Election News This Week
Strength in numbers
Coalition of Bay Area Election Officials in California combines resources
By M. Mindy Moretti
With the 2020 election barely in the rearview and the 2022 election looming, a group of elections officials from California counties got together and decided that the best way to tackle the issues of mis- and disinformation in 2022 and future elections was together.
The Coalition of Bay Area Election Officials consists of 11 counties— Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma—in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
The Coalition represents 4.3 million California voters — almost 20 % of the state’s registered voters. The 11 counties range in population size from San Benito with around 66,000 to Santa Clara with around 1.8 million. Some are Voter’s Choice Act Counties, some are not.
And while there may be differences in the counties, the one thing they have in common is a shared media market — currently the eighth largest media market in the country according to Nielsen.
That shared market offers a unique opportunity to present a united front to combat mis-and disinformation with trusted facts through press releases, fact sheets and op-eds.
“Deliver key messages that we can really educate the voters about because we do understand that democracy is fragile, it took a hit in 2020, and we want to do what we can to build trust in elections,” Tommy Gong, chief deputy clerk-recorder in Contra Costa County told a local television station around the launch of the Coalition.
According to Gong, the idea for the Coalition began percolating at the end of 2021 and it was ready to launch by the spring of 2022 with a June California election on the horizon.
Members of the Coalition meet regularly via Zoom to cut down on travel time and costs. Who represents each county at the meetings varies from county to county. For instance it may be the county registrar, a deputy, or in the case of Santa Clara County, it’s Evelyn Mendez who serves as the county’s public and legislative affairs manager.
“I saw the Coalition as an opportunity to build stronger relationships with my colleagues in the Bay area and to learn from them and expand the capacity to accomplish more such as creating videos which my small office doesn’t have that capacity,” said Marin County Registrar of voters Lynda Roberts. “And as a group we’re able to share and talk about ways that we can present a unified message.”
The costs and “duties” of the Coalition are shared. With more staffing and funding, some of the larger counties have taken on things like hosting the Coalition’s website and producing an informational video about the Coalition.
“We all have the same message, we have the same last day to register, the same election day so it’s something that we collaborate together to make sure we pick up on each other’s strengths,” said, Mendez. “There’s a lot of people that have a lot of different experiences that can contribute to the whole of the group. And it’s very helpful especially when we have a Facebook page that someone else can run, it doesn’t have to be our county. We have someone else that can put a fact sheet together. Everybody just collaborates on the ideas and it works really well for the 11 of us and I know a lot of the counties in the state could benefit from what we’re doing.”
And it’s not just other California counties that could benefit from the Coalition’s model.
The Elections Group did a case study of the Coalition and created a workbook so other jurisdictions can create their own regional coalitions.
“Every challenge facing election officials is being answered somewhere through innovative practices. We launched our Accelerating Excellence series to elevate those practices and make copying them easier through case studies and implementation workbooks,” said Danny Davenport, election expert with The Elections Group. “We knew early on that we wanted to include the Coalition in that series, because it is an amazing example of local election officials working together to educate and inform voters.”
The Coalition received the Democracy Award — Outstanding Practice of 2022 from The Election Center during the Election Center’s 2022 Annual Conference.
“Speaking on behalf of all 11 coalition counties, we are thrilled and honored to have this important work recognized,” Gong said at the time. “Our hope is that this innovative method of distributing information to a large shared media market will catch on in other regions and help our fellow elections officials find other ways to share resources.”
DHS Grant Program Op-Ed
**Due to a technical error, not everyone may have been able to view this op-ed last week so we are running it again.**
DHS Grants 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
ERIC Update: Three more Republican-controlled states announced that they were leaving ERIC this week. Florida, Missouri and West Virginia followed in the footsteps of Alabama and Louisiana which had both previously left the voter registration organization. According to NPR, the states announced in tandem this week that they were beginning the process to pull out, after weeks of negotiations over potential changes the organization could make to appease GOP members who have been facing constituent pressure about ERIC, in part due to a sustained misinformation campaign from the far-right. Officials from the three states cited a number of reasons for leaving the organization including data privacy. ERIC’s Executive Director Shame Hamlin confirmed to NPR that ERIC had received the three states’ requests for resignation. “We will continue our work on behalf of our remaining member states in improving the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increasing access to voter registration for all eligible citizens,” he added in a statement. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has previously praised the voter registration system now says Ohio may drop out. “There have been some conversations just recently about the future of that organization. My team has been actively involved in that. I know that there are concerns that some secretaries have and like any human endeavor, there are imperfections to that organization. And some of the people involved, I think, have caused concern for others,” LaRose said when asked about ERIC. On Twitter, Georgia Secretary of State said the states leaving ERIC have “…hurt their own state & others while undermining voter confidence.”
2023 Elections: Voters headed to the polls (and finished voting by mail) in localities in several states. While election day itself went well in most places, what was on the ballot made more news than anything. Vermont held Town Meeting Day on Tuesday and there were few reports of issues with voter turnout being slow and steady throughout the day. Voters in Barre had to do without after the town council decided that the Girl Scouts could not sell cookies at the polling place on Tuesday. In Duxbury, drive-up voting booths were located outside the town garage and town office so voters could cast their ballots from their cars. An appropriations question was inadvertently omitted from the ballot in East Montpelier so a mail-in single issue special election will need to be conducted. In Burlington, voters were face with three elections-related ballot measure, which were both approved. By a vote of 7,143-3,366, voters approved allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections—a measure that failed in 2015. By a vote of 6,702-3,701 voters approved expanding the use of ranked choice voting to more city offices. And finally by a vote of 7,623-2,345 voters approved updating the city charger to allow some flexibility in where polling places are located. During the all-mail municipal election in Redondo Beach, California voters seem poised to approve changing the city’s current primary and runoff system to a ranked choice process. The measure had about 77% support, according to initial returns. It was smooth sailing in Oklahoma where a statewide special question election was held Tuesday. “It was actually a very quiet day in terms of issues or trouble,” Tulsa County Elections Secretary Gwen Freeman said. “You’re always prepared for that on every single election day. If you looked at early voting and the numbers that came back from those two days of early voting both here and at Hardesty, it was a nice and slow steady stream.”
2020 Election: CNHI News Service has an interesting article about Cross Village, Michigan, a township of less than 300 year-round residents that was a victim of 2020 vote auditing imposters who broke voting machines and have so far been uncharged and unaccountable, leaving Cross Village with a $5,000 bill even insurance won’t pay. Township Clerk Diana Keller said she usually relishes the peace and quiet, yet cannot forget how it was interrupted two years ago, when three men, one of whom was equipped with a holstered sidearm, handcuffs and a bulletproof vest, walked into the township hall asking her for election equipment. A locked storage area where the ballot tabulator was kept also was broken into. Since then, Keller said she has felt isolated in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with geography. “I’m not one bit satisfied with how this was handled,” she said. “The county won’t talk to us about it. The only person they prosecuted was someone I never even saw, and the state hasn’t gotten involved. It’s like it’s just getting swept away.” At this point only one person, Tere Jackson who alleged she worked for the Department of Defense, has been charged but those charges have been dismissed. Keller is unhappy happy about spending almost $5,000 on the equipment and almost that much on attorney fees. “We’ve changed the locks on the office door and on the storage room and we have a security camera now,” she said. “I was afraid for a long time after that day, but I’ve decided to set my fear aside and move on,” she said. “I’d still like the state to investigate. I want to make our village stronger every day.”
This and That: Voting rights advocates, local officials and President Joe Biden commemorated the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. Larimer County Colorado’s election office will get about $3 million over two years to reconfigure and expand the space in which it counts ballots and stores election equipment. The Brevard County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Office is looking for veterans to take part in a new program aimed at getting more young people registered to vote. The Cook County, Illinois Clerk announced a pay raise for all election judges ($250) and polling place technicians ($385) for the upcoming April 4th Consolidated Election-a $50 and $20 increase, respectively. Renovations are nearing completion at the Trumbull County, Ohio Board of Elections. Rhode Island Secretary of State Greg Amore announced that applications are now open for the inaugural Civic Teacher of the Year Award. Resident of Wichita County, Texas are asking for an independent forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election. More than 25,000 Virginians tried to cast a ballot in the 2022 midterm elections under same-day registration rules, a new process that had the most impact in college towns, according to statewide data obtained by The Virginia Mercury. The $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Dominion voting systems against Fox News took center stage during the cold opening of “Saturday Night Live” on March 4.
Personnel News: Longtime Wake County, North Carolina Director of Elections Gary Sims will retire in May. Eberle Ferrell and Emma Lewis have been sworn in as election facilitators for the Belmont County, Ohio board of elections. Hamilton Township, New Jersey Municipal Clerk Eileen Gore has retired. Susan Hagan has joined the Ashtabula County, Ohio board of elections. Laura Rainwater has been appointed the new Sedgwick County, Kansas election commissioner. Jennifer M. Ketchledge is the new Carbon County, Pennsylvania election director. Rochelle Twining has been sworn into the Allen County, Ohio board of elections. Don Miller has been appointed to the Lucas County, Ohio board of elections. Amanda Jones is the new Ashland County, Ohio elections director. Congratulations to Otero County, New Mexico Clerk Robyn Holmes was awarded the 2023 recipient of the Making Democracy Work Award from the League of Women Voters of Southern New Mexico.
Federal Legislation: Oregon’s senior senator and congressman are renewing their efforts to expand the mail voting system Oregon pioneered more than two decades ago to the rest of the nation. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, both Democrats, introduced Vote at Home Act on Wednesday. It would automatically register citizens to vote when they obtain or renew driver’s licenses, allow everyone to vote by mail and provide pre-paid envelopes to return ballots. Wyden described voting from home as “just common sense” in a statement. “The United States is stronger when more Americans can vote,” Wyden said in a statement. “Our bill will make elections more accessible to seniors, students and working families that might not have time to wait at a polling station. Voting at home makes elections more secure as well, since there’s a built-in paper trail for every single ballot that can’t be hacked.” The measure would require states to mail ballots to registered voters weeks before Election Day, while allowing people to vote in person in states that have polling places. It wouldn’t affect same-day registration in the 20 states and Washington, D.C., that don’t have voter registration deadlines. It would also require that U.S. citizens who provide identifying information, including their name, address, signature and proof of citizenship, to their state’s motor vehicle authority be automatically registered to vote. Oregon and California were the first states to automatically register voters, and 18 other states and Washington, D.C. followed suit.
Alabama: A bill pre-filed for Alabama’s upcoming legislative session could make it easier for convicted felons to regain their voting rights. Under current law, a person who has lost their right to vote based upon a past criminal conviction may apply to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote under certain circumstances, including payment of all fines, court costs, fees, and victim restitution as ordered by the sentencing court and completion of probation or parole and release from compliance by the court or Board of Pardons and Paroles. If signed into law, SB 21, pre-filed by Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham), would eliminate the application and certificate requirement and leave it up to the Board of Pardons and Paroles to determine whether or not the person may have their right to vote restored.
Arizona: The Senate passed a bill that would require voters that want to submit late mail-in ballots to also present an ID at their polling place or at the County Recorder’s Office. To ensure their ballot counts, it must be submitted this way by the Friday before Election Day. Priya Sundareshan, a Democrat, says the bill would only make it harder to vote. “That is just adding hurdles upon hurdles to people to have their ballots count,” said Sundareshan. “That’s not the way we need to be going. We need to be making it easier to vote, not harder to vote.” Republican J.D. Mesnard is the bill’s sponsor. He says it would not make voting more difficult but instead would treat early voters more like Election Day voters. The bill now heads to the House.
Arkansas: The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee considered a raft of voting bills, including a bill from Rep. Andrew Collins (D-Little Rock) that would have allowed eligible Arkansans to register to vote online like they do in 42 other states. A similar bill passed the House with 95 votes last session before it died in the Senate. A representative for Secretary of State John Thurston said his office was neutral on the bill and had already contacted the office’s vendor for such things in case the bill passed. Collins said House Bill 1537 would help a variety of people register, including 18-year-olds and people with disabilities. Christian Adcock of Disability Rights Arkansas spoke in support of the bill. Rep. Cindy Crawford (R-Fort Smith) said she voted for the bill in the last session but her constituents “chewed” on her for voting for something that they said could inject more fraud into elections.
Palo Alto, California: This week, the Palo Alto city council approved an emergency ordinance that would restrict concealed firearms from being carried in certain locations deemed sensitive. Councilmembers approved the emergency ordinance unanimously and it will be effective immediately. They also approved a separate, standard ordinance that will allow amendments to the original language and make the ordinance available for public comment. The ordinance bans concealed firearms on any city-owned property, active polling place, or school, whether it be public or private. Included in the emergency ordinance was a direction to staff to draft a resolution that states that the city is deeply concerned for the safety of its residents given what it called an epidemic of gun violence in Santa Clara County, California, and the U.S. The council limited the emergency ordinance to sensitive locations recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2022 decision that invalidated blanket restrictions on concealed weapons.
Connecticut: Lawmakers heard testimony this week on a bill that would require mandatory voting for registered voters. Miles Rapoport, a Democrat who served as Connecticut’s top election official from 1995 to 1999, appeared before the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee to support the bill. At the moment, the proposal is a one-paragraph concept that requires qualified Connecticut voters to cast ballots during elections or provide a reason for not doing so. Rapoport likened compulsory voting to mandatory participation in jury duty, a civic requirement adopted to ensure that jury pools are reflective of the overall population when a person’s guilt or innocence is on the line. “I think the analogy to voting is very strong. We want — or we absolutely should want the decisions that are made about the laws under which we live and the people who are making those laws to be decided by the most fully reflective population,” Rapoport said. “We don’t have that now.” Supporters of the proposal do not envision heavy punishments for those who fail to vote and do not provide a reason. Rapoport said Australian authorities accepted virtually any excuse voters provide for not casting ballots. The proposal has attracted a fair amount of controversy. More than 50 people submitted written testimony ahead of this week’s hearing and opponents overwhelmingly outweighed supporters.
Georgia: Senators are supporting a plan to make it a felony for local governments to accept money to fund elections from outside groups, except from the state or federal government. The Senate voted 33-23 along party lines to approve Senate Bill 222, sending it to the House for more debate. The measure would tighten a provision from a 2021 Georgia law that made it illegal for elections officials themselves to accept outside money after Republicans grew alarmed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated more than $400 million to election officials nationwide. “We’ve had some communities that didn’t quite understand the intent, so this is an attempt to clarify the attempt,” said Senate Ethics Committee Chair Max Burns, a Sylvania Republican. He went on to say that a third party gives money for elections, “You influence the outcome of the elections.”
A divided state House committee approved a bill that would allow Georgians to inspect paper ballots after an election. Current law allows Georgians to inspect electronic copies of ballot images to verify that official vote tallies are accurate. But the original paper ballots remain under seal and can be opened only with a judge’s order — a procedure designed to prevent ballots from being tampered with after an election. House Bill 426 would provide public access to the paper ballots after an election is certified — a move proponents say will increase confidence in elections by allowing citizens to verify the results for themselves. The committee was evenly divided on the bill, but Chairman John LaHood cast the deciding vote in favor of it. The bill now goes to the Rules Committee, which will determine whether it gets a vote by the full House.
Idaho: The House State Affairs Committee advanced a bill this week over the objections from the secretary of state’s office that would greatly restrict who can distribute absentee ballot request forms. If House Bill 259 is passed into law, only a county clerk, election official, officer or employee of the state authorized by law would be able to distribute absentee ballot application forms. The bill specifically says nongovernmental entities shall not distribute absentee ballot applications unless they are specifically authorized by state or federal law. That means that spouses, parents, other family members, nursing home staff members, roommates, neighbors, co-workers, voting advocacy groups, political parties and anyone else would be banned from distributing absentee ballot application forms. Rep. Kevin Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, sponsored House Bill 259, saying he feels strongly that political campaigns should not be allowed to distribute absentee ballot applications. Andrus’ bill goes further, though. It prohibits everyone — not just political campaigns — from distributing absentee ballot applications unless they are a county clerk, election official or an officer or employee of the state specifically authorized to distribute the absentee ballot application forms.
Indiana: A hearing was held this week on House Bill 1334 that would bring voter identification requirements to mail-in ballots. The bill got pushback for provisions opponents said would disenfranchise elderly and disabled voters while also needlessly complicating procedures for election employees. But the bill’s author — Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola — and supporters say the measure would add more security to Indiana’s elections than signature verification alone can provide. Committee Chair Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, said that he would hold the bill while Wesco worked on amendments. Right now, voters requesting absentee ballots are asked — but not required — to provide the last four digits of their Social Security Numbers on their applications. That applies to mail-in ballot applications, as well as applications for traveling board, military-overseas and other others. House Bill 1334 would make identification mandatory, and more. It would require a voter to put down those last four numbers, or one of three other identifiers: an Indiana driver’s license number, a non-driver identification card number or a unique identifier for those who registered to vote decades ago. A voter could instead include a photocopy of their license, non-driver card or other proof of identification — like a passport or state university-issued ID card — in the envelope with the application. County election boards would have to match at least one of the numbers with information in the voter’s registration record. Without a match, election officials would have to work with the voter to resolve the errors, delaying receipt of the mail-in ballot. The completed ballot needs to be back in officials’ hands by 6 p.m. on Election Day to get counted. The bill would also bar state agencies and local units of government from “mass-mailing” unsolicited applications. And it would give the Secretary of State — currently Diego Morales — broad powers to “prescribe any other procedures necessary to implement” certain provisions dealing with how to get new applications to and from voters. While the secretary of state’s office supports the legislation, most who spoke at the hearing this week did so in opposition to the bill.
Maine: Maine Republican legislative leaders are calling for several voting reforms they contend will improve election integrity and boost voter confidence in the system. Chief among the measures proposed by Republican senators would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls to minimize the risk of voter fraud. The Republican bill would allow a driver’s license, a state ID card, U.S. passport, military ID, or concealed carry gun permit; but a student ID from a Maine college or university would not qualify. Senate Republicans would also prohibit absentee ballot drop boxes, which became popular in the pandemic-plagued election of 2020, unless security cameras are watching them 24/7. A House Republican bill that has received a public hearing would make voters re-register every four years.
Sen. Pinny Beebe-Center, D-Rockland, introduced LD 577, “An Act to Increase Availability of Election Information on Local Government Websites.” The bill was the subject of a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government. LD 577 aims to increase the availability of official online information about local elections for all Maine voters, regardless of where they live. This would entail the Secretary of State’s Office assisting town offices with creating web pages and uploading election information to those pages. The Secretary of State’s office testified in favor of the bill, acknowledging the serious undertaking of the bill, but realizing its importance as well. The League of Women Voters of Maine also testified in favor of the bill, acknowledging its importance especially for small towns. “Representing a district of mostly small towns, I am well aware of the workload for town clerks and the lack of resources for digital infrastructure in many Maine municipalities,” said Sen. Beebe-Center. “Having the Secretary of State’s Office implement a system where town clerks could submit official local election information to be posted on the Secretary of State’s website would solve the issue of some towns not having the existing infrastructure or technical capacity to post official local election information online themselves. This is a matter of equity: No Maine voters should be penalized in their efforts toward civic engagement just because they live in a small town with limited resources.”
Genesee County, Michigan: The county Board of Commissioner has approved a reorganization plan which includes a single chief deputy clerk-register position rather than two chief deputy posts. It calls for four supervisors for divisions including elections, vital records, legal divisions and deeds. Clerk-Register Domonique Clemons was appointed clerk-register in December by Genesee Circuit Court judges and started work on a reorganization designed to complete the task of merging the county clerk and register of deeds operations. Commissioners started the process 12 years ago when they voted to merge the clerk and register of deeds positions, but the offices maintained largely separate identities. Clemons has told commissioners that he wants the offices to function together with employees cross-trained to be able to work in more than one position.
Minnesota: A group of house and senate Democrats are trying to make Minnesota the third state in the nation to utilize ranked-choice voting. Five cities in Minnesota are also using ranked choice voting for their local elections, including Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Bloomington, Saint Louis Park, and Minnetonka. Senator Kelly Morrison is the chief author of a bill that would require ranked choice voting for all state and federal elections in Minnesota. “Ranked choice voting gives voters great voice, choice, and power,” Morrison says. Authors of the bill say ranked-choice voting can prevent costly and time-consuming runoff elections. The bill would also allow cities, counties, and school districts to use ranked-choice voting in their local elections. However, Senate Republicans argue the current election system in Minnesota has worked for generations and doesn’t need to be changed.
Gov. Tim Walz signed House File 28, which restores the right to vote to convicted felons who complete their term of incarceration. According to the governor’s office, 55,000 individuals who previously were deprived of voting rights now can register to vote, the most significant expansion of that right in Minnesota in a half-century.
The Democracy for the People Act, (HF3), includes a provision that would make it a gross misdemeanor — punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine — to knowingly spread materially false information with the intent to impede or prevent people from voting. It would apply before 60 days an election. It would be illegal to spread false information about the “time, place or manner of holding an election,” qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility, and threats to physical safety associated with voting. Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis, a national voting rights attorney and chief author of the election bill, said the provision is designed to protect voters from intimidation, harassment or anything that would hinder them from voting. “We realized Minnesota (statute) is not strong and clear enough,” she said.
Montana: Bills seeking changes to election policy in Montana have advanced in the state Legislature:
House Bill 774 would significantly alter Montana’s elections calendar, requiring all local, county and statewide elections for everything from school boards to irrigation districts to occur during primary or general elections on even-numbered years.
Another measure, requested by Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, would preemptively prohibit ranked-choice voting for all public elections in Montana. The system is used for some elections in 12 states and allows voters to rank candidates by preference, with the winner being the first candidate to collect more than 50% of votes. A representative from the Secretary of State’s office said ranked-choice voting would confuse voters and open up elections to vote-counting errors and delays. Opponents said the bill addresses a problem that doesn’t exist, as no elections are currently held in Montana through ranked-choice voting. The measure passed the House of Representatives with Democrats in opposition.
Additional bills that would add language to state law prohibiting “illegal aliens” from voting in elections and overhaul procedures for putting issues on the ballot also passed from their first chamber, largely along party lines.
Nebraska: LB776, introduced by Sen. Eliot Bostar of Lincoln, would make all Nebraska elections nonpartisan, except for presidential elections. Instead of holding partisan primary elections, voters could vote on all candidates running for that office, and then the top two candidates would advance to the general election. The bill was the subject of a public hearing in the state’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. Many of Nebraska’s elections are already nonpartisan, including elections for legislative seats. However, some races — including those for governor and various state offices, Congress and many county offices — are partisan. Candidates are chosen in the primaries by party, and they are identified on the ballot by their party affiliation. Those practices would change under LB776.
Legislative Bill 770, proposed by State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha, would require the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office to audit the Department of Motor Vehicles, polling places and the offices for county clerks and county commissioners to ensure ADA compliance. The audits would begin in 2025 and be conducted every five years after. The Secretary of State’s Office would provide its findings and any recommendations to the Government Committee and the Governor’s Office after each audit. The proposal includes a fiscal note of about $4 million, which was derived from an engineering firm that specializes in ADA compliance at the recommendation of the state ADA coordinator. Additional costs, such as any changes that may be required, were not included in the estimate.
Nevada: Nevada Republicans formally submitted a proposal to limit the acceptance of mail-in ballots to Election Day and not four days after an election as is current state law. Republican Assems. Danielle Gallant, Ken Gray, Bert Gurr and Toby Yurek submitted Assembly Bill 230 to the record last week. The bill would change the deadline for a county clerk to receive a ballot to Election Day at 5 p.m. A voter would have to mail their ballot before the end of the early voting period. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo said in his State of the State Address in January that he would support such a measure. Republican Assem. Gregory Hafen II, of Pahrump, introduced similar legislation in February. Hafen’s bill would also require voter identification. Nevada law allows mail-in ballots to be accepted for four days after an election. The change in the law, passed and signed by former Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, was a compromise and changed from seven days.
New Mexico: House Bill 180, sponsored by three Democratic legislators, would change some of the rules surround elections. The bill would let election candidates collect digital signatures, in addition to paper signatures; it would require the state to operate an “election security organization”; and would require mandatory training for election watchers, among other things. “All of the changes that are in this bill are born from actual experiences of New Mexico’s election administrators,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Katy M. Duhigg (D-Rio Rancho) told the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee on Monday, March 6. “A lot of this is stuff that was adopted temporarily during the 2020 election.” Under the bill, poll workers could also get more pay. And the bill adds security measures to absentee ballots, Duhigg said. For example, the bill would require the last four digits of a person’s social security in order to submit absentee ballots. The bill would let the Secretary of State designate officials’ home addresses as confidential. Ultimately, the committee voted to pass the bill. But the three Republicans in the committee voted against the bill. It’s already been approved by the New Mexico Senate and next heads to the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 4, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-3 party-line vote, was approved by the full Senate on a 27-14 vote. Under the legislation, New Mexicans would be automatically registered to vote when they do business at the Motor Vehicle Division, and the voting rights of convicted felons would be automatically restored the day they get out of prison. In addition to enacting automatic voter registration and automatically registering convicted felons upon their release from incarceration, even if they’re still on parole, the bill would create a permanent absentee voter list and make Election Day a state holiday. Automatic voter registration would not go into place until 2025. The bill now heads back to the House for a concurrence vote on amendments before reaching the governor’s desk. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has expressed support for major provisions in the bill.
A proposal to prohibit New Mexicans from bringing guns into polling places is headed to the House floor, after winning approval on a party-line vote in its final House committee. The bill, Senate Bill 44, would specifically bar firearms from being brought within 100 feet of a polling place — or inside. It was brought forward after an election cycle that featured a defeated GOP state House candidate being charged in January with shooting at the homes of several Democratic elected officials.
North Carolina: Democrats have filed an election reform bill that would create a nonpartisan redistricting commission starting in after the 2030 cycle, in an attempt to reduce politically and racially motivated gerrymandering. The legislation would also Allow people to register to vote online — and also require state officials to do more work to verify that people are actually dead, or have moved, before removing them from the list of registered voters, crack down harder on people who intimidate voters or election workers, by increasing criminal penalties and also broadening what counts as intimidation, increase funding for elections offices around the state, and make it a crime to falsely tell people they’re not eligible to vote, or to challenge large numbers of voters’ eligibility without proof. State and national political groups sometimes engage in both those tactics.
Republican lawmakers have filed their own election reform bills. One is called the Election Day Integrity Act and would ban election boards from accepting mail-in absentee ballots received after 7:30pm on Election Day. Current law allows mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day to be accepted until the Friday after the election. A separate bill would shrink the early voting period from 17 days to nine days starting and ending with the Saturdays closest to the election.
Ohio: Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green is sponsoring a pair of priority voting measures for Secretary of State Frank LaRose. SB 51, creates a new Election Integrity Division answering to the Secretary of State. The team would be responsible for investigating voter fraud “upon receiving a complaint” or at its own discretion. In addition to requiring the office investigate public complaints, the law directs it to produce an annual report. The second proposal, SB 71, establishes another office under the Secretary of State’s umbrella. The Office of Data Analytics and Archives would serve as a clearing house for the statewide voter registration database. The measure also codifies what information boards of election must include in a bid for uniformity. Additionally, a provision in SB 71, known as the DATA Act, could actually lead to less voter information being publicly available. The bill does not, however, shield birthdates.
Rhode Island: From Voter ID to residency minimum: These bills could change elections in Rhode Island. Here’s how.
Senate Bill 0396 attempts to limit who may mail in a mail ballot for voters. The legislation would limit the people who can “physically mail [a] voted mail ballot” to the “voter/spouse/court appointed guardian/cohabitant/or adult person related to the voter by blood or marriage.” The bill is opposed by Secretary of State Greg Amore. Amore warns the move could – and likely would – disenfranchise voters who live by themselves and older voters who rely on others for assistance by prohibiting people in “a voter’s trusted circle from being able to assistthem when returning their mail ballot.”
Senate Bill 0364 would repeal the state’s voter ID law. The Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights, says repeal “would encourage voting by ethnic minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities and those who are poor.” “Voter identification was enacted for a reasonable purpose – to deter voter fraud,” the commission acknowledged. “However, voter identification comes at a high price – the discouragement of voting … [and that] price is too high to pay.”
Texas: Three Harris County lawmakers have filed bills that would abolish the office of elections administrator in counties with more than 1 million residents. The bills would affect five of the state’s six largest counties. State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and State Representatives Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) and Mike Schofield (R-Katy) filed identical bills (Senate Bill 1750) that would hand the powers of the appointed elections administrator back to the elected county clerk and county tax assessor-collector. In addition to Harris County, the bills would affect Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, and Collin Counties. But in a statement accompanying the filing of their bills, Bettencourt and Cain left no doubt that they were responding to developments in their home county during the 2022 primary and general elections. The bills’ authors argue that the measures would make large counties more responsible to their respective voters. “The Elections Administrator experiment in Harris County has failed,” Cain said. “As larger counties try to use this position as another bureaucrat meant to grow government, it’s important that voters have a say in running their elections.”
Utah: The Legislature took recommendations from a recent election audit to heart last week, passing a bill to implement several suggestions to improve election security and transparency. s a result, the auditors recommended the state adopt a public reconciliation of ballots, which is one of the things HB448 would accomplish. Bill sponsor Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, told fellow lawmakers his bill adopts 18 of 22 recommendations made by the audit. He grouped the provisions into the following five categories:
- The bill gives the state’s top election official, the lieutenant governor, specific authority and methods to enforce election law. The lieutenant governor’s election office “will provide a method of consulting, training, warning, and, if necessary, enforcing our election laws,” Maloy told a Senate committee last month.
- It also improves the use of a statewide voter database to “allow for more consistent and effective use by counties.” Maloy said the bill “requires the lieutenant governor’s office to manage voter registration activities, analyze county use of a database to ensure the use of building controls monthly and maintains a document describing statutory voter list maintenance for clerks.”
- When it comes to vote count discrepancies, HB448 requires public reconciliation of ballots, requires an immediate count of ballots received and requires chain of custody standards to better track the receipt and count of ballots.
- HB448 gives election workers more details about what it means for signatures to match and requires signature verification training. Maloy said it also requires a study by the Division of Motor Vehicles and the lieutenant governor’s office on how to improve the quality of signatures on file.
- Lastly, Maloy said the bill strengthens Utah’s election audit system by prohibiting an individual from auditing their own work. It also requires the lieutenant governor to study risk-limiting audits for their potential use in the state.
Maloy’s bill drew support from election administrators, including Ryan Cowley, state director of elections. Cowley praised the audit’s findings of no fraud, but said HB448 is a good step forward for elections in the state.
Lawmakers allowed the clock to runout on HJR that would have asked voters to approve increasing the threshold for a ballot measure approval to 60% of voters. The resolution passed the House 56-16, but wasn’t considered in the Senate.
Wyoming: Gov. Mark Gordon allowed House Bill 103 to become law without his signature. House Bill 103 moves the deadline to change party affiliation from primary election day to the day before candidates can file for political office in Wyoming. The idea behind this bill is to prevent voters from changing their party affiliation to influence the primary election of a different party. He expressed skepticism that the bill will prevent crossover voting in the future, saying the bill’s effects may be “more academic than real” due to the fact that nearly 93% of Wyoming voters are Republican. Gordon also said “no matter what” the bill will cause “some confusion” among voters in the next primary. “Because the bill adds uncertainty to the voting process, I have determined not to sign HB 0103,” Gordon said.
U.S. Supreme Court: The Supreme Court ordered North Carolina Republican leaders, the Biden administration and voting rights groups to file additional briefs in a closely watched elections case it heard in December, at the center of which is a theory that would grant state legislatures near-exclusive power to set rules for federal elections. In a brief order, the court called for the parties involved in the dispute and the Justice Department to file “supplemental letter briefs” addressing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over the case, given that the North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to rehear the redistricting dispute at its center. On the one side of the legal fight are North Carolina Republican legislative leaders, and on the other side are voting rights groups, North Carolina voters and state elections officials. The Justice Department backed voting rights groups in the case. The court set a deadline of March 20 for the additional filings to be submitted.
Arizona: Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is suing Cochise County for giving its recorder near-full control over the county’s elections, according to a lawsuit Mayes filed this week. According to Votebeat, Mayes believes that, when agreeing last week to give Recorder David Stevens the authority to run the county’s elections, the county supervisors weren’t clear enough that they still have the final say over certain decisions, according to the Arizona Superior Court complaint. State law requires the supervisors to approve decisions such as where to put voting centers and who to hire to work the polls, for example, and they must also finalize election results. In a statement, Mayes equated the agreement to an “unqualified handover” that could give Stevens the potential to cloak future changes to the county’s elections from the public. “I am deeply concerned this move might shield or obscure actions and deliberations the Board would typically conduct publicly under open meeting law,” Mayes wrote. Mayes is asking the court to stop Stevens from exercising the authority given to him in the agreement, to stop him and the supervisors from spending money related to the agreement, to recover any related money that has already been spent with interest, and to declare the agreement void.
Calling his 2022 election challenge “groundless and not brought in good faith,” Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Melissa Julian has ordered Mark Finchem and his attorney to pay the legal fees of successful secretary of state candidate Adrian Fontes. Julian said that Finchem and Daniel McCauley also have to pick up the tab for Katie Hobbs. She also was named as a defendant in his claim based on her prior position as secretary of state and based on his claim she interfered with his candidacy. What Finchem and McCauley owe has yet to be determined. Julian told them to submit their bills to him for review. Finchem, in a statement, called the ruling “contemptible judicial overreach” beyond the authority of state law and court rules.
California: The ballot foul-up controversy that dogged an Oakland school board election for months is finally over, with Judge Brad Seligman declaring Mike Hutchinson the rightful winner of the District 4 seat. Hutchinson will replace Nick Resnick, who last month resigned from the seat for which the two men had run against each other in a tightly contested November election. Resnick was erroneously certified the winner in November due to an error in how the Alameda County Registrar of Voters tabulated the ranked choice voting results, leading to weeks of uncertainty over how the mishap could be rectified. Seligman declared Hutchinson the election’s winner, determining that a re-review of the ballots supported the notion that Hutchinson would have won if votes cast with a blank first column or an ineligible write-in submission had immediately been transferred to him.
Colorado: Former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has been found guilty of obstructing government operations. The same jury found her not guilty of obstructing a police officer. Peters’ sentencing on the class two misdemeanor conviction is scheduled for April 10. She could face up to a $750 fine and three months in jail. According to Colorado Public Radio, the case is separate, but not entirely unrelated to, Peters’ legal troubles for allegedly helping someone breach the security of her office’s election equipment and lying about their identity to state officials.
New Hampshire: Katelyn Jones, 25 of Epping pleaded guilty in federal court to sending threatening messages and social media posts to a Michigan election official following the 2020 election. Court documents show Jones sent multiple threats to Monica Palmer, the then-chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which is tasked with certifying election results in the Detroit area. Court filings show text messages, including ones in which Jones calls Palmer “a terrorist,” and says Palmer, her husband and their daughter “should be afraid.” According to the criminal complaint, Jones admitted to sending the messages and posts, telling investigators she felt Palmer was interfering with the election. Jones could face up to 10 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for July.
Pennsylvania: Federal officials announced an agreement with Lycoming County to improve physical accessibility at the county’s polling places. A survey in 2017 found that many of the county’s polling locations contain barriers to voting for persons with disabilities, which is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement requires the county to either relocate inaccessible polling places to new, accessible facilities, or to use temporary measures such as portable ramps, signs, traffic cones, and doorbells, where appropriate, to ensure accessibility on Election Day.
Texas: A Texas law requiring an original “wet” signature on voter registration forms is unconstitutional because it has nothing to do with an applicant’s eligibility to vote, Vote.org told a Fifth Circuit panel this week. Vote.org introduced an app in 2018 to ease voter registration by letting users upload electronic images of their signatures and provide all needed registration info. The program then automatically filled in the data, along with the signature, on voter registration forms and Vote.org sent the forms to their fax vendor, which faxed them to the county registrar’s office. To comply with a Texas law passed in 2013 authorizing registration by fax, Vote.org had another vendor then mail printed versions of the applications to county registrars within four business days of the fax transmission, a method state lawmakers intended to make it possible for procrastinators to beat the registration deadline with a faxed application and then follow up with an original signed copy. According to Texas, Vote.org’s rollout of the software was an “unmitigated disaster.” In response, then-Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos issued a press release days before the 2018 midterm elections telling voters online registration is not allowed in Texas and advising counties applications submitted through Vote.org’s application were not complete because they contained digital signatures. Texas codified and clarified the rule in May 2021 with passage of House Bill 3107, which stipulates registering via fax requires an application containing the voter’s “original signature” be submitted by personal delivery or mail within four days of faxing the form. Vote.org sued the elections administrators of four of Texas’ most populous counties – Bexar (seat San Antonio), Travis (Austin), Dallas, and Cameron (Brownsville) – alleging the signature requirement violates the First and 14th Amendments and section 1971 of the Civil Rights Act because an original signature is irrelevant to a person’s qualifications for voting.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Democracy | Voting access | Voting rights, II, III, IV | Poll workers | Fox News, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX
Alaska: Ranked choice voting
Arizona: Election litigation
Arkansas: Election legislation
California: Poll workers | Election lies | Election administration
Idaho: Election legislation, II
Indiana: Election legislation
Kansas: Election legislation, II
Massachusetts: Voting rights
Minnesota: Ranked choice voting
Missouri: Ex-felon voting rights | Election preparation
Montana: Ranked choice voting
Ohio: Lucas County; Secretary of state, II
Pennsylvania: Democracy | Voter ID
Washington: Election legislation| Election workers
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.
2022 Midterms Look Back Series: Successes in the 2022 Midterm Elections: The U.S. House Subcommittee on Elections (Committee on House Administration) will hold a hearing on the successes of the 2022 Midterm Elections. Current witnesses include Seminole County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson and Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. When: March 10. Where: Online
US Election Assistance Public Meeting: Please join the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for a public discussion with election officials and subject matter experts on how different jurisdictions manage voter list maintenance, the challenges they face, and best practices other jurisdictions could implement. This event will be held in person and live-streamed on the EAC’s YouTube Channel. If you plan to attend in person, register here. Registration for virtual attendance is not required. When: March 15, 1pm Eastern. Where: Washington, DC and online.
Making Congress Work in a Divided Nation: Congressional committees are essential to a functioning legislative process, but experts agree they aren’t being used to their full potential. The media paints a picture of a legislative body paralyzed by partisanship, and political scientists agree that our representatives are passing fewer bills. After the chaos that embroiled the current House over the race for speaker, is it any wonder that many Americans have lost faith in the effectiveness of their elected representatives? The Brennan Center is thrilled to host a panel discussion about making Congress work with former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), political correspondent Daniel Strauss, and Brennan Center Elections and Government Program research fellow Dr. Maya Kornberg. Kinzinger is no stranger to calling out Congress for allowing partisanship to breed dysfunction, particularly as one of the two Republicans on the House January 6 committee. Strauss is a staff writer at the New Republic and has covered both Washington politics and political campaigns across the country. Kornberg is the author of the new book, Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process, which examines the legislative process beyond polarized voting patterns. Join us for an important and timely in-person conversation in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, March 22, at 6:30 p.m. The event will be moderated by Mike Spahn, a partner at Precision, one of the country’s leading strategic marketing agencies. The panel will address questions including what the committee system teaches us about bipartisan collaboration, what must be done to bring Congress into the digital age, and how to make Congress more representative of the country as a whole. When: March 22, 6:30pm Eastern. Where: Washington, DC.
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 email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Assistant County Clerk-Recorder, Nevada County, California— Under administrative oversight you can be assisting with planning, organizing, directing and leading the activities of the County Clerk-Recorder’s office! The Assistant Clerk-Recorder will provide highly sophisticated staff assistance to the Clerk-Recorder! This management classification position serves at the will of the County Clerk-Recorder, and acts on her behalf in her absence and provides full line and functional management responsibility for the department’s Recorder and Election divisions. This position is distinguished from the County Clerk-Recorder in that the latter is an elected position and has overall responsibility for all functions of the department. Salary range: $111,810 – $136,500. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant Director, Butler County, Pennsylvania— To supervise and direct the operational processes relating to voter registration, voting and elections, ensuring that voters’ rights are protected and votes are recorded and counted accurately. Assists the Director in implementing the day to day functions of the Elections Department. The incumbent supervises the non-exempt staff and answers voter and candidate questions or selects proper course of action to resolve problems. Assists Director in evaluating new technologies for election process. Consults with others regarding clarification of the Pennsylvania Election Code. Refers complex issues requiring clarification of the Pennsylvania Election Code or the Pennsylvania Constitution to the Director of Elections. A Bachelor’s Degree in a related field and/or equivalent work experience is required. Significant experience in Computer Science course work or equivalent is required. Prior work experience involving the electoral process is desirable, as is supervisory experience. Must be knowledgeable of State and County voting laws, regulations, procedures, and requirements. Computer, telephone and customer service skills are necessary. Salary: $45,129.18-$63,180.85. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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 of Voters, San Bernardino, California— The San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters seeks a dynamic and innovative administrator who can lead and thrive in a fast-paced environment to manage our elections programs, processes, and team. The Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters is a forward-thinking individual that assists with guiding the future direction of the department and its processes, taking a hands-on approach to find solutions while working collaboratively with a knowledgeable and dedicated team. The Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters is a key member of the Department’s senior management team, participating in organizational strategic planning and administering election programs. The position serves as a Chief over a division of the Registrar of Voters (ROV) office and has primary responsibility for assisting the ROV in planning, conducting, and certifying all Primary, General, and Special elections. Salary: $85,425.60 – $118,684.80. 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.
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 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.
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.
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