I. In Focus This Week
Increasing trust in elections
Democracy Fund’s Election Validation Project
By Tammy Patrick, senior advisor, Elections
The Democracy Fund
What motivates voters to participate? The love of a charismatic candidate? The disgust of a less-than desirable one? Passion for a specific ballot initiative? Habit?
The answer is as varied as the voting population, as is the reason that voters do not participate.
Research shows that while voters’ confidence in their own vote being counted accurately remains relatively constant, their belief that results at the national level are correct is in decline. The threat of interference in our elections by another nation-state has heightened this sentiment.
At Democracy Fund, we believe that our election system can remain both accessible and secure. We invest in organizations working to bolster public confidence in our elections through modern, voter-centric election administration and registration, as well as other projects that are helping to identify and elevate best practices and protocols to improve the American voting experience.
With these goals in mind, Democracy Fund is launching the Election Validation Project which aims to increase trust in elections through rigorous audits, standards, and testing.
Jennifer Morrell, a nationally recognized election official with more than eight years of experience managing local elections, has joined Democracy Fund as a consultant to lead this project.
Jennifer’s work in Colorado was instrumental in the successful implementation of the first statewide risk-limiting audit and she has been an outspoken advocate of implementing election audit standards beyond just post-election audits and has a vision of creating uniform audit and testing standards for all critical components of the voting system.
According to Jennifer, “Many states do a tremendous job testing voting equipment and performing post-election audits, but the scope and method vary. Improving trust in elections requires a uniform set of audit standards that go beyond auditing ballot tabulation equipment.”
The Presidential Commission on Election Administration (PCEA) called for the review of testing and auditing being done by the states in their 2014 report as well as the need to replace aging voting equipment—another reason why testing and auditing is so critical.
Jennifer has been a proponent of testing and audit standards as the next iteration of guidelines to boost confidence and trust in our elections — and the election administration profession. In her experience as an election official, PCEA served as the foundation for collaboration amongst the profession and transformed it into a field of public service.
As states purchase new voting equipment and implement improved audit requirements, our hope is that we can provide information and guidelines about risk-limiting audits tailored to election administrators as well as policy makers and the voting public through our work. Jennifer’s work will include:
- Creating a collaborative of election officials and subject matter experts to identify best practices for pre- and post- election audits, standards, and testing.
- Completing an assessment of the current state of post-election audits and outlining a path towards risk-limiting audits.
- Meeting with election officials to illustrate the pros and cons of different types of audits and providing a plain language explanation of what a risk-limiting audit is and how it works.
Most importantly, Jennifer will be working directly with a handful of states that can benefit from observation and informing their auditing and testing policies.
This new project comes at a critical time in election administration, and Jennifer understands what needs to be done to be successful, “This is a complex project that will take some time and some trial and error before it is successful. But starting the discussion is the first step. I am optimistic that election professionals at all levels will be willing to collaborate and lend their ideas and expertise to this endeavor. The table for this discussion needs to be large. We need researchers, we need technologists, we need policy experts and statisticians, but most importantly we need election officials who understand the complexity of running a successful election.”
Democracy Fund is thrilled to engage with Jennifer on this project and to be able to offer additional tools and guidance for election officials to use. We are confident that the collaboration will serve to inform the field and make certain that our elections continue to demonstrate the validity and integrity of the Great American Experiment.
If you are interested in working with Jennifer, she is available to work with states and present at association meetings on these topics. For more information, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
II. Election News This Week
Earlier this year, President Donald J. Trump alleged that “thousands” of people had voted illegally in New Hampshire, a state he lost by just 2,732 votes. According to a new review using Crosscheck, Secretary of State William Gardner found only 142 cases of possible voter fraud. After the 2016 general election, the system flagged 94,610 New Hampshire voters whose first and last names and dates of birth matched those in other states. That amounts to about 1 in 9 voters. Officials eliminated all but 142 of the matches after taking a closer look at other information. Of the 142, officials have sent 51 to the attorney general’s office for investigation and are waiting for information from other states on the rest. “For the first time, we really have an idea about this,” Gardner told the Ballot Law Commission, according to The Concord Monitor. “It raises the question of, “What does someone mean by widespread voter fraud? Does this come anywhere near that?’”
A California law which allows green-card holders to serve as poll workers is aimed at bringing more bilingual poll workers to help voters. According to The OC Register, the law allows legal, permanent residents to be poll workers, but not poll inspectors. “I’m so excited and I’m curious to see what happens. I would like to see how voting works here in the States,” Nguyen Nguyen told the paper. In Los Angeles alone, 24 percent of the county’s poll workers must be bilingual in one of the 16 languages the county provides voting materials in. During the 2016 general election, Los Angeles County had 344 green card polling workers, Orange County had 114 and Riverside had 23. San Bernardino County, to date, has not recruited any legal permanent residents as poll workers.
In other cool California news, while more and more voters and counties are moving to vote-by-mail, voters will still head to the actual polls on June 5 and in Los Angeles County, that just got a bit easier for those seeking a ride from Uber or Lyft. The two ride-sharing companies have partnered with the registrar’s office and voters will be able to access the companies’ apps directly from the registrar’s polling place locator. When a voter enters his or her information on the registrar’s website, the tool will display that voter’s polling place along with a link to access the ride-sharing apps.
Everyone has dreams, even if some people’s dreams are in the toilet. Well, not actually in the toilet, but on the toilet seat. Wait. What? Bannock County, Idaho Clerk Robert Poleki is not seeking re-election in order to pursue production of the Washie, a self-cleaning toilet seat he invented and brought on the make-or-break business show “Shark Tank” earlier this year. “(I spent) multiple hours at night at Home Depot looking for different types of toilet seats, tubing and dispensers,” Poleki told EastIdahoNews.com. “I’ve worked on this thing for the last three years and finally, it’s coming to fruition.” Good luck Robert!
Personnel News: Rep. Julie Stokes (R-Metairie) has announced she’s running for Louisiana secretary of state. Columbia County, Arkansas Clerk Sherry Bell is retiring on May 31. She’s held the office since 1999. Salt Lake County, Utah Elections Director Rozan Mitchell is taking an unpaid leave of absence while running for the county clerk seat. Lindsey Bachman is the new Dona Ana County, New Mexico chief deputy clerk. Elizabeth Rodgers is retiring as the Baldwin County, Georgia chief registrar. The Ansonia, Connecticut Republican Town Committee has nominated David Papcin, a 20-year-old nursing student to be its candidate for registrar this fall. Pat V. Cortellessa of Cranston, Rhode Island has announced his candidacy for secretary of state. Milton Kidd is the new Douglas County, Georgia elections supervisor. Charlie Frye has been appointed the deputy director of the Ashtabula County, Ohio board of elections. Margaret Nartowicz is the new Amherst, Massachusetts town clerk.
III. Legislative Updates
Illinois: Senate Bill 2651 would allow elections officials outside of Chicago change from five election judges per precinct during any election to three. The bill is in response to the concerns about finding enough workers for each election.
IV. Legal Updates
Arkansas: The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert H. Wyatt was wrong when he ordered the Jefferson County board of election commissioners to allow former election coordinator Will Fox access to county property or to information necessary to conduct an election.
Iowa: The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair have sued Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate over the state’s voter ID law saying that infringes on Iowans’ ability to cast a fair vote. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to block most provisions of the law from taking effect while the lawsuit is ongoing which could potentially halt its enforcement during the upcoming primary.
Maine: U.S. District Judge Jon Levy has dismissed the Maine Republican party’s legal attempt to get out of having to use ranked-choice voting in the state’s upcoming June 12 primary. According to the Portland Herald Press, in his ruling, Levy dismissed the party’s main argument – that ranked-choice voting might result in a different candidate being selected than if the nominee were chosen in a plurality vote. The party had argued that ranked-choice voting therefore violated its First Amendment rights of freedom to associate.
Maryland: The Maryland State Board of Elections is being sued by a gubernatorial candidate to get her name on the ballot. Valerie Ervin decided to run for governor after her running mate died unexpectedly. The state has said not only is there not enough time to reprint the ballots before the June 26 primary, but also that it would be cost prohibitive, about $2 million.
North Dakota: Settlement talks between several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the secretary of state’s office over the state’s voter ID law have ended without an agreement at this time. Tom Dickson, an attorney for the tribal members, told the West Fargo Pioneer he was “hopeful” for more talks but “the ball is in (the state’s) court.”
Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late last week to block an order by a district judge that would force Texas to fix its online voter registration system, which was found in violation of federal law.
Also in Texas, Crystal Mason, the ex-felon sentenced to five years in prison for voting while still on parole has asked State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez to reconsider his ruling and grant her a new trial. Gonzalez ordered both sides to file additional written arguments by June 7 that he will use to issue a ruling on the new trial motion by June 11.
Wisconsin: The State Election Commission voted unanimously to authorize attorneys for the commission and the state Dept. of Justice to try to resolve the issue of how overseas voters receive their ballots. The U.S. Department of Justice had threatened to the sue the state because Wisconsin law prohibits overseas voters from receiving their ballots electronically, even though federal law allows it.
V. Tech Thursday
California: The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has announced the release of a new remote accessible voting system for voters with disabilities who wish to vote-by-mail. The system allows voters with disabilities to access and mark their ballot in a screen-readable format using their personal computers.
District of Columbia: The District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE) is partnering with NextDoor to provide District residents with information about upcoming elections. According to State Scoop, city officials hope that through Nextdoor, they can inform Washington’s residents of important voting information, like specific initiatives on the ballot and changes to the voter registration process.
VI. Opinions This Week
Colorado: Ranked choice voting
Kansas: Election security
Michigan: Voting system
Nevada: Early voting
New Hampshire: Secretary of state
New York: Open primaries
North Carolina: Election reviews
Oklahoma: Voter ID;
Pennsylvania: Voting opportunities
South Carolina: Voting system
Texas: Gregg County
West Virginia: Voting locations
VII. Upcoming Events
Cybersecurity Online Training Series — The Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) is partnering with the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) to deliver a new cybersecurity training series designed for election officials this July. The series will include 3 courses that will empower your election office to manage cyber threats and communicate with the public about cybersecurity. After completing the series, you’ll have more confidence to safeguard against and respond to cyber threats in your election office. When: July 10, July 24 and July 31. Where: Online.
Election Data Summit — The U.S. Election Assistance Commission and Pennsylvania Department of State will host an Election Data Summit at the Community College of Philadelphia. The gathering will take place prior to the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) summer conferences in Philadelphia. This unique summit will bring together some of the nation’s most respected election data experts to examine ways election officials can use all types of data to improve processes and inform decision making. Each of the summit’s four panels will focus on a distinct aspect of the election cycle and explore different sources for election data, including voter registration databases, electronic poll books, voting equipment, and post-election audits. This event is open to the public and the media. RSVPs are required and space is limited. Additional information regarding speakers is forthcoming. When: July 12. Where: Philadelphia
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.
VIII. 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.
Data Manager, The New York City Campaign Finance Board — the New York City Campaign Finance Board seeks a Data Manager to collect and maintain data related to voter participation, election administration, and campaign finance and serve as the agency’s Open Data Coordinator. This position will report to the Deputy Director of Public Affairs. Responsibilities include: Maintain and document data management policies and practices for Public Affairs; Serve as the agency’s Open Data Coordinator and ensure compliance with the NYC Open Data Law; Manage acquisition and collection of data both internally and from external sources; Evaluate federal, state, local, and community data sources to incorporate into internal data research; Oversee data entry with the Document Processing Unit and ensure quality assurance of all internally-collected voting data; Create visualizations and dashboards from campaign finance and voting data; Work with Public Affairs and agency staff to supply data for decision-making or project needs; Assist in developing an overall data strategy. Salary: $65,000-$75,000. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections Operations Manager, Douglas County, Colorado— the Elections Operations Manager plans and conducts all functions associated with the operations of the Elections Division of the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in collaboration with the Deputy of Elections, including: oversight of responsibilities within the elections office and Voter Service and Polling Centers, coaching and supervision of staff; creation and enforcement of policies, procedures, and state and federal statutes and regulations ; creation and execution of strategic and tactical plans for operating successful elections; coordination of election functions with entities participating in a County election or conducting their own election; managing election assets; and. Coordinates with and assists other Clerk & Recorder Divisions as needed. Salary: $5,266-$7,899/month. Deadline: June 24. 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.
Hardware Engineer (Toronto, ON) – Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a an experienced Hardware Engineer to join our team in Toronto, Ontario! This position will work in a fast paced engineering, design, development and technical support environment with many variables and challenges. This position will be accountable for provisioning of electronics and providing software and mechanical engineering support to new product development, manufacturing and field support teams. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Python Developer, Clear Ballot — Clear Ballot seeks a talented python developer in the Boston area to assume responsibility for an existing suite of python scripts to create files for use with ClearVote(TM) digital voting system. Job responsibilities: Maintain and enhance existing python scripts that read PDF formatted ballot styles and produce the files needed by ClearVote (TM) digital voting system to tabulate said ballot; Run existing python scripts to generate marked test ballots for use in testing ClearVote(TM); Develop and execute test plans to guarantee ClearVote tabulates marked ballots correctly; Expand PDF parsing capabilities as new customer’s ballot styles are introduced; Leverage analytics you gather to improve performance through script and/or hardware changes; Must perform these duties within aggressive timelines that often require working outside of normal business hours. Application: For the complete listing and to apply, click here.
Research Associate, Center for Election Innovation & Research — the Research Associate will conduct original research and provide written quantitative and qualitative analyses. The Research Associate will work full-time in the Washington, DC Metro Area, usually in CEIR’s office, although sometimes working from home may be possible. Job Duties include: Conduct original research covering a variety of election-related issues pertinent to CEIR’s mission; Draft papers, blog posts, and other writings, to be published by CEIR and/or other outlets; Attend convenings, hearings, and other meetings; and Interact with election officials and other election experts. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Product Specialist (Chicago, IL) – Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a data-savvy and passionate Software Product Specialist to join our team in Chicago, IL! This position is responsible for the precise data entry and formatting of election information for our customers in order to style, proof, and finalize ballots which are utilized in elections. This position requires a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail as well as experience with Microsoft Excel including formulas and macros. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. 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.
Systems Manager (Chicago, IL) – Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy, customer focused Systems Manager to join our team in Chicago, IL! This position will be responsible for the readiness of Dominion’s voting systems to perform properly in the assigned jurisdictions which includes defining the functionality of the D-Suite system, monitoring the development of the system in accordance with the required functionality, and managing its testing and preparation for delivery to the market. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Systems Specialist – Advanced Field Support (Toronto, ON) – Dominion Voting Systems — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced & passionate Systems Specialist – Advanced Field Support to join our team in Toronto, Ontario! This position provides highly skilled and technical support in the testing, implementing and triaging of election systems both pre and post deployment. This includes providing functionality requirements of the system, monitoring the development of the system in accordance with the required functionality, and participating in its testing and preparation for delivery to the market. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
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