I. In Focus This Week
FVAP release its 2017 Annual Report
Report provides assessment of 2017 efforts and plans for 2018
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) has released its 2017 Annual Report to the President and Congress.
The report provides an assessment of FVAP’s activities supporting the special elections for federal office in 2017 — and FVAP’s preparations for the 2018 election cycle.
“Much of FVAP’s 2017 activities represent an examination of the 2017 election cycle, and how we’re enhancing our products and services for 2018,” said David Beirne, director of FVAP. “We take tremendous pride in hearing stories about how election officials leverage our online tools, training resources, policy support, and marketing materials to help our military and overseas citizens while saving their own valuable resources.”
Using lessons learned since the 2016 election cycle, FVAP further explored how to reduce obstacles by improving its resources throughout the Department of Defense, establishing mechanisms to expand voter awareness, and enhancing measures of effectiveness to refine its research approach to identify exactly what challenges remain with UOCAVA voters.
Obstacles to UOCAVA voter success vary depending on the voter’s location, access to resources, training opportunities, and the availability of voter assistance. To reduce these obstacles, FVAP made progress in the following key areas:
- Improving key absentee voting forms – FVAP made key adjustments to its registration and ballot request form and absentee backup ballot using a combination of form development best practices, focus groups, and public comment.
- Realigned Voting Assistance Guide – to reflect changes to absentee voting forms, absentee voting instructions, and State and local election official contact information.
- Enhanced FVAP.gov website and portal – improvements to site usability are ongoing based on comprehensive web analytics data and key site achievement metrics such as site visits and the number of form downloads.
- Revamped training for Voting Assistance Officers (IVAO) – changes reflect greater content alignment across training modules and platforms.
- Conducted Installation Voting Assistance Officer Workshops – this new training guided IVAOs in setting up Voting Assistance Offices that are in compliance with UOCAVA and Service instructions.
- Initiated examination of alternative methods for roll out of IVA offices.
- Enhanced customer service metrics to isolate trends among voters, election officials, and Service members submitting inquiries to the FVAP call center.
FVAP’s efforts in 2017 effectively set the foundation for execution of its voting assistance program across the Department for 2018 as well as possible longer term enhancements for 2020. FVAP will continue to monitor and measure how these changes effectively reduce obstacles to voting success throughout the 2018 election cycle
“Research and data were major themes within the 2017 Report to Congress,” Beirne said. “I’m very proud of the data and research we’ve been able to conduct, due in part to successful relationships with fellow government agencies, our cooperative agreement with the Council of State Governments, and election officials. As the Report to Congress summarized FVAP’s path going forward, the election community can continue to rely on FVAP for quality UOCAVA research and data.”
II. Federal-State Updates
According to CNN, in a letter sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the highest-ranking Democrats on the House Oversight, Judiciary, Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and House Administration committees have asked Ryan to intervene in their ongoing efforts to get the Department of Homeland Security to turn over documents related to the targeting of state election-related systems by Russian hackers.
The Department of Homeland Security is giving states a chance to game out how they may respond to an election day cyberattack. According to Reuters, the department began its biennial “Cyber Storm” exercises on this week, working with more than 1,000 “players” across the country, including state governments and manufacturers, to test how they would withstand a large-scale, coordinated cyberattack aimed at the U.S.’s critical infrastructure such as transportation systems and communications. This is the sixth time the program has run over three days. There are seven states participating.
III. Election News This Week
In what may come as news to some, the U.S. Postal Service has always prohibited the display of voter registration materials in their local branches. It was certainly a surprise to Santa Cruz County, Arizona Recorder Suzanne Sainz who said she was flummoxed recently when a staff member tried to drop off voter registration materials at the post offices — as they’ve been doing for more than 20 years — and were told no. Sainz was told by a postal worker and local supervisor that the policy was new, however, Peter Haas, a spokesman for the USPS told the Nogales International that the materials have never been allowed. “It’s just unfortunate because everybody goes to the post office and it’s convenient for a lot of people,” Sainz told the paper.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla recently announced that 100,000 16- and 17-year-olds have pre-registered to vote since the state kicked off a program to get them registered in 2016. “This is a big milestone,” Padilla said. “I’m optimistic it’s going to translate into action at the ballot box.” State officials reported that more than 10% of the total number of pre-registrations have come in just the last few weeks.
After a protracted legal battle, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) has finally appointed members to the state board of elections and to all county boards of elections including: Anson County, Ashe County, Brunswick County, Burke County, Cleveland County, Dare County, Guilford County, Moore County, Person County, Pitt County, Polk County, Randolph County, Richmond County, Robeson County, Sampson County, Scotland County, Shelby County, Surry County, Watauga County, Wilson County. Now that the county boards are complete, they can get down to business preparing for the upcoming May primaries and many are hard at work approving early voting sites and clearing up logjams that were created when the boards did not have a full complement members.
A hearty congratulations to Wendy Underhill and the rest of the staff at The Canvass, the National Conference of State Legislature’s elections-related newsletter that is celebrating 10 years this week. The 10th Anniversary edition of The Canvass includes a retrospective of the last 10 years, a look at the creation of the newsletter and interviews with notable politicians about the 10th anniversary. Congratulations Wendy et al!
Personnel News: Karen Richard, the first elected clerk in Colchester, Vermont will retire at the end of June after 31 years on the job. Will Gardner a businessman from Mandan, North Dakota has received the endorsement for secretary of state from of the state’s GOP. After the endorsement meeting, longtime Secretary of State Al Jaeger said that he will not seek re-election. Sherry Rene Whitehouse (D) and DeAnna Brangers (R) have been appointed to the Kentucky state board of elections. Canon City, Colorado Cathy Rabe has resigned from her job. Rabe cited health reasons for resigning from a job she’s held for six years.
IV. Research and Report Summaries
electionline provides brief summaries of recent research and reports in the field of election administration. The summaries are courtesy of Sean Greene, director of research for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Observations on Voting Equipment Use and Replacement – United States Government Accountability Office, April 11, 2018: This report focuses on voting equipment used during the 2016 general election; what factors jurisdictions consider when replacing voting equipment; and perspectives on federal voting system guidelines. Findings include:
- Jurisdictions with an estimated 63 percent of the population nationwide used optical or digital scan equipment as their main voting equipment, while jurisdictions with 32 percent of the population used DREs.
- An estimated 93 percent of the population did not experience equipment errors or malfunctions on a very or somewhat common basis.
- Four key factors were identified when jurisdictions consider replacing voting machines: meeting voting system standards and requirements; cost; maintenance considerations and timely vendor support; and overall performance of the equipment.
- Stakeholders generally indicated the current voluntary federal voting system guidelines and related testing processes provide helpful guidance, cost savings, and assurance that certified equipment meets certain requirements. Some stakeholders expressed concern that parts of the guidelines could discourage development of innovative equipment. The Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which is responsible for developing the federal guidelines, is currently updating them with stakeholder input.
V. Legislative Updates
District of Columbia: Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has introduced legislation that would lower the city’s voting age to 16 for all local and federal elections. While other jurisdictions have lowered the voting age for local elections, DC would be the first to do the same for federal elections. There are currently about 12,000 16-and 17-year-olds in DC.
Kansas: The Legislature has forwarded a bill to Gov. Jeff Colyer that would transfer control of election expenditures in Shawnee, Sedgwick, Johnson and Wyandotte counties to the elected county commissions instead of the secretary of state’s office.
Louisiana: By a 7-2 vote, the House and Governmental Affairs committee has approved a bill that would allow felons on probation or parole to regain their right to vote after a five year cleansing period following their release.
Maine: A 17-17 vote has scuttle a last-minute attempt to resolve issues surrounding the implementation of ranked choice voting. The joint order would have triggered a new bill to clarify that Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is authorized to expend the funds necessary to conduct a ranked-choice primary. The bill also would have authorized Maine State Police, at Dunlap’s direction, to retrieve ballots as needed and return them to Augusta for a centralized tabulation by Dunlap – an additional step to determine winners in a ranked-choice vote.
Maryland: Automatic voter registration will be the law of land in the Old Line State in July 2019 even though Gov. Larry Hogan (R) did not sign the bill into law.
Also in Maryland, with just hours to go before the close of the 2018 legislative session, the General Assembly approved House Bill 1331 which requires the state administrator of elections to report security breaches and significant attempted violations within a week of their discovery to the state board of elections, governor, legislative leaders and attorney general.
Also in Maryland, the Rockville City Council unanimously voted to move city elections to a vote-by-mail format beginning on November 2019. The city made the moves in hopes of increasing voter turnout in local elections, which currently hovers around 15 percent.
Nebraska: For the eighth straight year, a bill that would have required Nebraskans to show a photo ID when voting has failed to move forward in enough time in the Legislature. State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, who introduced Legislative Resolution 1CA, told the Omaha World-News he is exploring the possibility of going directly to voters via an initiative petition drive.
Nevada: Nevadans for Election Reform have filed the “Greater Choice—Greater Voice” initiative with the secretary of state’s office. The initiative seeks to replace the state’s current partisan closed primary system with a single election in November using ranked choice voting.
New York: Under A.10230, New York taxpayers would have the option to register to vote when submitting their state tax returns. The legislation would also create additional security in elections by only allowing potential voters to register with the proper identification needed to file tax returns.
Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has vetoed Senate Bill 521 which would have required local registrars to investigate the list of registered voters whenever it exceeded the estimated number of people 18 and over.
VI. Legal Updates
Florida: Former Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks has been found guilty of seven felony charges. A jury found Weeks guilty on six counts for interception of wire communication and an indictment of disclosure of wire communication. Each of the third-degree felonies carry a maximum five-year prison sentence. Sentencing has been delayed to an undetermined date.
Also in Florida, Spiro Colaitis, 57, of Manhasset, New York has charged with voting twice in the 2016 election. Once in Florida, where he was charged and once in Nassau County, New York.
Illinois: Officials in DuPage County officials announced this week that they plan to take legal action against Liberty Systems, LLC, one of the county’s elections vendors which caused election results to be delayed until late election night.
Maine: Justice Michaela Murphy announced this week that the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting can be a party to a lawsuit seeking to force Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to implement ranked choice voting in June. The Maine Supreme Court has been asked to weigh-in on the implementation. The court will address several very specific questions about the implementation.
New Hampshire: Superior Court Judge Charles Temple has denied the state’s second attempt to have a challenge to 2017’s Senate Bill 3 dismissed. According to WMUR, in the ruling, Judge Charles Temple stated that if the NHDP’s allegations are true, SB 3 law has caused, and will result in, Democratic candidates receiving “disproportionately fewer votes.”
Tennessee: In a unanimous decision, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled this week that Nashville must hold its special election to replace the mayor in late May instead of August. The ruling overturns a decision by the Davidson County election commission which had wanted to hold the election in August. The election has been set for May 24.
Texas: Out-of-town Judge Roy Ferguson said that he did not “…find a single fact connecting [El Paso County Election Administrator Lisa Wise] to fraud or illegal activity,” in suit over a Congressional primary.
Wisconsin: Thomas S. Tourtillout, 55, of Nekoosa has been charged with election fraud. According to court records, the Wisconsin Elections Commission did an audit of the November 2016 presidential election and discovered Tourtillott, who is a convicted felon still on probation, had voted in the election.
VII. Tech Thursday
National: This week, Facebook announced the launch of a new research initiative that will enable independent researchers to perform an assessment of the role the social platform plays in elections. Democracy Fund and Omidyar Network have joined an effort led by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support this potentially important step toward addressing how Facebook’s algorithms and vast storehouses of data are shaping elections, the social fabric, and democratic life. The committee is expected to address misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda; polarizing content; promoting freedom of expression and association; protecting domestic elections from foreign interference; and civic engagement. It will answer two critical questions: Does Facebook have the right systems in place to fight misinformation and foreign interference? And how can Facebook help make social media a net positive for democracy?
National: CyberScoop has an interesting story about a battle between cybersecurity experts and voting machine makers. According to the piece, Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) made it illegal to bypass security measures to prevent access to copyrighted material, although the U.S. Copyright Office has created exemptions over the years. Now the office is considering expanding those exemptions security researchers and voting machine vendors, who are at odds on the exemptions, are voicing their disagreements.
Arizona: The Maricopa County recorder’s office is asking the board of supervisors for almost $4 million to expand the county’s voter check-in system. The county is seeking a system that will allow it to scan a voter’s driver’s license to look them up in the poll book.
Also in Arizona, this week a senior White House official told Reuters that the hack of the state’s election database in 2016 was not done by the Russian government, but by “suspected criminal actors.”
VIII. Opinions This Week
Arkansas: Voter registration
California: Voter fraud
Louisiana: Ex-felon voting rights
Nevada: Voter fraud
New Hampshire: Voting rights
North Dakota: Voting hours
Ohio: Poll workers
Oregon: Secretary of state
U.S. Virgin Islands: Election board chaos
IX. Upcoming Events
Standards Board Meeting —The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Standards Board will hold its 2018 meeting in Florida on April 18. When: April 18. Where: Coral Gables, Florida.
Ranked Choice Voting and Voting Systems Online Symposium — Join election administrators, elected and government officials, voting systems representatives, and RCV proponents for this online symposium focused on: Best practices and case studies for ranked choice voting (RCV) presented by some of the country’s leading election experts; Presentations from the nation’s voting system vendors about their latest voting systems and RCV capabilities; Discussions about RCV and the process for implementing by election administrators who have administered this voting method. There will be 10 free sessions in two days. You must register for each session individually. When: April 23-24. Where: Online.
Election Center Special Workshop — The focus of this workshop will be Preparing for the Unexpected in the Voter Registration and Election Office. In addition, to the topics covered in the special workshop, several core curriculum in election administration and voter registration will be offered. When: April 25-29. Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Election Center Professional Program Special Session — During May’s special session, the following core curriculum in election administration and voter registration will be offered: Enfranchisement, Enhancement & Enforcement – Modern Federal Election Law and Regulation: 1965-Present; Constitutions, Courts and Cases to 1965 – Early America to 1965 with focus on State and U.S. Constitutions; History I: Ancients to 17891; and History II: 1781 to Modern Era. When: May 7-12. Where: Auburn, Alabama.
2018 Election Mail Forum— The National Postal Forum will hold a one-day Election Mail Forum. At the forum, participants will hear from speakers, attend panel discussions on the Intelligent Mail barcode and discover how the USPS can be an election mail partner and how this can help better serve voters. Where: San Antonio, Texas. When: May 8.
NASS 2018 Summer Conference — Mark your calendars now for the National Association of Secretaries of State 2018 summer conference in the City of Brotherly Love. Check back soon for more information about the agenda. When: July 13-16. Where: Philadelphia.
2018 NASED Summer Meeting — Mark your calendars now for the National Association of State Election Directors’ 2018 summer meeting in the City of Brotherly Love. Check back soon for more information about the agenda. When: July 13-16. Where: Philadelphia.
NACo Annual Conference and Exposition — Mark your calendars now for the National Association of Counties Annual Conference and Exposition in Music City. Check back soon for more information about the agenda. When: July 13-16. Where: Nashville, Tennessee.
2018 iGo Annual Conference — Mark your calendars now for the International Association of Government Officials 2018 Annual Conference in The Biggest Little City in the World! Check back soon for more information about the agenda. When: July 16-21. Where: Reno, Nevada.
Election Sciences Reform and Administration (ESRA) — The conference brings together political scientists and other experts in election administration to develop rigorous empirical approaches to the study of how law and administrative procedures affect the quality of elections in the United States. Participants will identify major questions in the field, share new insights, foster collaboration between election administrators and election scientists, and connect senior and junior scholars. When: July 26 and 27. Where: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
X. Job Postings This Week
electionlineWeekly publishes election administration job postings each week as a free service to our readers. To have your job listed in the newsletter, please send a copy of the job description, including a web link to email@example.com. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Customer Support Consultant, Hart InterCivic— Hart InterCivic is looking to add a Customer Support Consultant to our team. A Hart Customer Support Consultant is a great listener and communicator who responds to requests for assistance from Hart InterCivic customers for all Hart InterCivic products. The primary responsibilities for this position are to answer, resolve and route customer queries (usually by phone or email), work with customers in a professional manner and read and interpret documents such as user guides and training manuals and translate the information to the customer in a manner which they can understand. We are looking for individuals who have technical skills, have been in support roles in the past and, preferably, have elections experience. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections and Voter Services Manager, Montana Secretary of State’s Office — this position serves as the Manager of the Elections and Voter Services Division and reports to the Elections and Voter Services Director for the Office of the Secretary of State. This position is responsible for ensuring the integrity of elections, aligning resources with the strategic direction of the Elections and Voter Services Division, interpreting state election laws and ensuring implementation uniformly throughout the state, and interpreting, analyzing, drawing conclusions, identifying trends, and presenting voting data. This position supervises three positions within the Division and is responsible for all aspects of performance management. Salary: $75,000. Deadline: Open until filled: Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Field Sales Director, Hart InterCivic — the Field Sales Director works primarily on the road and from a home office when he/she is not on business travel. The Field Sales Director is responsible for creating news sales with prospects and existing clients in a defined region. Today, this role is a single contributor and does not directly manage people. This position will report to the VP of Sales. Application: For the complete job listing an to apply, click here.
Field Support Engineer (Ohio), Clear Ballot — Oversee and perform installation, configuration and maintenance of Ubuntu servers and Windows desktop and laptop machines, local area network, related equipment and devices; become expert at installation and configuration of Clear Ballot Group software; respond to end user reported incidents, create and track incidents in a ticketing system; daily interaction with both local and remote users for needs gathering and problem analysis; provides technical leadership on a variety of highly specialized project-related activities requiring expertise in specific scientific/technical areas for digital voting systems. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Operations Technician, Clear Ballot — the Operations Technician’s primary duty is preparing, installing software, staging, and shipping equipment to customers. Additionally, the position manages an internal IT network and maintains inventory of company equipment. The successful candidate has all or some combination of experience with hands on hardware and software integration, IT, project management, procurement, logistics, and inventory management. This position reports to the Director of Field Operations. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Manager, Clear Ballot — the Product Manager position is a member of the Clear Ballot Product team. At Clear Ballot, the Product team is the hub around which all other functions orbit. The team manages the company’s product planning and feedback cycle, interacting and collaborating regularly with Customer Success, Engineering, Business Development, Compliance/Certification, Field Operations, and Executive Management. Clear Ballot Product Managers work on a multi-disciplinary product team which is assigned one of more of Clear Ballot products. As the customer representative on the product team, the Product Manager creates, prioritizes and represents product requirements to the product team. The Product Manager also the product team’s representative to stakeholders inside and outside of the organization. The Product Manager is often working with prospects and clients to gain insight, vet ideas, and present solutions. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Manager, Technical Product Support (Denver, CO) – Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy, passionate Senior Manager, Technical Product Support to join our team in Denver, CO! This position is responsible for strategically leading and developing a multi-state team of election technology software and hardware Product Specialists through a number of critical projects throughout the Western United States. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Technical Trainer, Clear Ballot — training courses and learning materials support users whose skills range the technical spectrum and include laypersons (pollworkers), election officials, and system administrators. Our small and growing documentation and training team has an immediate need for a new member with intermediate-to-senior experience in: Instructional design; Development of learning curricula; Production of training materials; Hands-on, customer facing training. Generally, the training department, technical staff, and operations staff provide training at the customer’s site. We need an instructional designer and trainer who can analyze the learners and materials, and establish an appropriately targeted learning program. The opportunity exists to develop computer based training as an enhancement to our learning curriculum. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
State Election Technology Associate, Clear Ballot— our growing team has an immediate need for a new member to manage testing, approval and certification campaigns of election technology in new states. This position works directly with State Government to test and approve voting systems. Certification and approval is key to success in the election systems domain. Diplomacy and empathy alongside professional and tactful communications are key contributors to smooth state certification campaigns of new election technology. All voting system components (ballot layout, in-person voting, absentee voting, results reporting and audit) and their associated documentation are certified by state agencies; evaluation is performed by demanding government laboratories. Requirements vary across the States; and these requirements are found in statute, Rule, by written and oral tradition, and sometimes are ambiguous and even unwritten. Attention to detail is paramount to success. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Engineer, Clear Ballot — We are looking for a talented Systems Engineer who has both a technical and services/support background which enables them to quickly assess customer needs and offer value to Clear Ballot’s customers. The Systems Engineer will gain a deep understanding of how Clear Ballot’s products operate and their optimal configuration to build a streamlined installation process of the Clear Vote election system. The ideal candidate for this position can prioritize mission critical tasks and coordinate the implementation and expansion of our systems. They will be able to work directly with customers, display innovation, think conceptually and act tactically to build consensus around system installation and enhancement and meet deadlines. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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