In Focus This Week
Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials
New report sheds light on harassment of U.S. election officials
By Kim Alexander and Grace Gordon
Imagine if your job responsibilities caused strangers to call you and threaten you and your family with violence. Public servants performing one of the most crucial functions in our society—the administration of the vote—are being subjected to exactly that.
A new report released this week by the California Voter Foundation sheds light on the serious and dangerous problem of harassment faced by U.S. election officials.
“Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials” features findings from interviews with eleven election officials from six states and eight election experts from different sectors. The election officials were selected based on their experience with or perspective of harassment. Their identities are anonymous for their protection and privacy.
During and after the 2020 election, individuals ranging from pollworkers to local election officials to secretaries of state experienced death threats and other harassment. Many of these attacks are being perpetuated by widespread, unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the presidential election.
On January 6th, 2021, during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, protesters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” in response to then-vice president Mike Pence trying to certify the results of the 2020 election. In response, Pence was whisked off of the House of Representatives’ floor to safety. During these threats to his life, Mike Pence was serving as an election official.
Today, election officials are still feeling the burden of attacks. In Anchorage, Alaska, an election official experienced “unprecedented harassment” during a mayor’s runoff election in late May. In San Luis Obispo, California, an election official was subjected to an inexcusable racial slur during a voting equipment debate in early May.
While many have tried to put the 2020 election behind us, the harassment of election officials is not going away. An alarmingly high number of election officials have opted to retire, and more may follow, resulting in a significant loss of institutional knowledge.
For some context, 75 percent of local election officials are women, suggesting a possible relationship between gender and aggression, with misogyny helping to fuel attacks. Increased attacks against public health officers and flight attendants have also been reported; what these professions all share in common is a high number of women in positions of authority.
Election officials’ jobs have become increasingly complex over the past twenty years, and with the federal government’s designation of elections as critical U.S. infrastructure, election officials are being asked to take on roles as protectors of national security in addition to protectors of the nation’s democracy.
At the same time, elections are chronically underfunded and under-resourced. This combination of circumstances, paired with the difficulty of pursuing legal actions against those making the threats have contributed to feelings of futility and despair among election officials interviewed.
Some key findings:
- Death threats, other threats, or abusive language affected 10 of the 11 election officials interviewed. Four officials described experiences where their lives were threatened on phone calls or voicemail messages. Seven officials described threats that included in-person intimidation, stalking, and threats of violence. Six officials described being on the receiving end of abusive language such as expletives and insults. Several officials experienced multiple categories of harassment.
- Trauma, stress and anxiety were reported as impacts of the harassment experienced by election officials, but officials want to project strength. Election officials also reported fear for the future of the U.S. democratic process and sadness at the public’s loss of trust in the democratic process.
- Many officials saw speaker intent as a key factor in whether aggressive speech is merely a complaint or potentially illegal threats and harassment. The election officials interviewed agreed that angry constituents have a right to question and complain, even aggressively. Some election officials did not interpret hostile speech as harassment if the speaker sought to get a question answered and drew the line where aggressive speech was intended to harm.
To consider how to address harassment of election officials, we interviewed eight election experts across academia, journalism, and voter advocacy. Experts agreed that in order to address the issue of harassment two overarching strategies will be required: (A) reducing conflict; and (B) increasing the capacity to deal with conflict. The following five recommendations provide a baseline for addressing the harassment of election officials:
- Improve public education to combat mis- and disinformation.
Incidents of harassment were often fueled by harmful mis- and disinformation. Election officials and experts interviewed agreed that public education could strengthen the public’s ability to decipher mis- and disinformation, and thus help reduce harassment. Nonprofit voter education and journalism projects need philanthropic support. Social media companies need to help election officials use their platforms effectively and take responsibility for removing false content.
- Strengthen law enforcement response to incidents of harassment.
Our research documents examples of speech that qualify as illegal, “true threats,” yet several officials interviewed reported that complaints to law enforcement resulted in no action. For starters, the federal government should begin keeping a repository to collect and document threats against election officials and coordinate responses to such threats.
- Expand funding and resources for election administration.
Election officials’ resources are often limited and their budgets underfunded. Political leaders must end the “boom and bust” cycle of election funding and create ongoing federal and state funding streams to support local election administration. With sufficient resources and funding, election officials will be better equipped to address unfounded rumors and feel supported.
- Strengthen legal protections for election officials.
As public officials, current law makes it difficult for election officials to seek legal action in response to threats. The security of election officials must be included in how we define U.S. election security. Federal and state laws need to be revisited to ensure that harassment does not interfere with the conduct of free and fair federal, state and local elections.
- Build a cross-sector network of support for election officials.
Creating and funding a robust network of stakeholders from various sectors – nonprofit, academia, journalism, social media and philanthropy – can help build moral and political support for election officials and U.S. election administration.
If the 2020 election taught us nothing else, we now know our democracy is much more fragile than we thought. The attacks on election officials are just a single example of the harassment faced by public officials. As noted above, public health officers, along with members of Congress and other public officials are experiencing higher levels of harassment.
By tackling the problem of harassment with empathy, compassion and thoughtfulness, the lives of election officials could improve dramatically. Doing so will help safeguard this mission critical role in U.S. elections.
Grace Gordon is a Master of Development Practice graduate from UC Berkeley and the author of “Documenting and Addressing Harassment of Election Officials.”
Kim Alexander is president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization working to improve the voting process to better serve voters.
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In Their Own Words
Take This Office Out of Play
By Julie Anderson, auditor
Pierce County, Washington
This week, I will ask the Pierce County Council to put a measure on the November ballot so that voters can decide to make the county auditor an appointed position.
As your auditor for the past 11 years, I know this position should be a professional department director appointed by the executive, confirmed by the County Council, who serves at-will. An election isn’t the best way to get the top-notch candidate for this important administrative job.
The Pierce County Auditor’s Office faithfully carries out responsibilities set in federal and state law, county code, and rules made by agencies such as the Department of Licensing, the Department of Health and the Office of the Secretary of State. The office registers vehicles, takes passport applications, licenses marriages and businesses, records public documents, registers voters and conducts elections. Politics should have no place in this critical nonpartisan work.
Pierce County voters made the county auditor a nonpartisan position in 2009. But even so designated, the 2022 election for a new auditor will attract partisan candidates that could leave voters without uniquely qualified, nonpartisan candidates to choose from. Given how polarized our political environment has become, there is a real risk that extremists would advance to the general election ballot.
Campaigns for county auditor typically ignore the licensing and recording responsibilities that account for most customer visits and generate a lot of revenue. The elections division accounts for 24% of employees and 40% of budget expenditures. And yet, campaigns focus narrowly on the politics of elections. Candidates exploit the public’s anxiety about election integrity to raise the $150-200,000 typically needed to run for this type of office.
The County Auditor’s Office – like most elected executive offices – has been a steppingstone to higher office like county executive or state auditor. Political parties will not want to relinquish this launchpad. So, each political party will try to advance their partisan candidates – for what really needs to be a nonpartisan role.
Professional administrators with practical technical experience in licensing, document recording, and election administration are unlikely to run for county auditor and even less likely to win. Their quiet public service careers are spent working hard behind the scenes. They assiduously avoid the spotlight and party politics – which hampers their ability to raise money and attention for a successful campaign.
Once elected, the county auditor appoints their own deputy auditor and assistant. Past politicians filled these slots with trusted allies such as campaign staff, political operatives and even the chair of a local political party. These positions are paid between $65,000 and $103,000 plus benefits. As a result, the elected official – at taxpayer expense – can create a self-serving way to protect their job. An appointed auditor will not be able to do this because these positions would be subject to open, competitive, and merit-based selection processes to ensure that the best qualified and capable people join the County payroll.
I disagree with those who say that elections every four years provide sufficient accountability. The last time the auditor’s race was competitive was in 2010 – when I ran for my first full term – and 17% of voters skipped the auditor race. That is a significant number of voters who are uncertain about how to pick a qualified candidate or don’t know what the Pierce County Auditor’s Office does. It’s also hard for voters to evaluate the performance of an incumbent auditor when up for reelection. The community has little visibility into day-to-day operations of the office.
Holding an election needlessly politicizes the position. An appointment process will keep partisans out of the office, insulate the auditor from political pressures and keep the auditor focused on their job rather than their reelection.
I hope the County Council and Pierce County voters will agree: Appointing the county auditor is the best way to ensure a professional office focused exclusively on service to the public.
Julie Anderson is the Pierce County Auditor, first elected in 2009 for a partial term. She won a contested race for a full term in 2010 and thereafter was reelected without opposition in 2014 and 2018. The Pierce County Auditor is term limited. Julie’s final term will end December 31, 2022. If voters approve an appointment process, Julie is not eligible for appointment.
How Data Can Solve the Elections Resource Allocation Problem
How Data Can Solve the Elections Resource Allocation Problem
New report election officials manage hard resource trade-offs for election management
A national poll conducted in April 2021 by Morning Consult and the Bipartisan Policy Center found that voters were overwhelmingly satisfied with their voting options in the 2020 election. Voters also ranked in-person voting on Election Day as their most preferred voting option, with voting preferences varying by political party, race, and region.
“We know that most voters were satisfied with their options in 2020, but elections remain vastly under resourced,” said Matthew Weil, director of BPC’s Elections Project. “Our most recent analysis gives election officials the tools they need to efficiently distribute limited resources without restricting voters’ access to the ballot.”
The pandemic-inspired vote-by-mail expansion helped more voters engage in the voting process than ever before, but the survey shows that many voters still want to vote in person. BPC’s new report, How Data Can Solve the Elections Resource Allocation Problem, helps election officials manage hard resource trade-offs when preparing to effectively run three elections simultaneously (mail, early, and Election Day). The report proposes a set of formulas—informed by regression analysis of EAC data—that election officials can use to optimally allocate the number of in-person voting sites and poll workers their jurisdiction needs. These formulas consider jurisdictions’ vote by mail policies and voter participation rates to recommend an allocation of resources that is tailored to each jurisdiction’s unique circumstances.
How to Retain Election Officials and Secure Future Elections
How to Retain Election Officials to Secure Future Elections
New report from the Alliance for Securing Democracy
The 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history when it came to protecting physical and cyber infrastructure, however, similar measures weren’t in place to protect the people who administered the elections. Election officials and their families in states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin were doxxed and some even faced death threats.
This unrelenting targeting has led many election administrators to leave or consider leaving their positions, but according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy’s Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine, the United States’ ability to conduct future secure elections may depend on retaining these experienced election officials.
In a new report, How to Retain Election Officials to Secure Future Elections, David lays out 10 steps state and local governments can take to retain high-performing election officials and ensure they are able to continue administering safe, secure, and transparent elections, including:
- Providing more enhanced physical protection for election officials;
- Consolidating elections to no more than three per year; and
- Increasing salaries to match the work election officials do.
Read the report here.
Election News This Week
In Support of Poll Workers: Both the Democratic and Republican registrar of voters in Watertown, Connecticut have recently submitted their resignations. The Republican-American reports that while there were a number of issues leading up to the resignations for the registrars—who were both re-elected in 2020—both cited a frustration with city officials refusal to properly fund poll workers. Democratic Registrar Debra A. Hughes told the paper that she was stepping down for personal and professional reasons but also cited frustration with repeated requests for a pay increase for poll workers that are denied each budget season. She said poll workers work long hours each election, about 16-hour days, and go years without an increase because the office is repeatedly told there is no money in the budget. Republican Registrar Robert M. Porter also cited frustration with the poll worker hourly rate as motivation for his resignation, and said despite coming two days after Hughes,’ “it’s something I’ve been thinking of quite a bit.” According to Hughes, Watertown poll workers earn about $13 an hour whereas other towns pay in the range of $15-$20 per hour.
Vote Local: Voters went to the polls this week a number of states including Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Virginia. In Mississippi, the secretary of state’s office fielded about 430 calls to its Elections Hotline during Tuesday’s municipal elections. Most were related to mask requirements, affidavit ballots and weather conditions for precincts in north Mississippi. In Columbus, poll workers and officials reported an unusually high number of affidavit ballots that were attributed to confusion about precincts. And in Tupelo, the secretary of state and a district attorney are investigating whether Tupelo Councilwoman Nettie Davis broke an election law in light of a Facebook video in which she offers viewers a cash prize for voting. In New Jersey, which is holding a gubernatorial election, overall the primary, which was held largely in-person was seen as “a breeze” for election officials although there were some issues. In Dover, the town’s Democratic Committee reported issues with two voting machines located at the Sacred Heart Parish Center. A total of 33 voting machines, mostly for polling locations in Newark’s predominately Black Central, South and West Wards, were not delivered before the polls opened at 6 AM this morning. It’s not clear what time they finally arrived. Faulty voter lists sent to all polling locations in Mercer County had potentially allowed more than 30,000 voters who received vote-by-mail ballots to also vote in-person on voting machines. “I know there were some people who voted twice,” Anthony Conti, the chairman of the Board of Elections told the New Jersey Globe. A bomb threat forced a polling place in Gloucester County be relocated. At least one voting site in Camden opened more than hour late. And in Virginia, where many people chose to vote early or by mail in the primary, it was a quiet day for poll workers who in parts of the state spent more of their day dealing with hordes of cicadas instead of hordes of voters. Three cheers to poll officials in Arlington and Fairfax City who provided us with these great cicada-themed photos. Hopefully this is the last of the cicada photos any of you will see from us until 2038!
Ranked Choice Update: With New York City on the verge of rolling out the largest test of ranked choice voting to-date, the system is making news elsewhere as well. In Colorado, the Denver Post has an article this week about the uptick in localities using RCV as well as the passage of HR21-1071 that would allow more local governments to use it. Under the bill, the secretary of state’s office also would need to develop statewide rules to establish consistent voting systems and auditing practices for any town or city that opts in. Local governments in Colorado can already run ranked-choice elections if they want to. Small towns like Basalt and Telluride conduct elections this way, but bigger cities have found it more difficult because they’d have to do it on their own. Under this bill they can run elections this way through their counties clerk. In Maine, the Senate recently approved a resolution would amend the Constitution of Maine to require candidates for the offices of governor, state senator and state representative to be elected by a majority of the votes cast for that office, with a ranked-choice voting system, in a general election. Wyoming lawmakers are also looking at moving statewide elections to a ranked system. The city of Clearwater, Florida will vote later this year on whether or not to place a measure on the 2022 ballot to move the city to a ranked choice system. In Alaska, where voters recently approved a ballot measure to require the state to conduct ranked choice elections, the Division of Elections is using an online election simulation app to educate Alaskans about the new system. In this test the vote is for “Best Seafood in Alaska” and according to Alaska Public Radio, king crab is narrowly in the lead. After the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation allowing localities to offer ranked choice voting, the residents and organizations in Arlington are discussing the switch. And as we’ve previously reported, about two dozen cities in Utah have adopted the usage of ranked choice voting.
Personnel News: Tommy Gong is resigning as the San Luis Obispo County, California clerk-recorder. In July he will be taking the role of deputy clerk-recorder in Contra Costa County. The San Luis Obispo Tribune has an important parting interview with Gong that you can find here. Sangita Sigdyal has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Verified Voting. Stu Soffer has stepped down from the Jefferson County, Arkansas election commission. Oxford, Mississippi Election Commissioner Cathy Marshall-Smith has resigned. Lubbock County, Texas Elections Administrator, Dorothy Kennedy has submitted her resignation after nearly 18 years in the position. Aaron Moore will be the new Belmont County, Ohio board of elections director. The Fulton County, Georgia board of commissioners ratified the re-appointments of four members of the county Board of Registration & Elections. The sole member not re-appointed was Vernetta Keith Nuriddin Lora Walters, former deputy director of the Cecil County, Maryland board of elections has been charged with misconduct in office for altering a financial disclosure form. Walters is charged with misconduct in office, perjury, false entry in a public record, altering a public record and corrupt or fraudulent acts in the performance of official election duties, according to a criminal information filed in Cecil County Circuit Court. Civil rights lawyer Cecile Scoon has been elected to lead the League of Women Voters of Florida. She’s served as the Vice President since 2018. Congratulations to Seneca County, Ohio Board of Elections Deputy Director Lori Ritzler was named Ohio Pat Wolfe Democratic Election Official of the Year for 2020. The Floyd County, Georgia Board of Elections recommended that interim Chief Elections Clerk Vanessa Waddell be appointed to the position on a permanent basis. The Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania commissioners recently suspended, with pay, elections bureau Director JoAnn Sebastiani.
Federal Legislation: In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Sen Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) announced on Sunday his opposition to the For the People Act. “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin wrote. According to USA Today, With his latest announcement, the West Virginia Democrat has likely ended the legislation’s chances of passage. Instead of passing the bill’s Senate version, known as S.1, Manchin argued the upper chamber should pass a reinforced version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would reinstate the 1965 Voting Rights Act with some additional provisions. “My Republican colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, has joined me in urging Senate leadership to update and pass this bill through regular order. I continue to engage with my Republican and Democratic colleagues about the value of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and I am encouraged by the desire from both sides to transcend partisan politics and strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights,” Manchin wrote.
Connecticut: In a final vote of 27-9, the Connecticut State Senate passed House Joint Resolution 58, which would allow no-excuse absentee voting in the state. Due to not having enough votes, the legislature will vote again on the question after the 2022 election. If it passes again, it will be on the 2024 ballot. If voters pass the amendment, it will lift the restrictions for residents to vote in absentee. Currently, there are five requirements for one to vote in absentee in Connecticut; Out of town all day on Election Day; Sick or have a physical disability and cannot make it in-person to the polls; Religion forbids you from any secular activity on Election Day; On active duty in the Armed Forces; or An election official whose duties will keep you from voting on Election Day. “For too long Connecticut has tacitly accepted unnecessary obstacles to voting in the Land of Steady Habits,” Secretary of State Denise Merrill said in a statement. “When other states made voting more convenient through Early Voting and universal access to absentee ballots without an excuse, Connecticut has stayed the course, resulting 21st century voters casting their ballots in an 19th century system.”
Illinois: Lawmakers could take up a bill later this month that would restore voting rights to convicted offenders serving time in county jails or state or federal prisons, according to the bill’s House sponsor. Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said the bill almost came up for a vote during the final days of the regular session but was delayed due to some last-minute confusion. Lawmakers wrapped up the bulk of their spring session on Tuesday, June 1, but they did not formally adjourn the session because negotiations were continuing on other legislation. Ford’s proposal to restore voting rights to convicted inmates, originally contained in House Bill 1872, was the subject of a committee hearing in March, but the committee never voted on it. During that hearing, Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, questioned whether it would require a constitutional amendment before it could take effect because the Illinois Constitution states that, “A person convicted of a felony, or otherwise under sentence in a correctional institution or jail, shall lose the right to vote, which right shall be restored not later than upon completion of his sentence.” Advocates for the bill, however, noted that the words “not later than” suggest that the framers of the constitution anticipated that lawmakers might want to restore those voting rights earlier than upon completion of a sentence.
Louisiana: Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has vetoed House Bill 20, sponsored by Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath) that would have prohibited state and local election officials from receiving grants or donations from private or nonprofit organizations to help defray election-related expenses. HB 20 would prohibit election officials from accepting any grants or donations except donations of private property for use as polling places or donations of equipment for the restoration and maintenance of utilities to a precinct in the event of an outage. In a veto letter signed Monday, Edwards writes that the legislation would prevent donations to local election officials no matter how good the intentions: “Thus, while in committee there was overheated rhetoric about the motivations of social media companies trying to influence elections, this bill would also likely prevent the local VFW from providing donuts for election workers on election day.” He also pointed out that lawmakers unanimously passed an appropriations bill, HB 695, allowing themselves to accept the same types of grants and donations HB 20 would outlaw for election officials.
Additionally, the Legislature has approved a bill that would require the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to review local, state, and federal elections has received final legislative passage. Evangeline Parish Senator Heather Cloud says the legislative auditor already reviews numerous other state agencies and departments on how they operate and where they can improve. She says elections should also undergo an independent review. The bill also allows parish registrars of voters to keep and maintain all records relating to absentees by mail and early voting 2 years following the election.
Maine: The Senate voted in favor of a bill from Senator David Miramant, D-Camden, to expand the use of ranked-choice voting in Maine elections. LD 202, “Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Implement Ranked-choice Voting,” received a vote of 21-12. This resolution would amend the Constitution of Maine to require candidates for the offices of governor, state senator and state representative to be elected by a majority of the votes cast for that office, with a ranked-choice voting system, in a general election, according to a news release. Currently, those offices are elected by a plurality of the votes cast.
Michigan: Republican lawmakers have introduced a slate of six more bills that would change election law in Michigan. All of the bills were referred to the State House Committee on Elections and Ethics. The bills are not tie-barred, meaning that any of them could be passed:
House Bill 4962 would change the procedure for election boards to appoint election inspectors. The major political parties could submit lists of people to serve as inspectors on their behalf, and people on those lists would have to be given first priority over everyone else. Election inspectors would also have to be selected randomly from the pool of eligible people.
House Bill 4963 would clarify and expand the rights of election inspectors and election challengers. Election inspectors would have to wear a badge. Training for election workers would have to include the rights of inspectors and challengers, including how interfering with them is a crime. The Secretary of State would have to create formal signature identification training, which could not include presumptions about the validity of signatures.
House Bill 4964 would require that voting machines be incapable of connecting to the internet. It is similar to House Bill 4838 introduced last month, which would require voting machines to be disconnected from the internet from the time the polls open until the results have been tabulated.
House Bill 4965 would make major changes to the recount system for Michigan, including creating methods for the courts to change the result of an election following a recount. The county leaders of major political parties could request recounts on behalf of candidates.
House Bill 4966 would increase the deadline for boards of county canvassers to identify winners from 14 days to 21 days after the election. Ballots would have to be preserved for 6 months after an election, rather than the 30 days prescribed under current law. The bill would also create a mechanism to undo certification of a county’s election results if a canvasser says their vote to certify was made under duress.
House Bill 4967 would create a new law requiring security features in all Michigan ballots to prevent duplication, including color inks and microprinting. That is a process to include very small words or images on a document that are easy to recognize, but difficult to duplicate by normal means.
New Hampshire: The House has approved legislation that could result in separate voting procedures for state and federal elections. The bill approved amounts to a preemptive strike against sweeping election and voter-access legislation being debated in Washington. It would keep New Hampshire’s election system in place for state and county races if Congress enacts the “ For the People Act.” The state legislation, which would effectively require separate state and federal systems for voter eligibility and registration, absentee voting, in-person voting and counting of ballots, now goes back to the Senate.
New Jersey: The Legislature approved and Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law A-5842/S-3880 that would increase a poll workers daily pay to $400 for the June 8 primary. The legislation would also allow for voting districts to be staffed by two workers instead of the usual four to six. And it permits National Guard members in civilian clothes to work the polls. County election officials had been warning for weeks that they were having trouble getting enough poll workers, in many cases because of the low pay for a long day. When Murphy lifted the statewide mask mandate, that caused other workers to drop out, officials said. The legislation states the shortage of workers due to COVID-19-pandemic concerns has left counties unable to “meet the statutory requirements concerning the number of poll workers necessary in each election district,” thus requiring legislation to waive certain rules. Those rule changes include allowing only one Democrat and one Republican, instead of two or three of each, to staff each voting location, allowing a person to work the polls in a county other than the one where he lives and allowing citizens who are not registered to vote to also staff voting sites. There are also some changes allowed for polling locations. The bills were introduced Thursday, bypassed committee hearings and voted on by both houses. They were not listed on the Assembly agenda and the Senate version was a late add to that house’s board list. The Democratic and Republican leaders of each house sponsored them.
New Mexico: Albuquerque City Council is expected to give final approval to a bill getting rid of a voter ID ordinance. The vote could repeal the 2005 voter ID requirement. This would put the city in line with the state law where there is no voter ID requirement. Under state rules, voters are still expected to verbally identify themselves by their name, year of birth, and address. The next municipal election will be held this November.
New York: New York election workers would have to start counting absentee ballots earlier under legislation that passed the state Senate. Boards of elections would have to start counting absentee, military and special ballots on a rolling basis as soon as they’re received under the new legislation. Election workers would have four days to review ballots and place them into one of three categories: valid, invalid and “defective but curable.” The bill sets up rules for how election commissioners should handle valid ballots, and says ballots are presumed valid if commissioners are “split.” New York would also have to audit ballot scanners within three days of the elections, and courts could no longer change the process for canvassing ballots. The state would also do away with remaining rules that can lead to voters’ ballots getting tossed for minor technical mistakes.
North Carolina: The Senate has approved SB722 that will allow municipalities to postpone 2021 elections until new maps can be drawn. The bill seeks to give cities the authority to delay these elections without getting individual approval from the General Assembly through resolutions. The vote to approve the measure was unanimous. The bill would affect 36 municipalities that use population-based electoral districts in elections slated in 2021. Sen. Warren Daniel, a Burke County Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, explained that the measure offers solutions to the current law by moving the deadlines on a set schedule. The bill would postpone the deadline for the affected cities to complete redistricting for municipal elections to November 17 of this year. The filing period for candidates would be delayed and run from noon on Dec. 6 till noon on Dec. 17.
Mail-in absentee ballots would have to be received by the day of the election, under a Republican-backed bill that cleared a divided Senate committee. Current law says ballot envelopes must be postmarked by the election date and received within three days to be counted. That window got extended to nine days in 2020 only as the result of a legal settlement between the State Board of Elections and a union-affiliated group who argued more time was needed due to COVID-19 and mail delays. Republicans still miffed about that settlement say setting the receipt deadline at 5 p.m. on Election Day or on the statewide primary election date will improve the public’s confidence in election results.
Barely a day after the request came in, the state House voted to permanently move Raleigh’s municipal elections to even-numbered years. If the bill becomes law, it would move Raleigh’s October 2021 municipal election to November of 2022, with elections coming every two years thereafter. This would mean Raleigh’s current city council would remain in office for an additional 13 months.
Texas: The Austin city council is considering a measure that would change city ordinance and allow hearing officers to dismiss parking tickets for expired meters for people who are voting, or working or volunteering at a polling location. The dismissal would be allowed if there is not available free or unrestricted parking, according to the draft ordinance. The measure, however, would not remove the requirement for paying to park at City parking spots. People who end up in a long line while waiting to vote and have the meter run out, for example, would be able to dispute that ticket and hearing officers would be allowed to dismiss the citation.
Gov. Greg Abbott has signed HB 1624 into law. The new law will expedite the process by which dead Texans are purged from voter registration rolls.
Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed legislation into law this week that makes universal mail-in voting permanent. Now, local officials will be required to mail ballots to all registered voters in the weeks leading up to the November general elections, as they did in fall 2020. The state decided to automatically send ballots to voters before last year’s election to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the polls. But after the change helped drive record voter turnout in November, lawmakers moved to make it permanent. While announcing he had signed the legislation, S.15, Monday afternoon, Scott said he would like to see the policy expanded to local elections, party primaries and school budget votes. “I’m signing this bill because I believe making sure voting is easy and accessible, and increasing voter participation is important,” Scott said in a statement. “Having said that, we should not limit this expansion of access to general elections alone, which already have the highest voter turnout.” Scott is asking lawmakers to make those changes next year.
Wisconsin: Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate approved legislation to limit the availability of ballot drop boxes in some communities, create more paperwork for absentee voters and require disabled voters to provide copies of their IDs to vote in more cases. On a voice vote, the Senate approved a bill that would allow municipalities to have drive-up ballot drop boxes on the premises of the offices of election clerks. Communities with 70,000 or more residents could have up to three additional drop boxes. Municipalities across Wisconsin installed drop boxes last year when absentee voting surged because of the coronavirus pandemic. With an 18-14 vote, the Senate approved Assembly Bill 173, which would prohibit local governments from accepting donations from private groups to help run their elections. Any donations to the state for conducting elections would have to be equally distributed to local governments based on their populations. The Senate on an 18-14 vote sent Senate Bill 204 to the Assembly. The measure would require Wisconsinites to fill out more paperwork to vote absentee. Now, an absentee voter puts a ballot into an envelope that includes a form on it that serves as both an application for a ballot and a certification stating who filled out the ballot. The legislation would require voters to fill out separate forms — one to apply for an absentee ballot and one to certify they filled out the ballot. The bill would also require voters to provide a copy of their ID every time they ask for an absentee ballot. Now, voters have to provide a copy of their ID the first time they vote absentee but not after that. The bill would also bar election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters. On a 20-12, party-line vote, the senators approved Senate Bill 205 to create a backup system for voting at nursing homes if poll workers are unable to visit the facilities. The bill would allow nursing home workers to fulfill those duties if the voting deputies could not visit, provided the nursing home workers belonged to different parties. The bills face almost certain vetoes from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers if they get to him. “My basic theory is democracy works best when we get as many people to the polls as possible,” Evers said in an interview. “I don’t care if they vote for Republicans or Democrats, as long as they vote. Any time that we take a step back from that, I will look with great disdain on those bills.”
Wyoming: The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivision voted to pursue two bills that would significantly change the way Wyoming’s statewide elections are run as soon as next year. One bill would create a ranked-choice system. The other would institute an open primary. One of the bills would implement a ranked-choice voting system if passed in next year’s budget session. The other approach would implement what’s called a “jungle primary,” or an open primary where the top two vote-getters move to the general election regardless of party. Neither candidate would need a majority. While more committee members voted to move forward with the ranked-choice bill, Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne believes that the jungle primary bill would find more success in the full Legislature next year.
Illinois: Grundy County Judge Scott Belt is considering whether to throw out LaSalle County Republican Party Chairman Larry Smith’s complaint against LaSalle County Clerk Lori Bongartz. Smith has alleged in various ways since November that mail-in ballot mishandling tipped the State’s Attorney’s race to Democrat Todd Martin. Republican Karen Donnelly left office at the end of November. Belt said he would try to issue a written ruling on throwing out the complaint or letting it stand this week. The lawyers and judge are to talk again next Friday morning when the judge could take up Krueger’s request to forbid any more complaints on the matter.
Michigan: Oakland County Circuit Judge Edward Sosnick as ruled that two felony charges will remain for a Southfield city clerk in connection with the November 2018 election. Sherikia Hawkins had sought dismissal of the charges — one count of using a computer to commit a crime connected to misconduct in office and one count of misconduct in office but Sosnick heard arguments on the case and denied her request. Trial is scheduled to start in late October. Hawkins’ legal woes stem from allegations that she fraudulently altered or modified the Qualified Voter File after the 2018 general election to falsely reflect that previously logged absentee ballots were void because they arrived in envelopes not signed by the voter. She initially was charged with six crimes — the two she still faces as well as forgery, filing false records and two other counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
Minnesota: A Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled that Olmsted County’s actions for establishing its absentee ballot board was lawful. The court ruled Monday that the Minnesota Voter Alliance and others failed to show that county and city governing bodies violated the law when appointing deputy county auditors and deputy city clerks to absentee ballot boards. The challenge against Olmsted County was one of four cases filed as cities and counties were preparing plans to review an increased number of absentee ballots cast because of COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. Ramsey County and Duluth were also part of the case in which the Minnesota Voter Alliance, the Republican Party of Minnesota and several individuals objected to how absentee ballot review boards were created to oversee the review of questioned ballots. A suit also was brought against Minneapolis but there was no mention of it in Monday’s ruling. In making its decision, the high court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the request to take action since the alliance and others failed to establish that local government bodies had violated “any clearly imposed duty when appointing members to their ballot boards.”
New Jersey: Atlantic County Superior Court Judge James P. Savio refused to grant Atlantic City Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Foley an injunction that would have kept the June 8 primary election open for two more weekends. Savio said Foley waited too long to file a legal action and failed to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that voters have been prevented from obtaining messenger ballots on time by policies of the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office. Savio also said he was concerned any injunction would affect all candidates from both parties, and there was not time to allow those candidates a say. “Your application is asking me to enter an order keeping election results open for the next three weeks,” Savio said. “I’m concerned because we got the briefs Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. before the election on Tuesday. That doesn’t give anybody a lot of time to respond.” In a civil action filed Friday afternoon, Foley argued that the County Clerk, by requiring messengers to make appointments to apply for vote-by-mail ballots for other voters, was disenfranchising voters and denying them their rights.
New Mexico: Third District Judge Manuel Arrieta dismissed with prejudice the claims of Dave Gallus, a Republican state senate candidate in the 2020 election who had sued everal politicians and officials including state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda Lopez Askin and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver last December. Gallus wrote in a civil complaint that Ivey-Soto, Lopez Askin and Toulouse Oliver conspired to undermine the election he ultimately lost. Specifically, he wanted some 30,000 absentee ballots in Doña Ana County removed because he said there was no proper oversight. He said that the election was compromised because Lopez Askin was both a candidate and an overseer to the process. Lopez Askin testified on Wednesday that she did not oversee the 2020 primary and general elections. Instead, Lopez Askin, who won her bid to become the clerk in 2020 after being appointed to the position two years prior, stepped away for the responsibilities. Deputy Clerk Lindsey Bachman oversaw the election process in Doña Ana County. In his ruling, Arrieta cited a lack of facts. He also Gallus could amend his complaint against the secretary of state since it was not received by the attorney general’s office. According to the Las Cruces Sun News, Gallus’ suit was one of several lawsuits that challenged the results of the 2020 general election in New Mexico. None of the lawsuits have gone far in court and many were tossed out because of a lack of facts or standing.
New York: Judge Adam W. Silverman tossed out Rensselaer County’s three early voting locations as too remote and not providing equitable access for people of color, and ordered the county Board of Elections to have new polling places selected by Wednesday. The county elections commissioners “shall select early voting poll site locations for the 2021 primary election that provide adequate and equitable access for all voters in Rensselaer County including voters in the city of Troy and otherwise comply with New York’s Early Voting Law,” Silverman said in his decision. Silverman observed “no other court of this state has reviewed the early voting statue and its requirement of adequate and equitable access to the polls.” The judge noted that the state Legislature has amended the early voting laws several times to ensure county Boards of Elections ensure voters had equal access for casting their ballots. Silverman’s ruling came after a possible deal on adding a fourth site in either downtown or the North Central neighborhood – that would be easily reached by Black voters – fell apart Monday, according to court officials. At this time, Rensselaer County is the only county in the state without early polling sites pending the submission of new locations and the court’s approval. The county board of elections has filed an appeal.
North Carolina: A majority of the 15 judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that District Judge Loretta Biggs didn’t step over the line when she refused to let North Carolina’s legislative leaders formally defend the state’s latest photo identification voting law with other state government attorneys. The Court upheld Briggs 2019 ruling preventing House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger from becoming defendants in a race-bias lawsuit filed by the state NAACP and several local chapters. Barring a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court, lawyers for legislative leaders who helped pass the 2018 law won’t be able to argue for it at a trial set to begin next January. Nine of the judges agreed that Biggs didn’t abuse her discretion with her decision. Biggs found no evidence that lawyers from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office — representing State Board of Elections members, the named defendants in the lawsuit — were inadequately defending the law on their own. Writing the majority opinion, Circuit Judge Pamela Harris said that the lower court properly followed federal rules in determining whether Berger and Moore should be allowed to intervene. The legislators “purported interest in defending (the law) on behalf of the state of North Carolina was adequately represented already by the State Board of Elections and attorney general,” Harris wrote.
Texas: A former candidate for Dallas City Council is asking the Texas Supreme Court not to certify the June 5 runoff election results for District 7. Donald Parrish argued that legal action to formally contest the May 1 election has not been settled as state law requires. “They shouldn’t certify the results. The June 5 runoff election was unlawful,” said Elizabeth Alvarez, an attorney for Parrish. On Tuesday, Parrish filed an 81-page writ asking the Texas Supreme Court to stop the City of Dallas from certifying a winner in the race. The state election code is very clear, Alvarez explained, stating that a runoff election cannot be held until there is a final judgment on an election contest. Alvarez and Parrish want to personally examine the 3,325 mail-in ballots, the 26 provisional ballots cast, all requests for ballots by mail, applications for all accepted ballots, and records for several polling places for any irregularities. She did not say what she suspects she might find.
Election Security: Microsoft and Hart InterCivic have announced that Hart will incorporate ElectionGuard into one of the company’s voting systems. The ElectionGuard open-source software development kit gives voters a unique code to track their encrypted vote and confirm it wasn’t manipulated, and it offers a way for third parties to validate election results, according to Microsoft. The two companies jointly announced the partnership last week. “We believe we must constantly re-imagine how technology can make voting more secure and also more transparent, and this partnership with Microsoft is a strong step in that direction,” said Hart InterCivic CEO Julie Mathis. “The combination of Hart voting machines with ElectionGuard technology delivering end-to-end verifiability provides election officials the ability to offer more transparency to the process of vote tabulation.” According to CyberScoop, Some details for how the pilot program will work remain unsettled, however. While Hart InterCivic will test ElectionGuard in its Verity system used by more than 500 jurisdictions in 17 states, Hart is still in the process of identifying at least one county to initiate the pilot, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. The timing for when the test would begin also hasn’t been locked down, either.
Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voting rights, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV | Messing with elections | Fraud allegations | Election officials | Election reform | Faith in democracy | For the People Act | Joe Manchin, II, III, IV, V | Election legislation | Safeguarding elections | Election legislation | Threats; 2020
Alabama: Curbside voting
Colorado: Election officials
Florida: Citrus County
Hawaii: Automatic voter registration
Kentucky: Election reform
Maine: Ranked choice voting
Maryland: For the People Act
Massachusetts: For the People Act
Missouri: Voting rights
Ohio: Election legislation
Pennsylvania: For the People Act
U.S. Virgin Islands: Board of elections
Voting in America: The Potential for Polling Place Quality and Restrictions on Opportunities to Vote to Interfere with Free and Fair Access to the Ballot. Subcommittee on Elections (Committee on House Administration) When: June 11, 11am.
State Certification Testing of Voting Systems National Conference: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and after extensive discussion among members of the Conference Steering Committee, a decision was made to offer this year’s conference virtually. We are pleased to announce that VSTOP, with the assistance of at the Center for Internet Security (CIS), will be hosting the virtual conference sessions. The purpose of the conference is to share ideas and solutions for ensuring voting and election system reliability, transparency and integrity through better testing of systems. The primary goal of the conference is to provide a forum for practitioners and academics to share best practices for voting system testing and management, to explore more efficient and effective methods for testing and implementing voting and election systems, and to identify common challenges and potential mitigations to those challenges. Additionally, the conference is meant to be a vehicle to improve the flow of information between the federal, state, county, and municipality testing entities. When: June 16-18. Where: Online.
How can we strengthen trust in the integrity of presidential elections?: Distrust of the results of presidential elections has been particularly intense in recent years. Many Democrats believed Donald Trump won the 2016 election through interference by Russian disinformation campaigns, and an even larger percentage of Republicans believe Democrats stole the 2020 presidential contest. This denial of election results is indisputably corrosive to the American political system’s long-term well-being. Please join AEI’s Kevin R. Kosar and a panel of experts as they discuss various ways to strengthen the public’s trust in the results of our presidential elections. When: June 21, 10am Eastern. Where: Online.
The Fight for Our Lives: Join New Republic deputy editor Jason Linkins for a discussion about the importance of protecting voting rights and the idea of “majority rule.” This event is produced in partnership with the New Republic. Speakers: Matt Ford, Staff Writer, the New Republic; Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senator, Oregon; Osita Nwanevu, Staff Writer, the New Republic; John Sarbanes, U.S. Representative, Maryland; Wendy Weiser, Vice President, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice; and Moderator: Jason Linkins, Deputy Editor, the New Republic. When: June 22, 7pm. Where: Online.
NCSL Redistricting Seminar: Salt Lake City will host the last installment of NCSL’s Get Ready to Redistrict: Seminars for Practitioners and Others. If you are a legislator, legislative staffer, commissioner, commission staffer, an outside advocate or just an interested member of the public, these seminars are for you. In two days, NCSL will deliver knowledge and practical instruction that you can customize for your state and your role in the process. If you’ve come to an earlier serminar, expect to: Focus on practicalities—anything you need to know to get the job done; A chance to visit with your vendors to ensure that you know what your state’s capabilities are; We’ll review what going to court entails (because almost all states will be in court!); and The census is the hottest question in town, and we’ll have answers. You can meet the experts who you might want to bring to your state (I was going to say consult, but some are free and some are not—but all faculty will make themselves available). Where: Salt Lake City. When: July 14-16.
IGO 4th Annual Conference: The IGO 4th Annual Conference is scheduled for July 15-21 at the Sheraton New York Times Square in New York City. Check please visit the IGO website for more information about agendas and registration. When: July 15-21. Where: New York City.
NCSL Base Camp: In a dynamic online setting, NCSL Base Camp brings together policy experts on a wide range of topic areas to educate policymakers and legislative staff. When: Aug. 3-5. Where: Online
NASED Summer Conference: Twice a year, NASED members gather to discuss the latest developments in election administration. Members of the public are welcome to attend at the non-member registration rate. The Summer 2021 conference is scheduled for August 9-10 and will once again be held virtually. Check please visit the NASED website for more information about agendas and registration. When: Aug. 9-12. Where: Online.
NASS Summer Conference: The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) will convene in person for the 2021 Summer Conference. It will be held August 13-16 in in Des Moines, Iowa. The conference will feature committee meetings, discussions and various workshop sessions on election administration, cybersecurity, business services, state heritage and more. A preliminary conference agenda is available online here. In addition, an expo area will have a limited number of NASS Corporate Affiliates on-site showcasing their products and services. Please note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health recommendations will be observed throughout the conference. Learn more about the venue’s COVID-19 safety requirements here. There will also be a limited virtual component for those unable to attend in person. Registration for the conference will open in late-May. When: Aug. 13-16. Where: Des Moines, Iowa.
NISGIC Annual Conference: The 2021 NSGIC Annual Conference will be held September 20 – 24 as a hybrid event at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel and leveraging technology to provide for virtual participation, as well. The safety and comfort of conference participants are paramount. We will be following all guidance in place at the time of the conference and working closely with venues to ensure full care is given. We understand that not all conference attendees will be able to join us in person. Those participating virtually can expect a rich experience with interactive plenary presentations, networking opportunities, and participatory workshops and other sessions. (We’re so sure you’re going to enjoy the experience, we urge you to consider participating from home or another space where you can give it your full attention.) Whether you attend in-person or virtually, the NSGIC Annual Conference is the hub of critical connections for state, local, tribal, and federal GIS policymakers and coordinators, private sector partners and solution-providers, and other leaders in the geospatial ecosystem. Like nowhere else, the NSGIC Annual Conference is a place where relationships are built, information is shared, and collaborations are born. When: September 20-24. Where: Hybrid—Dallas & Virtual.
National Conference of State Legislators Legislative Summit: The Legislative Summit is NCSL’s premier annual event and provides a platform for legislators, staff and other public policy professionals to learn from the nation’s foremost experts, as well as each other, about solutions to the country’s most pressing issues. Watch for registration and hotel details in early June 2021. When: November 3-5. Where: Tampa, Florida
Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Administrative Specialist II (Language Services), King County, Washington— This is an amazing opportunity to be engaged in the election process! The Department of Elections is searching for Language translation professionals to support the following languages: Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese. This job posting will be used to fill multiple short term temporary positions to support the Language Services Program. These individuals must be able to read, write and understand at the language proficiency testing level used by the Department. These positions will translate and proof documents and web materials in Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese; conduct research, and provide administrative support to other election work groups as needed during elections. These positions are expected to begin on June 1, 2021 and last approximately one month. In this role you will have the opportunity to: Translate or proof election-related documents and web materials to Spanish, Korean, Chinese or Vietnamese including but not limited to: voter registration information, letters and other correspondence to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) voters including, notice of elections, ballot titles and voters’ pamphlet information, candidate statements, ballot measures, resolutions and related materials; and Review, edit and proofread all translated documents produced by translation service providers and others for accuracy, clarity and consistency. Salary: $22.57 – $28.75 Hourly. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Assistant IT Chief, Dallas County, Texas— Manages, oversees and performs technical and administrative work of information technology for the Elections Office. Provides technology vision and leadership in the development and implementation of the elections technology program while assisting the Elections Administrator in strategic, tactical and elections related compliance. Oversees the design, implementation and evaluation of systems to support end users in productive use of computer hardware and software; collaborates with the County’s Information Security Officer, IT operations, IT applications to ensure best-in-class recording and elections security, infrastructure and client services. Directs and oversees IT projects and systems to ensure security, quality control and efficiency; facilitates the development of each project to meet customer needs. Plans and implements enterprise information systems to support elections operations. Manages and directs IT personnel to establish workload priorities; coordinates projects and reporting of activities while maintaining workflow estimates. Facilitates communication between staff, management, vendors, and other technology resources within the organization and with outside stakeholders. Provides project management oversight for key initiatives and division-level responsibilities. Manages the division budget expenditures and related administrative tasks. Plans, directs, and monitors the development, installation and maintenance of computer programs and associated computer operations necessary to achieve functional departmental systems. Develops the design specifications of computer systems, programs and operating systems, with the following core competencies: Security Analysis, Design, Business Process Improvement, Data, Modeling, Development, Planning, Implementation, Test Script Development, Monitoring/Controls, Troubleshooting/Problem Solving, Documentation and Service Motivation. Collaborates with the Information Security Officer, IT Operations, IT Applications and PMO to ensure best-in-class procedures and security standards for the security of all elections information and established IT programs. Directs and/or assists in the resolution of highly complex or unusual business problems that cross various IT disciplines and agency boundaries. Develops and establishes department standards and procedures, including application development, quality assurance, incident management, documentation and project management. Evaluates, plans, reviews, and recommends long-range enhancements for computer hardware, software and data communications equipment. Performs other duties as assigned. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Certification Program Manager, Hart InterCivic— The Certification Program Manager performs high level management of multiple state and federal certification activities. The Certification Program Manager assists with developing the state certification roadmap in conjunction with internal stakeholders, communicates the roadmap to other departments, and provides direction for Certification Project Managers for individual certification campaigns. Additionally, the Certification Program Manager is responsible for ensuring that equipment inventory is appropriately utilized and tracked. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Customer Support Consultant, Hart InterCivic— The Customer Support Consultant is responsible for providing application and hardware support to Hart InterCivic customers via telephone and email for all Hart InterCivic products. The Customer Support Consultant is also responsible for monitoring all requests to ensure efficient, effective resolution. The successful Customer Support Consultant will work directly with customers and other staff members. The position is responsible for responding to customer contacts, dealing with issues in a professional manner, providing technical direction to customers in a manner they can understand and being a customer advocate. The Customer Support Consultant must have outstanding written and verbal communication skills. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Audit Specialist, VotingWorks— VotingWorks is a non-partisan non-profit founded on the powerful idea that the operating system of our democracy should be publicly owned. Every citizen’s vote is sacred, and every citizen deserves evidence that our elections are free and fair. We’re using open-source software, off-the-shelf hardware, and modern product engineering to make elections dramatically safer, more accessible, and more affordable. Affordability may sound pedestrian, but it is key. The front line of America’s election security rests in the hands of the 50% of US counties that struggle to afford basic services, let alone upgrade aging voting equipment. About the Job: Your goal is to make election administrators successful when running Arlo, VotingWorks’ risk-limiting audit software, to conduct risk-limiting election audits. You succeed when these election administrators succeed in delighting audit board members, voters, and the public. You’ll need to become very skilled with the Arlo software, the VotingWorks voting machines and general risk-limiting audit procedures. You’ll support election administrators and audit board members with tier 1 support (basic software and procedure questions) that includes light training and troubleshooting in preparation for and during audit conduct remotely. Occasionally, you’ll be asked to provide the same support in-person. Your enthusiasm for the product, the process, the mission, and the team should be infectious, surpassed only by your organizational skills and ability to multitask. You know that no matter how robust a technology, at the end of the day it’s people who make other people successful and you feel personally responsible for ensuring that everyone who uses Arlo feels successful. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Election Data Specialist, Boulder County, Colorado— The Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office, Elections Division, has an opening for an Election Data Specialist position. Boulder County Elections is committed to setting the state and nationwide gold standard for what an accurate, transparent, organized, and efficient election looks like, and this position is critical to our success in fulfilling that aim. The Elections Division is committed to continual improvement, and we are looking for a team member who can help strengthen our team and our work by overseeing mission-critical process areas that demonstrate accountability to the public while also assuring data integrity through data extraction, processing, analysis and storage. The objective of this position is to create, maintain, manage, and interact with operational and analytical tools which assist elections staff in ensuring the integrity of voter and elections data. This position will create and reconcile a variety of reports that demonstrate the requirements for the certification of an election. This position will also assist election staff in creating and maintain additional reports and with a variety of data needs. To meet these goals, this position also requires an understanding of and experience with relational database systems. Salary: $5,527.00 – $6,742.67 Monthly. Deadline: June 20. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
General Registrar, Prince William County, Virginia— The Prince William County Electoral Board is seeking a General Registrar to provide leadership and management in the Office of Elections in Prince William County, Virginia. We are one of Virginia’s fastest-growing counties with a diverse population of 470,000 citizens and over 300,000 registered voters. The General Registrar is an appointed state employee and sworn official with overall responsibility for administering the provisions of Virginia election laws under guidelines established by the State Board of Elections and the Prince William County Electoral Board, including the duties and powers of the General Registrar as stated in Title 24.2 of the Code of Virginia and in compliance with other federal, state and local laws and policies. With yearly and frequent elections, the General Registrar is responsible for the oversight of a large and complex voter registration and election administration agency with approximately 20 full-time employees and more than 1,000 election officers. The General Registrar consults with, advises and reports to the Prince William County Electoral Board on all issues relative to election administration and voter registration. The General Registrar, working with the Electoral Board identifies suitable polling places, acquires and test voting and other equipment, recruits and trains Officers of Election, and obtains technical support and financial resources. Salary: $100,000 – $130,000/yr – commensurate with experience. Deadline: June 16. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Registrar of Voters, San Diego County, California— The Registrar of Voters is an executive management position that leads the Department and provides eligible citizens of San Diego County with widespread and ongoing opportunities to register and vote in fair and accurate elections for all federal, state and local offices and measures; and provides access to the information needed to utilize the initiative, referendum, and recall petition processes. Qualified candidates will possess a bachelor’s degree and five years of management level experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the classification. The ideal candidate for this position will have executive level decision-making skills in the area of election administration, as well as organizational and political acumen in order to advise and provide direction for ROV programs and services. Candidates familiar with election administration principles, campaign finance, election technologies, voting procedures, and federal and state election laws, are preferred. This recruitment will remain open until the position is filled. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for consideration. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Research Director, Center for Election Innovation and Research— The Research Director will report to the Executive Director and lead CEIR’s research initiatives. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, matters pertaining to voter registration, voter access, election integrity and security, and election policy, generally. The Research Director will set goals aligned with CEIR’s mission and provide the research team with strategic direction on how to reach those goals, all while ensuring the rigor, integrity, and quality of all research activities. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Virtual Event Planner, Early Voting Information Center— The Early Voting Information Center (EVIC) at Reed College seeks out a virtual event planner and project manager with a strong understanding of United States politics, particularly as it relates to election policy, to help lead, coordinate, plan, and execute an applied research project focused on understanding and strengthening the capacity of local election administrators in the United States. EVIC seeks out an individual who can help to coordinate and engage academic teams, local and state elections officials, and other stakeholders engaged in the research efforts. The lead project team is located in Portland, Oregon, but remote work is possible. Time demands are expected to be ten hours/week with some variation, beginning on or around May 1stand ending October 31, with a possibility of extension. Application: Interested candidates should send a short letter of interest, qualifications, and description of applicable experience; and a resume or curriculum vita to Karen Perkins at email@example.com.
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