In Focus This Week
A new year, a new vision
What’s in store for the Election Center (and you!) in 2023
Tammy Patrick, CEO for Programs
As we kick off what is sure to be another momentous year in election administration, I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts on the changes we are anticipating at Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials (NAEO).
We are starting off the year strong with some of the highest numbers of registered members the organization has ever seen! Hovering around 1550, we strive to demonstrate the continued value of membership and attract new members–in addition to bringing back members who have let their membership lapse. We are hoping to be able to offer incentives to new members later this year, so stay tuned.
Election Center gatherings have been a staple for the sharing of information and practice among the nation’s election professionals for decades. We are kicking off the year with the Joint Election Liaison Conference (JEOLC) in Washington D.C. January 11-13th where we host robust conversations around policy considerations and legislative efforts at the state and federal level, and hear from partner organizations on their work in the New Year.
February finds us in sunny Pasadena with an interactive workshop on a variety of resources and tools available in communications, design, access, security, planning and logistics, as well as a session on Vote by Mail/Absentee ballot processing (including a session on signature verification and ballot curing). To top off two days of collaboration and discussion, we will tour the Los Angeles County Registrar and Recorder’s facility — believe me, you don’t want to miss that!
The April Special Workshop is set as the first installment of an annual convening on state training and certification programs. State associations, secretaries of state, and chief election officials tasked with training and certification of election officials and poll workers will have time to discuss curriculums, retention, platforms, facilitation, funding strategies, and so much more.
The national conference is back in Orlando this year at the beautiful Grand Cypress Hotel. If you have suggestions on content or speakers you would like to see, let us know as we will be drafting the agenda soon.
Election Center will be continuing the Postal and Legislative Committees with the first meeting of the year at JEOLC. We will be opening up leadership positions to active members. Any Election Center member can join a committee, and anyone can throw their hat in the ring to play a key role in our direction in 2023 and beyond. Other working groups and task forces may continue, all are being reevaluated for currency and participation.
Training and Certifications
The partnership with Auburn University turns 29 this year, with 1404 graduates to date. We will be offering one of each of the core courses online every month in 2023 and many opportunities to take the courses in person as well. With more than 360 active students in the initial certification program (meaning that they have taken courses, but not completed all the requirements yet) we are exploring ways to help get folks graduated before the 2024 election cycle. More to come on that as well.
Journal of Election Administration, Research, and Practice
The second edition of the Journal will be publishing early this year. Following the stellar initial publication, this year’s content is sure to be of interest to election officials, policy wonks, academics, and election nerds everywhere.
Last, and most definitely not least, we are thrilled for the rebranding and launch of 2023 electionline to its forever home at Election Center! (If you are still seeing old logos, please clear your cache and/or use a different browser.) We have more in store for electionline in the future—but know that you can continue to trust it as your number one (and always free) election administration news source.
Full Executive Team February 1, 2023
February will see the momentous addition to the Election Center team when I will be joined by Joe Gloria as the CEO for Operations. The staff in Katy is extraordinary and have lots of ideas on how to build upon our strong foundation. We all have big plans for what the future may hold at Election Center and all of it starts with the members and what they want. Don’t be shy, we want to hear from you! TPatrick@electioncenter.org & JGloria@electioncenter.org .
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Election News This Week
Post-Election Assessment: In a post-election assessment, which the county provided to Votebeat, Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum describes the result of the county’s investigation into Election Day problems, including ballot paper shortages, as “inconclusive.” The 54-page assessment, which came at least two weeks later than expected, says the elections office’s investigation “has not yet revealed” whether, or how many of, the county’s 782 polling sites had to turn voters away due to ballot paper shortages. To figure out the scope of the ballot paper problem, Tatum said he had to rely on “anecdotal” information his office received directly from calling more than 700 presiding judges and alternate judges because he does not have an adequate tracking system to help him see whether an issue at a polling place was addressed and resolved. In the report, Tatum said they were able to speak with most election judges but many provided confusing answers. Some even declined to speak. “The EAO staff was unable to gather information from all PJs and AJs because several judges advised EAO staff that they were instructed not to talk with the EAO staff about Election Day operations, including ballot paper due to the District Attorney’s announced criminal investigation, litigation brought by the Harris County Republican Party, and pending election contests,” the report read. “Although EOA staff was able to speak to most of the PJs and AJs, many of them provided confusing answers and some declined to speak after reportedly being advised not to do so by the Harris County Republican Party.” Interestingly, the report details other issues, including locations opening late and 170 voting centers inside school buildings that were not able to set up according to plan because the school districts were closed the day before to celebrate the Astros World Series Parade.
Settlement Reached: The Rhode Island secretary of state’s office and ES&S have reached an agreement following a vendor error with Spanish-language ballots during the September primary. As a result of what were described as undetected “programming errors,” during the September primary’s early voting period some Spanish ballots on new touch-screen voting machines listed candidates from the 2018 election. ES&S will provide a credit for all project management services provided in connection with the 2022 Primary Election.” The company also agreed to post a message on its website reminding election workers that it’s a good idea to proofread all ballots and test all tabulation machines before voters head to the polls. “As the 2022 election year ends, ES&S reflects on ways in which we can continue to deliver on our mission of enhancing the election experience,” the company said in a statement about the settlement of the Rhode Island ExpressVote issue. “This includes committing to the customers we support and the voters they serve to review our collective processes, best practices and operating procedures and look for ways we can improve the security and integrity of the democratic process.”
Human Error: According to a report by Tennessee Elections Coordinator Mark Goins, Nashville election officials made erroneous updates to voter lists for last month’s election and failed to follow steps to make sure they were accurate, leading more than 430 Tennessee voters to cast ballots in the wrong races. . The Davidson County Election Commission confirmed in the report that more than 3,000 voters were assigned to one or more of the incorrect districts. Hundreds cast wrong ballots before the issue was flagged. The report determined that none of the errors were egregious enough to affect any of the races in which erroneous ballots were cast. Goins’ report says the root cause of the issues was that Nashville election officials made updates to voter files after the city’s IT GIS division had used geocoding, a computerized process to compare voter addresses to new district boundaries. Geocoding can be done multiple times in the process, the report says, and the commission did not verify its changes through a final round of geocoding by the IT GIS division, which a commission staff member declined to have done in March after election officials had made thousands more manual edits.
A Cure for Cures: Beginning in 2024, Maryland voters who forget to sign their vote-by-mail ballots will be offered a new way to cure their ballots. During the July primary, roughly 600 voters who mailed their ballots forgot to sign them. Of those, 250 people cured their ballots. Currently, voters are sent a letter notifying them that they forgot to sign the oath, said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator for the Maryland State Board of Elections. A copy of the oath is included, and it can be mailed back, dropped off at their local election board’s office, or scanned and returned via email. Following the successful pilot of a texting program called Text2Cure where voters who needed to cure their ballots were given a unique pin number and could then electronically sign and submit their oath electronically, the state plans to expand that in 2024. The pilot program was offered through the state’s current mail vendor, but Maryland will go through a procurement process next year to choose a vendor to offer a similar program statewide, Charlson said. State Sen. Cheryl Kagan, a Democrat from Montgomery County, is expected to propose a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session that would require such a curing process. “We do transactions like this all the time,” Kagan said of curing via text message. “We need it to be secure, we need to be accurate, but we don’t need to stay in the 20th century when it comes to making sure people can vote.”
Personnel News: Candace Grubbs has retired after 36 years in the Butte County, California clerk-recorder’s office. Lisa Crescimano has been appointed to the Erie County, Ohio board of elections. Laura Ihrke has retired as the Steele County, Minnesota auditor after 42 years of service to the county. Congratulations to DeKalb County Clerk Holly Albright has been recognized as the 2022 Indiana Election Division Election Administrator of the Year. Outgoing Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan has taken a job with a public relations firm. Mark Rhodes has retired as the Wood County, West Virginia clerk. Rachel Walker is the new Grimes County, Texas elections administrator. Bobbie Holsclaw has been sworn in as the new Jefferson County, Kentucky clerk. Pulaski County Clerk Linda Burnett has retired after 37 years in the office including the last eight as clerk. Moana Lutey is the new Maui County, Hawaii clerk. Sarah Perkins is the new Alna, Maine town clerk. Susan Murphy is the new Farmington, Maine town clerk. Boris Brajkovic is the new Montgomery County, Maryland director of elections. Jason T. Schofield has resigned as the Rensselaer County, New York Republican elections commissioner. Brenda Sorensen has retired after 16 years as the Klickitat County, Washington auditor. Tom Davis is retiring as the Rhea County, Tennessee elections administrator on Feb. 1. Drew Higgins is the new deputy director of the Shelby County, Ohio board of elections. Susan Popp has completed her term as Clark County, Indiana clerk. Rita Milam has retired as the Scott County, Missouri clerk after nearly 40 years in the office. Jackie Gonzales has retired as the Albany County, Wyoming clerk after starting work in the office in 1979. Hazel Gorman has retired as the Ledyard, Connecticut Democratic registrar of voters after 42 years of service. Jasper County, Iowa Auditor Dennis Parrott has retired after 22 years of service. Terri Johnson has retired as the Des Moines County, Iowa auditor.
Federal Legislation: Federal proposals that would have significantly boosted security funding for election offices and heightened penalties for threatening their staff failed to advance in Congress as the session came to a close in 2022. The massive budget bill that passed Congress on December 23 will send $75 million in election security grants to states, an amount that falls far short of what many officials had sought as state and local election workers have been targeted with harassment and even death threats since the 2020 presidential election. They also were disappointed that proposals to make such threats a federal crime with more severe penalties fizzled. Various proposals introduced by Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Susan Collins to boost protections did not gain enough support to pass the chamber and were not in the $1.7 trillion government spending bill. Klobuchar said she would continue to seek money for election offices and noted that she and Republican Sen. Roy Blunt had pushed to allow election officials to use previous federal funding for security upgrades. Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who previously served as California’s secretary of state, called election workers the “backbone of our democracy” and said more must be done to ensure their safety. “In the wake of escalating attacks on our electoral institutions, I’m disappointed that my Republican colleagues did not come to the table this year to protect the thousands of election workers who safeguard our democracy,” he said in a statement.
New York: Governor Hochul has signed legislation (S.2951A/A.8858A) that increases access to the ballot by allowing voters more time to register and vote ahead of an election. The new legislation allows voters to cast a ballot in an election if their registration forms are received by the board of elections by the tenth day ahead of an election, as compared to the twenty-five days ahead of an election currently mandated by law. The New York State Constitution stipulates that voters must register to vote at least 10 days prior to an election in which they wish to cast a ballot. However, New York’s current election law unnecessarily extends this minimum deadline, requiring that voter registration forms be submitted in person at least twenty-five days prior to an election or postmarked at least twenty-five days in advance and received by the board of elections by 20 days prior to an election. This shrinks by more than two weeks the amount of time that eligible New Yorkers have to submit their registration forms and make their voices heard in an election. Under the legislation signed by Hochul, this timeline will be addressed and voter registration deadlines will be moved closer to Election Day and into alignment with the standard set by the State Constitution. Voters will be eligible to vote in an election if they register in person by 10 days prior to an election; voters submitting registration forms by mail will be eligible to vote in an election if their forms are postmarked by 15 days prior to the election and received by the board of elections by 10 days prior to an election.
Texas: Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, filed House Bill 397 to amend the state’s election code and enforce higher penalties for illegal voting activities. Sen. Bryan Hughes, who represents East Texas, filed a companion bill in the Senate. Three other House bills, filed by representatives outside of Tarrant County, also seek to increase penalties for illegal voting — House Bill 39, House Bill 52 and House Bill 222. The bills follow the rollout of Senate Bill 1 in 2021, a piece of election legislation that placed various restrictions on voting activity in Texas. Among the smaller changes in the bill was lowering the penalty for illegal voting from a second degree felony to a misdemeanor. Shortly after its passage, however, Republican leadership began calling for the penalty to be restored to a felony, resulting in bills like Goldman’s.
Brazos County, Texas: Voters in Brazos County will soon have a new way to get election information after the Brazos County Commissioners approved a contract with TextMyGov. “This program is an opt-in text service,” Brazos County Election Administrator Trudy Hancock said. “So it’s not going to just generally send out text messages to people randomly.” On a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Russ Ford voting against, the Commissioners Court approved a $9,000 annual contract with the Utah-based company. The initial contract is for three years and will be funded through contingency funds according to Brazos County Judge Duane Peters. The program will allow voters to text basic questions and receive immediate answers, such as “Where can I go to vote?”, or, “Am I registered?” The program also provides an opt-in service for voters to receive alerts about election information and important deadlines from the county. Hancock said the election office only has eight phone lines and oftentimes during early voting and especially on election day those phones would be constantly busy with voters asking questions. “We have a real problem sometimes with judges and election workers being able to get through on the phone to ask questions when they need help in the polling places,” Hancock said.
Arizona: Maricopa County Judge Peter Thompson dismissed Republican Kari Lake’s election challenge and affirmed Democrat Katie Hobbs’ election as governor two days after a trial in which he said Lake failed to prove her case. Thompson noted that real problems did affect the election, but election workers tried their best and performed their role “with integrity.” “Not perfectly,” Thompson continued, “as no system on this earth is perfect, but more than sufficient to comply with the law and conduct a valid election.” His 10-page ruling dismantles Lake’s witnesses and their arguments, denying in each case that they presented compelling evidence. Any request for sanctions in the case need to be made by 8 a.m. Dec. 26, the ruling states.
Additionally, Thompson rejected a request to sanction Lake over her lawsuit challenging her defeat. Maricopa County and Katie Hobbs (D), in her capacities as both governor-elect and secretary of state, had asked the judge to require Lake and her legal team to pay all parties’ attorneys’ fees, arguing the suit was groundless and made in bad faith. In his decision, Thompson reiterated that Lake did not meet the burden of providing clear and convincing evidence of her claims necessary to win the case, but he said her suit did not meet the standard for imposing sanctions. “There is no doubt that each side believes firmly in its position with great conviction,” Thompson ruled on Tuesday. “The fact that Plaintiff failed to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence required … does not equate to a finding that her claims were, or were not, groundless and presented in bad faith. Any legal decision must be based on the law and facts rather than subjective beliefs or partisan opinions, no matter how strongly held.” Thompson’s ruling, however, does require Lake to reimburse Hobbs $33,040.50 for certain costs incurred during the proceedings in accordance with other state statutes applicable because Lake did not win the case. Those costs include $28,351 in fees for expert witnesses called by Hobbs and $4,689.50 in compensation paid to Hobbs’s representative who attended ballot inspections prior to trial.
In a 67-page filing with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem reiterate the claims they made before a trial judge “that electronic voting systems are subject to intrusion and manipulation and cannot be relied upon to secure, correct vote tallies in public elections.’’ Their attorneys cite various reports that others have shown the machines can be hacked and totals altered. But the essence of their plea to the appellate panel is that U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi never gave them a chance to make their case. He dismissed their claims, saying they were little more than speculation, backed not by evidence of actual problems in Arizona but instead “vague’’ allegations about electronic voting systems generally. Tuchi also said neither Lake, who ran for governor, nor Finchem, who lost for secretary of state, proved they are being harmed by the system, something the judge said is necessary to bring suit in federal court. And in a subsequent ruling, the judge ordered lawyers for the pair to pay Maricopa County’s legal fees. Tuchi said Lake, Finchem and their attorneys filed a “frivolous’’ action against the county. They “baselessly kicked up a cloud of dust’’ and ignored procedures the state has put in place to ensure elections are secure and reliable, the judge said. “It is to make clear that the court will not condone litigants … furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process,’’ Tuchi wrote. He said the sanctions “send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future.’’ In the new filing, the lead attorney for Lake and Finchem, Andrew Parker, told the appellate court that Tuchi himself violated rules governing how lawsuits must be handled.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen refused to overturn the results of the election for attorney general and declare Abe Hamadeh the winner. “The bottom line is, you just haven’t proven your case,” Jantzen said And he said any mistakes that may have been made in how ballots were counted “were not enough to overcome the presumption the court has to have in election cases … that the election was done correctly.” “There isn’t enough information — I don’t think even slight information — the election was done illegally or incorrectly,” Jantzen said in ruling from the bench after the half-day trial. The judge acknowledged there were 14 ballots presented — out of about 2,300 reviewed — where there could be some question of whether a vote should have been counted, whether for Hamadeh or Democrat Kris Mayes. These were ballots where the marks on the ballots was less than clear. And that resulted in each having been reviewed by a three-member panel which sought to ascertain the voter’s intent. But Jantzen said that isn’t enough for him to rule that those panels, consisting of individuals from both major parties, who checked these ballots by hand, had done something wrong. “For the most part, these 14 ballots would be voter error, not filling them out the way the instructions say,” Jantzen said. Hamadeh has filed a motion for a new trial.
Arkansas: A former candidate for Arkansas’ U.S. House District 2 has filed an “election integrity lawsuit” aiming to prevent Arkansas from using specific voting machines in future elections. Conrad Reynolds, a retired U.S. Army colonel and leader of a group called Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative Inc., filed the lawsuit in Pulaski County against Secretary of State John Thurston, the State Board of Election Commissioners, and Election Systems and Software (ES&S). The lawsuit contends that “the voting machines currently approved by the Secretary of State and the State Board of Election Commissioners fail to comply with state law.” The lawsuit, which was assigned to Judge Tim Fox on the 6th Judicial Circuit, urges the court to rule that the ExpressVote and DS200 voting machines used by the state “do not comply with Arkansas law because the voter cannot independently verify the votes selected by the voter on the ballot prior to being cast by the voter as the ordinary and common voter cannot read bar codes.” According to the lawsuit, voters mark their ballots using ExpressVote, which prints a ballot summary card that includes a bar code at the top “allegedly encoding the voter’s selected candidates and/ or issues.” The summary card is fed into the DS200, which tabulates the votes by reading the bar code. Because “most ordinary and common voters cannot read a bar code,” the lawsuit contends, the state law requiring that the voter be able to verify their vote is not met.
Colorado: Judge William Alexander has ruled that Richard Patton, a man accused of tampering with a voting machine during the primary is mentally incompetent and cannot continue with court proceedings. Alexander also ordered that Patton undergo outpatient mental health treatment in hopes of making him well enough so he can be prosecuted. The judge’s ruling followed an evaluation by an expert who found that Patton was mentally incompetent. To be considered legally competent to proceed, people accused of crimes must be deemed able to understand proceedings and help in their own defense by being able to communicate with their lawyers. Patton was arrested Nov. 3 and later charged with tampering with voting equipment, which state lawmakers this year made a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. It was formerly a misdemeanor offense with a penalty of up to 364 days in jail.
Massachusetts: Rep. Lenny Mirra filed a complaint in Essex Superior Court on December 21, 2022 alleging that he believes nine ballots were improperly counted in his one-loss race and another 14 mail-in votes do not have properly matching signatures. He is asking the judge to either to declare him victorious in his North Shore district or rule that the race ended in a tie and therefore requires a new special election. Mirra’s team alleged that the registrars of voters in Georgetown, Ipswich and Rowley as well as town clerks in Ipswich and Rowley “made several critical errors of law” during the multi-day recount process, which flipped the originally certified result from a 10-vote victory for Mirra to a one-vote victory for Hamilton Democrat Kristin Kassner. Judge Thomas Drechsler dismissed the case arguing that any court action would be an “exercise in futility”. Drechsler said acting on the request would be “a waste of judicial and municipal resources.” “For whatever reason, Mirra waited until just before Christmas to file suit, with the swearing-in set to occur on January 4,” Drechsler wrote in his 10-page ruling. “While the court could make a judge available for a trial on the merits on an expedited basis, it would be impossible to complete a trial” by Wednesday. Drechsler also said it’s the Massachusetts House of Representatives, not the court, that at this point has “exclusive jurisdiction over this contested election” under the state Constitution. Mirra’s challenge, he wrote, “ignores the constitutional limit of the court’s power.”
Minnesota: Two Rochester individuals suspected of breaking election law will not be charged because there’s not enough evidence for the charges to hold up in court, said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. In one case, local law enforcement investigated an individual who was suspected of intercepting polling place Wi-Fi while serving as an election judge during the August primary, Ostrem said. Local law enforcement also investigated a second primary election judge who printed documents from a ballot tabulator that were ultimately considered public information. “When we’re charging somebody, do we have probable cause? And in both cases, the answer would probably be ‘yes,’” he said. “But would we also then be able to continue to develop more information and evidence that would get us to prove beyond a reasonable doubt? And the answer was a clear ‘no.’” Both those judges were not hired to serve during the November election, as was the leader of a local group of election deniers who circulated questionable instructions about taking pictures of balloting material and intercepting polling place Wi-Fi to local election judges.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ended 2022 without a ruling n case regarding ex-felon voting rights, more than a year after hearing arguments in the case. The legal cases center around restoring the right to vote for people convicted of felonies who’ve served their jail sentences, as more than 50,000 Minnesotans with active felony records await the decision. The challenge invokes a constitutional argument that requires felons to complete time in custody, and be on supervised release or on probation before they can vote again. Proponents of the lawsuit want voting eligibility to automatically be restored upon release from incarceration.
Nebraska: Rick Hall, a resident of Lincoln, has filed a complaint with the Lancaster District Court against a voting machine vendor and all 93 Nebraska county election officials as well as Secretary of State Bob Even and others alleging that the 2020 election and others since have been rigged. The lawsuit seeks relief from every county election official in the state. Hill’s court filing asks the judge to require local sheriffs to collect the ballots cast in recent elections and conduct a “forensic audit.” He demands the state legislature change the law and require the use of hand-counted paper ballots in future elections. Hill, initially sought $1 billion in damages. In a later court filing, he upped his request to $10 billion “based on the price of Gold and Silver at the start of this suit.” In response, the Nebraska Attorney General filed a motion asking the lawsuit be dropped, claiming the allegations are “without any factual basis to support them.” Douglas and Lancaster County, acting on behalf of their election commissioners, filed similar objections. In a separate filing, the attorney for Election Systems argues Hill has no legal standing to make such demands. The company’s brief states, “he has asserted nothing but generalized grievances about government and has not articulated a particular harm he has suffered different than the harm supposedly suffered by the general population.” The company adds the arguments are similar to those raised and “uniformly rejected and dismissed” in other courts around the country.
Pennsylvania: The state Elections Code does not contain a provision for a forensic audit based upon a voter’s allegations of election fraud or irregularity, Lycoming County officials say. They responded to a demand for such a proceeding contained in a lawsuit filed in county court by two voters who identify themselves as members of the Lycoming County Patriots organization. The county seeks dismissal of their suit filed Dec. 6 that seeks an order compelling a third-party forensic audit of the 2020 election results in the county. Richard Houser and Catherine Burns claim they showed the county commissioners over the past 14 months evidence of fraud, irregularities and violations of the Election Code. Defendants are the county, its board of elections, Commissioners Scott L. Metzger, Tony R. Mussare and Richard Mirabito and director of elections Forrest K. Lehman. The defendants are accused of failing to adequately investigate their claims of election fraud in a county in which President Trump outpolled Joe Biden, 41,462 to 16,971. Houser and Burns have not cited any authority that entitles them to a forensic audit of election results based upon their own allegations of fraud, county Solicitor J. David Smith points out in the defense response.
Texas: Frederick Francis Goltz, 51, is being held at the Lubbock County Detention Center on a federal warrant after being arrested by the FBI on December 20. He is accused of posting a series of threatening messages on social media sites. According to the criminal complaint, on November 13, 2022, the FBI National Threat Operations Center received information that a user called “FreeSpeechMaster” posted a threatening message on Patriots.win, a social media platform self-described as “the ultimate right-wing news, memes, and discussion aggregator.” The complaint then says on November 14, “FreeSpeechMaster” posted, “Hypothetically, a mass shooting of poll workers and election officials in these highly suspect precincts might be the way to go.” According to the complaint, on November 21, 2022, “FreeSpeechMaster” posted the name, address, phone number, and fax number of an election poll worker and commented, “It would be a shame if someone got to [his] children. There are some crazies out there. This kind of info shouldn’t be readily available on the internet.” On November 23, 2022, the FBI issued an Emergency Disclosure Request to Gab regarding the “FreeSpeechMaster” user account. Gab provided the FBI with the subscriber’s information, namely the IP address and the date the Gab account was created. On November 30, 2023, the FBI submitted a subpoena for subscriber information to Vexus Fiber, the host for the IP address they obtained from Gab. Vexus provided the name address, phone number, and email address of the subscriber, identified as Fred Goltz of Lubbock, Texas; a Canadian citizen and legal permanent resident of the United States. The FBI then cross-referenced other databases confirming the information obtained from Vexus. Goltz’s Texas driver’s license confirmed his physical and mailing address, and a search of law enforcement databases provided information on three vehicles associated with Goltz, a black Jeep Wrangler, a gray GMC Yukon, and a black Chevy Silverado. The special agent carrying out the investigation conducted surveillance on Goltz’s residence and saw all three associated vehicles at his residence. Goltz was arrested on December 20, 2022, and was booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center where he remains pending trial. He is charged with interstate threatening communications and is being held without bond.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voting rights | Youth votes | Mandatory poll duty | Ranked choice voting, II | Independent voters | Democracy | Voting age | Ballot counting | Election fortification | Election deniers
Arizona: Election reform | Election litigation, II
California: Ranked choice voting
Florida: St. John’s County
Iowa: Voter privacy breach
Louisiana: Voter suppression
New Hampshire: Election reform
New Mexico: Suffrage
North Carolina: Voter ID
Ohio: Election legislation | Voting rights
Oregon: Ranked choice voting, II
Pennsylvania: Ranked choice voting | Ballot cure
Rhode Island: Nellie Gorbea
South Carolina: Straight ticket voting
Tennessee: Election reform
Texas: Harris County
From January 6 to Ephesians 6: Strengthening the Pillars of American Democracy: On the second anniversary of the January 6 riots, join AEI and the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies for reflections on strengthening the social, moral, and spiritual conditions for democratic institutions to thrive. AEI President Robert Doar will offer opening remarks, after which AEI’s Ian Rowe will interview Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III on his life in ministry and his inspiration behind assembling faith leaders to pray for our nation and model healthy public discourse on contentious issues. Then Jacqueline C. Rivers will moderate a panel discussion with AEI’s Robert P. George, Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School, and Rev. Cornel R. West of Union Theological Seminary. The panelists will assess practical ways in which individuals can help keep the republic and how civic institutions can lead this democratic revitalization. Where: Washington, DC. When: Jan. 6, 4pm.
Election Center Joint Elections Official Liaison Conference: Save the date! More information coming soon! Where: Arlington, Virginia. When: Jan. 11-14, 2023
EAC Technical Guidelines Development Committee Annual Meeting: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) will hold its annual meeting tentatively on January 26, 2023. This meeting will be held virtually and live-streamed on the EAC’s YouTube Channel. Registration is not required. When: January 26, 2023. Where: Online.
iGO 2023 Mid-Winter Conference: Check out the iGo website for more information about the tentative agenda. When: Jan. 28-Feb.1, 2023. Where: Glendale, Arizona.
NASS Winter Conference: Attendee registration for this event will open in December 2022 The cost to attend is $500 early/ $600 late (after January 24, 2023) for Secretaries of State, State Government Staff, NASS Corporate Affiliates and Federal Government Staff. The cost for Non-Profit Organizations to attend is $750 per person early/ $850 late (proof of valid non-profit status required). The cost for Corporate Non-Members to attend is $1300 per person early/ $1400 late. Registration for this event will close on Monday, February 6, 2023, or when registration capacity is fulfilled. On-site registration WILL NOT be available for this event. All event attendees are subject to the event anti-harassment policy and conference waiver of liability. There is no virtual option to attend. Press registration for this event will open on January 18, 2023 Further details and instructions will be posted on January 18. There is no cost for the press to attend. Virtual attendance will not be available. Where: Washington, DC. When: Feb. 15-18, 2023.
NASED Winter Conference: Save the date and check back for more details. When: Feb. 15-18. Where: Washington, DC.
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Assistant County Clerk-Recorder, Nevada County, California— Under administrative oversight you can be assisting with planning, organizing, directing and leading the activities of the County Clerk-Recorder’s office! The Assistant Clerk-Recorder will provide highly sophisticated staff assistance to the Clerk-Recorder! This management classification position serves at the will of the County Clerk-Recorder, and acts on her behalf in her absence and provides full line and functional management responsibility for the department’s Recorder and Election divisions. This position is distinguished from the County Clerk-Recorder in that the latter is an elected position and has overall responsibility for all functions of the department. Salary range: $111,810 – $136,500. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant Director, Butler County, Pennsylvania— To supervise and direct the operational processes relating to voter registration, voting and elections, ensuring that voters’ rights are protected and votes are recorded and counted accurately. Assists the Director in implementing the day to day functions of the Elections Department. The incumbent supervises the non-exempt staff and answers voter and candidate questions or selects proper course of action to resolve problems. Assists Director in evaluating new technologies for election process. Consults with others regarding clarification of the Pennsylvania Election Code. Refers complex issues requiring clarification of the Pennsylvania Election Code or the Pennsylvania Constitution to the Director of Elections. A Bachelor’s Degree in a related field and/or equivalent work experience is required. Significant experience in Computer Science course work or equivalent is required. Prior work experience involving the electoral process is desirable, as is supervisory experience. Must be knowledgeable of State and County voting laws, regulations, procedures, and requirements. Computer, telephone and customer service skills are necessary. Salary: $45,129.18-$63,180.85. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Board of Elections Training Specialist, Wake County, North Carolina— Are you looking to get involved in your community? Do you want to make a difference? Are you passionate about learning? If so, get ready to roll up your sleeves and become part of something bigger! The Wake County Board of Elections is currently seeking an experienced Instructional Designer/Training Specialist to join our dynamic and driven Training Team. The ideal candidate will be a strong communicator who thrives in a fast paced, ever changing work environment. They will have a clear understanding of the commonly accepted instructional design models, what it takes to be a behind the scenes designer, have a strong visual sense and excellent project management skills. What will you do as a Board of Elections Training Specialist? Develop training materials, including classroom presentations, manuals, workbooks, training videos and online training modules to facilitate comprehensive training for Early Voting and Election Day Officials Review, evaluate and modify existing and proposed programs and recommend changes Create schedules, design layouts for training facilities and adjusts room layouts as necessary between in-person classes. Train and manage instructors and assistants for in-person training classes. Serve as instructor for some online webinars and in-person classes. Collaborate with team members to gain knowledge of work processes, identify training needs and establish plans to address the needs through training solutions. Identify innovative training tools and methods to enhance the training program. Monitor and assess election law changes and incorporate the changes into polling place procedures. Develop and design election forms, precinct official website, newsletters, assessments and other communications. Develop high level design documents, storyboards, audio narration scripts, status reporting, QA and testing plans. Assists with Early Voting site setups and call center support. Assists with Election Day call center support and post-election processes. Portfolios will be required by all applicants who are selected to move forward in the recruitment process. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Information Officer, Illinois State Board of Elections— Functions as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the SBE Information Technology Systems. Responsibilities encompass full range of information services; application design and development, system administration, data administration, operations, production control, and data communications. In conjunction with the Board, Executive Director, and Executive staff, the CIO determines the role of information systems in achieving Board goals. Defines goals in terms of statutory obligations to be met, problems to be solved, and/or opportunities that can be realized through the application of computerized information systems. Prepares and submits budget based projections of hardware, software, staff and other resource needs to adequately provide for existing systems, as well as support of new project initiatives. Advises Executive Staff in matters relating to information technology. Develops presentations and reports for the Board and Administrative Staff. In conjunction with Executive Staff, evaluates system performance to determine appropriate enhancements. Salary: $7,885 – $13,237 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Departmental Training Coordinator, DeKalb County, Georgia— The purpose of this classification is to develop, coordinate, deliver, and evaluate departmental training programs and learning solutions. The following duties are normal for this position. The omission of specific statements of the duties does not exclude them from the classification if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment for this classification. Other duties may be required and assigned. Develops training programs for departmental employees; creates new and/or modifies existing courses and course materials; researches industry changes; and prepares activities and course assignments. Conducts training and facilitates in-house training programs for employees based on current trends and best practices. Assists employees in meeting certification and recertification requirements for mandated licensure and submits documents for license renewals. Coordinates training logistics to include training room, schedules, attendance tracking, passwords, supplies and set up; and selects or develops teaching aids including training handbooks, tutorials or quick reference guides . Administers and grades course assignments and exams; and tracks and analyzes learning curriculum effectiveness through various evaluations techniques including evaluation of individual performances. Maintains and prepares training and compliance records and prepares related documentation and reports; enters course exam grades; prepares training certificates; and updates compliance databases. Assists with internal departmental communications by preparing newsletters, promotional materials for training programs, flyers for departmental events, or related communications. Communicates with department management, supervisors, other employees, subject matter experts, schools, community groups, volunteers, the public, and other individuals as needed to coordinate work activities, review status of work, exchange information, or resolve problems. Maintains current knowledge of departmental business functions and operations to develop training programs and solutions for improving employee knowledge and performance within business units; and research training industry standards and best practices and applies new technologies. Salary: $52,815 – $81,862. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy County Clerk, Boone County, Missouri— The Boone County (MO) Clerk’s Office seeks a deputy county clerk in its elections division. With general supervision, this clerk processes new and revised voter registrations, provides information to the public on candidates, ballot issues and other election information, determines ballot styles for walk-in absentee voters, verifies petitions, and performs related election duties. Salary: $15.45-$16.41/hr. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Deputy Director of Elections, Arapahoe County, Colorado— The Deputy Director of Elections position has direct responsibility for the entire Election Division. This position will direct complex administrative and supervisory work in activities. The Deputy Director of Elections supports the Chief Deputy Director and the Clerk and Recorder with issues concerning all operations of Elections. The following statements are illustrative of the essential function of the job. The following duty statements are illustrative of the essential functions of the job and do not include other non-essential or marginal duties that may be required. The County reserves the right to modify or change the duties or essential functions of the job at any time: Directs the long term strategic operation of the Election Division which may include but is not limited to, legislative tracking, budget development, business process analysis, data analysis, project management, coordination with external and internal stakeholders and overseeing senior management staff. Manages, and ensures statutory compliance of all election functions including: voting equipment, voter registration, mailing ballots, and providing access to voter service polling centers. Serves as the project manager and primary point of contact for election systems software and hardware vendors. Responsible for the evaluations of the Election staff as directed by the Chief Deputy Director and/or Clerk and Recorder. Informs the Chief Deputy Director and/or Clerk and Recorder on the status of projects and/or changes within the Division. Attends association and professional meetings to enhance and maintain knowledge of trends and developments in elections, as determined necessary by the Chief Deputy Director and/or Clerk and Recorder. Responds to inquiries, providing guidance and interpretation regarding application of the organization’s policies and procedures. Technical expert of election software, business processes, statutes, rules and regulations. Voting equipment and election security subject matter expert. Responsible for overall timekeeping and leave within the Election Division. Salary: $78,780 – $125,866. Deadline: Jan. 27, 2023. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Registration and Elections, Fulton County, Georgia— The County is seeking a Director of Registration and Elections (DRE). This position serves as the chief executive responsible for developing goals, objectives, policies, and procedures relating to voter registration and elections in Fulton County. The DRE also prepares, presents, and manages the department’s approved annual budget. The DRE leads programs and services that ensure safe, free, and accessible voter registration and elections in the County. The DRE ensures accurate collection and maintenance of voter registration data and administers the county elections and associated services, which includes but is not limited to absentee balloting, voter registration, voter education and outreach. The Director collects information and validates candidates for elective office, ensures the availability of training for poll workers, and directs efforts to educate voters on elections in the county. The DRE performs other duties, including preservation, storage, preparation, testing and maintenance of departmental election equipment. Furthermore, the director oversees election district boundaries, and administers the selection of polling places in the county. Salary: $175K-$195K. 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.
Division Director, Illinois State Board of Elections— Subject to Executive Director approval; oversees the administration of human resource programs including, but not limited to, compensation, payroll, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and morale; occupational health and safety; and training and development. Serves as the Board’s subject matter expert relating to personnel and human resource matters. Identifies staffing and recruiting needs; develops and executes best practices for hiring and talent management. Conducts research and analysis of Board trends including review of reports and metrics from human resource information systems. Recommends, implements, and ensures compliance with agency policies and procedures including, but not limited to, hiring, disciplinary actions, employee grievances, compensation plan, and employee performance evaluations. Creates and oversees human resource practices, programs, and objectives that provide for an employee-oriented culture that emphasizes collaboration, innovation, creativity, and knowledge transfer within a diverse team. Oversees the day-to-day administrative aspects of the Board’s personnel programs; accuracy of bi-monthly payrolls; benefits; quarterly and annual EEO/AA reporting; and, employee transaction documentation. Facilitates professional development, training, and certification activities for staff; development and maintenance of agency-wide training programs for on-boarding, staff development, and knowledge transfer. Responsible for the administration and oversight over all disciplinary matters; including: investigation of complaints; conducting witness interviews; documentation gathering; drafting and submittal of investigation findings to Executive Staff; advising Division Directors and Executive Staff on disciplinary matters; and, drafting of formal disciplinary reprimands in accordance with policy. Has administrative oversight of the Chief Fiscal Officer regarding budgetary and fiscal matters under the purview of the Division of Administrative Services. Supervises and evaluates subordinate staff; facilitates knowledge transfers and cross trainings; performs other duties as required or assigned which are reasonably within the scope of the duties enumerated above. Salary: $6,023.00 – $12,374.00 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Early Voting Coordinator, Wake County, North Carolina— re you looking to be more involved in your community? Are you ready to be a part of democracy in the making? If so, get ready to roll up your sleeves and become a part of history! Wake County Board of Elections is currently seeking an Early Voting Coordinator to join our dynamic and talented Early Voting Team. The Early Voting Coordinator plays a critical role in the management and logistical planning of Early Voting. This includes communicating, scheduling election service vendors and managing voting site support operations to include the physically demanding work of setting up Early Voting sites. What will you do as an Early Voting Coordinator? Plan and organize all Early Voting operations; Assist with development of Early Voting expansion budget items and analyze budget impacts of new election laws and state directives and incorporate the changes into Early Voting site procedures; Work with Town Clerks, Municipal Administrators, Facility Directors, Special Event Coordinators and Superintendents to secure use of facilities for Early Voting; Manage Early Voting facilities, including scheduling, communication, support, logistics, database management and site setups; Develop Early Voting ballot order and determine the distribution of ballots each Early Voting facility will receive; Update and maintain the Early Voting blog and Early Voting page of the Wake County Board of Elections website; Manage the Early Voting support Help Line; Post-election reconciliation duties to include provisional management, presentations to the Board and assisting with record retention. Salary: Hiring Range: $20.81 – $28.10. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Supervisor, Pierce County, Washington— The Pierce County Auditor’s Office is responsible for elections, licensing services, and public records. This position supervises an award-winning division in the second largest county in Washington State. There is plenty of activity between elections and experienced staff to accomplish division goals. The Auditor’s Office promotes innovation and process improvement. The Auditor’s Office Elections Division maintains voter registration rolls, conducts federal, state and local elections, verifies petition signatures, publishes a local Voters’ Pamphlet, and maintains precinct lines after redistricting. Pierce County has over 550,000 registered voters and conducts four elections each year. The Elections Division serves 114 jurisdictions (boundary lines, voter assignment, elections) and files candidates for over 500 elected offices. As the Elections Supervisor, you will have the ability to immediately contribute to the division’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. You will be influential across the state, networking with other counties, sitting on advisory committees, and collaborating with the Elections Manager on policy decisions. Salary: $36.44 – $46.33 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Executive Director, Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center— The primary responsibilities of this position are to set and reinforce the mission and vision of the organization, define its strategic direction and implement strategic plans for the organization’s development, make executive decisions that drive organizational growth, and build and manage relationships including stakeholders and potential donors. The Executive Director works with the Board to set goals for the organization, governs over organizational activities and relationships, guides the organization’s culture, and directs communication to support the mission of the organization. The ideal candidate will define the organization’s priorities and direction, oversee staff recruitment and retention, and work systematically to meet organizational goals. He or she should be a self-starter with the ability to work independently and with a team. This is a full-time remote position with in-person meetings and travel as needed. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Executive Director, National Vote at Home Institute — The Vote at Home Executive Director shall be responsible for managing all aspects of the organizations’ operations. These major responsibilities include the following: Strategy. Recommending, implementing, and effectively executing all VAH policies and key strategies and programs as approved by one or both boards. Budget. Fundraising and budget administration, to ensure Vote at Home’s financial sustainability and the effective and efficient expenditure of available funds. Management. The hiring, supervision, and performance management 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. Salary: $120K-$160K. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Information Technology Security Analyst, Illinois State Board of Elections— The IT Security Analyst reports directly to the Manager of Cyber Operations and Infrastructure. Supports the administration, implementation, review, and improvement of endpoint, network, hardware, application, and data security practices. Implements, supports and monitors the agency’s information security applications, including email security, web security, endpoint security software, firewalls, intrusion prevention applications, data loss prevention, etc. Monitors system dashboards and logs for threat indicators. Analyzes data and performs necessary incident response procedures. Conducts network, system and application vulnerability assessments. Analyzes agency threat surface and makes recommendations to management to harden agency systems. Evaluates agency processes and implements and/or makes recommendations to enhance security. Reviews information received concerning threat events from end users, supervisory personnel, other federal, state, county and local agencies and governmental entities involved in the exchange of data with the State Board of Elections (SBE), external entities such as the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), trusted cybersecurity vendors, law enforcement agencies, and public information sources. Consults with SBE staff on security issues. Provides a high level of customer service to agency staff, state, county, and local election officials. Ensures service desk queues and incidents are handled in an appropriate and timely manner. Salary: $6,264 – $8,917 Monthly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Language Access Coordinator (Russian and Somali), King County Elections — The Department of Elections is searching for energetic and resourceful professionals who like to “get stuff done”. The Language Access and Outreach Coordinator position in the Elections Department combines an exciting, fast paced environment with the opportunity to cultivate talents and apply a variety of skills. The ideal candidate will thrive in an innovative, fast-paced environment and will not hesitate to roll up both sleeves, work hard, have fun, and get the job done. The Language Services and Community Engagement Program is recruiting Language Access and Outreach Coordinators who will support the program for the Russian and Somali languages. This position provides bilingual assistance, translation, and community outreach support. These individuals must be able to read, write, understand, and speak Russian or Somali at the language proficiency testing level used by the Department. In addition, as part of the community engagement program, they will participate in voter registration and voter education activities with community partners and provide support to out Voter Education Fund partners. Individuals in this position will provide language access assistance to our communications team and administrative support to other election work groups as needed. Salary: $33.63 – $42.62 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Voting Rights Expert, The Carter Center— The Carter Center is seeking a highly qualified voting rights analyst to work on the Center’s US election advisory team under the guidance of the Democracy Program staff. The voting rights expert will assess and analyze key issues affecting women, the disabled, and disenfranchised groups in the United States. The voting rights expert will contribute to public and private statements concerning the electoral process and provide an impartial assessment of elections as well as detailed recommendations for ways to improve the program’s inclusiveness, credibility, and transparency as it relates to voting access of historically disenfranchised peoples. A minimum of seven (7) years of experience in democracy and/or elections is required, in addition to a degree in political science or another relevant field. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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