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July 18, 2024

July 18, 2024

In Focus This Week

Take me out to the voting booth
Sports arenas stepped up in 2020, will they in 2024?

By Tova Wang, Director of Research Projects in Democratic Practice
Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School

In 2020, we had an election amid a pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and an extremely tense political climate.  That year, professional sports teams stepped up to the plate to do their part in supporting American democracy.  In close partnership with local election officials around the country, they opened the doors of their arenas and stadiums to be used as polling sites — 48 professional sports facilities were used for voting that year. 

The DC Board of Elections used Nats Stadium as an early voting site in 2020.

Considering the current crisis facing our democracy, teams and election administrators are looking to join together to help support elections again.  Given the success of the partnerships in 2020, engaging in them again in 2024 will be a valuable, patriotic, and easily implemented contribution professional sports teams can make to help the overburdened elections officials, their local communities, and the democratic process.

Friends and colleagues know I am a huge sports fan (team allegiances available upon request).  When in the fall of 2020 I saw these collaborations happening, I wondered what impact they would have on election administration and voting.

After the 2020 election, scholars Michael Hanmer, David Nickerson, Robert Stein, Frank Guridy, and I teamed up to research that question through quantitative work and numerous interviews with election administrators and team executives. The findings of our report held across the country and across political parties: Election administrators, team owners and staff, and voters loved using stadiums as polling places. Stadium voting went smoothly in every site studied.

For election administrators, having the sports venues as early vote centers made election administration easier and more efficient. Just the size of the parking lots alone was a gift! The size of these facilities also allowed for a large number of check-in locations and voting machines, which reduced wait times and lines. The sports venues likely alleviated burdens at other voting sites too.

For example, in Fulton County, it took an average of 26 minutes to vote at the Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena in 2020, while the wait time at some other places in the county was 4 hours. In total, the Hawks’ stadium processed 50,000 voters. 

Teams were uniquely equipped to manage the spaces as poll sites and found hosting the polling place very straightforward. As one team executive said, “This is what we do. We move lines.” The logistics were easy for teams and administrators to coordinate, and election administrators and team staffs enjoyed the partnerships.

The view from the voting booth at Nats Stadium in 2020.

Perhaps what was most surprising in these tense times was that no team reported a negative public reaction. In fact, our team member Michael Hanmer fielded a poll with The Washington Post to measure what people thought. The 2022 Post-UMD poll found 77% of Americans approved of using sports stadiums as voting sites in 2020.

Finally, there is the attraction for many people to vote at the stadium or arena of their favorite team that can’t be matched by the usual polling site.  I can report firsthand the magic spell of fandom and know it can grab the attention of groups of voters who might otherwise not be as interested (as well as pique the interest of more poll workers too, I imagine).

Moreover, our elections have become very justifiably grim experiences.  But while voting, voters in 2020 got to take selfies with championship trophies and show off their “I voted sticker,” meet the mascots, and even engage with players. We could use inserting just a little bit of joy into the process.

This upcoming election is causing a strain on all of us and the consequences have never been more serious. If this method of voting can excite new voters, help election administrators, and put a smile on the face of a poll worker even for just a minute, we should work together to make it happen again throughout the country.

Tova Wang is the Director of Research Projects in Democratic Practice at the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School. She continues to work with the research team and partner with former NFL General Manager, three time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, and NFL Network analyst Scott Pioli on this project.

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Election News This Week

Election Monitors: The Fulton County, Georgia Board of Elections recently voted to hire five independent election monitors, complying with an order from a state panel related to the county’s handling of errors in the 2020 general election. In a 3-2 vote, the Fulton board approved monitors to observe and report on operations in the county beginning in August and continuing through the November election. The plan now returns to the State Election Board for final approval at its August meeting. If the plan is approved, the monitors will be Lynn Bailey, retired Richmond County election director; Ryan Germany, former general counsel for the secretary of state’s office; Carter Jones, a former independent election monitor in the 2020 general election; Matt Mashburn, a former member and acting chairman of the State Election Board; and Monica Childers, a U.S. Election Assistance Commission member. In May, the state board reprimanded Fulton and called for the monitors, finding the county likely double-scanned over 3,000 ballots during a recount of the 2020 election results. The plan will cost $100,000 in county funds to pay the monitors. Each monitor is expected to file periodic findings and a final report in November. These filings will provide a comprehensive review of election operations and recommendations for the county.

Election Office News: With an eye on security and transparency, two counties recently opened new elections offices. Officials in Palm Beach County, Florida recently cut the ribbon on a new state-of-the-art facility that  is poised to streamline the electoral process from start to finish with its office spaces, secure storage, and expansive training areas. The facility boasts a vast range of amenities, including “administrative office spaces, training rooms, a call center, early voting, canvassing, opening/tabulation/auditing, secure ballot storage, records retention areas, vote-by-mail processing, a voting equipment warehouse and a three-story parking garage.” Supervisor  of Elections Wendy Link underlined the importance of the centralized headquarters as a bastion for voter access and election integrity. The new building consolidates multiple facets of the electoral process, facilitating greater efficiency and security. Link emphasized how the headquarters is tailored to address the manifold steps in election management, from vote-by-mail processing to the final stages of canvassing and auditing. Snohomish County, Washington leadership held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 9, to celebrate its newest Election Center in Everett, which will house all election-based ballot processing and counting operations for the county.  “Our democracy depends on accurate and transparent election systems, and Snohomish County has an excellent track record of fulfilling its responsibilities. The Elections Center will ensure those at the frontlines of democracy, our elections workers, have an efficient and safe space to count our votes this year, and voters can continue to have confidence in the results of elections,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “As we head into a year where elections are front and center, this facility provides the space, security, and transparency we need to deliver topnotch elections for Snohomish County voters, and it demonstrates the County’s ongoing commitment to accurate, fair elections,” said Snohomish County Auditor Garth Fell.

News From NASS: The National Secretaries of State held their summer conference from July 9-12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the conference, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon was sworn in as association’s president through summer 2025. “I am honored and deeply grateful to my peers across the country for giving me the opportunity to spearhead this outstanding association, particularly at such a critical time for our democracy,” said Simon. “As I’ve said time and time again, I will work with anyone, of any political affiliation, to pro­tect, defend, and strengthen elections. I also want to enable NASS member states to make busi­ness services as effective and efficient as possible and – to foster connections among our mem­bers relating to all other duties and responsibilities of Secretaries of State nationwide. I look for­ward to continuing NASS’s historic tradition of collaboration, unity, and

The Iowa secretary of state’s office won the 2024 IDEAS Award.

bipartisanship.” Simon has served as Secretary of State since January 2015. During his tenure, he has been an engaged, proactive member of NASS, with participation on the NASS Executive Board and oth­er committees, as well as serving on the Election Infrastructure Subsector Government Coordi­nating Council (EIS-GCC) and Council of State Governments (CSG) Executive Committee. Additionally, the members of NASS selected the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office as the 2024 IDEAS (Innovation, Dedication, Excel­lence and Achievement in Service) Award recipient. Their Recruiting a New Generation of Poll Workers program was created in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic creating a shortage of poll workers. Through this initiative, Iowa launched PollWorker.Iowa.gov, which resulted in the recruitment of more than 21,000 new poll workers across the state’s 99 counties. “I am thrilled that my colleagues at NASS recognize the important role poll workers play in elec­tion integrity. Poll workers are our secret weapon to keeping elections safe and secure. This re­cruitment initiative has helped us build the bench of trusted local election workers and reinforce with Iowans that we have their backs in protecting their vote. I hope to see my colleagues join us in implementing efforts to recruit the next generation of poll workers in their own states and im­portantly, we look forward to bringing back some new ideas to our state that allow us to continue to serve Iowans,” said Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.

Podcast News: In the latest episode of High Turnout Wide Margins (now on its forever home at electionline!), hosts Eric Fey and Brianna Lennon speak with Jeff Mangan. He’s a former Commissioner of Political Practice in Montana, and one of co-chairs of the Montana Election Observation Initiative [MEOI], a Carter Center-supported nonpartisan election observation effort. MEOI conducted their first pilot observation during Montana’s June 4th primary in Missoula. You can read the preliminary report – here  They spoke about how these domestic election observations came about, how their first pilot went and about how nonpartisan election observation efforts could play a role in the future. On the latest episode of the American Enterprise Institute’s Voting Booth podcast, The Ohio State University’s Edward B. Foley joined AEI’s John C. Fortier and the US Election Assistance Commission’s Donald Palmer to discuss an updated version of Foley’s book, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States. From The New York Times podcast, The Daily, comes “A Republican Election Official vs. Trump Die-Hards in a World of Lies.” The podcast features Esmeralda County, Nevada Clerk Cindy Elgan. Nevada voters could decide this November on a ballot measure requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. How would it work? What about people that don’t have ID? Is this a solution in search of a problem? On the latest episode of the Ballot Battleground, host Ben Margiott interviews advocates on both sides of the issue – Dave Gibbs with the Repair the Vote PAC and Kerry Durmick with All Voting is Local Nevada.

In Memoriam: Chuck Miller, longtime Tuscarawas County, Ohio board of elections director, has died. He was 72. Chuck was a very dedicated individual,” said Tuscarawas County Board of Elections Chair Tom Hisrich. “He took his duties very seriously.” Miller spent 30 years as board director, the most in the county’s history. Hisrich recalls that it was difficult for Miller to finally step down in 2016. “He did have to resign for health reasons and that seemed to be an awfully big blow to him,” Hisrich said. Hisrich – a Republican – says he was there for the entirety of the Democrat’s tenure. “He knew he was going to be working with me, and of course I was of the opposite party, but we never had any problems in regard to discussing issues,” Hisrich said. Miller is survived by his wife Sigrid, along with their numerous kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

New Research and Resources

Political Threats: Following the shooting at a Trump campaign the Bridging Divides Initiative,  a non-partisan research initiative based at Princeton University that tracks and mitigates political violence in the United States, reupped some of the resources and research that they have regarding political threats. 

The BDI team will assess and share insights as the situation develops. We have and will continue to provide assistance to our partners and communities across the country now and in the coming weeks, both to navigate the uncertainty of the moment and prepare for what lies ahead. Please do not hesitate to contact us for support.

Communications Resource: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released “Communications 101 for Election Officials,” a free, on-demand video training series covering tools and strategies election officials can use to communicate with voters and other stakeholders. Each video, available on the EAC’s YouTube channel, is between three and five minutes long and is designed to fit into an election official’s busy schedule. Developed to supplement training local election administrators receive from their state officials and associations, these short, practical resources incorporate topics like writing key messages, identifying spokespeople, and choosing appropriate communication channels. The series’ guidance is broadly applicable and useful no matter the size or location of the election office. EAC Chairman Ben Hovland, Vice Chair Donald Palmer, Commissioner Thomas Hicks, and Commissioner Christy McCormick issued the following joint statement on this new resource: “Effective public communication is critical for helping eligible Americans vote and have confidence in the election process. Cutting through the noise of a presidential election year with basic voting information can be particularly difficult, especially for offices lacking dedicated communications staff and funding. This video series provides recommendations and guidance to enhance current communications, find new opportunities to reach voters, and plan for whatever challenge may arise. The EAC is excited to offer training programs for election officials that are both accessible and relevant for the work at hand.”

Election Monitoring:The Montana Election Observation Initiative (MEOI) announced the successful conclusion of a pilot program to observe Missoula County’s June 4, 2024, primary election process. MEOI’s nonpartisan election observers monitored the testing of voting equipment, ballot processing, tabulation, and in-person voting on election day in Missoula County using structured forms to gather standardized information. The report covers observations from 19 out of 21 voting locations in the county gathered by 22 MEOI observers. The program’s objective was to test observation methodologies and approaches ahead of the November 2024 general election. MEOI’s findings reflect a well-administered election process. Although observers noted some minor procedural violations, these incidents did not reflect any systemic problems, undermine the overall credibility of the election process, or affect the election outcome. “MEOI wishes to congratulate Missoula County voters and election officials on what they assessed as a calm, orderly, and efficient election that adhered to the established legal framework for elections in the state of Montana,” said MEOI Co-Chair Jeff Mangan, former state commissioner of political practices. Ahead of November’s general elections, MEOI recommends that Missoula County election officials review voting location layout to ensure that voters can easily identify information about the process that is required to be publicly posted, and to address potential concerns with secrecy of the ballot in two locations. MEOI also recommends that election officials revisit training procedures for election judges (poll workers) on how to process voters who wish to register to vote or update their registration on election day to ensure that consistent and appropriate guidance is provided to all voters. MEOI plans to expand on its pilot effort and will recruit, train, and mobilize observers across Montana for November’s general election. MEOI observers will provide nonpartisan oversight of the conduct of the election and will issue a comprehensive assessment about the quality of the election process.

Election Security Updates

CISA/NASS News: The executive board of the National Association of Secretaries of State is urging the CISA to revise a draft rule that would require election offices to disclose suspected cyberattacks to the federal government, casting the mandate as too burdensome on overworked local officials. The new rule is the result of a 2022 federal law that directed the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop regulations that require certain entities to report potential cybersecurity breaches or ransomware attacks to the agency. Election offices fall under the requirement because their systems are considered critical infrastructure, along with the nation’s banks, nuclear power plants and dams. The letter asked CISA to consider making the rule voluntary, limit the types of information requested and more clearly define what types of cyber incidents would trigger a report. The proposed rule says state and local election offices must report suspected breaches within 72 hours. CISA Director Jen Easterly said in an interview that she has been reviewing the group’s letter along with comments submitted individually by state election officials. She said her agency would consider the feedback and adjust as necessary. The rule is not expected to be finalized until sometime next year. “CISA was stood up to largely be a voluntary agency, and it’s our magic. It is how we’ve been able to build success,” Easterly said, noting the agency held multiple sessions to gather feedback. “We’re taking all the comments on board. We will integrate them into the final rule.” Utah Lt Gov. Deidre Henderson, who oversees elections in the state, said she was concerned about federal intrusion into state responsibilities. She said states must operate independently of the federal government in administering elections. “It’s one thing to regulate. They’re regulators; we are operators,” she said. “We actually have to perform these functions. And that rule is an overreach.” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said he would encourage agency officials to take a measured approach, saying he understood why it was important for CISA to collect the information. “But I just think they need to be careful about the scope and extent of the request,” Simon said. “This can’t be too prescriptive, too granular, and it can’t impose too great a burden. Otherwise, they’re unlikely to get the compliance that they want.”

Legislation and Rulemaking Updates

Arkansas Rulemaking: A permanent rule requiring “wet signatures” on Arkansas voter registration forms except at select state agencies was approved by the State Board of Election Commissioners this week. Following the rule’s approval, which had no voiced dissent, the board also voted to submit it to the Arkansas Legislative Council’s rule committee for consideration at its August meeting .If approved, the rule prohibiting electronic signatures would take effect Sept. 1. An emergency rule is already in place but has been challenged in court. Chris Madison, director of the board, briefed commissioners on comments the agency received related to the rule prior to their vote. He said 200 online comments were received during a 30-day period, and 16 people spoke against the rule during a public hearing last week. Madison described the concerns from those in opposition as categories: “in favor of online voter registration systems, wet signatures outdated, e-signatures allowed by law, low voter registration, turnout rates, access to voter registration, access to printing facilities, conduction for officials and the generally that the rule is disenfranchising voters.” Commissioner Belinda Harris-Ritter swiftly moved to approve the proposed rule as previously written after reading from Amendment 51 of the Arkansas Constitution, which addresses voter registration. She said the state constitution barred the body from allowing electronic signatures or online registration.

Georgia Rulemaking: On Tuesday July 9, the Georgia’s State Election Board gave initial approval to an amended rule that would give local officials more authority to dispute election results if there is a discrepancy in vote totals tallied and the number of votes cast at precincts. The proposed rule, approved by a 3-1 vote during last week’s state board meeting, would require local election officials to count ballots at the precinct level on election night and investigate any discrepancies prior to certifying the election.  Three Republican board members supported a measure they believe will help reduce the likelihood of inaccurate ballot totals requiring  correction long after an election is over.  The changes to election rules could be in place for this November’s general election if the proposed amendments are finalized next month. The rule also states that election board members should be able to examine all election records prior to a certification vote if there is a discrepancy in the voting data. The Board then called an emergency meeting on Friday, July 12 the three GOP members of the Georgia State Election Board convened an emergency meeting to press forward with the new election rules in a rush to have new procedures in place for the November election. The emergency meeting sparked accusations of state open meetings law violations. Board Member Janelle King defended the timing of the meeting against claims it violated the Georgia Open Meetings Act, saying that she sought the legal advice of the board’s attorney who agreed it was a continuation of a meeting that began on July 9, which only requires 24 hours public notice to resume. Two of the rules approved by the Election Board in the possibly illegal meeting last week appear to have been suggested by the Georgia Republican Party according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Documents obtained by The AJC show Georgia GOP Chairman Josh McKoon sent the text of the rules to board member Rick Jeffares several days before the meeting. McKoon also shared talking points summarizing why the rules should be adopted. Jeffares and two other Republican board members later approved one of the rules McKoon suggested and approved a scaled-back version of the other. “I’m just trying to do the right things,” board member King told the AJC. “The rules we’re putting in place will help all Georgians.”

New Hampshire: New Hampshire public and private high schools will soon be required to give voting information to students, under a law signed by Gov. Chris Sununu this month. House Bill 1014 requires that civics instruction “include information on the laws governing election and voting” in New Hampshire. That information would supplement what is currently required to be taught in schools for history and civics, including the structures of the New Hampshire Constitution and U.S. Constitution, and the role and function of government.  Currently, the State Board of Education is required to distribute copies of the state constitution and state voting laws to middle schools and high schools for civics instruction. But HB 1014 would directly mandate that schools use that information to bolster “the role, opportunities, and responsibilities of a citizen to engage in civic activity.” The bill comes as part of an effort by some to increase participation in elections among young people. Voting rights advocates have noted that only 15 percent of 18-year-olds in the state were registered to vote in the 2022 midterm elections.

On its way to Sununu’s desk is HB 1569, a bill that would repeal the option for first-time voter affidavits, which provide exceptions and leniency for proving identity at the polls. If signed into law, the bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Lynn, a Republican from Windham, poses what he believes is a reasonable ask: that people come prepared and ready to prove their citizenship, domicile, identity and age when registering to vote. “If you want to vote, you have to take some responsibility,” Lynn said. “You have to find out what the requirements are to vote and make a plan, so to speak, to make sure that you comply with those requirements.” Voting rights advocates say the bill is too restrictive and will disproportionately impact people from vulnerable populations. Under current New Hampshire law, people who aren’t yet registered to vote can cast their ballot on election day without proving their eligibility. They can sign an affidavit listing their information; then, the secretary of state’s office will follow up with a letter in the mail to verify that information. New Hampshire has same-day registration, so people can still sign up to vote on election day, but under this law they won’t be allowed to do so without proper documentation. If Sununu does sign the bill, it could cause some administrative confusion for the upcoming elections. Because there’s a 60-day period after the governor’s signature before it becomes law, it would go into effect after the Sep. 10 primary but before the general election in November. That would mean the primary would operate under the current rules – with affidavits – but the general would be governed under the new rule; hypothetically, some people who vote by affidavit in the primary may not be permitted to vote in the general unless they got their documents in order.

"I Voted" drawing with American eagle and USA flag.Wisconsin Rulemaking: The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) on July 11 approved a memo that will be sent to municipal clerks around the state providing advice for the use of absentee ballot drop boxes now that they’re once again allowed. The state Supreme Court, now under a liberal majority, ruled in a 4-3 decision that a 2022 decision by the Court declaring drop boxes illegal was “unsound in principle.” The court’s decision found that Wisconsin’s election statutes give municipal clerks discretion to determine how they want to receive completed absentee ballots. The majority opinion, written by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, states that clerks are not forced to use drop boxes, only that they can if they choose to do so. The WEC weighed how to assist clerks who choose to use the boxes and how to keep them secure.  Much of the six-member body’s discussion focused on how clerks should secure the boxes and how to tailor the memo in a way that provides meaningful logistical advice to both the City of Milwaukee, which will operate 15 drop boxes across the city and a tiny rural community with one drop box outside of the town hall.  Additionally, the commission has previously been criticized by Republicans and pushed back on by the court system for providing guidance to clerks that in essence served as “unpromulgated rules” — meaning the guidance should have been formalized through the official administrative rulemaking process. In a discussion about how drop boxes should be secured, the commission debated if it should recommend that boxes be secured to the ground or “affixed” to a building. The commission also considered how clerks should communicate with voters about the use of drop boxes on Election Day. By law, absentee ballots are allowed to be returned until polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. The commission decided on instructing clerks to lock their drop boxes after they’re no longer available for use; as well as providing signs near the drop boxes and including inserts with the absentee ballot materials when they’re mailed explaining when ballots will last be picked up from the boxes. After recommending changes the commissioners approved the guidance unanimously.

Legal Updates

Alabama: The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rejection of a challenge to South Carolina’s congressional map will not impact Alabama’s ongoing redistricting battles for now. The three-judge panel overseeing the legal battle in Allen v. Milligan, which led to the creation of two congressional districts in Alabama with majority or near-majority Black populations, last week rejected a motion from the Alabama Secretary of State to dismiss the case. The state filed the motion prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of NAACP, which upheld a congressional map challenged in part on grounds of racial discrimination, Alabama officials moved to use the ruling as a supplemental authority. Attorneys representing the Milligan plaintiffs attempted to have Alexander excluded, writing that it was “not a good faith attempt.” The three-judge panel allowed the case to be used, but denied the state’s motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs in Alabama’s Milligan case alleged that the Alabama Legislature in 2021 unconstitutionally packed Black voters into a single congressional district, limiting their ability to select their preferred leaders. Deuel Ross, the deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and an attorney representing the Milligan plaintiffs, said Friday that the Alexander case was different from Alabama because it was based on a racial gerrymander for a majority white district; wasn’t a Voting Rights Act claim; and didn’t have the same facts or allegations at issue. “From our perspective, doesn’t have any bearing on it, which is why we filed the motion to strike,” he said.  ”The only thing the court said with respect to it and the motion to dismiss was that the Legislature is entitled to a presumption of good faith.”

Arizona: Kari Lake is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn prior court rulings rejecting her various claims that the election was improperly run in Maricopa County. Her attorneys said the justices should give her the chance to present what she claims is “new evidence” about the extent of the failure of tabulators used on Election Day two years ago. The state Court of Appeals just rejected those claims less than a month ago. Those claims cover everything from an alleged failure to conduct legally required “logic and accuracy” testing on tabulating machines to allegations the county had advance notice that those tabulators at vote centers would reject ballots on Election Day. That, in turn, goes to her arguments that would-be voters, frustrated by long lines, left without casting ballots. And Lake contends that a majority of those discouraged voters were Republicans, and would have voted for her. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that there are legal procedures to resurrect a case — even after a judge has made a ruling. And that can be based on whether evidence was not available at the time. But the appellate judges said the claims that Lake was making just didn’t fit any of the requirements. Lake is also attempting to resurrect arguments that there is no way Maricopa County properly verified the signatures on all of the early ballots it had received. But even the trial judge ruled, and the appellate court agreed, that her arguments about how long it took to verify the average signature are legally irrelevant.

Cochise County disenfranchised some voters during a May 2023 election to levy a tax for a jail district, a three-judge panel ruled as it overturned the case’s previous dismissal. The ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals panel comes after Cochise County Superior Court Judge David Thorn dismissed the case arguing the county disenfranchised 11,000 voters on the inactive list by failing to send them ballots. The lawsuit was brought by four Cochise County residents: Daniel LaChance, Henry Stephen Conroy, Yvonne Mayer and Robert McCormick. Thorn ruled the plaintiffs failed to state a claim under Arizona’s election contest statutes and dismissed the case. But the appellate court on June 25 ruled the plaintiffs were correct in their assertion that thousands of residents were disenfranchised. The court supported Thorn’s dismissal of other claims. “This appeal … requires us to determine whether voters on a state-mandated ‘inactive voter list’ were entitled to receive ballots in the district’s all-mail election. We conclude that they were,” wrote Judge Jeffrey Sklar in his opinion. Judges Christopher Staring and Christopher O’Neil concurred. The panel ruled the group is entitled to move forward with its claim, and said the remaining issue of whether the disenfranchised votes were sufficient to change the outcome of the election is for the Superior Court to determine.

A group hoping to do away with partisan primaries alleges lawmakers are intentionally misleading voters about their ballot measure. They’re taking the issue to court. Make Elections Fair AZ wants to institute open primaries, allowing constituents of all political affiliations to vote on the candidate of their choice. But the group contends the “impartial analysis” lawmakers approved to describe their measure on July 8 is inaccurate. As written, the description details the effect the initiative would have out of order. It begins with the fact that the initiative could allow for using voter rankings to pick winners, something Republicans vocally oppose. Lawmakers passed the draft language without discussing it among themselves, though an attorney for Make Elections Fair AZ addressed the panel and asked them to restructure the language. Make Elections Fair AZ requests that the court issues an injunction prohibiting the Secretary of State’s Office from including the lawmaker’s analyses of their ballot measure on a publicity pamphlet, which will be sent to voters later this year.

California: Orange County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Knill ruled that a Santa Ana ballot measure asking voters to decide whether to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections will need to be rewritten before ballots are printed in August. Knill made clear that this case is not about whether noncitizens should be able to vote in municipal elections, a right she said has been established by case law in certain circumstances in city elections. Rather, the case is about whether specific language city officials used to draft the ballot measure is prejudicial and could sway the results of the election. The ballot measure had been set to ask voters: “Shall the city of Santa Ana city charter be amended to allow, by the November 2028 general municipal election, noncitizen city residents, including those who are taxpayers and parents, to vote in all city of Santa Ana municipal elections?” The phrase “including those who are taxpayers and parents” needs to be removed, Knill ordered. In a lawsuit filed in May with the county’s Superior Court, James V. Lacy, a local attorney and conservative pundit, along with the United States Justice Foundation, a conservative legal nonprofit, the California Public Policy Foundation, a think tank, and Pasquale Talarico, a Santa Ana resident, argued the wording “including those who are taxpayers and parents” could be misleading to voters. Knill agreed with them and said she will promptly issue an order for the OC Registrar of Voters to remove that controversial clause from the measure before ballots are printed in August.

Colorado: U.S. District Court Judge S. Kato Crews threw out a voting rights challenge to Colorado Springs’ municipal election schedule, brought by four civic groups seeking to force the city to move its April elections to November to reduce turnout disparities among voters of color. The parties submitted hundreds of pages of evidence disputing whether April elections in odd-numbered years should be considered a discriminatory practice under the Voting Rights Act. The plaintiffs argued participation from Black and Hispanic voters was only on par with White residents in November elections in even-numbered years, while the city maintained the lawsuit sought to establish a “national election day” for municipalities that federal law does not require. Crews did not analyze any of those arguments. In a July 9 order, he concluded the organizations suing the city had no basis to bring their claim — going so far as to suggest the plaintiffs attempted to manufacture standing solely for the lawsuit. “The City has held its municipal elections in April as early as 1873. The Plaintiff organizations were founded multiple decades (and sometimes over 100 years) later, meaning the City conducted April elections for numerous years before these organizations existed, and it has continued to hold April elections well after,” Crews wrote. “This chronology demonstrates the abstract nature of Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries, which seem to be supported only by their decision to now oppose the timing of the April elections in federal court, and to do so without any voters as plaintiffs and without suing on behalf of their individual members.”

Florida: Nearly two years after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)and other state officials drew widespread attention by announcing voter-fraud charges against convicted felons; two South Florida appeals courts overturned rulings that dismissed charges against a pair of defendants. Divided panels of the 3rd District Court of Appeal and the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the statewide prosecutor’s authority to pursue the 2022 cases against Ronald Miller and Terry Hubbard and sent the cases back to circuit court. Circuit judges in Miami-Dade and Broward counties had dismissed the cases because they said the alleged crimes each occurred in one judicial circuit and that the statewide prosecutor only has jurisdiction in cases involving multiple circuits. The appeals courts took somewhat-different approaches this week: The 3rd District panel rejected the argument that the statewide prosecutor didn’t have authority to prosecute Miller. The 4th District panel cited a 2023 change in state law that allowed the statewide prosecutor to handle such cases and said that change should apply retroactively to Hubbard’s prosecution. The panels split 2-1 in both cases. Florida voters in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment aimed at restoring the rights of convicted felons who have completed terms of their sentences. The amendment did not apply to people with convictions for murder or sex offenses. In announcing the voter-fraud arrests in August 2022, the state indicated it had targeted felons with murder or sex-offense convictions.

Georgia: Conservative Republican activist Beth Majeroni has sued the Chatham County Board of Elections, its chairman, and two Chatham County police officers, alleging that her free-speech rights were violated when she was forcibly removed from a board meeting last year. Majeroni, a retired pharmacy executive and Skidaway Island resident, filed the 14-count complaint in federal court in Savannah last week. The case could challenge the county’s parameters to limit public comments at official meetings and the role police officers play in keeping order at such gatherings. She alleges that her removal from the July 10, 2023, elections board meeting was “retaliation” for her efforts to uncover what she suspected as voting irregularities in the May 2022 primary elections, in which she served as a poll watcher. The complaint says that the board’s chairman, Thomas Mahoney III, a Savannah-area lawyer, singled out Majeroni for retribution because she had succeeded in getting a county grand jury to address her frustrated pursuit of election-related records from the board and its supervisor, Billy Wooten, under Georgia’s Open Records Act. Mahoney and the two officers who carried the 68-year-old Majeroni hands-and-feet from the hearing room, Andrew Nizwantowski and Robert Santoro, are blamed in the 29-page court filing of “actual malice” and “intent to cause Majeroni harm and injury,” despite the “unequivocal knowledge” that she had not “engaged in any unlawful — or even disrespectful — conduct.”

The Georgia Court of Appeals said that it will hear oral arguments Dec. 5 on the appeal seeking to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others. The scheduled date puts much of the case on hold until a month after the 2024 presidential election. When the appeals court agreed to hear the case in early June, it initially set oral arguments for Oct. 4, but changed the date due to a scheduling conflict. Under Georgia’s Constitution, the judges assigned to the case — Judges Todd Markle, Trenton Brown and Benjamin Land, all appointees of Republican governors — must rule on the matter within two terms of the court, which would be by mid-March 2025. After the panel issues a decision, the losing side could ask the Georgia Supreme Court to consider an appeal. In early June, the appeals court issued an order halting lower-court proceedings involving Trump and eight of his co-defendants also pursuing the appeal pending its outcome. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case, said he wanted to continue moving ahead on matters involving the other remaining six defendants not taking part in the appeal for the sake of efficiency.

Michigan: The Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign have sued Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, claiming she overstepped her authority by arranging for Veteran’s Affairs medical centers and Small Business Administration offices to act as voter registration agencies. Under the National Voter Registration Act, offices designated as voter registration agencies must provide members of the public with information about and assistance with registering to vote. Last year, Whitmer enacted what her office called “the first wholesale update of Michigan’s list of voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act…in nearly 30 years.” But the lawsuit, filed June 15 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, said that “Under Michigan law, the authority to make such designations is held solely by the Legislature.” It is seeking to have those designations declared invalid. Bobby Leddy, a spokesman for Whitmer, said her office is reviewing the complaint. The lawsuit also names Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Small Business Administration and other state and federal officials as defendants. 

Hillsdale County Judge Megan Stiverson called off a preliminary examination scheduled for July 11 to allow a former township clerk and lawyer, facing felony charges over an alleged voter data breach, to fight the allegations in a higher court. Stiverson announced her decision, Richard Cunningham, the prosecutor in the cases for the Michigan Attorney General’s office, could be heard telling others in the courtroom that he was “shocked.” Two days earlier, Stiverson rejected a motion to immediately dismiss the charges from Dan Hartman, the attorney who’s representing former Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott and Stefanie Lambert, a lawyer involved in efforts to advance unproven election fraud claims in multiple battleground states. In her ruling, Stiverson specifically said the preliminary examination to decide whether the charges should proceed to trial would go forward “as scheduled” Thursday. However, at the start of the hearing, Hartman revealed that he wanted to challenge Stiverson’s Tuesday order in Hillsdale County Circuit Court. “I understand that this is incredibly inconvenient to the prosecution and the defense and frankly, to the court,” Stiverson said. “However, it is an important case and erring on the side of caution, I will grant your request to adjourn the case to give you the opportunity to appeal my decision.”

Mississippi: The Mississippi State Board of Election Commissioners is asking the Mississippi U.S. Court for the Southern District for more time to hold special elections after a ruling that Mississippi’s 2022 redistricting diluted Black voting power and violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act. They argue they simply cannot hold those elections before 2025, as currently demanded by the court. Specifically, the court is asking the state to create three Black majority districts and hold special elections to vote in two new members of the Mississippi Senate and one in the Mississippi House of Representatives by 2025. In response, the state election commission, consisting of Republicans Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson and Attorney General Lynn Fitch said the state should give the Legislature a chance to redistrict the state during the 2025 legislative session and then hold special elections. “Defendants respectfully maintain that the only sound way for the Mississippi Legislature to be afforded its well-established first opportunity to redraw districts is to give it a reasonable amount of time following the commencement of the 2025 Regular Legislative Session (on January 7, 2025) and that any elections for affected districts should follow promptly after that,” the response reads. “Given fundamental limitations on a court’s equitable authority (particularly this close to an election) and other relevant considerations (practical, political, logistical, and legal) no more expeditious remedy is available.”

Montana: Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Mike Menahan has ordered that the secretary of state can’t automatically reject signatures of “inactive” voters who signed petitions to place Constitutional initiatives on the ballot. One initiative would make it a constitutional right in Montana to make one’s own decisions about pregnancy, including abortion, and two others would change the way elections are won in the state. At a hearing this week, lawyer Martha Sheehy said the secretary of state’s decision to change which signatures count on a petition was “particularly galling” for Montanans for Election Reform, a group proposing to “increase meaningful voter access and participation.” But a lawyer for the secretary of state argued the situation wasn’t an emergency for that group or for Montanans Securing Reproductive Rights. Lawyer Thane Johnson said the number of “inactive” signatures was minimal, and the initiatives were headed for the ballot anyway. Menahan, however, said his focus wasn’t on whether the initiatives from those two groups would qualify for the ballot. Rather, he said, Montanans have a fundamental right to participate in their government, and that includes signing a petition for a Constitutional initiative. “As a judge, my duty is to uphold that right and give life to it and preserve it,” Menahan said. He said he believed the groups had made the case Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen shouldn’t toss “inactive” signatures in the middle of counting based on a new interpretation. He said doing so changed a standard that had been in place nearly three decades — and without notice. “The troubling component here is that the process was underway,” Menahan said. Although Menahan requested a temporary return to the status quo, he also said he didn’t want to harm the process and would be “as minimally involved as possible.” He requested lawyers representing proponents for the initiatives and the state draft an order that ironed out the details; they did, and he electronically signed it.

Nebraska: Two days before a new state law restores voting rights to Nebraska felons who have served their sentence, Attorney General Mike Hilgers weighed arguing the Legislature unconstitutionally infringed on the executive branch’s exclusive authority to restore civil rights. Hilgers issued a formal opinion saying only the Nebraska Pardons Board — not the Legislature — has the authority to restore a person’s voting rights under the Nebraska Constitution’s separation of powers. The three-member Pardons Board, made up of the governor, the state’s attorney general and the secretary of state — has the power to grant clemency to convicted felons, setting aside all or part of their criminal sentences. At issue are Legislative Bill 20, which eliminates a two-year waiting period to restore felon voting rights, and LB 53 from 2005, which established the two-year waiting period. Hilgers argues that any legislative effort to address restoring a person’s civil rights is an executive branch role. “Under Nebraska Supreme Court precedent, removing any legal consequence of a crime is an act of mercy or grace,” Hilgers wrote. “That mercy and grace … is what we call a pardon. … Therefore, giving a reprieve from any one, or all, of the legal consequences is an exercise of the pardon power.” AG opinions do not carry the force of law. New state laws are in effect until a court acts.  However, Secretary of State Bob Evnen halted any new registrations by felons who would have been eligible to vote under the new law or its predecessor.

Nevada: Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda Du dismissed a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s campaign claiming the state’s deadline for mail-in ballots, four days after Election Day, is unconstitutional. Du, a Barack Obama appointee, agreed with Nevada state and county officials that the Republicans had failed to show they are disadvantaged by the deadline and, as such, that they lacked standing to sue. “The causal link between counting mail ballots received after Election Day in Nevada and organizational plaintiffs’ alleged electoral injuries is too speculative to support standing,” Du wrote. Republicans argued Democrats are more likely to vote by mail and to vote later, and because of this, they are more likely to cast mail ballots that are received after Election Day. “Even if the first two points have been adequately pled — which is not altogether clear — it does not necessarily follow that mail ballots arriving after Election Day will skew Democratic,” Du wrote in rejecting this line of argument. “And even if later-arriving mail ballots have favored Democrats past elections, it is far from guaranteed that Nevada voters will behave similarly this November.”

Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and Attorney General Aaron Ford are asking the state Supreme Court to step into a fray over a vote earlier this week by Washoe County commissioners not to certify recount results in two local races. Aguilar and Ford filed a petition with the court July 10, seeking confirmation of the commissioners’ legal obligations when it comes to canvassing and certifying election results. They also want the court to require the full commission to certify the recounts from last month’s primary no later than Aug. 22, when the statewide canvass must be complete to ensure the contents of general election ballots are finalized in accordance with Nevada law. Aguilar in a statement acknowledged that the circumstances in Nevada’s second most populous county could set “a dangerous precedent.” “It is unacceptable that any public officer would undermine the confidence of their voters,” he said. The three Republican members on the five-member Washoe County board voted July 9 to reject the results of recounts in one race for a commission seat and another for a local school board seat. The move instantly spurred questions about what would happen next. Aguilar and Ford followed the next day with a nearly 60-page petition. While not an emergency request, they noted in the filing that the court should act swiftly as “the legal and broader policy impacts of Respondents’ decision not to canvass election results are severe.”

Pennsylvania: A labor-backed group has dropped a lawsuit against the Lancaster County Board of Elections that sought to challenge the county’s practice of rejecting mail-in ballots on which individuals failed to write a complete date on a required voter declaration. The group, the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, filed a notice in county court on Wednesday about withdrawing the suit. The alliance is a state affiliate of a nonprofit organization backed by the AFL-CIO. The filing said new guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of State, issued on July 1, made the case moot. That guidance directed counties to print new mail-in ballot envelopes with the full four-digit year printed at the end of the line voters use to date their signature. Instead of signing the mail-in ballot envelope and providing the day’s date with a month, day and last two digits of the year, now the envelope is to have “2024” already written in. In Pennsylvania, counties have the final authority in administering elections. They must follow the state’s election code but do not necessarily have to follow guidance issued by state officials.

South Dakota: Jessica Pollema from South Dakota Canvassing Group and John Kunnari, an unsuccessful House candidate, are asking the Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to order several state and county officials to do their jobs better regarding the 2024 elections. State court administrator Greg Sattizahn confirmed that the application was filed. “It is currently being reviewed by Supreme Court staff,” he said. Pollema and Kunnari seek the action against South Dakota Secretary of State Monae Johnson, Minnehaha County Auditor Leah Anderson, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Daniel Haggar and one of his deputies, Eric Bogue, and the five members of the Minnehaha County Commission in their roles as the county’s canvassing board. In the 38-page application, Pollema and Kunnari raise a wide variety of allegations extending across past elections and ask the Supreme Court to order that the officials “take steps, both short term and long term, to ensure the apparent errors made during the 2024 primary election does not recur and to bring the state into compliance with voter registration laws.” Among the many issues raised in their application, Pollema and Kunnari dispute that result. They claim 132 ballots were cast in the House District 11 primary by people whose voter registrations show them as residents of the legislative district but have never lived there. 

Texas: U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas announced a settlement agreement with Bell County to ensure accessible polling places for voters with disabilities. The agreement resolves the investigation into Bell County’s compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability by state or local governments in any of their programs or services. The United States surveyed 13 of the county’s polling places used during the 2023 Uniform Election and found architectural or equipment barriers that rendered the facilities inaccessible to voters with disabilities. Issues included a lack of van accessible parking, excessively sloped ramps, and a lack of knee and toe clearance at accessible voting machines. Under the settlement agreement, Bell County will engage an accessibility expert and use an evaluation form for each current and prospective polling place based on ADA architectural standards. The county is required to either relocate voting to new, accessible facilities or use temporary measures such as portable ramps, traffic cones, signs, wedges, and door stops to ensure accessibility on Election Day. Additionally, Bell County will train its poll workers and other election staff on ADA requirements and how to use temporary measures to ensure each polling place is accessible during elections.

Wisconsin: Absentee ballots in Wisconsin will still count even if witnesses do not provide their full address on the ballot envelope, according to a ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Under state law, absentee voters are required to have someone witness them fill out their ballot and sign their absentee ballot envelope while providing their address. The statute that requires the witness signature and address does not define what address means in that context.  Dane County Circuit Judge Ryan Nilsestuen ruled in January in two cases brought by liberals that clerks can still count ballots if the witness leaves off their municipality or zip code or simply writes “same” or “ditto” if they live at the same address as the voter. Republican legislators had asked the appellate court to find that state law actually does require the address to at least include the street number, street name and municipality.  However the 4th Circuit ruled that the included address must be “a place where the witness may be communicated with” from the municipal clerk specifically, who is responsible for mailing absentee ballots to voters and counting them once returned.  Appeals Court Judge Chris Taylor, a former Democratic legislator, wrote in the decision that if the Legislature wanted the witness address to include more components, it could have specifically mandated it.  The ruling could allow more absentee ballots to be accepted as valid in this year’s elections. In 2020, absentee voting became much more popular in a state in which elections are frequently decided by tiny margins.

Analysis and Opinions This Week

National Opinions: Ballot access | Primary system | Civic engagement | Voter rolls | SAVE Act | Voter fraud | Threats | Funding

Arizona: Threats 

Arkansas: Fair elections

Connecticut: Ranked choice voting 

Florida: Pinellas County 

Georgia: Faith in elections 

Idaho: Ballot measure, II

Minnesota: Noncitizens 

Ohio: Election system 

Utah: Vote by mail 

Wisconsin: Misinformation 

Wyoming: Election administration 

Upcoming Events

IGO 2024 Annual Conference: The International Association of Government Officials (IGO) will hold its 2024 Annual Conference in New Orleans in July. The conference theme is NOLA: Networking, Opportunities, Learning, Advancements. The agenda will be packed full of education, networking, and of course time in the trade show. When: July 19-24. Where: New Orleans

Best Practices for Recruiting Poll Workers: Join The Elections Group for our Best Practices for Recruiting Poll Workers communications workshop at noon EDT on Tuesday, July 23. This workshop will provide you with tips, tools and resources, including messaging and outreach methods that could help boost recruitment in your jurisdiction. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about what works best and how to do it. When: June 23, 12pm Eastern. Where: Online. 

Fix the Insurrection Act: A law last updated 150 years ago gives presidents dangerous authority to use the U.S. military as a domestic police force. The Insurrection Act has virtually no limits on when and how this power can be used, making it a loaded weapon in the hands of any leader, Democrat or Republican, who is tempted to abuse it. Without urgent reforms, the law is a threat to civil liberties — and American democracy. Join The Brennan Center  for a live virtual event moderated by Elizabeth Goitein, senior director of the Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program, featuring lawyer and writer Hawa Allan, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, and Brennan Center counsel Joseph Nunn. The panel will shed light on a president’s alarming powers under the Insurrection Act and examine possible solutions to prevent the law’s misuse. Speakers: Hawa Allan, Author, Insurrection: Rebellion, Civil Rights, and the Paradoxical State of Black Citizenship; Jack Goldsmith, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Joseph Nunn, Counsel, Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program; and Moderator: Elizabeth Goitein, Senior Director, Brennan Center Liberty & National Security Program. When: July 25, 3pm Eastern. Where: Online

National Poll Worker Recruitment Day: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s fourth annual National Poll Worker Recruitment Day will be held on Thursday, August 1, 2024! State and local election officials, civic organizations, and others can use this national awareness day to encourage Americans to sign up to become poll workers in their communities for upcoming elections. To help participate in this day, the EAC has created a customizable social media toolkit for election officials. The toolkit is easily editable to meet the needs of your jurisdiction or organization. The sample posts are sized for X, Facebook, and Instagram, but can be used for printed materials, websites, and more.  With the increasing popularity of videos on social media, you can now even make a short video using this toolkit. Also new this year is a template for outreach to community partners who can help increase the reach of recruitment efforts. The EAC also offers a Poll Worker Recruitment Lookup Tool to help people interested in signing up to be poll workers find information for their local election offices. When: August 1. Where: Everywhere! 

Data & Democracy Workshops: In today’s data-driven world, Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) can be a vital tool for fostering voter turnout and strengthening democracy. This August, the Spatial Analytics and Visualization Institute (SAVI), an official SJSU Campus Institute in the California State University system is offering a special virtual workshop series to empower election officials, policy professionals and researchers to pursue data-driven projects that support free and fair elections. The Data & Democracy Workshop series will be taught by expert SAVI faculty. The six workshops will take place across three Saturdays: August 10, 17 and 24. Each workshop includes a lecture, a lab session and a hands-on exercise. Participants will earn badges by completing individual workshops, or a certificate of completion for completing all six. Participants will explore how Python, R and open source GIST skills can unlock the power of data analysis and visualization in the design and administration of elections, defending democracy in November 2024 and beyond. When: August 10, 17 & 24. Where: Online

Election Center Annual Conference: The Election Center National Conference will be convening at the Marriott Renaissance Center. CERA Class Dates: Saturday, Sept 7 – Sunday, Sept 8, 2024. Committee Meetings and Evening Reception: Sunday, Sept 8, 2024. Conference Dates: Monday, Sept 9 – Tuesday, Sept 10, 2024. Optional Tour: Detroit Election Facilities – Wednesday, Sept 11, 2024. We will honor the winners of the Election Center’s acclaimed Professional Practices Papers’ Program on Tuesday, Sept 10. All of the 2024 best practices submissions will be posted on the Election Center website post conference. Help us celebrate the 2024 CERA/CERV graduates at the graduation ceremony and hosted luncheon on Tuesday, Sept 10. The Vendor educational exhibits featuring elections suppliers and manufacturers will be available beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday. The room block at the Marriott Renaissance Center will sell out quickly so do not delay in making hotel reservations. Additional information can be found on the registration page. One night deposit required. When: Sept. 7-11. Where Detroit

National Voter Registration Day: National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday dedicated to celebrating our democracy. Since its kickoff in 2012, the holiday and its team of thousands of Partners have worked to get over 5 million Americans registered to vote in time for their next trip to the ballot box. Celebrated each September, National Voter Registration Day involves dedicated Partners of every stripe from all over the country hitting the streets for a single star-spangled awesome day of coordinated field, digital, and media action focused squarely on growing our shared democracy. When: September 17. Where: Everywhere.  

National Voter Education Week: National Voter Education Week (NVEW) is an open-source and nonpartisan campaign to help voters bridge the gap between registering to vote and actually casting a ballot. During this week of interactive education, voters have the opportunity to find their polling location, understand their ballot, make a plan to vote in person or remotely, and inspire others to get involved. NVEW strives to help voters overcome common barriers to become confident voters and ambassadors of voting in their own communities for every election. When: Oct. 7-11. Where: Everywhere. 

Vote Early Day: Vote Early Day is a nonpartisan movement of media companies, businesses, nonprofits, election administrators, and creatives working to ensure all Americans have the tools to vote early. Vote Early Day was founded by MTV as a new civic holiday focused on helping every voter know how, where, and when they can vote early. Launched in the midst of a global pandemic, Vote Early Day became a critical resource to ensure no voter had to choose between their health and casting their ballot. In its first celebration, Vote Early Day attracted 134 premier partners and 2,700 general partners from every state in the nation. Over 3,000,000 voters cast their ballots on Vote Early Day alone. When: October 29. Where: In states that allow early voting

Election Hero Day: Election Hero Day recognizes the important work and contributions of poll workers, election administrators, and clerks to ensure efficient and secure elections. Join business leaders, elected officials, nonprofit leaders, and citizens from around the country the day before Election Day to celebrate these heroes of our democracy. When: November 4. Where: Everywhere.

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 mmoretti@electionline.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.

Cybersecurity Junior Analyst, Palm Beach County, Florida– The Cybersecurity Junior Analyst is responsible for monitoring the organization’s log aggregation tools and triage suspicious activity or detection alerts generated by the security controls implemented within the Supervisor of Elections Office network environment. Additionally, this position will serve as the first line of defense and response for identified security events in accordance with the Information Security Policy, and cybersecurity procedures. Candidate must be organized and personable with a great attitude, be able to work well in a team environment, calmly respond to identified security incidents, and meet deadlines under pressure. Excellent work ethic, including consistent performance, integrity, reliability, and attendance, is a must. Candidate must be detail-oriented and understand the importance of security and safety for all. Must be available 24/7 365, be able to handle simultaneous projects, be a self-starter, and remain informed on emerging threats and technologies. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Departmental Analysts-Training and Election Assistance, Michigan Dept. of State– Provide training, guidance and policy interpretation to county, city, and township clerks statewide on the administration of elections, based on Michigan Election Law and established election-related policies and procedures. Provide guidance and troubleshooting to county, city, and township clerks regarding the Qualified Voter File (QVF). Assist with the coordination of Bureau of Elections (BOE) activities related to the planning, scheduling, development, revision, delivery, and ongoing assessment of BOE training programs for over 1,600 election officials statewide. Assist in the supervision and administration of the election laws under the direction of the Secretary of State, Director of Elections, and the Board of State Canvassers. Salary: $52,166.40 – $77,916.80 Annually. Deadline: July 30. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Deputy City Clerk, North Las Vegas, Nevada— Under general supervision, performs specialized administrative and technical work related to the operation of the Office of the City Clerk. Prepares, processes and distributes City Council Regular, Special and Redevelopment agendas: publishes, mails, and posts agendas as required by the Open Meeting Law. Maintains agenda mailing list. Maintains invocation log and schedules for the City Council meetings. Prepares correspondence including memos to department directors and letters to applicants, representatives and property owners describing the action taken at the various City meetings. Confirms documentation needed on all contracts approved by the City Council and advises  contractors of the requirements. Obtains City signatures as necessary. Follows-up on contract expiration dates and notifies appropriate department staff. Attends bid openings. Prepares and distributes meeting minutes, action reports, and summary minutes of public meetings. Publishes, mails, and posts public hearing notices as required by the Open Meeting Law. Prepares City Council Regular, Special and Redevelopment meeting follow-up letters, memos and final action notices; provides administrative support for City Council, commissions, committees, and boards. Performs all related duties in compliance with Nevada Revised Statutes, Nevada Administrative Code and North Las Vegas Municipal Code. Responds to inquiries from the public regarding procedures, activities and other matters that require knowledge of the department’s operations. Ordinance follow-up and log maintenance. Administers agreements which do not need to be approved by City Council. Processes vacations of streets and rights-of-way and annexations; processes bonds, both financial and construction. Responsible for preparing daily, monthly, and annual statistical reporting. Assists in producing election and election related brochures and materials in all necessary languages, including requirements, important dates, methods and means of voting opportunities and necessary documentary evidence required by federal law; acts as filing officer for candidate filing, applications and expense reports. Receives payment from the public in the form of cash, check or money orders; utilizes appropriate cashiering procedures for accepting money, safeguarding the received money and accurately balancing at the end of each day. Performs other related duties as assigned. Salary: $27.01- $42.59/hr  Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here

Election Protection Hotline Specialist, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law– Are you passionate about safeguarding democratic processes? Join us as an Election Protection Hotline Specialist! This pivotal role involves collaborating with hundreds of legal volunteers to address voter concerns reported to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. As part of our dynamic hotline infrastructure team, you’ll be at the forefront of managing day-to-day operations. Expect a fast-paced environment, multitasking, and a commitment to early mornings, evenings, and weekends. Embrace the opportunity to learn and employ cutting-edge technology. Responsibilities of the Election Protection Hotline Specialist include but are not limited to: Support the Election Protection contact center, ensuring top-notch assistance to voters using the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Organize schedules and workflows for numerous legal volunteers, ensuring exceptional assistance and collecting essential data. Craft volunteer communications such as newsletters and emails, and promptly respond to volunteer inquiries Maintain proper staffing levels based on anticipated call volumes and direct volunteers to necessary resources. Aid volunteers with technical queries related to Twilio, Rocket Chat, Okta, and troubleshoot connectivity and login issues. Collaborate on updating voting rights reference materials and conduct volunteer training. Conduct research to enhance resources addressing caller questions and update volunteer references.Monitor interactions in the Election Protection database to ensure information accuracy and identify trends. Create daily reports summarizing call data to inform Election Protection coalition activities.Identify and engage volunteers for leadership roles and assist in post-election analysis. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Elections Clerk, Part-time, Karnes County, Texas– This position requires a flexible schedule and will report to the Elections Administrator.  The applicant must be able to work various hours during election season and not take off work during election season.   Requires some 13-hour workdays on voting days and also some weekend hours.  Previous Elections experience is preferred.  Responsible for the election polling location preparation of election supplies and voting equipment. Delivery of supplies and equipment and set up of the polling locations.   Skilled in use of Microsoft programs.  Must have own vehicle and driver’s license.  Must be able to lift and carry 30 lbs. Salary: Pay: $20,000 – Hourly: $19.23. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here

Elections Coordinator, Kaufman County, Texas– The Elections Coordinator position plays a pivotal role in our operations, coordinating and supervising the daily operations and overseeing the productivity and quality of the work done by the elections staff. Receive and process applications for ballot by mail and maintain all such records. Assist Elections Administrator in preparation and conduct of county elections and early voting. Required to work compensatory time on election night to report election results to Secretary of State’s Office. Also required to work Saturday and/or Sunday during extended Early Voting hours. Responsible for assisting with the preparation of each election, including ordering ballots and other supplies; preparing electronic poll books; conducting voting schools for all election judges annually; hiring presiding and alternate judges appointed by the Commissioners’ Court. Responsible for providing unofficial election results on election night, reporting to Secretary of State on election night and after canvass, and providing results to IT Department for website posting. Assist the public in person, by telephone, and by mail concerning department information, researching records, filling out forms, and resolving relevant problems. Receive and distribute PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to judges and clerks. As the Elections Coordinator, you will be responsible for creating and maintaining complex database files for all elections conducted by the department. You will also coordinate and establish the use of the polling locations and the placement of election officials for each election. In addition, you will oversee compensating election officials and customizing and procuring specific procedures, equipment, and materials for them. Your role may also involve handling difficult problems, developing and documenting programs/curriculum, monitoring work unit resources, and ensuring compliance with policies and laws. You will play a key role in the process of Federal, State, and local elections pursuant to the Texas Election Code, which includes tasks such as preparing ballot formats, ordering and furnishing election equipment and supplies, preparing election returns for canvassing, and filing all reports for the Secretary of State. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform the essential job functions satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the primary job functions herein described. Since every duty associated with this position may not be described herein, employees may be required to perform duties not explicitly spelled out in the job description, but which may be reasonably considered to be incidental in the performing of their duties just as though they were written out in this job description. Salary: $52,769 – $52,869. Deadline: Aug. 10. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here

Field Operations Coordinator, Hays County, Texas– Reporting directly to Election Network Engineer, responsible for overseeing the inventory, distribution, maintenance, warehouse storage, and logistics of all equipment, voting ballots, and department assets for Hays County Elections Department. Responsible for identifying and reserving polling sites including overseeing the coordination of all polling site compliance and usage. Ensures polling locations follow the Texas Election Code for early voting and election day. Oversees the day-to-day tasks of the election technicians’ program. Salary: $46,378 – $50,678. Annually Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

IT Assistant Manager, Palm Beach County, Florida– The Assistant IT Manager plays a supportive role in the smooth operation of the IT department, ensuring that both the technical infrastructure and the team are aligned with the organization’s goals. This position involves collaborating closely with the Election Technology Director to oversee the implementation of technology solutions that meet the needs of the organization. The Assistant IT Manager helps maintain an efficient and effective IT environment. Oversee daily operations of the IT department, including help desk operations and performance, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring efficient workflow. Hold department meetings and provide weekly performance summary. Manage IT projects under the direction of the Election Technology Director, ensuring timely completion, budget requirements, and organizational needs. Enforce IT policies and procedures to ensure data security, network access, and system availability. Assist in the management of IT staff by developing skills, coaching, and communicating job expectations. Coordinate vendor renewals, assist with IT budget development, and manage grant applications. Evaluate and assist in maintaining the organization’s disaster recovery and business continuity plans for IT. Assist with IT Public Records requests research and fulfillment. Assist the Election Technology Director in all facets of IT operations. Lead projects and mentor team members. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Operations Associate, NASED– A part-time (approximately 20 hours per week), fully remote, Operations Associate for a small nonpartisan, nonprofit membership association. Reporting to the Executive Director, this new role will support all the organization’s operational needs. The responsibilities of this position will include, but are not limited to, the following: Help update and maintain website content; Help maintain NASED’s social media presence, including developing content and creating basic graphics; Work with NASED’s controller on monthly financial reports and with the auditor and accountant on annual reports and filings; Monitor and assist with responses to inquiries sent to NASED’s shared inboxes; Maintain organization distribution lists; Assist with scheduling Board and Committee meetings; Assist with conference planning, including developing the conference website via the conference management platform, creating and proofing materials, planning activities, and budgeting; Support the execution of two national conferences per year; Create and send annual invoices to organization members and Corporate Affiliate members; and Other duties and special projects as assigned. This position is part-time and fully remote, but the candidate must live in the United States. Travel to support NASED’s Winter and Summer conferences is required (approximately 10 days per year). This position reports to NASED’s Executive Director. This role does not supervise any staff. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Physical Security Specialist, Palm Beach County, Florida– This position is responsible for administration of the physical security programs in a manner consistent with Supervisor of Elections Office policies, procedures, quality standards, and applicable local, state, and federal regulations. These programs include conducting facility security risk assessments, assisting with access control, monitoring alarms and CCTV systems, and providing security related training. Must be organized and personable with a great attitude, be able to work well in a team environment, and meet deadlines under pressure. Excellent work ethic, including consistent performance, integrity, reliability, and attendance, is a must. Candidate must be detail-oriented and understand the importance of security and safety for all. Must be available 24/7 365, be able to handle simultaneous projects, and be a self-starter. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Regional Coordinator – Observe New Mexico Elections –Observe New Mexico Elections, funded by The Carter Center, is a nonpartisan election observation effort designed to increase trust and transparency in elections. The effort is led by and for New Mexicans. Observers will be trained about relevant laws, procedures, and safeguards in New Mexico’s electoral process and will verify that those procedures are followed consistently. Nonpartisan election observers represent all voters, do not interfere in the election process, and report what they see. Observers’ findings throughout the state will be aggregated to assess the quality of elections in New Mexico. The Carter Center has led similar efforts internationally for decades and is now engaging in related efforts here at home. We are honored New Mexico was among the handful of states they selected to participate this year. Observe New Mexico Elections, a project of the Carter Center, is seeking a detail-oriented Regional Coordinator. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here  

Senior Director, Election Law Program, William & Mary–The Election Law Program (ELP), a joint initiative of the William and Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts, has a mission to provide resources for judges deciding election disputes. This vacancy is for an experienced attorney to serve in the role of Senior Director of the Election Law Program. The Senior Director will be an attorney with experience in election law. Reporting to the ELP Co-Directors, the portfolio of responsibilities will include, but not be limited to: Developing resources for judges deciding election cases; Supporting projects that enhance understanding of federal and state election laws and the role of courts in resolving election disputes; Sharing research findings and legal resources through a variety of mechanisms such as publications and educational programs (e.g., webinars, presentations, and conferences); Overseeing ELP project implementation; Identifying and capturing trends in election litigation; Engaging in collaborative projects with trusted partners; Supervising student research; and Participating in fundraising efforts to support existing and future ELP initiatives as required. NOTE: If interested, an opportunity for appointment as an adjunct professor to teach a relevant course within the field of election law is available. Salary: $110,000 to $125,000, commensurate with experience. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.

Senior Regional Engagements Specialist (Remote), EI-ISAC– CIS is in search of a proven, capable, confident, competent, and dynamic self-starter who is passionate about working collaboratively to achieve meaningful and lasting impacts on the security maturity of State, Local, Tribal and Territorial (SLTT) government agencies and entities, including public sector education. This position is within the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), a division of CIS. The ideal candidate will be comfortable building and supporting relationships within an assigned region of the United States; interfacing with State Chief Information Officers (CIOs), State Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), executive level staff, as well as technical staff and US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) partners. This position will provide exceptional service to SLTTs while expertly informing on the solutions and services that can protect their technology. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) makes the connected world a safer place for people, businesses, and governments through our core competencies of collaboration and innovation. We are a community-driven nonprofit responsible for industry leading best practices for securing IT systems and data. We lead a global community of IT professionals to continuously evolve these standards and provide products and services to proactively safeguard against emerging threats. Salary Range: $69,100 – $104,600. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here


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