for bipartisan consensus on election reforms and best practices in election administration. I’m also working on a paper with the Election Reformers Network called The Dangers of Partisan Incentives for Election Officials, an issue that I’m continuing to follow. Finally, BPC is spending a lot of time on the funding issue, and I hope action will occur at the federal level.
PG: Paul, what’s coming up next for you aside from midterm exams at Reed?
PM: EVIC is gearing up for the 2022 LEO Survey. Additionally, we hope to do some retrospective work on what will be four years of LEO Survey data, looking at trends over time. It’s been a busy four years and it’s not slowing down! Outside of the election research field, I am also working with Chris Koski at Reed College to wrap up a national survey that assesses perspectives on various policy tools to address climate change.
In closing, I offer many thanks to Paul and Grace for the wonderful conversation, and to Mindy and electionline for this opportunity to highlight them. In our final article in this three-part series, we’ll talk with another group of election science researchers about their work. Thanks for reading!
Daily News and Weekly Temporary Schedule Changes
OK, we’re going to give this a try once more…
From March 25-April 5, the Daily News will continue to post every weekday, but times may (will) vary due to international travel. The Weekly will post on March 31, but it may post later than normal.
Thanks for your patience. It’s been 885 days since electionline has been posted from an undisclosed foreign location let’s hope this never happens again.
NIST Voting Accessiblity Publication
NIST finalizes recommendations on removing barriers for voters with disabilities
Response to White House EO, provides insights to improve accessibility for voters.
To help improve access to voting, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has finalized its publication outlining barriers that limit the ability of people with disabilities to vote privately and independently — as well as recommending approaches for addressing them.
The publication, titled Promoting Access to Voting: Recommendations for Addressing Barriers to Private and Independent Voting for People with Disabilities (NIST Special Publication 1273), constitutes NIST’s response to the March 7, 2021, Executive Order (EO) 14019 on Promoting Access to Voting. NIST developed the report following an initial request for information and a subsequent request for comments on the draft version, both of which drew many responses from the public.
“We received 387 relevant comments from 64 different respondents to the draft,” said Kerrianne Buchanan, a NIST social scientist and one of the report’s authors. “It was a diverse group ranging from disability advocacy groups to voting technology vendors. We also heard from about 20 individuals who shared their experiences with the voting process.”
Buchanan said that the comments served primarily to clarify and expand on points the draft version had included.
“We made no major changes to the overall structure of the document as a result of the comments,” Buchanan said. “No one indicated we had overlooked any key barriers. The public input was very thoughtful and helpful to us in creating a final report that refined our terminology and emphasized how certain barriers might apply to specific groups of voters. It affirmed our development process.”
One of the core assertions the NIST authors encountered during the publication’s development was that many barriers exist for voters across a wide range of disabilities. The publication identifies about two dozen specific barriers, ranging from limitations of current voting technology in prioritizing accessibility to lack of effective training for poll workers regarding the needs of voters with disabilities.
As with the draft, the final version is organized into sections that present different classes of barriers followed by potential means of addressing them. Section 2 concerns several systemic barriers that people with disabilities may encounter across the voting process. Sections 3 to 7 each focus on a specific part of the voting process mentioned by name in Section 7 of the EO. These include voter registration and the National Mail Voter Registration Form; vote-by-mail; use of voting technology for in-person voting; voting at polling locations; and training and documentation for poll workers.
Readers may be interested in the newly added introductory Executive Summary as well as Appendix IV, which condenses all the barriers and recommendations into three pages, making it easier to find more details on a given topic in the main text.
The publication also makes recommendations for how to address the issues it raises. Section 2 offers specific actions that state/local election officials can take, including establishing formal partnerships with the disability community and providing information through a variety of channels and accessible formats.
“We also acknowledge that to really promote access to voting, all stakeholders should be at the table together to enact many of the recommendations,” Buchanan said. “We make recommendations where multidisciplinary research teams can improve voting technology to prioritize accessibility.”
The finalized document is available here.
Media Contact: Chad Boutin, email@example.com, (301) 975-4261
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Election News This Week
Congressional Probe: The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the partisan “audit” in Otero County, New Mexico of the 2020 election results. The committee issued a letter to the head of EchoMail, one of the contractors involved in Arizona’s partisan ballot review, requesting the private company produce documents and information regarding its forensic “audit” of by the end of March. The committee said it is looking into potential intimidation by volunteers from a conspiracist group who are going door to door canvassing voters in Otero County and asking intrusive questions. The canvass is already underway, according to lawmakers, and more than 60 county residents have contacted state and local officials expressing concerns about interactions with the canvassers. The committee’s letter was penned to EchoMail founder V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who has previously participated in advancing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election as well as his own loss in a Massachusetts state Senate race. The House Oversight Committee said EchoMail has until March 31 to respond to its letter and hand over the documents requested in the New Mexico probe. “The Committee is investigating whether your company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters,” the letter said.
Florida Recounts: Beaches, alligators and Disney are just some of the things the Sunshine State are known for. It’s also known for recounts. In 2020 the Legislature gave counties the option of using a feature of voting systems to conduct more streamlined recounts. Instead of scanning every paper ballot and manually recounting a fraction of those ballots, counties could use digital images of every paper ballot to recount votes. These images are created when ballots are scanned and are the first step in counting votes. The Florida Division of Elections has begun drafting rules for ballot-image recounts. According to Stephen Rosenfeld, writing for The Fulcurm, it’s unclear yet when these new rules will be in place but he recently spoke with Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Aventura) about the intent of the law and what it could mean for future recounts in Florida.
Election Observers: In a recently released report, the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s David Levine and the Carter Center’s Avery Davis-Roberts make the case in How More Robust Election Observation Could Help Save U.S. Elections that more nonpartisan observation is critical to ensuring the integrity of future elections and provide steps for improving nonpartisan observation, beginning with the 2022 midterms. The report suggests that nonpartisan observation can: provide an opportunity for the public to learn directly about the election process and give them greater faith that elections are free and fair; check bad-faith actors actively seeking to undermine confidence in U.S. elections through improper actions or baseless assertions about election rigging and malfeasance; and provide important information to those on the front lines of elections as they strive to continuously improve their election processes.
BPC at SXSW: Earlier this month, Bipartisan Policy Center tech and elections fellow Katie Harbath led a presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW): The Future of Democracy – How Tech Will Shape Elections. Here’s an excerpt: The corporate world – and tech in general – can move a lot faster than governments or civil society can in building, implementing, scaling and iterating on many of these solutions. We need to be encouraging more companies, not less, to work on building potential solutions as well as working with researchers to study the effects of them. This will require finding ways to share data that is privacy safe. Some efforts – such as differential privacy – are being developed, but there is still work to be done. Moreover, companies need to be doing more to help where they can in getting people the right information they need in order to be a part of the political process from registering to vote to knowing where their polling place is, what documentation they need to bring and what their rights are. I’m proud of the work Facebook and other tech companies have done in this space and just like government, the private sector and civil society came together after 2016 to combat foreign interference and frankly like we are seeing today regarding what is happening in Ukraine, we need to do the same to determine how to handle domestic actors who want to disrupt democracy. You can read Katie’s full speech and view the slides from her presentation here.
Personnel News: Susan Beals has been appointed the new commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections. Judith West has been sworn in as a new member of the Transylvania County, North Carolina board of elections. After more than 30 years as Salt Lake County, Utah Clerk, Sherri Swensen has announced she will not seek re-election. Nora Waters has been named elections supervisor in Stephens County, Georgia. Sarah Knoell has been named deputy director of elections for Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Kelli Hines has resigned as the Greene County, Pennsylvania director of elections less than two months after being selected to the roll. She will be replaced by Tammi Watson. Mary Blair-Hoeft has been appointed elections and records director for Olmsted County, Minnesota. Lynn Pepper has resigned as clerk in Eagle, Wisconsin. Marine City, Michigan Clerk Kristen Baxter is retiring.
Election Security Updates
News from CISA: In partnership with the FBI, CISA released the Security Resources for the Election Infrastructure Subsector: “Everyday election security officials face far-ranging risks – from protecting their networks and systems from bad actors to maintaining physical security of election facilities and workers, and debunking false information. As part of our mission to enhance the security and resilience of election infrastructure, CISA offers services, guidance, and support to election security officials across the country. The fact sheet released today by CISA and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation is an interagency catalog of of physical security guidance documents, tools, services, and other resources to help election officials secure their physical safety particularly focusing on tools to help them protect their offices and staff. It’s one of many resources we make available to election security officials and can be found at CISA.gov/election-security.” For this product and additional election resources, visit: CISA.gov/election-security-library
Alabama: A bill approved by the House would criminalize pre-filling information on absentee ballot applications and voter registration forms for other voters. HB63, sponsored by Rep. Debby Wood, R-Valley, passed 73 to 28 along party lines. However, Democrats were able to impact the bill, as Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika, brought forward an amendment downgrading the criminal charges from a Class C felony to a Class A misdemeanor. Wood said the bill is designed to prevent voter fraud and keep elections secure. The bill specifically allows applications and registrations to be pre-filled with the voter’s consent. Wood said this bill is only to stop people and groups from filling out forms unsolicited and sending them out. Democrats have expressed concerns that the bill could result in the criminalization of individuals who are just helping a family member or friend in the voting process. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Arizona: The Senate Government Committee has approved House Bill 2289. Under House Bill 2289, voters could only cast a ballot in person on Election Day at the polling place in their precinct. Absentee voting would be limited to voters who are going to be outside the state on Election Day, are in a hospital or nursing home, have blindness or are in the armed forces. Currently about 88 percent of Arizona voters cast their ballots early or by mail. “Just because it is convenient to vote by mail doesn’t mean that is our right,” Sen. Wend Rogers (R) told the committee. Opponents, like Democratic Senator Martín Quezada, argued the bill would disenfranchise many voters across the political spectrum. “Requiring people to show up to vote harms the working class, it harms folks who can’t afford to take time off from work and not get paid, it harms people who have no reliable transportation, it harms people who have no reliable day care,” he said. The committee advanced the bill by 4-3 vote along party lines.
The Government Elections Committee passed a bill that would require voting drop boxes to be monitored. Ballots cast at drop boxes that are not watched could not be counted by county recorders. In the absence of a person to monitor the box, the bill would require 24-hour video surveillance. The measure has already passed the House and now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
Under House Bill 2780 every voter who casts a ballot would have their name and address published online by election officials. The secretary of state would also have to say whether each voter cast their ballot early or in person on Election Day. Under the legislation, county recorders would be required to post a list of the names and addresses of all eligible voters on the county’s website 10 days before primary and general elections. That list would include both active and inactive voters. When the bill was approved last month by the House of Representatives, county election officials would have also been required to publish the names, addresses and method of voting for every voter who cast a ballot after every election. But Republicans on the Government Committee amended the bill to shift that responsibility to the secretary of state, who would publish that information for all Arizona voters after each election. The bill would also require all ballot images to be published, along with a way to link those ballot images to the post-election publication of voters names. The committee approved the bill on a 4-2 party-line vote. Its next stop is the Senate floor, where it will be considered by the full chamber.
Colorado: Colorado’s ‘Vote Without Fear’ act passed the Legislature and moved on to the Governor’s desk this week. The bill, which would prohibit people from “openly” carrying a firearm within 100 feet of a voting center, drop box or counting facility during any election, is meant to further protect Coloradans’ right to vote. “When we protect Colorado voters from intimidation at the ballot box, we protect democracy,” said Jena Griswold, Colorado’s Secretary of State. “I am proud of this important legislation which will safeguard Colorado voters’ right to cast a ballot without intimidation or interference regardless of their zip code, political affiliation, or race.” If it is passed into law, infringement upon this firearm prohibition near voting centers could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 364 days in the county jail, or both, according to the bill’s summary. There are exceptions for first-time offenses.
Connecticut: The Senate has approved a bill that would expand absentee voting. The bill was approved 30-4 after a 41/2-hour debate. Any amendment accepted by the Senate would have sent the legislation back to the House, which passed the bill in a bipartisan 126-16 vote last week. Sen. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott) made eight attempts to rewrite the bill but all attempts at an amendment failed. The new law would allow voters to apply for absentee ballots even if they were worried about possible sickness or physical disability of others, rather than their individual sickness. Under the bill, qualified voters could also cast mail-in ballots because of their absence from their city or town during part of election days.
Hawaii: The Hawaii Senate Committee on Judiciary amended a bill that would have required state elections officials to compile a voter’s guide that could cost up to $2.5 million. House Bill 124 would have required the guide to be published for this year’s elections. The committee moved the bill’s effective date to Jan. 1, 2023, in time for the 2024 elections. The guide would consist of 150-word statements from candidates running for statewide or federal offices. The candidate statements would be translated into languages covered by the Voting Rights Act, according to written testimony from Scott Nago, the state’s chief election officer. The committee agreed to add a Hawaiian translation. The legislation allows the state elections office to distribute the guide by “whatever means is practical.” Publishing the guide, translating it and mailing it to voters would cost more than $2.5 million for both the primary and general election, according to Nago’s testimony. The cost for publishing the guide online would be more than $119,000 for both elections. The committee removed the references to appropriations from the bill since its effective date would not be until 2023.
Idaho: Republican Sen. Patti Anne Lodge chairs the Senate State Affairs Committee made clear that legislation eliminated drop boxes and similar drop-off locations will not a get a hearing the committee she chairs rendering the legislation, which was approved by the House, dead in the Senate. Lodge said she received thousands of emails opposed to the legislation, “especially from people with disabilities, elderly people, and people with children who couldn’t wait in line.” Lodge, who is retiring this year after serving 11 terms, declined to specifically say the bill won’t get a hearing, but twice said, “I think it’s obvious what’s going to happen with the bill,” when pressed for a definitive answer. Backers of the bill said drop boxes are susceptible to theft and arson. Opponents said drop boxes are especially useful in rural areas, and the measure could eliminate the U.S. Post Office as a place to drop off ballots.
Kansas: The Senate has given tentative approval to Senate Bill 390 that would compel county election workers to account for provisional, spoiled, blank and counted ballots under threat of felony prosecution. The affidavit mandate would supplement existing law guiding transporting, preserving and destroying ballots and election records. A person allegedly providing false information to hinder, prevent or defeat a fair election could be subject to arrest and a sentence ranging from probation to months in jail. Sen. Richard Hilderbrand, who sponsored the bill, said, “There is still the human-error element in everything we do. Any time we can secure and insure fair elections, that every vote legally cast is counted, we owe it to our constituents.” Sen. Ethan Corson (D-Fairway) noted that the bill was not championed by any state or local elections officials. “We are, I think, improperly inserting ourselves into a really complicated system,” Corson said. “We have secure elections. There is not a problem.”
Following several hours of debate, the Senate has voted to limit the use of early voting ballot drop boxes and shorten the amount of time mail-in ballots have to arrive after Election Day. The chamber voted 22 to 17 to approve a bill limiting counties to one ballot drop box per 30,000 people, requiring monitoring of boxes when open and eliminating a 3-day post-election grace period for mail-in ballots to arrive. The measure, which fell five votes short of a veto-proof majority, now heads to the House where lawmakers voted down a similar bill eliminating the grace period in committee. Johnson and Wyandotte Counties would retain their current number of drop boxes under the bill, but they would need to operate only during business hours rather than be open for drop offs around the clock. Furthermore, those boxes, which are placed around the county, would need an election worker manning them at all times.
Maine: House Democrats gave initial approval to a bill that would allow all of Maine’s municipalities to adopt ranked-choice voting. Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, said that currently, only a relatively small number of cities and larger towns have charters that govern election rules, which would allow them to adopt ranked-choice voting. His bill would expand that right to the 413 Maine municipalities that do not have official charters and are instead governed by state law, which requires them to decide elections through a plurality vote. Berry, the bill’s sponsor, said passage of the bill would not force any of the state’s 488 municipalities to adopt ranked-choice voting. He framed the issue as a matter of local control for the vast majority of towns that do not have formal charters. The bill passed in the House on Tuesday by a vote of 75 to 61, with Republicans opposed. It now heads to the Senate.
Michigan: The Senate voted 22-16 to pass House Bills 4127 and 4128, which would require the Secretary of State to remove voters who don’t respond to a letter notifying them they need to update their birthdate or who haven’t voted since 2000 from the state’s Qualified Voter File.
Another bill, Senate Bill 279, also passed with a 22-16 vote and would allow poll watchers to take shifts at polling stations. The bill’s sponsor is the state’s former secretary of state, Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, who said poll watchers are not allowed back to take a break and exit polling places.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules delayed until after the November election rules that will tell Michigan election clerks how to match the signatures of people applying for and submitting absentee ballots. The committee’s maneuver to propose bills keeps the regulations from taking effect for nine months. The rules drafted by the state elections bureau eventually will go into effect because Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, would likely veto Republicans’ alternative legislation.
Dearborn, Michigan: By a 7-0 vote, the Dearborn City Council has approved a resolution requiring that ballots and other election materials be translated into Arabic. The council voted in favor of the resolution introduced by Councilman Mustapha Hammoud that will mandate translation into the Arabic language “all official ballots, notices, absentee ballot applications, registration forms, appropriate signage, and affidavits.” The resolution does not mention Arabic specifically, but says translation will be required for any language that is spoken by at least 5% of the city’s population or 10,000 residents. Arabic is the only language that currently meets that requirement, according to the latest census data.
Montana: Legislators will be polled this spring, to find out whether they want to hold a special session to set up a committee on election integrity. Ten Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, requesting that she ask legislators whether they support or oppose a special session on May 2. The lawmakers want to propose a “Select Special Interim Joint House and Senate Committee of Election Security,” to investigate the state’s election procedures. In their letter, they pointed to “the continuing and widespread belief, among a significant majority of Montana voters, that sufficient irregularities in election security in Montana create serious doubt as to the integrity of elections in our State.” The lawmakers said the committee should have subpoena powers and come with funding for legal staff and frequent meetings. They said a special session should be held in May because the Legislature needs “as much time as possible to determine the integrity of the election system” before the June 7 primary.
Washoe County, Nevada: Washoe County commissioners voted 4-1 to reject a resolution proposing sweeping changes to the county’s election system, including moving to almost all-paper ballots and requiring counting be done by hand, but left the door open for further consideration of the proposals. Legal analyses of Herman’s resolution conducted by Washoe County district attorney’s office staff and Legislative Counsel Bureau staff found several proposed changes — such as ensuring voter registrations expire every five years and ensuring there are “bipartisan teams” approved by the central committees of primary political parties that would oversee various portions of the electoral process, including manning ballot boxes and verifying signatures — would require changes to state law enacted by the Legislature. According to The Nevada Independent, the decision came after about six hours of heated public comment on the election resolution, featuring supporters who claimed the 2020 election was fraudulent and said the changes would improve election security, and opponents who argued the resolution represented a form of voter suppression that would make it more difficult to engage in the county’s elections and who pointed to the high costs of the proposal.
Tennessee: A Senate committee will take up a bill to create a polling place pilot program in Davidson County jails, giving eligible inmates easier access to vote. his bill makes it through the legislature, the pilot program would be a collaboration between Metro Council, the Secretary of State, and the Davidson County sheriff. Here’s what the bill would do: Create a polling place pilot program in Davidson County jails to provide eligible inmates the opportunity to vote. Allow only residents of Davidson County who are in custody at a county jail to be eligible to vote at a satellite voting location. The jail would be required to provide a voter registration application to a person in custody who requests an application and who is determined to be eligible to vote. The jail would be required to make available current resource materials, maintained by the county election commission and secretary of state, containing detailed information regarding the voting rights of a person with a criminal conviction in print. This would require money from the county to pay poll workers and for equipment. Costs estimates according to the bill’s fiscal note is about $110,000 over the two years. The program would run until December 31, 2023.
Utah: Gov. Spencer Cox has signed HB313 into law. HB313 creates additional election security measures. The law requires voters to provide a photocopy of their ID when voting by mail, video surveillance at ballot boxes, and yearly voter registration audits, among other things. Although lawmakers presented no evidence of widespread election fraud, the law comes after national debate on election security following the 2020 general election. The new election security measures will be implemented throughout 2022 and 2023.
Federal Lawsuits: Fox News has filed a counterclaim against voting machine manufacturer Smartmatic, saying the company’s claim that it suffered $2.7 billion in losses is massively inflated. Fox News argues it warrants punishment under rules, known as anti-SLAPP laws, that are designed to protect the media from abusive litigation. The news network seeks payment of its attorneys’ fees and “other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.” Smartmatic’s lawsuit, filed in February 2021, stemmed from the network’s coverage of fraud claims — which had no basis in fact — by President Donald Trump and his allies following the 2020 election, as well as opinions voiced by some of Fox News hosts. Fox News has maintained that it was within its First Amendment rights to cover the president’s claims “While the recovery of fees and costs will not undo all the damage this First Amendment-defying lawsuit has wrought,” the lawsuit says, “at least it may cause the next plaintiff to think twice before trying to penalize the press to the tune of billions of dollars in nonexistent damages.”
Arkansas: Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen struck down four new voting restrictions passed by Republican lawmakers, finding the measures unconstitutional. Griffen issued a permanent injunction against the new voting laws at the end of a four-day trial in a challenge brought by the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, Arkansas United and five voters over the restrictions. The measures struck down include a change to the state’s voter ID law that removes the option for someone to sign an affidavit affirming their identity if they don’t present a photo identification at the polls. The other measures would prevent anyone other than voters from being within 100 feet of a polling place, require an absentee voter’s signature on a ballot to match the signature on their voter registration application, and move up the deadline for voters to return absentee ballots in person. Griffen, who ruled from the bench, said he planned to issue a more detailed order later. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said the state will appeal.
Florida: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker has ordered parties to a lawsuit targeting last year’s state election restrictions to explain how a bill the Florida Legislature passed during its recent legislative session might affect the legal challenge. According to the Florida Phoenix, Walker wasn’t happy that neither lawyers for the state nor civil- and voting-rights groups litigating over 2021’s SB 90 had informed him of the recent legislative changes (SB 524). “This court is currently conducting a two-week jury trial while also working to review the voluminous record and drafting a final order on the merits following the bench trial in this case,” Walker wrote in an order posted on Monday. “Yet no lawyer for any party has alerted the court of imminent changes to the laws at issue before this court — though the parties appeared to have been actively monitoring the latest election legislation as it moved through the Florida Legislature these past several weeks.” “Accordingly, the parties must file on or before 5 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, March 23, 2022, an expedited supplemental brief addressing what impact, if any, Florida’s Senate Bill 524 would have on the challenged provisions and claims before this court in the event the governor signs the legislation into law,” Walker wrote.
Illinois: DuPage County Circuit Judge Craig Belford has ruled that Bill White has been declared the winner of the 2020 county auditor race. After months of recounts and court hearings, Belford ruled against most of incumbent Bob Grogan’s requests and declared the final margin of victory in White’s favor was 66 votes, up by eight votes over the full recount tally. White, a Democrat, originally led by 75 votes in fall 2020. The court-ordered full recount of the race in October — a first in DuPage County history — that reduced his margin of victory to 58 votes, 232,710 votes for White and 232,652 for Grogan, a Republican seeking reelection. Belford ordered 10 ballot envelopes that had Xs as initials to be struck from the final vote total, nine from Grogan’s count and one from White. Belford said while an X can be counted as a signature, an X cannot count as an initial. Grogan’s request that 40 disputed ballots be removed from the count was rejected by Belford, arguing Grogan was attempting to shift the burden of finding evidence back to the county. Grogan had not demonstrated “clear and convincing” evidence.
New Jersey: Superior Court Judge Thomas Brogan has enjoined the Paterson City Clerk from printing and mailing ballots for the May 10 municipal election pending the outcome of a challenge to mayoral candidate Alex Mendez’s nominating petitions. A supporter of Mayor Andre Sayegh says that enough of the signatures on Mendez’s petition – as many as 150 signatures – would take the controversial councilman below the 867 signatures he needs to be on the ballot. Brogan has set an April 1 hearing. “How fitting,” he said of the date. The city clerk, Sonia Gordon, rejected the challenge from Vincent Iannaccone. That caused his lawyers to file in Superior Court. “No ballots are to be sent prior to the resolution,” Brogan said in a brief hearing on Wednesday.
North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a case involved the state’s voter ID law. The arguments the justices heard weren’t on the merits of the 2018 voter ID law itself, but rather on the more basic question of who should be allowed to defend that law in the lawsuit filed by the NAACP soon after it was passed. The state has been defending the lawsuit so far with lawyers from the N.C. Department of Justice, which is led by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein. But Republican legislative leaders have asked to intervene. That would let them have more say over the legal strategy, plus hire their own private lawyers to work on the case. Sarah Boyce, an attorney from Stein’s DOJ, told the Supreme Court justices Monday that she and her colleagues have been winning this new case so far and that the legislature “cannot plausibly argue that the attorney general and state board are not adequately defending the voter ID law.”
Ohio: A motion filed by the two Democrats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission looks to move the primary election date because there are currently no districts for Ohio Senate and House of Representatives. The motion, filed by State Senator Vernon Sykes and Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, seeks to move the primary election to June 28, nearly two months from its currently scheduled May 3 date. The motion looks to “ensure that this Court can continue working with the Commission to make progress on adopting and implementing a plan that satisfies both state and federal constitutional requirements.” While June 28 is highlighted as the date to move the primary, the motion states that any other date works as well that would “allow sufficient time for the Commission to adopt and implement a new, constitutional set of maps.” In addition, the motion states that moving the date would allow the commission to complete its duty without the interruption of federal litigation, particularly a lawsuit filed by Ohio republicans asking the court to institute the second set of maps the commission approved. That suit is set for a conference this Friday.
Pennsylvania: A Lehigh County judge’s race is being held up, again, by legal action. Over the weekend, a federal appeals court granted an injunction that halts the certification of the results for the third and final seat on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas. At issue are 257 mail-in ballots that were submitted without dates on the return envelope. The courts have been back and forth about whether those ballots should be counted or disqualified. A federal court says it will consider the latest appeal on an expedited basis.
Dominion Voting Systems won an appeal in Pennsylvania’s highest court in a bid to ensure that any inspection of its voting machines as part of Republican lawmakers’ inquiry into Pennsylvania’s 2020 election be done by a laboratory that has specific credentials. The Democratic-majority state Supreme Court ruled 5-2, along party lines, to overturn a January decision by a Republican judge on the lower Commonwealth Court. That judge ruled that Dominion could not intervene in a wider case involving an inspection of its equipment used by heavily Republican Fulton County in 2020’s election. The decision revives Dominion’s request that any inspection of its equipment be conducted by a federally accredited voting system test lab or a national laboratory used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Utah: The League of Women Voters and Mormon Women for Ethical Government sued the state of Utah seeking to block new redistricting maps they say unfairly solidify one-party GOP control and ignore a voter-approved independent commission. “Unfair maps and gerrymandering dilute the voices of communities and consequently hurt voters of all parties,” said Catherine Weller, President of League of Women Voters of Utah, in a statement. “Transparency is critical to the election process; we call on the court to block these unfair maps and let the voters of Utah choose who best represents them.” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, declined to comment directly on the lawsuit but said he supports the maps he signed. Asked during his monthly news conference on PBS Utah, he said he clarified that he believes the maps were not “illegal gerrymandering.” The case filed in state court also was backed by Better Boundaries, the group that sponsored the ballot initiative that created the commission. The commission members worked or three years to draw nonpartisan maps for congressional districts as well as state Legislature and school board.
Vermont: A judge says Burlington City Councilor Ali Dieng won and will keep his seat. That ends a legal fight over the narrow victory. The balance of power on the City Council will remain the same after a challenge from Democrat Aleczander Stith against independent incumbent Ali Dieng for the Ward 7 seat. Stith lost on Election Day by just two votes. A recount affirmed that margin. But Stith took the case to court over four mail-in ballots which were never counted because they were either not signed properly or mailed incorrectly. Stith questioned whether election officials had taken all of the proper steps to notify the owners of the ballots so that they might have been counted. The judge ruled election officials did all that was necessary by law to contact the ballot owners via voter registration records which mostly just have an address and phone number.
Virginia: Judge David J. Novak of the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia accused former Attorney General Mark Herring’s office of mishandling a closely watched lawsuit seeking to force new House of Delegates elections this year, saying the state didn’t take Democratic activist Paul Goldman’s claims seriously enough last year and has forced arcane legal wrangling to go on for “way too long.” “This case has been a mess from your predecessors,” Judge David J. Novak of the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia told attorneys working on behalf of new Attorney General Jason Miyares. “It was totally handled wrong.” Herring’s office sought to have the lawsuit dismissed on largely technical grounds. But Novak said Monday the state failed to adequately respond to Goldman’s legal arguments and threw the case into procedural confusion. Acknowledging he was “venting” from the bench, the judge said Goldman, while at times taking “artful” detours into unrelated matters, is making a substantive argument. Novak gave the two sides until mid-April to file new briefs addressing the standing issue, including whether it should be heard by Novak alone or a three-judge panel also involved in the case.
In June 2021, radio talk show host Rob Schilling filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia that his rights were violated when he was briefly prevented from voting during the June 8 primary in Albemarle County due to a face mask dispute. Albemarle County Registrar Jake Washburne was initially named as a defendant alongside Election Officer Leo Mallek and two then-unnamed poll workers, but Washburne was later dropped. According to the lawsuit, Schilling was able to cast his ballot after a poll worker not named in the lawsuit placed a call to Washburne. The whole altercation is alleged to have lasted six minutes. Schilling claims his right to vote was violated, that he was the subject of voter intimidation and that he was the victim of assault, battery and false imprisonment at the hands of the two unnamed poll workers. In July 2021 lawyers for Mallek filed a motion to dismiss. Last week, U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon issued a memorandum opinion, largely denying Mallek’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. Mallek argued that even should Schilling’s allegations prove true, Mallek did not commit a federal rights violation or a tort. Moon did grant a dismissal of Schilling’s putative Voting Rights Act claim because the provision Schilling invokes does not create a private cause of action, meaning Schilling as an individual is without the legal right to raise the issue on his own behalf.
Washington: According to the Tri-City Herald, Franklin County is getting a reprieve from a looming deadline as a Latino voting rights case heads to a trial. The attorneys pushing to strengthen Latinos’ voices in commissioner elections were hoping for a trial before April 22 — the one-year anniversary of when the case was filed. Judge Jackie Shea Brown sided with Franklin County’s attorneys and pushed the hearing into the middle of May. Three local members of the League of United Latin American Citizens are suing Franklin County under the Washington State Voting Rights Act. The suit claims the commissioner’s district boundaries and at-large elections dilute Latino votes. The Washington State Voting Rights Act requires any trial on an alleged violation must be held a year after “a complaint” is filed.
CISA on Social Media: CISA has launched a new MDM social media series, Optical Illusions, to raise public awareness of MDM and more specifically, on malinformation. Malinformation is based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate. Through a series of images and animations, this engaging communications campaign, will help the audience learn how to build long-term resilience to MDM. “CISA strives to develop innovative methods – from graphic novels to Rumor Control and now optical illusions – to help Americans recognize and avoid mis-, dis-, and malinformation (MDM) operations targeting our democracy. Online information consumption can be understood through illusions: often there is more than meets the eye. Through a series of images and animations, the optical illusions series will help Americans identify and combat MDM,” said National Risk Management Center Acting Assistant Director Mona Harrington Check it out at @CISAgov and retweet to spread awareness on the actions we can all take to reduce the risks of MDM.
Opinions This Week
Arizona: Early voting
California: Election administration
Delaware: Election integrity
Idaho: Election interference
Iowa: Vote counting
Georgia: Voting rights
Nevada: Nye County
North Carolina: Election doubts
Pennsylvania: Election security
Texas: Voter suppression
Virginia: Election integrity
Washington: Secretary of state
Social Media’s Free Speech Problem: The problem of misinformation on social media has ballooned over the last few years, especially in relation to elections. The result has been further polarization of our already divided country. There has been a boisterous debate about the de-platforming of former president Donald Trump, but how else are social media companies able to combat those deliberately spreading false information? How do we control this false speech while protecting the First Amendment — and our democracy? Join us for a live discussion with one of the country’s leading experts on election law, Richard L. Hasen, author of the upcoming book Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics — and How to Cure It, for a look into how social media companies can solve this problem without shutting down the essential free flow of ideas and opinions. When: March 24, 6pm. Where: Online
ABCs of RCV 2.0: Ranked-choice voting is growing across the US both on the local and state level. What exactly is RCV and would it be possible to implement in your jurisdiction? Join Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center staff experts, Rosemary Blizzard, Melissa Hall, Ryan Kirby, and Rene Rojas to learn more about this voting method. Staff will provide an updated version of our 2017 webinar, ABCs of RCV. ABCs of RCV 2.0 will cover everything from the basics of the method to tabulation to why jurisdictions adopt it. Click the button below to reserve your spot today! Space is limited so don’t delay! When: March 30, 2pm Eastern. Where: Online
Neutralizing Partisan Incentives for Elections Officials: In the last three years, election administration and election officials have been pulled into the political fray. Most election systems are designed to be led by nonpartisan experts with the best interests of all voters in mind. But today, these systems and experts must contend with growing partisan polarization, political vitriol, and misinformation. Join the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the Election Reformer’s Network (ERN) for a conversation with former swing state election officials about ways to protect election administration from harmful partisan influence. This event accompanies a forthcoming joint report from BPC and ERN documenting how partisan incentives for election officials have changed over time and what the risks are for electoral integrity and trust in elections should political pressure continue to increase. When: April 6, 12pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Election Accuracy: Going on the Offensive: Local and state election officials in the United States — who run the most accurate and secure voting process in the world — are finding that facts are not a sufficient defense of their election outcomes. Despite the rigorous steps that protect voter registration, ballot distribution, election systems and vote counting, conspiracy theories are undermining the public’s trust in this most basic act of a democracy. To combat this problem, experts from around the nation analyze the problem to provide actionable steps so election administrators can go on the offense to manage communications before, during and after an election. Hosted by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. 9am to 12:30pm Central. Where: Online. When: April 22.
IGO Annual Conference: Join the International Association of Government Officials for their 5th Annual Conference this summer. Check back here for more details and how to register. When: June 17-24. Where: Indian Wells, California
NASS Summer Conference: Join the National Association of Secretaries of State for their Annual Conference this summer. Check back here for more details and how to register. When: July 7-10. Where: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
NASED Summer Conference: Twice a year, NASED members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. When: July 18-21. Where: Madison, Wisconsin.
Election Center Annual Conference: Join the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center) for their 37th Annual Conference this summer. When: August 20-24. Where: Denver.
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.
Deputy Director, Registration & Elections, Decatur County, Georgia— The purpose of this classification is to assist in the planning, directing, and oversight of operations and staff involved in voter registration and elections processes for the County, conducting elections, and ensuring compliance with local, state and federal election and voter registration laws, rules, and regulations. Salary: $74,961 – $116,190. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Development and Communications Specialist, Election Reformers— This part-time specialist, reporting to the Executive Director based in Newton, MA, will help us guide our messaging about complicated (but important) reforms, draft communications, and develop ERN’s member strategy to support engagement and fundraising. The specialist will assist in development and communications. Key responsibilities will include: Helping to define the organization’s communications strategy and to guide regular content and messaging updates; Drafting external communications, email newsletters, website updates, background outreach to journalists, and occasional press releases; Providing input on overall social media strategy and on specific messages; Developing ERN’s member strategy to support engagement and fundraising; Participating in discussions regarding strategy and overall organizational planning; Providing input on ERN reports, op-eds and other publications. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections, Cumberland County, North Carolina— The Elections Director works under the administrative direction of the County Board of Elections and Executive Director of the State Board of Election. The Elections Director performs professional, managerial, and administrative work for the Board of Elections and carries out all duties or responsibilities as assigned by Chapter 163 of the General Statutes of the State of North Carolina and as delegated by members of the County Board in accordance with the laws of the State of North Carolina, GS 163-35 (d) and 163-33. Reports to the Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Elections. Salary: $78,784.40 – $132,425.23. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections/General Registrar, Virginia Beach, Virginia— The Virginia Beach Electoral Board is currently seeking a progressive leader with a demonstrated history of collaboration, negotiation and communication amongst diverse stakeholder groups. The successful candidate will think strategically and be able to navigate dynamic political environments, facilitating compromise and cooperation when needed. Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Plan and direct the operations and activities of the voter registration office; Provide leadership and supervision to paid staff and volunteers on all election procedures; Develop plans to encourage the registration of eligible voters; Oversee the registration process including eligibility determination and denial notification process in accordance with State Board of Election Guidelines; Manage the departmental budget; Plan and provide oversight of educational programs; Oversee maintenance of all official records; Ensure adequate space(s) to facilitate voting process; Ensure election equipment is maintained and readily accessible to voters; Assist with ballot design’ Carry out provisions enumerated in §24.2-114, Code of Virginia, and ensure compliance with the entirety of Title 24.2.; and Communicate election requirements, processes, and results to election observers and stakeholders, including the press. Salary: $136,982. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Specialist Lead, Thurston County, Washington — As a Lead Election Specialist, you will assist in the preparation and operation of County elections by coordinating or assisting with all ballot processing, hiring and training of extra help workers, and coordinating voter registration and education programs. There will be significant public contact, requiring effective communication and professional services to customers. Other responsibilities in this role would include, but are not limited to, the following: Assist the Division Manager in supervising and providing direction and training to assigned staff and employees. Assist with the review and approval of leave requests for extra help employees and monitors workloads and task distribution providing feed back to the Division Manager. In charge of communication with all districts and candidates to ensure all elected and appointed officials have taken their oath of office and that the oath of office is on file. Coordinate with other county departments for the set up and running of extra large voting center in high volume elections, ensuring that all statutory laws are being followed. Process and provide public record requests for voter data and election data. Communicate with customers in person, by phone, and through written correspondence to provide information regarding voter registration, election dates, ballots, laws, and procedures. Implement changes required by federal and state law within areas of responsibility and documents changes in policies and procedures. Salary: $3,819 – $5,079 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Supervisor, Pinal County, Arizona — As an Elections Supervisor in Pinal County Arizona you will be an important part of a team that is committed to a singular goal: Administering Free, Fair and Secure Elections. This position requires someone that can exercise initiative, independent judgment and decision making in accordance with Pinal County policies as well as State and Federal Election laws. You will work with the Elections Director to manage full time staff as well as hire and train Elections poll workers. You must be highly ethical, organized and committed. Come work for Pinal County Elections where YOU can make a difference. Salary: $49,647 – $76,953. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Specialist, Pierce County, Washington— As an Elections Specialist, you will have the ability to immediately contribute to the team’s success. You will be guided through the process with coaching-focused managerial support, a team that wants you to be successful in your role, and an organizational culture that encourages continuous learning and professional development. Core Daily Responsibilities: Coordinates and participates in the activities of a specialty in the Elections Division; determines work schedules and methods to expediting work-flow; issues instructions; and monitors work for accuracy and compliance to procedures and policies in specialty area assigned. Coordinates, organizes, and documents all legal aspects of an assigned specialty required to hold elections. Performs quality control work including proofreading, grammar, and spelling. Designs and produces reports. Coordinates and oversees the preparation and distribution of election supplies to the voting centers. Salary: $31.42 – $39.73 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission— The Executive Director has overall Commission-wide responsibility for implementing, through its operating divisions and offices, the management and administrative policies and decisions of the Commissioners. The Executive Director serves as a key management advisor to the Commissioners. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring the agency meets its mission defined in HAVA. The Executive Director’s responsibilities include: Ensuring that EAC administrative activities comply with governing statutes and regulations in support of the effective and efficient accomplishment of EAC’s mission. Understanding HAVA and other election laws, regulations, and legal decisions pertinent to the EAC mission to assist with agency oversight. Maintaining good relationships with the U.S. Congress and the various EAC oversight committees and governing bodies of elections, including, state legislatures, city/county officials, and EAC FACA boards. Ability to establish program/policy goals and the structure and processes necessary to implement the organization’s strategic vision and mission, to ensure that programs and policies are being implemented and adjusted as necessary, that the appropriate results are being achieved, and that a process for continually assessing the quality of the program activities is in place. Providing periodic assessment of the administrative efficiency and managerial effectiveness of the EAC through strategic planning including: program reviews, reviews of programmatic goals and outcomes, and resource utilization in achieving results. Consulting with and advising Divisions and Offices on general management and operating practices affecting their substantive program areas. Developing solutions to potential and existing barriers that may limit or impede goal achievement. Planning, assigning, and appraising work products to assure high levels of performance. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Grant and Contract Specialist, Washington Secretary of State’s Office— This position will report to the deputy director of elections and is responsible for assisting the deputy in the management of administering federal grant funds, including Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant funds. It also plays a key role in the elections division by performing research analysis and managing retention of grant records with regard to HAVA grants. This position belongs to the “HAVA Elections Security Grant” project and is tentatively scheduled to last through 12/20/2024. Tasks include: Makes recommendations based on analysis of funding needs for grant applications; Establishes grant guidelines; Issues notice of grant openings; Processes grant payments; Reviews and determines eligibility against grant application criteria; Establishes program income codes in a manner that will track required reporting requirements; Reviews draft contracts and contract amendments for completeness and compliance with procedures; Applies consistent interpretation of laws, rules, policies and procedures; Communicates effectively with county departments and staff to facilitate and ensure adherence to policies and procedures; Evaluates budget and fiscal system performance, making adjustments as necessary; Coordinates the establishment of fiscal goals, audits of financial documents and the preparation and maintenance of fiscal reports; Prepares related applications for funding; Develops internal controls to ensure that all known expenses are accounted for; Prepares and develops budgets for the various program income codes; Works with staff responsible for carrying out grant duties to ensure that funding is available, allowable and allocable to the federal grant; Assists counties in applying for grant applications; Provides technical assistance to counties when necessary; Monitors grant progress with each county auditor on each grant; Tracks grant agreements to ensure compliance with scope of work, period of performance and funding levels; Monitors budgets and related fiscal reports to ensure grant audit compliance, adherence to county, state and federal regulations, allowable costs, adequate budgetary constraints/controls maintenance, timely report submission, and compliance with generally accepted accounting practices and procedures; Possesses knowledge with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars, the Help America Vote Act and other laws passed by congress concerning grants management; Develops contractual language for grant agreements; Prepares for Inspector General Audits; Reads and analyzes awarding agency audit findings and make adjustments when necessary; Tracks and analyzes expenditures against budgeted or allotted forecasts and make adjustments when necessary; Review all contracts for adherence with contract terms and conditions; Tracks grant balances and take proper action when grants expire; Complies with proper internal controls in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements; Tracks all equipment purchased with HAVA funds; Prepares and maintains financial report to the federal awarding agency; Prepares and provides status of accounts, both actual and projected, along with analysis and recommendations relative to activity costs and revenues; Coordinates visits by federal and/or State auditors; Monitors activity related to the grant; Reviews processes and procedures to ensure that adequate internal controls are in place; Develops internal controls to protect against fraud, waste and abuse when necessary; Prepares and provides status of grants, both actual and projected, along with analysis and recommendations relative to activity costs and revenues; Processes A-19 reimbursement requests in a timely manner; Works closely with Payroll to ensure that employees charging time to federal grants are in compliance with OMB circulars; Develops a means to track expenditures against appropriate awards. Salary: $3,446 – $4,627 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Impartial Election Administration Legal Consultant, Election Reformers— This short-term position, reporting to the Executive Director based in Newton, MA, will provide legal analysis and advice to advance ERN’s impartial election administration program. The attorney will work with our small but dedicated team to identify and analyze target states and jurisdictions for reform, and will devise strategies to implement new structures and legal guardrails. This role offers a great opportunity to be a part of the solution to the country’s pressing democracy challenges and to pioneer an important but neglected area of election reform. ERN is committed to developing election solutions that can gain support from a wide range of political perspectives; for that reason it is essential that the candidate be open-minded, non-dogmatic, and skilled at understanding and working with a wide range of people and perspectives. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Initiative Internship Program, Arizona Secretary of State’s Office—The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office is offering a paid Initiative Internship Program working with the Elections Division for 6 weeks (June 27 to August 8, 2022), for students who want to learn about election administration and support the initiative review process leading up to the 2022 election. An intern with the Elections Division, will learn about the application of state law through the initiative process. Interns will contribute to the team by assisting with the processing of initiative petitions. There will be in-person as well as remote processing requirements, and an intern must be available for both. Students or recent graduates interested in public service and witnessing democracy in action are encouraged to apply. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Language Access Manager, New York City Campaign Finance Board— The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB), a nonpartisan, independent agency that enhances the role of New York City residents in elections, seeks a Language Access Manager to expand the accessibility of its educational resources and materials. This new role will act as the lead project manager for the agency’s translation services and processes, working closely with external vendors and internal staff to increase the agency’s language coverage to include all 10 citywide languages (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Korean, Arabic, Urdu, French, and Polish) as well as additional translations required under the Voting Rights Act (Hindi and Punjabi). Reporting to the Associate Director of Production, this role supports translations for a variety of projects, including the official NYC Voter Guide available online at www.voting.nyc and mailed to 5 million voters citywide. They will also provide critical support for a forthcoming campaign to raise awareness of a new law that gives over 800,000 immigrant New Yorkers the right to vote in local elections starting in 2023. They are expected to supervise at least one full-time staff member and external translation service providers. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with strong project management skills who wants to help make local government more accessible and responsive to the needs of immigrant communities in New York City. Salary: $65,000 – $85,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Michigan Regional Services Manager, Hart InterCivic— Hart InterCivic is looking for a Michigan-based Regional Services Manager. A Hart Michigan Service Manager is a highly motivated “self-starter” who responds to all customer requests ranging from training requests, to phone support requests, to onsite repair of voting equipment requests, to delivery and acceptance of new devices. This individual is the customer’s first line of support. The position requires residency in the State of Michigan. The Service Manager handles all Return Material Authorization (RMA) requests for internal and external customers for all Hart InterCivic Verity products within his/her region and provides on-site customer support and troubleshooting as needed. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Nonpartisan Elections Observer, The Carter Center— The Carter Center is guided by a fundamental commitment to promote human rights, alleviate human suffering, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health conditions. The Center seeks a highly qualified, motivated and energetic consultant to the Center’s US Elections Project. The Democracy Program at The Carter Center works globally to support democratic elections and strengthen participatory democracy, consistent with human rights. Beginning in 2020, The Carter Center began efforts to support good elections in the U.S. There are multiple key aspects to this project, contributing to electoral reform, promoting candidate codes of conduct, tracking disinformation and dangerous speech, and establishing nonpartisan observation efforts. The Carter Center plans to advance possible nonpartisan observation efforts in two key states: Arizona and Michigan. These states were selected following state assessments completed on multiple states. Nonpartisan observation efforts implemented and/or supported by The Carter Center will differ from existing partisan poll watchers and election protection groups. The goal of this observation is to provide credible and transparent information on the conduct of election in each state through public reports. The Carter Center is seeking Observation Coordinators to lead efforts in Arizona and Michigan to establish and support nonpartisan observation efforts. Working with Carter Center staff and consultants, the Observer Coordinators will work to meet with new and existing stakeholders to build an observation effort and determine the best possibility for nonpartisan observation in each state. The work will be conducted in two Phases. In Phase I, the Coordinators will focus on partnership and network building. The second phase will focus more deeply on the logistics of observer deployment and project implementation based on the plans and partnerships developed in Phase I. Start date: As soon as possible, with potential travel around the state. Location: Michigan or Arizona. Length of assignment: This project is in two phases. Phase 1 will be for 3 months with possibility of extension into Phase 2 which will last up to 9 months. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Program Coordinator, MIT Election Data & Science Lab— PROGRAM COORDINATOR, Political Science, to coordinate and perform day-to-day operational activities and project planning for the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, a research project that encourages a scientific approach to improving elections in the U.S. The lab’s activities include the conduct of its own research, coordinating the research of others, and fostering a larger community of allied researchers around the country. Will oversee the lab’s budget and reconcile accounts; plan seminar series/workshops; and work as part of a team on a wide range of projects, special initiatives, and events. Responsibilities include developing, implementing, and monitoring the lab’s research projects; overseeing budgets related to grants received by the lab; coordinating seminars, conferences, and workshops; remaining aware of the progress of the lab’s projects and helping to problem-solve bottlenecks; representing the lab at special events and committee meetings; preparing correspondence in response to internal/external inquiries; composing, editing, and proofreading lab materials; helping to track progress on lab achievements and communicating them to funders; making vendor and purchasing suggestions/decisions; developing documentation/reporting for stakeholders; developing and maintaining website content; and performing other dues as necessary. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Program Manager, California Voter Foundation— CVF seeks an experienced and accomplished part time program manager who is passionate about voting rights and advocacy, election reform, support for election officials, and nonpartisan expertise. This position will be instrumental in supporting the day to day operations of CVF, managing communications, and supporting important programmatic initiatives. Candidates must be eager to work in a fast-paced, collaborative environment and be able to balance and prioritize competing demands. This is a remote, part-time position, with the potential to transition to a full-time position, who reports to the president of CVF. Responsibilities: Manage communications and outreach with a network of diverse leaders and stakeholders from all sectors across many time zones; Coordinate projects and research related to election funding, curtailing mis- and disinformation and legal and law enforcement protections for election officials; Support grant writing and research fundraising opportunities; Write news releases, social media posts, meeting agendas, and meeting notes; Respond to emails in a timely and professional manner; Help manage CVF social media accounts: Twitter and Facebook; Schedule meetings and plan webinar events; Attend webinars and monitor election news and events; and Support other CVF projects as needed. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Programmer Analyst, Clark County, Nevada— This position provides project and program leadership to professional and technical staff; performs applications systems design, modification and programming of a routine to complex nature in support of County administrative and business services for multiple computer platform applications. Provides lead direction, training and work review to a programming project team; organized and assigns work, sets priorities, and follows-up and controls project status to ensure coordination and completion of assigned work. Provides input into selection, evaluation, disciplinary and other personnel matters. Gathers and analyzes information regarding customer systems and requirements and develops or modifies automated systems to fulfill these needs. Conducts feasibility studies and develops system, time, equipment and cost requirements. Using computer generated techniques, simulates hardware and software problems, tests and evaluates alternative solutions, and recommends and implements appropriate applications design. Develops program logic and processing steps; codes programs in varied languages. Plans and develops test data to validate new or modified programs; designs input and output forms and documents. Troubleshoots hardware and software problems, as needed, for customers, other agencies and information systems personnel. Writes program documentation and customer procedures and instructions and assists user departments and staff in implementing new or modified programs and applications; tracks and evaluates project and systems progress. Writes utility programs to support and validate adopted systems and programs. Confers with customer department staff regarding assigned functional program areas. Maintains records and prepares periodic and special reports of work performed. Maintains current knowledge of technology and new computer customer applications. Contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of the unit’s service to its customers by offering suggestions and directing or participating as an active member of a work team. Uses standard office equipment in the course of the work; may drive a personal or County motor vehicle or be able to arrange for appropriate transportation in order to travel between various job sites depending upon departments and/or projects assigned. This is an open and continuous recruitment, scheduling dates will vary depending on when the application was received and reviewed by Human Resources. This examination will establish an Open Competitive Eligibility list to fill current and/or future vacancies that may occur within the next six (6) months or may be extended as needed by Human Resources. Human Resources reserves the right to call only the most qualified applicants to the selection process. Salary: $32.07 – $49.74 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Voter Education & Outreach Specialist, Washington Secretary of State’s Office— This position reports to the Voting Information Services Manager of the Elections Division and works collaboratively to provide outreach and educational services. This position leads onsite customer service to candidates during annual peaks, voters’ pamphlet training for internal staff, organization of printed materials for proofing, fulfillment of outreach materials to stakeholders, and coordinates the printing and distribution of the state Voters’ Pamphlet. The passage of new legislation (ESHB 2421) increases the business needs to be met by the Secretary of State’s Office. Each May and June, the office must preview and process candidate’s statements to be printed in local county primary pamphlets as well as the processing necessary July through October for the state general election pamphlet. The Voting Information Services (VIS) team promotes accessible, fair, and accurate elections. Through educational programs and service excellence, we help eligible Washington residents register to vote, file for office, and cast an informed ballot. VIS exercises visionary leadership to publish the state Voters’ Pamphlet. The team provides voters and candidates with essential tools and training, digestible data and auditing reports, outreach programs and publications. VIS also advises County Auditors in interpretations of federal and state election law to uphold the integrity of election administration throughout the state. These objectives are accomplished through official communications, collaboration with stakeholders, and educational publications including the state Voters’ Pamphlet. The VIS program also acts as liaison for the Office of the Secretary of State. Salary: $55,524 – $74,604. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Voter Services Manager, Charleston County, South Carolina— This is a managerial position that provides supervision in the daily operation and management of the front of the office, in-person absentee voting, and candidate filing. Supervises both permanent and temporary employees during in-person absentee voting for elections. Responsible for management of each satellite absentee location, as well as hiring/training absentee poll workers. Supervises the daily operations of the In-Person Absentee Voting division and oversees the work production and quantity and quality of work completed. Supervises election planning and scheduling and develops and implements policies and procedures. Supervises, trains, and evaluates the in-person absentee voting specialists and temporary staff. Performs supervisory responsibility including work assignments, working hours, and training. Evaluates performance of staff. Coordinates Satellite Voting Unit use in municipal, statewide, and special elections. Supervises the selection of in-person absentee voting sites and prepares correspondence sent to each potential location. Supervises the preparation of supplies and materials for each in-person absentee voting site. Supervises the selection of in-person absentee voting poll workers and off-site managers. Corresponds with in-person absentee voting poll workers. Develops and maintains training materials for in-person absentee voting poll workers. Manages the daily digital imaging of voter applications, boxing, storage, and archiving of in-person absentee voting records in accordance with statutory requirements. Supervises the preparation and execution of daily statistical reports during the in-person absentee voting period. Tracks statistical data for each election. Prepares materials responsive to open records requests related to in-person absentee voting. Research and resolve questions, problems, or inquiries from staff, citizens, and stakeholders. Provides oversight for candidate filing, petition management, and any inquiries of potential candidates. Oversees failsafe voting on Election Day at our office. Salary: $48,722 – $66,276 Annually, Deadline: May 1. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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