I. In Focus This Week
First Person Singular: Secretary of State Max Maxfield
Wyoming’s 20th secretary of state chooses not to seek third term
Although he was born and raised in Wisconsin, Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield has dedicated much of his adult life to serving the residents of The Cowboy State.
Before being elected secretary in 2006 (and subsequently re-elected in 2010), Maxfield spent 23 years serving the public as executive director of the YMCA, head of the Wyoming Make-A-Wish-Foundation and leading the Wyoming Recreation Commission and the Wyoming Department of Commerce.
His first elected position was as state auditor where he served for two terms before running for secretary of state.
“Serving as Wyoming Secretary of State has been a long time dream. I am honored and humbled that my dream has come true,” Maxfield said.
Maxfield has been active with the National Association of Secretaries of State serving on the elections committee and the voter participation committee as well as other business-related committees.
Outside the office he has numerous interests and serves on a Hospice Board, is the president of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board of Directors and is a certified lay leader at the First United Methodist Church, Cheyenne.
Although he was eligible to serve a third term, due to personal reasons he chose not to seek re-election.
You’ve been the Wyoming secretary of state for seven years and aren’t term-limited, why did you choose not to seek re-election?
I dearly wanted to serve another term, in the position “of my dreams,” but family health issues make that impossible.
What would you say has been the biggest change you have seen in elections during your tenure?
The over-reaching or the attempted over-reaching of the Federal Government in local elections. Desire to reduce “State’s Control.”
What was the most difficult time/issue you have faced (elections wise of course) as secretary?
None, really, the expertise of my staff and our great relationship with our 23 County Clerks has resulted in a seamless election process.
What do feel was your greatest accomplishment and why?
The Election segments of our Wyoming’s Campaign Finance Information System (WYCFIS) website, which provides information that makes us very transparent, and all citizens can access detailed information about Candidate’s and PAC’s campaign finance disclosure.
Is there anything you still hope to accomplish as secretary before leaving office?
To provide a final election that the State of Wyoming can be proud of.
What will you miss most about being secretary of state?
The ability to work with our wonderful staff and my interaction and partnership with local Communities. Helping local entities fulfill their needs through State grants.
As an expert in the field of elections, where do you see the administration of elections headed?
I hope that the State’s Election folks have close communication and stand strong against Federal Government intrusion.
What’s next for you, besides being able to sleep in on election days?
Time with my wife, travel and volunteer work. Particularly focusing on being an advocate for Dementia research, and services.
Any parting words of advice for your successor?
Allow the Staff to continue to do the great work that has made me look good. Get out around the State to know what’s REALLY going on.
II. Primary Roundup
Alaska: Elections officials in the Interior of The Last Frontier reported steady voting throughout Tuesday with numbers in some areas indicating a possible higher-than-normal turnout.
And the higher than expected turnout wasn’t just limited to the Interior either. Officials in Juneau and Douglas anticipated besting 2012’s primary turnout of 13 percent. At one point in time on Tuesday there was even a small line of voters waiting to cast their ballot!
That being said, initial turnout numbers were pegged at 31.7 percent, low, but still much higher than many other states.
The “high” turnout wasn’t the only unexpected thing elections officials were faced with on Tuesday. Workers arriving at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds polling place in Fairbanks were greeted with racist and vulgar graffiti on the outside of the polling place. Fortunately the vandals did not gain access to the polling place and no machines or materials were harmed.
Current Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell failed in his attempt to gain the GOP bid for U.S. Senate coming in third place behind Dan Sullivan. In the race to replace Treadwell, Democrat Hollis French will face off against Republican Dan Sullivan in November. Yes, you read that right, there were two Dan Sullivan’s on the ballot on Tuesday and both won.
And proving the old adage that location is everything is actually correct, the News Minor reported that a loose-change kiosk that was positioned next to the line of people waiting to cast their ballots at the Bentley Mall saw brisk business all day as people waited to cast their ballots. The funds from the kiosk support the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.
Hawaii: Hawaii’s protracted primary election came to a close on Friday Aug. 15, nearly one week after most of the state’s voters went to the polls.
Due to Tropical Storm Iselle, voters in two Big Island polling places were forced to wait until Friday to cast their ballots. Although one candidate attempted to stop the election, the polls opened at 7 a.m. Due to storm damage, elections officials used a shuttle to pick up voters at several locations.
Once they actually got to the polls on Friday, some early voters were faced with long delays when elections workers were forced to shut down electronic voting machines in order to add more machines. While most voters waited — anywhere from 15-45 minutes — elections workers reported that at least three voters walked away without casting a ballot.
Four days after the election U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who had challenged the scheduling of the make-up election, announced that she will not challenge the results.
“Though I will not be challenging the results of this election, I remain very concerned about the public’s confidence and trust in our election process. I ask former colleagues and friends in the Hawaii State Legislature to explore what is necessary to ensure the people that their vote truly counts,” Hanabusa told KHNL.
There were also some problems held over from the original primary. As polls were closing on the Big Island on Friday, officials on Maui discovered about 800 mail-in ballots that were not properly transmitted.
Hawaii’s chief election official, Scott Nago, has been questioned not only about the untallied 800 ballots, but also his handling of the storm delay.
“Given the circumstances that the staff did (face) I think everybody involved in this election did a good job,” Nago told KHNL.
Still, at least two state senators are not pleased with Nago’s performance and have called for his ouster.
U.S. Virgin Islands: It took nearly three weeks, but the primary election in the U.S. Virgin Islands was finally certified this week. The deadline to certify came and went on Sunday with no word from the St. Thomas-St. John election district as to whether or not the election had been certified and if not, why not. It wasn’t until August 20, 17 days after the election that the St. Thomas-St. John elections district certified the election and only then after a member of the board called in from vacation to ensure that the board had a quorum to certify the election.
To add to the woes, a voter has filed a 16-page complaint against Islands elections because they did not halt the primary that was held in the midst of Tropical Storm Bertha. The voter contends that his constitutional rights were violated because he was unable to get to the polls on primary day due to the weather
Wyoming: According to published reports, voting was slow but steady in The Cowboy State on Tuesday and while there were some bumps, things went relatively well. Based on preliminary turnout numbers, the state had a 46 percent voter turnout rate — one of the highest, if not the highest statewide turnout this primary season.
In Laramie County there were reported issues with the vote count. According to the Casper Star-Tribune, the clerk would not confirm what the problems were, just that additional time was needed to tally the vote.
Voters in two precincts in Sweetwater County received the wrong primary ballots for at least seven hours on primary day. The local races on the ballots were identical but they had different legislative races. According to Clerk Dale Davis the legislative races were not competitive. The mix-up was resolved around 2pm.
Fortunately a gas leak at the Campbell County courthouse did not impact the vote tally in the clerk’s office. Although the building remained closed to the public, it was reopened in time to allow staff back inside to tally votes.
In the crowded field to replace outgoing Secretary of State Max Maxfield, Ed Murray, a businessman from Cheyenne won the Republican nod. Murray will face Constitution Party candidate Jennifer Young in November.
III. Election News This Week
- The Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Los Angeles City Council voted 3-0 to recommend that the council look into using cash to lure more people to the polls. The committee did not offer specifics to amounts of winnings or how people would be chosen, but they did ask the council of the whole to look seriously at the proposition.
- With a deadline looming, Chris McDaniel, the losing candidate in the Mississippi U.S. Senate GOP primary filed suit challenging the election saying, in a statement, that his suit details “rampant election integrity problems…” The State Supreme Court appointed retired chancery judge Hollis McGehee to handle the case. McGehee will hear pre-trial motions on Aug. 28 and said that he is considering a Sept. 15 or 22 trial start date. The trial may not be complete in time for the November 4 general election.
- In other litigation news, a resident of Dearborn Heights, Michigan is asking the city council to prove why it is not in contempt of court for failing to replace the city’s controversial clerk. The clerk resigned in July but then rescinded the resignation. The suit filed argues that the council is obligated to accept the resignation and fill the vacancy.
- It’s been a rough 2014 for the Oregon Secretary of State’s website. First the site was hacked and now a data entry error temporarily reported incorrect voter registration figures that implied the state lost 30,000 registered voters in July.
- Verde or is it naranja? Voters on Yavapai County, Arizona’s permanent early voting list who get their materials in Spanish are being notified that instructions on mail-in ballots are incorrect. Due to a clerical error, voters were instructed to put their large green envelopes inside the smaller orange envelopes instead of vice versa. Approximately 62,000 voters received the incorrect instructions sheets. Karen McCracken, chief deputy recorder told The Daily Courier the sheets have been corrected and ballots that may have been incorrectly returned will be counted.
- The Allen County, Ohio board of elections found itself part of a mystery of sorts recently. It turns out that a woman who was recently arrested for attempting to fraudulently get a state ID card had also registered to vote in Allen County. The woman, who was a disbarred attorney in Virginia and facing felony charges in Colorado, had gone to great lengths to hide/change her ID. After reading about the case, Ken Terry, BOE director decided to look her up and there she was, registered to vote. “We didn’t really expect to find anything,” Terry told Civitas Media, “but there it was.” Terry said the woman never attempted to vote and that because she her driver’s license number checked out with the BMV, she was able to register. Now the county is working to get her off the rolls. “We were just in disbelief,” Terry said. “In my professional opinion, I think she was just taking another step in trying to establish her identity. It makes sense.”
- Personnel News: Outgoing Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is running for Madison County attorney on the November ballot after a failed attempt to run for congress earlier this year. Frank Phillips is leaving his job as elections administrator in Denton County, Texas to become the new Tarrant County elections administrator. Cherokee County, Georgia Elections Supervisor Janet Munda has been fired from a position she held for 10 years. Kim Stancil was appointed interim supervisor. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos has been elected to serve as the secretary of the National Association of Secretaries of State. This week the Cochise County board of supervisors voted unanimously to reassign Juanita Murray, the county’s elections director. Murray will remain in the elections office but will not serve in a supervisory role. Kerry Curry has been named director of elections and registration for Emanuel County, Georgia. Jeff Doty has taken over as elections supervisor in Benton County, Oregon. Doty has a long history in Oregon elections and takes over for Codi Trudell who is headed to the secretary of state’s office.
IV. Legislation Update
California: SB-1365, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), which will expand the California Voting Rights Act by explicitly prohibiting school boards, cities, and counties from gerrymandering district boundaries in a manner that would weaken the ability of a racial or language minority to influence the outcome of an election is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
Also awaiting Brown’s signature is AB1596 which abolishes the practice of volunteers going door-to-door and providing absentee ballot applications and then also collecting the absentee ballots once they’ve been completed.
New York: Although this could probably go under Tech Thursday, we’ll put it under legislation. A bill before the New York City council would require Gotham’s board of elections to send voters texts and emails providing information about polling places. The legislation would require the city to use tech-savvy methods to tell voters where their polling places are located, notify them of changes to polling sites, provide sample ballots and other election information.
New York City Councilman Ruben Willis introduced a bill this week that would require the city to inform prison inmates about their voting rights.
National Opinion: Voting rights
Illinois: Obstacles to voting
Mississippi: Primary system
Missouri: Voter turnout
New York: NYC board of elections
Ohio: Secretary of state race
Oregon: Top-two primary
South Carolina: Special election
Washington: Primary turnout
Wisconsin: Voting limits
VI. Upcoming Events
Please email upcoming events — conferences, symposiums, seminars, webinars, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Voter Registration Day — The 3rd annual National Voter Registration Day is scheduled for September 23. In its first two years, more than 1,000 groups and 10,000 volunteers registered over 360,000 people to vote. When: September 23. For more information, click here.
EVOTE2014: Verifying the Vote — The Competence Center for Electronic Voting and Participation is hosting a 6th annual conference on electronic voting. This conference is one of the leading international event for e-voting experts from all over the world. One of its major objectives is provide a forum for interdisciplinary and open discussion of all issues relating to electronic voting. The format of the conference is a three-day meeting that deals with the topics from a both a theoretical perspective and a practical one. Practical papers should use case studies. No parallel sessions will be held, and sufficient space will be given for informal communication. Where: Lochau/Bregenz, Austria. When: October 29-31, 2014. For more information, click here.
National Student/Parent Mock Election — Now in it’s 34th year, the National Student/Parent Mock Election invites you to join the world’s largest national mock election and nation’s larges civic education project. Since 1980, students have learned what it means to be informed voters, casting votes for Presidential, U.S. Congressional and gubernatorial candidates. What’s more, students continue to demonstrate the value of civic engagement – from organizing their own debates and campaign activities to holding student rallies. When: October 30, 2014. For more information and to register, please click here.
National Conference of State Legislatures Forum— Mark your calendars now for NCSL’s fall forum. More information will be available in September, but make sure to get this in ink on your calendar now. Where: Washington, D.C. When: December 9-12.
VII. Job Postings
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Director or Deputy Director, Wayne County, Ohio — pursuant to Directive 2012-23 from the Ohio Secretary of State, notice is given that the Wayne County Board of Elections is currently accepting applications for the position of Director or Deputy Director. A candidate for Director or Deputy Director will be required to lead the fulfillment of the following minimum duties: Prepare and conduct all primary, general and special elections held in the county; process, evaluate and report election results; recruit and train precinct election officials; supervise the processing of voter records; keep a full and true record of the proceedings of the board and all moneys received and expended; file and preserve in the board office all orders, records, and reports pertaining to the administration of voter registrations and elections; prepare the minutes of board meetings; audit campaign finance reports; calculate charge backs to political subdivisions; receive and have custody of all books, papers, and property belonging to the board; perform such other duties in connection with the office of director and the proper conduct of elections as the Secretary of State and Board determine; review all Directives, Advisories, Memoranda, correspondence and materials issued by the Secretary of State and take action as required by those communications; supervise and instruct board employees, assign work, coordinate activities, make recommendations concerning hiring, responsibilities, compensation, discipline, and discharge of board employees; and develop a proposed annual budget to be submitted to the county commissioners, upon approval of the board of elections, and monitor the board’s budget and payroll relative to current year appropriations. Qualifications: A candidate for Director or Deputy Director of a board of must have a baseline understanding of the rules, processes, procedures and equipment used in local election administration, including: operating voting machines used in the county and other automated office equipment; managing a successful and efficient database; using, understanding and applying election law terminology; knowing the basics of Ohio’s “sunshine laws” governing open meetings and public records; and receiving and implementing assignments and instructions from board members and Secretary of State’s office. Candidate must, to the satisfaction of the board, have the experience and capability to manage the day-to-day operations of that county’s board of election. To this end, the candidate must possess: effective written and interpersonal communication abilities; strong organizational skills and attention to detail; familiarity with relevant state and federal human resources policies and practices; familiarity with the handling of budgets and public appropriation of funds; ability to perform duties as assigned by the law, the county board of election, and/or the Secretary of State; ability to convey or exchange information, including giving and managing assignments or direction to board personnel; ability to be adept and to perform in a professional manner under stressful or emergency situations; ability to comprehend a variety of informational documents; and ability to conduct self at all times in a professional and courteous manner. Education: must have a high school diploma or have attained the equivalency of a high school diploma (GED). College level education is desired. Deadline: September 4. Application: Candidates should submit a cover letter and current resume confidentially to: Attention: B. Jean Mohr, Chair; Wayne County Board of Elections; 200 Vanover St., Suite #1; Wooster, OH 44691.