In Focus This Week
New Report by the Center for Election Innovation & Research
Voter Registration Database Security in 2022
Kristin Sullivan, research director
The Center for Election Innovation & Research
As integral components of the voter registration process, state voter registration databases (VRDBs) are foundational to U.S. elections and their security is critically important. Any disruption to a state VRDB by a bad actor could have serious consequences for the smooth operation of our elections and undermine voter confidence. To promote a better understanding of this aspect of election integrity, the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR) conducts a biennial survey assessing the state of VRDB security across the U.S.
CEIR recently released a report with the results of its 2022 survey, which examines three key areas of VRDB security: prevention, detection, and mitigation. As the report notes, countless election officials successfully administered highly secure and accessible elections in 2020 and 2022, despite intense scrutiny and a national environment of rampant mis- and disinformation. In preparation for the elections, officials worked hard to secure election infrastructure against both foreign and domestic threats by improving their state cybersecurity practices. One critical component of this effort was ensuring the security of VRDBs.
Overall, CEIR’s 2022 survey shows that since 2018, respondent states have implemented and maintained Industry standard best practices to improve their VRDB security posture. These best practices include establishing password requirements, monitoring login attempts, training users, requiring tabletop exercises, and backing up VRDBs. The 2022 survey also shows that state security practices have improved in key areas when compared to 2020. In the 2020 report, for example, CEIR called for further adoption of multi-factor authentication—a measure experts agree is critical to secure VRDB access—and that progress was evident in 2022. We also saw states adapt to changes in best practices for certain password requirements, bring more IT support in-house, and implement additional email security.
Still, some opportunities for growth remain. For example, it appears there may have been slight regression in terms of minimum character requirements for user passwords. This remains a best practice that the National Institute of Standards and Technology, among others, supports and we would expect to see progress in this area in the future.
Based on input from security experts, the 2022 survey introduced two new topics: security procedures for remote third-party access and adherence to the 3-2-1 rule in backing up VRDB systems. Both areas show encouraging initial results, though there is some room to grow.
Generally, after three surveys, CEIR remains encouraged by the state of VRDB security. As always, threats will continue to evolve, requiring that state responses and the best practices they employ stay ahead of them. For this reason, CEIR will continue its research in this critical field.
DHS Grant Op-Ed
New DHS grants has potential to provide meaningful support to elections officials
By Lawrence Norden and Derek Tisler
On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced a change in its Homeland Security Grant Program that could make a huge difference for election offices around the country. In fiscal year 2023, states must dedicate at least three percent of the money they receive from this $1 billion program to election security needs, opening up tens of millions of dollars for state and local election offices in need of better security for their workers and for voters.
Previously, DHS had recommended that states prioritize spending some of the grant money received through the program on election security – with this change in policy, that is now a requirement.
This new funding has the potential to provide meaningful support to our guardians of democracy. It could help reverse the flow of dedicated professionals leaving the election administration field because they don’t feel safe in the new climate of harassment and threats.
This grant program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with guidance and support from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Over the past few years, CISA has conducted physical security assessments for election officials across the country, identifying security risks and making critically important recommendations for increasing physical security in offices and at polling sites. But because these assessments have no money attached, election officials are too often left with awareness of vulnerabilities and without the resources to do anything about them. The grant program’s new three-percent rule can be an important step to close that gap.
It’s true that some election offices have been lucky enough to get state or local support that has allowed them to add important security measures. For instance, individual counties in Arizona, Colorado, and Wisconsin have purchased everything from bulletproof doors and glass to video cameras and security fencing. But for every jurisdiction that has found the money to implement such measures, there are many more who could not. The new spending requirements will allow election offices to purchase the kind of basic upgrades adopted sporadically by some counties, as well as access controls and door locks to protect equipment and ensure unauthorized persons cannot gain access to buildings, and exterior and parking lot lighting to make the areas that workers use to get into official buildings more secure. It can also be used for things like table-top exercises and other training on hardening office security to meet escalating threats, as well as cell phones, radios and other communication systems that allow election workers to communicate immediately if they are threatened. Making these facilities safer is not only important for the workers who spend their days there, but also for members of the public who visit these buildings to register to vote and cast ballots.
Unfortunately, election workers are not just threatened where they work. Some officials, like Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, have been stalked, confronted, and threatened outside their own homes. States can use the new federal funds to provide election workers with personal security training, or to help hide personal information that attackers have used in the past to harass election workers and their families outside of the office.
Make no mistake, the threats against election workers are a new and deeply disturbing trend in American elections and will require far more than the new funds promised by FEMA. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law has estimated that the nationwide cost for instituting best practices to protect election workers from the rise in threats of physical violence could be as much as $300 million over the next five years. Just as importantly, money alone cannot solve this problem. All levels of government must do more, including by arresting and prosecuting those who have illegally threatened election workers.
This effort by DHS, FEMA and CISA to get more security funding to election officials is an important first step. It is also a meaningful statement from the federal government that it understands threats of physical violence against those who run our elections are a threat to our democracy itself, and that election officials and workers should not feel they are alone when they stand up for free and fair elections for all of us.
For more information on available funding, election officials should contact their State Administrative Agency, which can be found here.
Lawrence Norden is senior director of the Elections & Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. Derek Tisler is counsel in the program.
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Election News This Week
Election Security Funding: Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas this week announced more than $2 billion in funding for eight fiscal year 2023 preparedness grant programs. These grant programs provide critical funding to help state, local, tribal, and territorial officials prepare for, prevent, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism. DHS has identified six national priority areas in the FY 2023 grant cycle: cybersecurity; soft targets and crowded places; intelligence and information sharing; domestic violent extremism; community preparedness and resilience; and election security. DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) Fiscal Year 2023 Notice of Funding Opportunity. These grant programs provide critical funding to help state, local, tribal, and territorial officials prepare for, prevent, protect against, and respond to acts of terrorism. Election Security has once again been identified as a National Priority Area (NPA) in the HSGP, with a newly required minimum spend of 3%. The State Administrative Agency (SAA) is the only entity eligible to submit HSGP applications to FEMA, but the notice specifically notes that “the SAA must include the State’s Chief Election Official for all projects and matters related to the election security [NPA].” SAA contacts for each state can be found here. The application period will close at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on May 18, 2023. Further information on DHS’s preparedness grant programs is available at www.dhs.gov and http://www.fema.gov/grants.
A Tale of Two Counties: Election denial lives on in several California counties including Kern, in the Central Valley and Shasta in Northern California. This week, the board of supervisors in both counties made decisions about the future of voting. In Kern County, where angry residents have been attending supervisor meetings since the beginning of the year, the board voted to renew its voting equipment contract with Dominion. There is no evidence that I have seen that the Dominion voting system or the company itself is fraudulent or has malicious intent, which is evident by the fact that no federal agents here in court have found it as such,” Espinoza, said. She said the voting system is sound and provides accurate results as has been proven time and time again. She recommended the board approve the contract with Dominion voting systems. “As your Auditor-Controller, I am telling your board that to replace our current voting system based on accusations that have yet to be proven despite being made nearly two and a half years ago is a waste of taxpayer dollars and county resources,” Espinoza, said. In Shasta County, board of supervisors voted to cancel its contract with Dominion and to pursue the possibility of counting votes by hand. As noted in the Los Angeles Times, Shasta County has been in near political chaos for more than a year after far-right activists, including members of a local militia, led a successful recall of a Republican supervisor and former police chief. This week’s hearing about the Dominion contracted lasted 13 hours. Board Chairman Patrick Jones, who spearheaded the voting system changes, said that he intends to follow election laws, but that many in his county do not trust electronic voting machines. Supervisor Mary Rickert, one of two board members who voted to keep Dominion, said she believes the effort is more far-reaching. She and local staff noted that ditching Dominion could cost the cash-strapped county hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra expenses because the county will have to pay to have the voting machines removed. “You don’t understand, our government is being overthrown,” she said in an interview with the Times. In a statement, Dominion said Shasta County’s decision was “yet another example of how lies about Dominion have damaged our company and diminished the public’s faith in elections.”
Sticker News: Those who vote in Bastrop County, Texas will soon see new ‘I Voted’ and ‘Future Voter’ stickers after casting their ballots. This comes after the Bastrop County Elections Office held a sticker design contest for K-12 students. The competition was stiff, with over 140 kids submitting a sticker sketch. The top ten winners in each category were honored in front of local leaders at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting. With a unique design that featured a bluebonnet and quill, Smithville High junior Sophia Royster won Bastrop County’s first-ever “I Voted” sticker contest. “We get to be a part of the process a little bit with this,” she said. “Even though we can’t vote, we still get to be involved in the process.” In the younger kid category, Bluebonnet Elementary 2nd-grader Kyla Coleman took the top honors with a colorful design.
Personnel News: Michael Shaheen has been sworn in for another term on the Belmont County, Ohio board of elections. Aghogho Edevbie has been appointed Michigan deputy secretary of state. Republican Steve “Doc” Troxel is the newest member of the Lynchburg, Virginia electoral board. Nicole Rae Mickley has been appointed the new director of the Medina County, Ohio board of elections. Seminole County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson has announced that he will not seek re-election. Essex, Massachusetts Town Clerk Pamela Thorne is retiring.
In Memoriam: Joseph N. Karey, a retired attorney who was a past secretary of the Baltimore County Board of Elections, died of respiratory failure Saturday at Brightview Towson, an assisted living facility. He was 90. A Republican, he was named secretary of the Baltimore County Board of Elections for its 2011-to-2015 term. He was also legal counsel to the elections board before he held a position on it. In a 1994 Sun story, he described how Baltimore County was dealing with election gridlock in the Maryland governor’s race between Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the Republican candidate, and Parris N. Glendening, the Democratic candidate and eventual winner. In Baltimore County, Democrats demanded to check the signature on each of 6,567 absentee ballot envelopes against the signature as recorded on the voting rolls, The Sun’s story said. Democrats wound up challenging more than two-thirds of the ballots because there were no signed affidavits on file for them. In the news account, Mr. Karey said counting ballots without affidavits had been done “in many, many elections and I don’t think we should change it now, even though it might change the election.”
Federal Legislation: New York Congressman Dan Goldman (D) is introducing a bill that would mandate 14 days of in-person early voting for federal elections. “The right to vote is the fundamental right from which all other rights flow. Without equal access to the ballot, without fidelity to the concept of one person, one vote, our democracy cannot function properly,” said Goldman. The Early Voting Act also requires early vote ballots to be scanned and processed before election day. Goldman’s bill would also aim to make polling places more accessible. It would require them when possible to be near public transportation. There would need to be a polling place on every college campus as well as efforts to bring more early voting to rural areas. Finally, the Early Voting Act would require ballots cast early to be counted beforehand. The congressman said former President Donald Trump and his allies have used the uncertainty of election night counting to undermine democracy.
Cochise County, Arizona: The Board of Supervisors vote 2 to 1 to transfer the board’s election oversight to Recorder David Stevens an election skeptic who has said he does not fully trust all of his county’s election procedures and believes the county can and should move to hand-counting ballots. With the vote, the Board gave up their statutorily-prescribed control over the appointment of the county’s elections director, Election Day procedures, ballot counting and presentation of election results. Republicans Tom Crosby and Peggy Judd voted yes, and Democrat Chairwoman Ann English voted no. The supervisors moved forward despite a warning from the attorney general’s office they received, in which the solicitor general wrote that he had serious concerns about the legality of the drafted agreement. According to Votebeat, Solicitor General Joshua Bendor appeared concerned about Cochise County’s proposal, though, because of the lack of clarity around just how much authority supervisors were giving Stevens – perhaps including establishing voting locations, appointing workers, approving ballot contests, and finalizing results.
Arkansas: The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced a bill aimed at establishing certain guidelines and requirements for counties removing electronic voting machines and relying on paper ballots marked and counted by hand over the objections of several opponents who said the bill would discourage paper ballots. In a voice vote with Sen. John Payton, R-Wilburn, dissenting, the Senate committee endorsed Senate Bill 250 by Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton. The bill would require a county that chooses to use paper ballots in place of approved voting machines to be responsible for the cost of the paper ballots, and any devices or machines required for the printing and tabulation of paper ballots. It would require each paper ballot to be compatible with the electronic vote tabulation devices selected by the secretary of state law under Arkansas Code Annotated 7-5-301. During all elections in counties that use paper ballots and in which those ballots are counted by hand, the ballots would be required to first be marked using permanent ink and be run through an electronic vote tabulation device before a hand count is conducted under SB250.
The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed Senate Bill 272 by Sen. Jim Petty, R-Van Buren. Under the bill, the counties selected to participate in the election integrity review would be chosen at random in a public meeting of the state Board of Election Commissioners; designated by a two-thirds vote of the board if information obtained through the complaint process or by a certified election monitor indicates that a substantial violation of election or voter registration laws may have occurred in that county; or designated by the Legislature’s Joint Performance Review Committee. The board would be required to pick 15 counties by designation or by random selection by Jan. 31 of the odd-numbered year to participate in the election integrity review, starting Jan. 1, 2025. The board may conduct an election integrity review of election-related documents and records prior to Jan. 1, 2025, as a pilot program. The election integrity review would include not less than 15 counties and no more than 20 counties in an odd-numbered year under SB272.
Colorado: Lawmakers in the House of Representatives defeated a Republican proposal for a sweeping overhaul of state election laws backed by conspiracy theorists who baselessly allege that recent election results are illegitimate. House Bill 23-1170, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Ken DeGraaf of Colorado Springs, would have required elections officials in Colorado’s 64 counties to count votes using a “distributed ledger,” a decentralized verification system similar to blockchain technology. DeGraaf said the bill would allow any voter to verify that their vote was counted for their chosen candidate. HB-1170 was postponed indefinitely by the House State, Civic, Military, and Veterans Affairs committee on an 8-3 vote, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.
Georgia: Republican senators rolled out a package of bills that continue to focus on perceived flaws in the 2020 presidential election, attempting to restrict outside money, eliminate votes scanned from bar codes and ban foreigners from being hired as election workers. One of the bills would prohibit county governments from accepting election donations from organizations. Another bill would require Georgia’s voting system to scan ballots without having to rely on QR codes, often called bar codes, which are unreadable to the human eye. One proposal would require anyone employed in a county election office to be a U.S. citizen. Other initiatives would make less controversial adjustments to election processes, requiring audits after primaries as well as general elections, giving local election offices more time to report the total number of ballots cast on election night, and clarifying wording on absentee ballot applications that say “THIS IS NOT A BALLOT.”
Senate Bill 277 could change how elections are supervised in Macon-Bibb. Senators John Kennedy and Rick Williams sponsored changes to the legislative act that created the Bibb County Board of Elections in 1969. As currently worded; the mayor and county commission – upon the recommendation of the board of elections – shall appoint an elections supervisor. If passed, the proposed bill would read “the governing authority of Macon-Bibb County shall select and appoint a person whose title shall be ‘elections supervisor,’ who shall be the chief administrative officer of the board, and who shall have duties and functions as may be prescribed by the board, and who shall serve the pleasure of the county manager of Macon-Bibb County”. If the bill is approved, it would give full control and authority for the mayor and commission to appoint the election supervisor.
A Senate committee approved a bill that could allow voters to be disqualified based on an allegation that they had changed their address, which voting rights groups said could lead to mass disenfranchisement. The Republican-sponsored proposal would expand the ability of Georgia residents to challenge the eligibility of other voters, based on a belief that elections are rife with the potential for fraud. The legislation advanced on a 5-3 vote by the Senate Ethics Committee. Senate Bill 221 could receive a vote in the full Senate within days. Voter advocates say the bill would permit unreliable change-of-address data to be used against people who temporarily relocate, including college students, military members and the poor. The measure specifically targets the homeless by requiring them to register to vote by using the address of their county’s courthouse. The legislation also calls for an outright elimination of absentee ballot drop boxes after the General Assembly passed a voting law in 2021 that confined them inside voting locations. In addition, the bill would require digital ballot images to be displayed online, mandate audits after both primary and general elections, and prohibit non-U.S. citizens from working in county election offices.
Hawaii: A bill to create a new state holiday called Indigenous Peoples Day was unanimously approved by a key Senate committee, but state and county executives warned the holiday would be expensive in terms of lost public worker productivity. Senate Bill 732, which was introduced by Senate Democratic Majority Leader Dru Kanuha, would also abolish the existing general election day holiday that falls in early November every other year. Supporters of the change say it’s no longer necessary to give the day off to encourage voter participation now that Hawaii has shifted to all-mail voter registration and elections. The net effect would be to create one additional state holiday every two years.
Idaho: Despite opposition from both Idaho’s Secretary of State and county clerks, a bill limiting who can vote absentee is on its way to the full House. Currently, if you want to request an absentee ballot, you don’t need a reason. Under Rep. Joe Alfieri’s (R-Coeur d’ Alene) bill, you would only be allowed to request an absentee ballot if you’re in active service of the military; you’re hospitalized, ill or have a disability; you’re unable to vote in person on Election Day because you have to work or attend university; or you’re out of the country on a religious mission. An updated version of Alfieri’s bill also allows someone to request a ballot if they’re staying in a second home or residence outside of their county – to account for snowbirds.
The Senate voted 27-8 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 101, which would require 6% of voters in all 35 Idaho legislative districts to sign a petition for an initiative or referendum to qualify for election. The current threshold is 6% of voters in 18 legislative districts. Initiatives and referendums are a form of direct democracy that allow the voters to act independent of the Idaho Legislature.
The Senate voted to pass a bill that calls for the Idaho secretary of state to create and mail a free, informational voter guide to every Idaho household before state primary and general elections. Secretary of State Phil McGrane brought Senate Bill 1078 forward as a way to expand upon and replace the current voter’s pamphlet that is now mailed to Idahoans. If the bill is passed into law, the new voter guide would include information about federal and state candidates for office, including state judicial candidates. The new guide would include information on voter registration, voting requirements and important dates and deadlines on top of the existing information included in the voter pamphlets, which only present information about constitutional amendments, ballot initiatives or referendums. The new voter guide would be prepared and tailored to each of the state’s 35 legislative districts so that voters would know what is on their specific ballot. McGrane estimated the cost of offering the new voter guide would be $750,000 to cover the design, production and sending the voter guide out.
Indiana: Indiana House Bill 1334, which would impose additional requirements on mail-in voting, was passed by the state’s House of Representatives on Wednesday and will now head to the senate. Authored by Rep. Timothy Wesco, R-Osceola, the bill would require that voters applying for an absentee ballot provide identifying information, like the last four digits of a Social Security number, an Indiana driver’s license number, or another form of identification. The bill would also prevent anyone other than a voter or voter’s family member from requesting an absentee ballot on their behalf. The original version of the bill would have imposed additional restrictions on eligibility for absentee voting but those previsions were removed. Wesco amended the bill again, removing a provision that barred election officials from marking or highlighting ballot applications mailed to voters. House Bill 1334 would require county election boards would to match at least one of the identifying numbers in a voter’s absentee ballot application to the voter’s registration record. In the absence of a match, the county’s partisan clerk would mail the voter a new application with an note explaining the error.
Iowa: Any vote cast by an Iowan who registers on Election Day would be automatically considered provisional until officials could verify the voter’s information a second time under legislation advanced by Republican state lawmakers. The provision is one of three elections laws changes proposed by Iowa Sen. Sandy Salmon, a Republican from Janesville, and advanced by Salmon and fellow Republican Sen. Jason Schultz, of Schleswig. Under the other proposals, all ballots would be recorded, preserved and be considered public information — including which candidates were selected, but without any of the voter’s identifying information; and Iowans could challenge voter registration information across county lines.
House File 356 would adjust the rules governing recounts, add a voter ID requirement for absentee ballots and require anyone challenging an Iowan’s voter registration to post a bond. The bill was approved by the State Government Committee. Jamie Cashman, a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of County Auditors, said the group will have at least one request: Auditors would like to begin mailing absentee ballots to voters 25 days before the election, rather than the 20 days allowed under current law. He said that would help spread out the workload for election officials and ease voter confusion. The House bill would require any recounts be conducted countywide, rather than only in certain precincts. Candidates also would have to choose whether they want to request a machine or hand recount. Candidates would be required to use whichever method they choose in every county where they request a recount. In addition, the legislation would change the size of recount boards, depending on the population of the county. Currently, all Iowa recount boards are made up of three members — one designated by the apparent winner, another designated by the apparent loser and a third member mutually agreed upon by the other two.
Kansas: House and Senate lawmakers passed bills ending the three-day grace period for advance ballot collection 77-45, following debate on the ethics of limiting the window. The vote marks a shift from 2017, when the House voted to create the three-day grace period for ballots with 123 voting in favor of the legislation. Senators voted 23-17 to do the same. Republican proponents of the bill have said the measure will restore state residents’ trust in the electoral process, though the bill’s critics have said proponents are the ones undermining the electoral system in the first place. Under the House bill, all advance ballots need to be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, eliminating the window currently in place. The restriction would apply to advance voting ballots received by mail, in the office of the county election officer, the satellite election office, any polling place or a county-maintained election drop box. While the House was divided on ending the three-day grace period, legislation giving the Secretary of State more control over the electoral process was passed with no opposition. House Bill 2086 and House Bill 2087 would clear up Kansas election law confusion. HB 2086 would make Kansas county election officers the only officials responsible for planning, conducting, and coordinating elections within their counties, along with ensuring the elections comply with federal and state laws. HB 2087 would require each political party to adopt procedures to select presidential electors. The names of the presidential electors would be certified to the Kansas secretary of state by Sept. 1 in presidential election years. Senate Bill 208 started as a measure that would have limited counties to just one drop box. Sen. Caryn Tyson offered an amendment on Wednesday to ban them outright, saying they allow for the possibility of “foul play.” That legislation passed by a razor-thin, 21-19, margin. Senators rejected Senate Bill 210, which would have allowed candidates for nonpartisan offices to have their partisan affiliation included on the ballot. Senators also passed Senate Bill 221, requiring write-in candidates to submit an affidavit confirming their interest in the office. Write-in votes would not be counted if the candidate failed to submit an affidavit three weeks before the election. The bill passed 29-7.
Kentucky: The Senate voted to broaden an address confidentiality program intended to protect domestic violence victims from their abusers. The measure would build on a limited, little-used program that now can shield victims’ home addresses from voter rolls. If the bill becomes law, the program would be expanded to mask their addresses on other publicly available government records. The bill won Senate passage on a 36-0 vote, sending it to the House. Republican Sen. Julie Raque Adams, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the proposal would offer protections for victims of domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking. The bill would bring Kentucky’s efforts in line with 38 other states that offer comprehensive programs to mask the home addresses of domestic abuse victims on public records. The Secretary of State’s office runs Kentucky’s address confidentiality program related to voter rolls and it would administer the expanded program. Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams praised the Senate vote to expand the program, saying the state is “one step closer to ensuring that survivors of domestic violence can get the protection they deserve.” In his statement, Adams urged the House to pass the measure. Senate Bill 79 is intended to expand the program’s accessibility.
Maryland: Democratic Del. Dalya Attar has submitted a bill that would change the primary from April 23, 2024, which is currently both its scheduled date and the first day of the eight-day Jewish holiday, to April 16, 2024. Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, said in a joint statement Monday that they would work with those in charge of scheduling elections to have the primary shifted.
Michigan: House Democrats have introduced a package of bills they say will protect election officials and workers by increasing penalties for harassment and banning guns from voting locations. House Bill 4127, introduced by East Lansing Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou, and HB 4128, introduced by Detroit Rep. Stephanie Young, would make it illegal to possess a firearm at or 100 feet from polling places, ballot drop boxes, early voting locations and absentee vote counting boards. This ban already applies to churches, courts, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals and more. Violation is a misdemeanor punishable with at worst 90 days in prison. Uniformed law enforcement officers are exempt.
HB 4129 would make it a felony to intimidate an election official or worker or prevent them from carrying out official duties. “Election official” means “a public officer or public employee who has a duty to perform in connection with an election,” per the bill. “Intimidate” means “harassing conduct that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the individual to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.”
HB 4130 puts the maximum penalty at five years in prison. Both bills were introduced by Holt Rep. Kara Hope, whose 2021 bill to criminalize election worker harassment never got a hearing.
Missouri: Rep. Barry Hovis of District 146 in Whitewater has introduced legislation that would allow for ballot curing. Hovis, who introduced House Bill 1184 on Feb. 16, was inspired by similar legislation put in the hopper by state Sen. Jason Bean. Hovis said the purpose behind his bill is straightforward even if the name on the bill is hard to comprehend. “If there is a simple mistake on the ballot envelope by someone filing absentee, there should be an opportunity to correct, or ‘cure,’ the error so the vote is counted,” Hovis said. Hovis explains the measure would require county election clerks to try to contact those voters who submitted a ballot with mistakes on the envelope and offer a time-limited chance to correct them. Under current state statute, section 115.295 RsMO, if any statement on any ballot envelope received by county clerks hasn’t been completed, the ballot “shall be rejected.” Hovis said he thinks in the case of a simple mistake, such as failing to sign the ballot envelope, county clerks should do a bit more in order to ensure a vote is counted by reaching out to the voter directly. Cape Girardeau County Clerk Kara Clark Summers said if the bill becomes law, Cape Girardeau County should be able to handle the additional work.
Montana: Three proposals backed by right-wing “election integrity” groups were summarily tabled by Montana lawmakers following committee hearings that stretched through Saturday. The bills, all sponsored by Sen. Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton, would have banned machine-counting of ballots, required votes be counted at the county precincts they were cast in and moved Montana to closed primary elections. The committee heard about an hour of testimony on Senate Bill 435, which would have eliminated the use of tabulators in Montana, and would require all counties to hand-count every selection on every ballot. Arguments to return to hand-counting have gained popularity in right-wing circles across the country, with many who dispute the results of the 2020 presidential election suggesting the ballot-counting machines were hacked. Senate Bill 433, also introduced by Manzella, would require ballots to be counted at the precinct where they were cast, prior to being transported to the county’s centralized location for counting ballots. Under current practice, election officials count the number of ballots at each precinct polling place — but not the intensive process of tallying up each vote on each ballot — before sealing them up and transporting them to the central location. Two election officials must accompany the ballots any time they’re moved, part of Montana’s “chain-of-custody” requirements. The bill would also require video and audio recording off all vote-counting activities. Those processes are already required to be open to the public, but “election integrity” groups in Montana have alleged foul play in the absence of recorded evidence to the contrary. Another bill offered by Manzella would have required Montanans to declare a party affiliation in order to vote in the state’s primary elections. That would be a switch from Montana’s current “open primary” system, in which voters don’t register with a party and are free to vote in a party primary of their choosing. Unaffiliated voters wouldn’t be able to vote in any primary races.
Senate Bill 481 would require each county that uses machine tabulators to count ballots to generate a “cast vote record,” essentially a digital summary of each ballot scanned by the tabulator. Cast vote records were central to a wave of public-record requests submitted to election officials in Montana last summer. Across the country, the requests appeared to spike after Mike Lindell, a nationally prominent election conspiracy theorist, instructed his followers to request the records from the local election administrators
Senate Bill 482 would require counties to run a “hash validation test” during their post-election audits. A hash is a code generated by an algorithm, and can be used to check whether the source code of a tabulator or other election system has been altered. The bill would require counties with election systems capable of generating the hash to check it against the “trusted hash” generated by the Election Assistance Commission when the system was initially certified for use. If no tampering has occurred, the hashes should be identical.
A proposal to simplify Montana’s election calendar would upend how local district elections are held, according to groups opposing legislation endorsed by a House committee Tuesday. Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula, framed his bill as an attempt to boost turnout in elections that often fly under the radar for voters, but ultimately have major impacts on their property tax bills. Those elections — whether they’re for municipal government or school, fire, irrigation or other special districts — would be held alongside the federal primary and general elections that take place in even-numbered years, under House Bill 774. Rather than the thousands of different special elections that occur across the state each biennium, Hopkins said, his proposal would require only two.
Nevada: Polling places could soon be required in county and city jails under a proposal introduced in the Nevada Legislature. Senate Bill 162, introduced by state Sen. Melanie Scheible, D-Las Vegas, would require jails to establish a polling place exclusively for prisoners. Scheible said the bill won’t expand the voting population, but will instead make sure those in detention centers are still able to exercise the right to vote. The bill, if passed, would also require jails to establish polling places for prisoners who are registered to vote in a different county than the one in which they are being held. The legislation would not allow individuals convicted of a felony who haven’t had their right to vote restored to cast a ballot. The bill doesn’t apply to inmates at Nevada state prisons.
New Jersey: A bill that would update and clarify primary election rules by adjusting timelines and making them more in sync and practical for candidates, county clerks and other election officials passed the full Senate. The bill, sponsored by Senator Andrew Zwicker, would bring those deadlines into agreement with other deadlines that were adjusted under State laws enacted in 2022. Bill, S-3595, would increase the time by which a county clerk must provide materials to the printer. The bill, as amended, would require clerks to provide materials to the printer on or before the 60th day prior to the primary election. Getting primary election materials out to the printers much further in advance than before will help ensure that they are properly prepared and mailed out, thereby reducing the possibility of human error and leading to greater trust in the State’s elections systems. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote 37-0.
New Mexico: The New Mexico Senate passed a bill addressing election accessibility and security. Senate Bill 180 includes creating an elections security program and streamlined training for election challengers and watchers. Supporters of the bill say it also adjusts timelines for absentee ballots in order to ensure that every vote is counted. If the bill is passed, it would require the Secretary of State’s office to create an electronic process for candidates to collect needed signatures during the primary process. The bill will now head to the House.
A bill that would prohibit people from carrying firearms at polling places is continuing to make its way through the Roundhouse. Senate Bill 44 would ban people from having a firearm within 100 feet of a polling location on Election Day or during early voting. If the bill becomes law, people who do not comply could be charged with a petty misdemeanor which carries up to a six-month prison sentence and a maximum fine of $500. If the bill continues to progress towards law, it’s important to remember that this bill would not apply to peace officers or to security personnel while carrying out their official duties. So, police officers, as long as they have authorization from the local government, can help guard polling locations.
South Dakota: Legislation that would add South Dakota to the long list of states requiring post-election audits continues moving forward at the state Capitol. The House State Affairs Committee voted 13-0 for a further-amended SB-160. The legislation would require that hand counts in 5% of a county’s voting precincts be compared to the machine counts. The latest version now combines part of HB-1199 , another post-election audit proposal that the committee had set aside. It also no longer requires that the two contests to be audited are the two closest statewide races. Should the House approve the bill, it would return to the Senate for a decision whether to agree with the House version.
Tennessee: A proposed bill in Nashville could make voting more accessible on Election Day for people in Washington County. House Bill 937 was penned by Rep. Rebecca Alexander (R-Jonesborough), and its companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 839, is sponsored by Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City). The bill would establish a pilot program in Washington County to create voting centers. The program would allow registered voters to cast a ballot at any one of the 23 voting centers in Washington County on Election Day, as opposed to having to go to a specific precinct that has been designated for someone’s home address. Washington County Elections Administrator Dana Jones said the change would make it easier for voters to get to the polls. She said those who work outside of standard business hours would have more accessibility to voting if they did not have to drive out of their way.
Texas: Senate Bill 2, filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), would also change the standard for determining someone’s intent for illegal voting, according to policy experts. The law as enacted under SB 1 says a person commits a crime if they “knowingly or intentionally” vote or attempt to vote in an election in which the person “knows they’re not eligible” to vote. Hughes’ new bill changes that language so that anyone who votes or attempts to vote in an election in which “the person knows of a particular circumstance that makes the person not eligible to vote” could face charges. That means that rather than having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the voter knew they were casting their ballot unlawfully, prosecutors would only need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the voter knew of the circumstance that made them ineligible to vote, said James Slattery, senior supervising legislative attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
House and Senate bills filed by Republican lawmakers in response to Harris County’s mismanagement of its recent elections could give the Texas secretary of state the authority to step in, suspend county election administrators when a complaint is filed and appoint a replacement administrator. If passed, the secretary of state’s office would change from being a guide and resource for election workers to being an auditor that can investigate and fire them. Some election officials are concerned this change could prevent local election workers from asking questions or seeking help from the office for fear of being reprimanded. House Bill 2020 and Senate Bill 823 would allow the secretary of state’s office to take action in a county if a complaint is filed by one of several officials and organizations involved in elections, and if there’s “good cause to believe that a recurring pattern of problems with election administration exists.”
Utah: House Bill 537, sponsored by Rep. Kera Birkeland (R-Morgan), would change the practice of county clerks sending out mail ballot to all registered voters and instead require voters to specifically ask for them before the election. But Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, whose office oversees elections in the state, opposes the bill. “Utahns have made it clear they love voting by mail,” Henderson told KUTV 2News in a statement. “I don’t see any reason for government to arbitrarily make it harder to do so.” Birkeland defended her proposal, saying the idea came from her constituents. “They want to ensure that only those who actually want their ballot mailed to them receive it that way,” Birkeland said in a text message. “Some will make the choice to receive their ballot in the mail, but others will choose to go into their county or city buildings to vote – so why mail ballots to those who want and have consistently chosen to vote in person?”
West Virginia: The Senate passed three bills related to elections in the state. All three bills originated from the Secretary of State’s office as technical cleanups. Senate Bill 620 makes just four changes to state code that would increase the maximum number of registered voters per precinct, as well as the distance between polling places. Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the bill’s lead sponsor, said the bill increases the maximum number of voters in an urban precinct from 1,500 to 2,500, and allows for greater consolidation of precincts. The Senate also passed Senate Bill 631, which would facilitate the state’s use of federal money from the Help America Vote Act in federal elections. Also known as HAVA, Trump said the bill was passed by Congress after the 2000 presidential election to help facilitate vote counting in states. Senate Bill 631 also extends the deadline for when county clerks can accept voter registrations on the final day of registration by a few hours, from close of business to midnight. Senate Bill 644, which aims to clarify the procedure for contested elections, also passed. All three bills now go to the House of Delegates for consideration.
A bill requiring cites to hold their municipal elections on the same day as statewide primary or general elections continued its journey through the House of Delegates last week. The measure cleared the House Government Organization Committee. It’s second of three committee reviews, with a few additional tweaks. Current code allows cities to align their elections with those dates if they wish. This bill, HB 2782, would make it mandatory. If it becomes law, it will pose some problems but offer benefits, members learned. Committee counsel and Secretary of State General Counsel Donald Kersey explained the main problem would be in some counties, city and county voting precincts don’t match. Kersey said code requires the local governments to respect their precinct boundaries – unless it’s not practicable. In some cases, “practically speaking the boundaries just haven’t been respected in the past,” he said. The bill mandated they work out the conflicts and its effective date, Jan. 1, 2026, gives them time to work them out, he said.
Wyoming: House Bill 103, which places restrictions on crossover voting, is headed to Gov. Mark Gordon for action after passing both chambers of the legislature. Sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Haroldson (R-Wheatland), it would prohibit voters from changing their party affiliation 96 days prior to a primary election and 14 days before a general election. That means voters have to affiliate with a party before the filing date period opens for candidates. The bill died during its journey through the Senate when it failed on a 1-3-1 vote in the Senate Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Committee on Feb. 9. It was then revived by a rarely used rule that allows for a bill to be recalled from one committee and referred to another. The Senate Revenue Committee, which was seen as more sympathetic to the bill, approved its passage on a 4-1 vote on Feb. 16. It then made its way through the Senate and passed on 19-11-1 vote after three readings on Feb. 24. Two amendments were adopted by the Senate. These included adding language about a qualified elector to specify who is already a registered voter and who is a new voter. The second amendment, brought about by Biteman, eliminated this language the following day.
HB131, prohibition on delivery of unsolicited ballot forms, passed on its third reading and was signed by Senate President Driskill. If signed by the governor, the bill would prohibit anyone except a county clerk or the secretary of state’s office from distributing an absentee ballot request form. If signed into law, the act would be effective immediately.
Governor Mark Gordon has signed the following bills into law: HB279 requuires voters to provide identification to obtain an absentee ballot in person, HB79 states that a concealed carry permit, issued by the state of Wyoming, is an acceptable ID form when voting in person at a polling place or in person at an absentee polling place and HB5 that mends the definition of “registry list” to include a state-issued voter identification number, absentee ballot status and registration dates. Prior to this law, the registry list included only the list of names, addresses and party affiliations of registered voters in a precinct.
Arizona: Kari Lake, the Republican who lost the governor’s race to Democrat Katie Hobbs, has asked the state Supreme Court to review her challenge of election results that has so far been rejected by the courts. In a filing this week, Lake’s attorneys focused on problems with ballot printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, which is home to more than 60% of the state’s voters. They alleged chaos created by the technical problems had disenfranchised Republican voters. They claimed the chain of custody for ballots was broken at an off-site facility and that the Arizona Court of Appeals applied the wrong standard of proof in deciding Lake’s challenge. In the nearly four months since Lake’s defeat, the courts concluded she presented no evidence that voters whose ballots were unreadable by tabulators at polling places were not able to vote. Maricopa County officials declined to comment on Lake’s appeal. They have previously said everyone who experienced problems with ballot printers had a chance to vote. In rejecting her appeal two weeks ago, the state Court of Appeals said the only thing Lake had in backing up her claims about the tabulator problems was “sheer speculation.”
California: An organization made up of citizen volunteers challenging state laws and regulations for allegedly undermining the elections process has included Kern’s Registrar of Voters among a list of entities it’s suing. In an amended lawsuit filed, the Election Integrity Project says laws passed over three decades “have systematically eroded (voting) rights by an onslaught of unconstitutional statutes and emergency regulations, which, taken together, have led to widespread election irregularities across California counties.” The actions responsible for the alleged damage include universal vote-by-mail — which doesn’t require voters to present identification, legalizing unrestricted “ballot harvesting” and allowing counties to treat vote-by-mail and in-person votes differently, according to the suit. The suit seeks an audit of all vote-by-mail ballots and ballot envelopes, duplicated ballots and other documents used to vote in all elections since the November 2020 election. It requests an order that defendants be ordered to preserve those materials for inspection, as well as all voting machines, software and other equipment used in voting in the state since that election. It also seeks a court ruling to find a number of state election laws passed over the years unconstitutional, and undisclosed damages. According to the suit, the law changes have allowed a “large number” of vote-by-mail ballots to be sent to those who are ineligible.
Louisiana: The signature-count threshold needed to trigger a general election to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell would be lowered from about 50,000 to about 45,000 in a court settlement reached this week between the recall drive organizers and the secretary of state’s office. The details of the settlement were not immediately available, but a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said no voters would be declared inactive or removed from the rolls in the process. Some observers, including Cantrell herself, have expressed concerns that the recall campaign’s legal challenge was a backdoor strategy to purge New Orleans voters from the rolls. But it appears the deal won’t change anyone’s voter status. Instead, the secretary of state will simply lower the threshold of the number of signatures the recall petition needs in order to trigger a general recall election. John Tobler, deputy secretary of communications with the Secretary of State’s office, said the threshold will be lowered as if 25,000 people were removed from the list of active New Orleans voters. But under the terms of the deal, which had not yet been signed by a judge, no one will be moved to the inactive voter list, he said. “No one’s being removed,” Tobler said. “Essentially, the total number of the electorate is going to be reduced by 25,000 … And that was an agreed upon number to sort of make both parties satisfied. But no one is being removed.” Tobler said that the deal and lower active voter count will only apply to the Cantrell recall petition, not future petitions or elections. Recall organizers have said they delivered boxes with almost 50,000 signatures to the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters last week but no official number has so far been released. How the secretary of state’s office could unilaterally lower the signature requirement without auditing the rolls was also not clear.
Pennsylvania: Two Virginia men who were convicted of carrying guns near the Philadelphia Convention Center as votes from the presidential election were being counted in 2020 were given sentences this week that spared them from additional jail time. Joshua Macias and Antonio Lamotta were each sentenced to 11½ to 23 months behind bars but placed on immediate parole followed by at least two years of probation. Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons did not explain her reasoning but emphasized that the men are now barred from possessing guns and said she would reevaluate her decision if there was any evidence of their being near a firearm. Prosecutors had asked Clemons to impose a sentence of at least three years in prison. The men’s attorneys, meanwhile, said that incarceration was unnecessary and that their clients were being improperly villainized for their support of former President Donald Trump. The judge told them: “In two years, if you have no issues, you’re done” with the sentence.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Democracy | Ex-felon voting rights | Fox News, II | Confidence in voting
Arizona: Election deniers
Arkansas: Paper ballots
Colorado: Election deniers
Hawaii: Ranked choice voting
Idaho: Ranked choice voting
Indiana: Voter suppression | Voter registration
Maine: Election legislation
Maryland: SCOTUS case
Minnesota: Ex-felon voting rights
Mississippi: Election security
New Mexico: Ex-felon voting rights
New York: UOCAVA voters
North Carolina: Election deniers
Pennsylvania: Standardized access | Election administration
South Carolina: Election dates
Texas: Election legislation
Virginia: Ex-felon voting rights
Washington: Election officials
Wyoming: Election legislation, II
Accelerating Excellence Conversation: The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections: Join The Elections Group at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 7 on Zoom for a conversation with Weber County, Utah, Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch. A member of the Committee for Safe and Secure Elections, Hatch hosted a gathering of elections and law enforcement officials ahead of the 2022 General Election. We profiled his efforts, which brought more together nearly 50 state, local and federal officials. The Committee for Safe and Secure Elections features cross-partisan experts in election administration and law enforcement who aim to support policies and practices that protect election workers and voters from violence, threats, and intimidation. Immediately following the conversation, we will provide highlights from the Five Steps to Safer Elections on how you will be able to implement a similar program. When: March 7, 2pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Democracy Solutions Summit: This virtual event brings together experts and leaders in election administration, voting rights, and democracy reform who are working on innovative solutions that upgrade and strengthen our democracy. Women experts will discuss a range of critical issues related to fair access, fair elections, and fair representation. Experts will focus on viable, scalable, and transformative solutions to build a 21st century democracy that reflects today’s needs and values. DAY ONE: Fair Access – Ensuring Ballot Access for Voters and Candidates; DAY TWO: Fair Elections – Upgrading US Presidential Elections; and DAY THREE: Fair Representation – Ranked Choice Voting and the Fair Representation Act. Where: Online. When: March 7-9.
What’s the Matter With Primaries: Primary elections are viewed with a mix of concerns and optimism — some see them incentivizing extreme candidates and excluding independent voters while others see the solution to those very issues. A host of reforms have been proposed, like opening primaries up to independent voters or implementing top-two, top-four, and even top-five systems. Yet, while primaries are often among the most consequential contests in American politics, voters are largely uninterested. Primary turnout in most races is abysmally low, and in some states is trending down. Are new forms of primaries part of the prescription for what ails American politics, and what can be done about low turnout? Join the Bipartisan Policy Center, election experts, and policymakers for a discussion examining primary turnout and reform, including new 50-state analysis of 2022 midterm primary turnout and the impact of reforms like Alaska’s new top-four system. When: March 9, 1pm Eastern. Where: Online.
Election Center Special Workshop: Courses offered will include: Course 9 (History III – 1965 to Present), Course 10 (Constitutional Law of Elections, renewal) and Course 15 (Training in Elections: Reaching All Levels). When: April 27-30. Where: Houston.
ERSA 2023 Conference: The 7th Annual Summer Conference on Election Science, Reform, and Administration (ESRA) will be held in person from Wednesday, May 31 to Friday, June 2, at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Details about this year’s conference program are forthcoming. When: May 31-June 2. Where: Atlanta
NACo Annual Conference: The National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference & Expo is the largest meeting of county elected and appointed officials from across the country. Participants from counties of all sizes come together to shape NACo’s federal policy agenda, share proven practices and strengthen knowledge networks to help improve residents’ lives and the efficiency of county government. When: July 21-24. Where: Travis County, Texas.
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.
Administrative Specialist III (Elections Specialist Lead), King County, Washington— The Department of Elections is searching for an energetic and resourceful professional who likes to get stuff done. The Administrative Specialist III in the Elections Department combines an exciting 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. This position will lead processes, projects, and people within the Signature Verification and Alternate Format work areas of Ballot Processing. This will include leading, coaching, mentoring, and training temporary and regular staff. Leads may also provide assistance and/or participate in long-term cross-training in multiple work areas to meet organizational agile efforts. This is a great opportunity for a person with strong communication and interpersonal skills. King County Elections (KCE) manages voter registration and elections for more than 1.4 million voters in King County and is the largest vote-by-mail county in the United States. KCE’s mission is to conduct accessible, secure, and accurate elections. As a leader in providing inclusive elections, KCE is focused on three key priorities – (1) continue to test and implement a customized approach to engaging voters and support citizens in exercising their democratic rights, (2) follow-up on audit recommendations, including pro-actively assessing and managing risk, and, and (3) define and build a respectful work environment based on professionalism and collaboration. KCE believes that democracy works best when all voices are heard, and proactively work to remove barriers to ensure all voters can meaningfully participate in our elections. Salary: $27.09 – $34.47 Hourly. Deadline: March 7. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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.
Assistant Manager-Poll Worker Department, Palm Beach County, Florida— The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections is looking for an experienced Assistant Poll Worker Department Manager. In this role, you will oversee the planning and the completion of various projects, administrative functions, operations, and specialized tasks in the Poll Worker Department. The work involves knowledge and application of departmental operations, planning, assigning responsibilities, monitoring election worker classes, maintaining records, evaluating performance, and the ability to review work for accuracy. This position requires initiative and sound independent judgement in the application of office policies, election laws, and procedures. Must be personable and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues, associates, and the general public. All work is performed under the guidance of the Supervisor of Elections. The ideal candidate will have an excellent work ethic, including consistent performance, reliability, and attendance. The desire and ability to work well in a fast-paced collaborative environment with a smile are essential to the position. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Chief Deputy Registrar, Lexington, Virginia— The City of Lexington is accepting applications for the non-exempt full-time position of Chief Deputy Registrar. This is an appointed, at-will position that serves a term not to exceed the term of the current Registrar. (Code of Va. §24.2-112) The Chief Deputy Registrar “shall have the same limitations and qualifications and fulfill the same requirements as the General Registrar…” (Ibid.) The Chief Deputy Registrar must be able to assume the duties and responsibilities of the General Registrar in the Registrar’s absence. The position requires knowledge of, or the ability to quickly obtain, knowledge of: elections, election law, security practices, government, finance, training, and related technologies. The successful applicant will be required to undergo a criminal background check, DMV motor vehicle record check, and drug screening. Salary: $22.86–$24.09/hr. 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.
Compliance Specialist 2, Oregon Secretary of State’s Office— In this role, you will help the public comply with Oregon campaign finance laws and rules. You will also help investigate possible violations of Oregon election laws and rules. This is accomplished in part by, but not limited to: Teaching filers how to submit filings on ORESTAR (Oregon Elections System for Tracking And Reporting); Explaining election laws and rules to the public and to filers; Reviewing filings for legal sufficiency; Conducting investigations into possible election law violations; Making recommendations about the outcome of investigations; Issuing civil penalties for non-compliance; and Answering the public’s questions about registering to vote and voting. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Communications Director, NonproftVote— Are you a seasoned communications professional concerned about the state of our democracy? Do you believe in the power of nonprofits and nonpartisan voter engagement? If so, we have an opportunity to put your skills to work in a mission-driven environment to foster a more engaged and inclusive democracy. Nonprofit VOTE equips our nation’s nonprofits with nonpartisan tools and resources to help the communities they serve participate in voting and democracy. In doing so, we seek to close participation gaps among populations underrepresented in the political process. Additionally, Nonprofit VOTE manages the collaborative work of National Voter Registration Day, a single day of coordinated ﬁeld, technology, and media strategies to raise awareness of voter registration opportunities and help hundreds of thousands of Americans register to vote. Working within a small, collaborative, and flexible team, your role as Communications Director will be to lead the communications of both Nonprofit VOTE and National Voter Registration Day. Our communications seek to weave a narrative around successful voter engagement efforts, highlighting key partners and traditionally underrepresented communities, while distributing practical advice and tools on how nonprofits can more effectively engage their communities. Salary: $75,000 and $90,000. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here
Digital and Multimedia Specialist, Issue One— The Digital and Multimedia Specialist (DMS) will play an integral role in expanding Issue One’s reach by producing and promoting multimedia content (including in-house video), managing and growing Issue One’s social media footprint, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram, running Issue One’s fundraising and action email list. The DMS will be proficient at video production and help Issue One reach new and larger audiences through video messaging, social media, and digital storytelling. The individual will also support key functions of the communications team, working closely with the communications director, senior communications manager, and communications specialist. The ideal candidate will possess a strong understanding of digital and multimedia strategies and tools needed to reach wider audiences and grow the organization’s brand in a competitive digital climate. Salary: $58K-$70K. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Director of Elections & Registration, Cobb County, Georgia— The purpose of this classification is to plan, direct and oversee the operations and staff involved in voter registration and election processes for the County under the general oversight of the Board of Elections and Registration, including, but not limited to, conducting federal, state, county and municipal elections, registering voters, and maintaining voter lists, and to ensure such processes are carried out in compliance with local, state, and federal election and voter registration laws, rules, and regulations. Salary: $110,217.89 – $181,859.52. Deadline: March 15. 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.
Election Certification & Training Program Manager, Washington Secretary of State’s Office— The Elections Certification & Training Program Manager reports to the Deputy Director of Elections and is responsible for managing the Certification and Training team. Certification and Training is a mission critical program established and required by RCW 29A.04.530, 29A.04.560, 29A.04.590. The Certification and Training Manager develops and manages program objectives and priorities, in collaboration with external stakeholders including independently elected auditors and election officials. Additionally, the Program Manager makes collaborative strategic judgments and decisions balancing competing program demands or priorities for resources; develops, modifies, and implements division policy; formulates long-range strategic plans and projects . The Certification and Training Manager also integrates division and office policies and reviews the program for compliance with policies and strategic objectives. The position is responsible for four mission critical functions: Professional certification and training of local and state election administrators and county canvassing board members. Review of county election operations and procedures. Testing of all vote tabulation equipment used in each county during state primary and general elections. The election clearinghouse and publication program. The Program Manager also manages the process for adopting state rules and is the Election Division’s liaison with the USPS. Salary: $83,000 – $93,000. Application: For the complete job application and to apply, click here.
Election Review Specialist, Washington Secretary of State’s Office— This Program Specialist 4 reports to the Certification and Training Program Manager and is responsible for overseeing the County Review Program which reviews the policies and procedures of Washington County Election Departments roughly every 5 years for compliance with state and federal election law. This collaborative process is intended to support local election officials, share best practices and is one of the reasons Washington State Election Administration is ranked highest in the nation. Salary: $57,324 – $77,028. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Coordinator-Voter Registration, Buncombe County, North Carolina— An employee in this position is responsible for the management of all aspects of conducting voter registration and voter roll maintenance. This employee will lead a team who will perform the administrative duties of answering calls, registering voters, updating registrations, and performing regular database maintenance. This employee will also oversee the provisional voting process. Work requires that all materials meet the guidelines of election law and department standards. Salary: $24.96 – $29.13. Deadline: March 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Coordinator-Absentee Program, Buncombe County, North Carolina— An employee in this position is responsible for the management of all aspects of conducting absentee by mail voting. This employee will lead a team who will perform the administrative duties of absentee by mail voting. Work requires that all materials meet the guidelines of election law and department standards. The primary purpose of this position is to plan, coordinate, and administer assigned elections program or service area to support the strategic direction of the department and organization by connecting community participants to election services. Salary: $24.96 – $29.13. Deadline: March 8. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Specialist-Ballot Processing, Pierce County, Washington— This is a great opportunity to play a critical role in this nation’s elections and democracy. Whether it is Election Day or another day of the year, we are working to continuously improve the voter experience and the conduct of elections. As a dedicated civil servant with experience in elections and supervising large teams, we are looking for an Elections Specialist for ballot processing. You will have the opportunity to be in the center of the action in Washington’s second-largest county. You will work with other specialists and management to develop a ballot processing schedule, and then schedule staff. You will also help with voter registration tasks when needed. We are looking for someone is comfortable and excels at leading and directing a large team of Seasonal elections workers ensuring accuracy in ballot processing and time-sensitive tasks. Someone who is customer service focused yet is deadline driven. Someone who values teamwork, is adaptable, learns new systems quickly, and who can communicate across all levels of the organization, with our customers and party observers. Multi-taskers with excellent written communication will be successful in this role. 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. Salary: $33.62 – $42.52 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Executive Director, Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Officials— The Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities (MACCEA) is a professional association of county clerks and election authorities from Missouri’s 116 counties and election authority jurisdictions. MACCEA’s Executive Board is comprised of elected county clerks and appointed election directors whose full-time jobs are to manage county offices, conduct high profile elections, and work in the challenging environment of county government administration. The Board is a volunteer position and officers are elected by the association membership with additional members appointed by the Board President. The Executive Director position, established in 2022, will help the Board better support our membership in their roles as county clerks and election authorities, as well as support the association’s vision, mission, and goals. MACCEA seeks a contract Executive Director with diverse non-profit management, governance, conference planning, and communications experience. The Executive Director reports to the 12-member MACCEA Executive Board. Duties and association management are delegated to the Executive Director by the MACCEA Bylaws and under the direction of the Executive Board. Salary Range: $55,000 – $65,000. 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.
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.
IT Specialist, Leon County, Florida— This full-time employee will provide support for a wide variety of technology needs, primarily specializing in computer hardware. Duties include deploying computer images, providing support for desktop computers, and assisting with security and protection of elections technology and infrastructure. The role is ideal for a dynamic, self-motivated IT professional who is focused on providing outstanding internal customer service and innovations across project teams. Success in this position requires experience with Windows desktops and applications, and installing and maintaining peripheral hardware such as printers, scanners, and bar code readers. Experience in multimedia and video production and editing is desired, but not required. Must be able to deliver work on-time under pressure and maintain flexible hours including on-call shifts and overtime during elections. Occasional out-of-town travel may be required for training. Work is sometimes physically demanding and requires reliable personal transportation, an insurable driving record, and a security clearance. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Legal Counsel, Illinois State Board of Elections— Under supervision of the General Counsel, serves as Legal Counsel II, performing research, review, analysis, and evaluation of relevant court decisions, State and Federal laws, rules and regulations and other legal resources, proposed legislation, agency policy, and legal issues affecting agency operations. Participates in administrative processes related to elections and campaign finance for the State Board of Elections, drafts and reviews Board orders, reviews Board publications for legal accuracy; assists with drafting and revision of Board policies and procedures; confers with division directors regarding legal issues; undertakes or assists with special projects as assigned by the General Counsel. Serves as Ethics Officer for the agency. The Ethics Officer performs all statutory duties required under the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, in addition to other associated duties as may be requested by the Executive Director. Provides complex legal services for the State Board of Elections: researches, reviews, analyzes, and interprets pertinent court decisions, State and Federal laws, rules and regulations and other legal resources; discusses with public officials, candidates, attorneys and other interested parties complex legal questions involving the application of election laws; assists the General Counsel in working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office regarding pending litigation. Serves as records exam coordinator for the State Officers Electoral Board. Coordinates with State Officers Electoral Board hearing officers. Assists with other tasks relating to State Officers Electoral Board proceedings as assigned by the General Counsel. Serves as Hearing Officer presiding over more complex matters, conducts closed and public hearings related to campaign disclosure; determines whether evidence including testimony, documents and other exhibits shall be admitted into evidence and the order of presentation; controls hearings and rules on objections; applies and interprets applicable statues, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures; assesses credibility of witness and maintains decorum during course of the hearing. Assists with the drafting of rules and regulations pursuant to relevant legislation. Performs other duties as required or assigned which are reasonably within the scope of the duties enumerated above. Salary: $6,250 – $8,521. Deadline: March 15. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Philanthropy-Organizer Consultant RFP, Nonproft VOTE— Nonprofit VOTE is seeking an experienced consultant to act as the organizer and facilitator for the Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Initiative. This Initiative seeks to mobilize foundations to support voter engagement among their grantees and within their communities, both directly through grantmaking and indirectly through their actions. This Initiative is not about fundraising for any particular organization, but rather resourcing and supporting critical voter engagement work at nonprofits across the nation. Funding within the voter engagement space is often cyclical and narrowly focused on groups that do voter engagement work almost exclusively. Such a strategy fails to provide needed consistency and underutilizes the vast nonprofit infrastructure already in place in communities around the nation, including food pantries, housing clinics, family service agencies, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, and other nonprofits that have long-standing, year-around relations with the communities they serve. The long-term goal of the Initiative is to foster a philanthropic system that consistently supports and resources voter engagement among their grantees and broader community. The immediate objective is to build upon work that Nonprofit VOTE conducted in partnership with various philanthropy serving organizations (PSOs) to produce the Voter Engagement Toolkit for Foundations (both private and community foundation editions) in 2018. The toolkit to be updated identifies common strategies from direct funding of voter engagement work to the hosting trainings and revising overly-restrictive grant language. As the toolkits make clear, a foundation need not be a civic engagement funder to support voter engagement. There are roles for health funders, housing funders, environmental funders and most other types of funders to support voter engagement in a way that enables them and their grantees to more effectively deliver on their missions and strengthen the communities they serve. The Initiative consultant will work in close partnership with Nonprofit VOTE’s executive director and other key staff. Deadline: March 15. Application: For more information and to apply for this RFP, click here.
Senior Specialist-Voter Services, Johnson County, Kansas— The Senior Election Specialist – Voter Services will take a lead role on the voter services team within the Election Office. This position will oversee the office’s use of the statewide voter registration system and support other employees in their work within this vital system. This will require attention to detail and the ability to define a series of tasks to complete work within the system in an efficient and accurate manner for temporary employees. This position will also research and perform all geography changes within the statewide voter registration system to accommodate annexations made by cities as well as district boundary changes made by state and local governing bodies. The Senior Election Specialist – Voter Services will also participate in the programming of elections to include laying out paper ballots and designing the screens and audio for use on the ballot marking devices. This position will also receive and file all candidate paperwork including declarations of candidacy and required campaign finance disclosures. This position also actively mentors, coaches and collaborates with employees to enhance the county mission and vision keeping in mind the common goal of leaving our community better than we found it. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
System Administrator, Sarasota County, Florida— The Systems Administrator is an Information Technology professional responsible for the coordination, implementation, planning, investigating and serving as the liaison for all facets of data processing, to include any election related tasks. Salary: $40,996 – $87,630. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Vote by Mail Manager, Palm Beach County, Florida— The Vote-by-Mail Manager is responsible for all aspects of vote-by-mail administration and operations, including but not limited to the Budgets, Staffing, Training Procedure Manuals, Database Management, Quality Control, Canvassing, Supervised Voting, SBIS administration, Inventory, Maintenance, and Testing. Responsibilities include: Departments operational calendar with timeline of election cycle tasks; Forecasting and updating departments annual operating budget; Staffing and training of vote-by-mail operational staff; Staff training and process manuals; Quality control of vote-by-mail database; and Update and maintain inventory, equipment, and software. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Vote by Mail Specialist, Leon County, Florida— This full-time employee co-leads the Vote-by-Mail effort during election time, and provides critical administrative support to the Voter Services team year-round. Duties include training small groups of seasonal election staff, operating commercial mail equipment, recommending policy and process improvements for the Vote-by-Mail project area, and assuring compliance with all known legal requirements. This role is ideal for a dynamic, self-starter with a meticulous eye for detail, a knack for solving intricate puzzles, and a passion for project management. Success in this position requires proficient computer capabilities to handle large workloads on time-constricted schedules, excellent leadership skills, and the ability to seek out information and manage complex projects. Experience working with Florida Statutes in a professional environment is desired, but not required. Work is performed under the direction of the Voter Services Director, generally in an office environment. Must be able to work under pressure with composure, excel in a team environment, maintain flexible hours, be able to lift up to thirty pounds, and possess an insurable driver’s license. Some overtime and out-of-town travel may be required. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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