Lines, glitches, snafus, boobs, in other words a typical election
Pre-election fears of hacking, intimidation don’t play out
By M. Mindy Moretti
Cyberattacks! Fraud! Rigging! Violence! Those were some of the headlines that screamed at voters and elections officials in the days leading up to the 2016 general election, but in the light of the day, the 2016 election turned out to be far less chaotic than many people anticipated.
Yes, there were lines. There were machine malfunctions. There were fights. Some people were denied their right to vote. There were boobs. But with turnout hovering around 55 percent, from a seasoned-election observers eye, the 2016 election was fairly business as usual—at least as far as the process goes.
This week, given time constraints, we’re just doing a brief review of Election Day 2016. Next week we’ll take a look at what happened — good, bad, silly and sad — state-by-state and in the coming weeks we’ll drill down into some of the bigger issues that arose, why they arose and what the next steps are. You can also check out our Election Day Dispatches.
And while we know that ballots are still being counted (and recounted in some places) and the election still needs to be canvassed and certified we do hope that elections officials across the country can take a deep breath.
(Editor’s Note: We asked our friends to send us pictures of their kids with “I Voted” stickers to share so we hope you appreciate these photos this week and next. These are some of our most favorite people.).
Poll watchers — this really turned out to be a non-issue this election. Although there were definitely poll watchers at some locations on Election Day, there were very few reports of problems from those there specifically to watch the polls.
Ballot selfies — although there were reports of Baltimore’s top prosecutor posting and then deleting her ballot selfie and one candidate’s son doing the same thing, at this point, it doesn’t seem like the phenomena created a problem on Election Day.
Voter ID — there actually seemed to be more reports of problems with voter ID in states that don’t actually require it — Pennsylvania and New Jersey — than those that do.
Voting machines — there were scattered problems of voting machines issues throughout the day, but nothing systematic or even countywide other than in Washington County, Utah which suffered problems. All the other machine problems seemed to be on a polling place-by-polling place basis, which is typical.
Lines/Turnout — although there were often long lines throughout the day at many polling places there were no real reports of voters voting late into the night like in 2012. At this point, turnout is hovering right around 55 percent which is the lowest it’s been since 2000.
Weather — Election Day weather didn’t seem to impact turnout or the process, but there are still concerns that Hurricane Matthew and relocated polling places from earlier flooding could have impacted turnout in the impacted areas.
Secretary of state races — we will have five new secretaries of state after the first of the year: Jay Aschroft in Missouri (R), Corey Stapleton (R) in Montana, Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) in New Mexico, Dennis Richardson (R) in Oregon, and Mac Warner (R) in West Virginia. Jim Condos (D) was re-elected in Vermont and Kim Wyman (R) was re-elected in Washington. Also, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (R) was re-elected in Utah.
Ballot measures — several elections-related ballot measures were on the docket this year. Ranked choice voting was approved in Maine and Benton County, Oregon. Voter ID was approved in Missouri. San Francisco voters voted to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, but they did not approve of 16- and 17-year olds voting. Alaska residents will now automatically be registered to vote through the state’s PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend) system. Residents in Knoxville will be going to the polls a little earlier in the future after voting to move their primaries from September to August. Elections in South Dakota will remain partisan after voters defeated a Constitutional Amendment that would have made federal (other than president), state and local races nonpartisan. And finally, in Colorado, that state will return to presidential primaries instead of caucuses beginning in 2020 and unaffiliated voters will be allowed to vote in those elections.
Polling Places — and there were of course the usual hodge podge of issues at polling sites across the country. Some ran out of I Voted stickers (gasp). Some lost power. Some opened late. Some ran out of ballots. Some were on lock down because of nearby violent incidents. There were some fights. There were some boobs. But oddly, as far as we can tell no one drove their car into one.
Early voting — Early voting was strong until the end with Arizona even opening three emergency early voting sites on Monday, but those record-breaking numbers didn’t seem to translate into record breaking overall turnout numbers. What drove early voting remains to be seen. Was it simply that more states offer it and more voters are aware of it, or was it something else?
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III. Election News This Week
The Department of Homeland Security has vowed to work with election machine vendors in the months following the election to ensure that they have correct defenses in place against a cyberattack. We understand a lot of states will be modernizing their voting machines over the next several years, and we want to make sure that as they modernize their machines, they do it in a way that is secure,” an official told Politico.
In an article that we found particularly interesting, a company in County Londonderry, Ireland makes the voting booths that are used in about 40 states. Back in 1986, Patrick McGonagle invented the multi-user voting booth that many Americans voting on paper ballots see at their polling place.
Even though it was 16-years ago, the 2000 election always seems to loom large in our election psyche and if you want a piece of that election, it’s on eBay. For a couple thousand bucks you too can have one of the voting machines that was used in Palm Beach County in 2000. In 2005 you could get one of these bad boys for a mere $75, now, with so few left, that price has jumped to $2,400.
Personnel News: Rachel Bledi has been appointed to the Albany County, New York board of election commissioners. Randy Wertz, Montgomery County, Virginia registrar will retire on February 28 after 12-years in the job.
IV. Legislative Updates
Tennessee: Although no legislation has been introduced, look for Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) to introduce a bill eliminating the state’s ballot selfie ban.
Wisconsin: It’s possible that Assembly House Speaker Robin Vos will introduce legislation in the coming months to make early voting a more uniform process in Wisconsin.
V. Legal Updates
Arizona: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on ballot harvesting. The justices gave no reason for reviving the law that a lower court had struck down.
Colorado: U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello ruled that the state may not enforce an 1891 law that in essence banned ballot selfies.
Kansas: Larry Hendricks, district judge in Shawnee County struck down the state’s dual voter registration system and said that the loss of the voting rights of the more than 18,000 voters in limbo “far outweighs” the risk of potential voter fraud.
Massachusetts: A judge ruled that three people who missed Massachusetts voter registration deadline should be allowed to vote.
New York: In a 16-page ruling, a federal judge ruled that a century-old law banning ballot selfies — or the concept of them anyway — remain in place because it was too late in the process to remove the law.
North Carolina: U.S. District Judge Loreta Biggs issued a preliminary injunction requiring the state to reinstate voters who had been purged from the voter rolls through a process that she referred to as “insane”.
Ohio: U.S. District Judge James Gwin issued a temporary restraining order against the Republican nominee for president, as well as a Republican political operative from harassing voters. The suit was filed by the state Democratic Party. Gwin ruled that anyone who engages in intimidation or harassment inside or near polling places, regardless of political affiliation would face contempt-of-court charges.
Pennsylvania: U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert rejected a bid by the state’s GOP to legalize a call for supporters to serve as Election Day poll watchers. “There is no need for this judicial fire drill and [the Republican Party] offers no reasonable explanation or justification for the harried process they created.”
VI. Opinions This Week
National Opinions: Voter fraud | Voter ID, II, III | Voter suppression | Ballot selfies | Early voting, II | Paper ballots | Disputed election | Protracted election | Hacked election, II | Voting Rights Act, II, III | Election system | Election Day worries | Rigged election | Voting rights
California: Ranked choice voting
Guam: Good citizens
Indiana: Early voting
Michigan: Election reform
Montana: Secure election
Nebraska: Poll workers
New Mexico: Secretary of state race
North Dakota: Ballot selfies
South Carolina: Richland County
Tennessee: Voter ID
Utah: Family voting traditions
West Virginia: Washington County
Wyoming: Secure system
VII. Upcoming Events
NSCL StateVote Post-Election Briefing —Join the National Conference of State Legislature elections analysts and national political experts for a post-election discussion about what the outcome will mean for the states. The briefing will feature sessions on: State Election Analysis: Trends and Outcomes; 2016 Elections in Perspective; The State Agenda for 2017; Changes on the Hill: What it Means for States; and The U.S. Supreme Court: Outlook and Analysis. This event is being presented in cooperation with The Hill. When: November 14 1-5 p.m. Where: National Press Club, Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, click here.
2016 NCSL Capitol Forum — Join NCSL for a pre-con on Legislative Lessons from Election 2016 (December 6) and NCSL’s Capitol Forum (December 6 – 9), where the redistricting and elections track is robust. The pre-con is free. When: December 6-9. Where: Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, click here or contact Wendy Underhill at email@example.com.
IaoGO 2017 Mid-Winter Conference —join the International Association of Government Officials at their mid-winter conference with the theme of Success Through Education. A tentative agenda can be found here. When: January 8-11, 2017. Where: Tucson, Arizona. For more information and to register, click here.
NASS 2017 Winter Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Winter Conference. When: February 15-18, 2017. Where: Washington, D.C.
NASED 2017 Winter Meeting — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Winter Meeting. When: February 15-18, 2017. Where: Washington, D.C.
IaoGO 2017 Annual Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the International Association of Government Officials 2017 Annual Conference. When: July 6-13, 2017. Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
NASS 2017 Summer Conference — Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of Secretaries of State 2017 Summer Conference. When: July 7-10, 2017. Where: Indianapolis, Indiana.
NASED 2017 Summer Meeting— Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more information and registration details on the National Association of State Election Directors 2017 Summer Meeting. When: August 22-25, 2017. Where: Anaheim, California.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Job postings must be received by 5pm on Wednesday in order to appear in the Thursday newsletter. Listings will run for three weeks or till the deadline listed in the posting.
Ballot Production Services Consultant, Hart InterCivic — BPS Consultants at Hart work with our customers to design ballots and to provide printed ballots and voting media for customers. This is a customer-service position, and applicants must have exceptional customer service skills. This is a part-time hourly positon with opportunities for overtime pay during peak periods. This is not a replacement position, but a net new position at Hart. This is an ideal position for someone who wants to work varying hours, depending on the calendar. Preference is for this position to be Austin-based, but that is open to negotiation. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, please click here.
Customer Relations Manager, Dominion Voting Systems, Chicago, Illinois— Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic, Customer Relations Manager, based in the Chicago, Illinois area! This position will be responsible for providing world-class customer service in order to achieve our core purpose of delivering solutions for the advancement of fair, accessible, and secure elections! You will problem solve, collaborate, create and improve processes, and make our customers successful in the execution of seemingly impossible tasks. Excitement lives here!. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply click here.
Director of Operations, West, Western United States — Dominion Voting Systems is looking for a talented and passionate Director of Operations, West to join our team! This position can be based in either Northern California or Nevada and will work remotely. This position will direct the day-to-day operations in the Western United States for Dominion Voting in order to meet and exceed business objectives for growth and profitability. This position will formulate and enact policies and strategies; work with leadership to set and achieve goals; forecast, set and manage budgets; hire, mentor and manage staff; and establish and maintain professional and positive business relationships with our customers. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Elections & Special Districts Director, Cochise County, Arizona — under general direction of the County Administrator, provides professional level project planning in all functions related to the conduct of voting and election activities for the County. Under limited supervision, perform work of considerable difficulty to plan, organize, coordinate, direct and control all activities of the Elections & Special Districts Department in compliance with statutory and regulatory federal and state requirements. Prepare and manage the annual fiscal budget for the department, develop long-range plans and anticipates/identifies long-term organizational needs. Sound judgment and considerable communication and interpersonal skills are required in this position. Salary: $60,000-$90,000. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Project Manager, Hart InterCivic — project managers at Hart InterCivic are highly motivated “self-starters” who are enthusiastic about providing exceptional customer service. Working with other members of the Professional Services and Operations teams, the project manager directs activity, solves problems and develops lasting and strong relationships with our customers. Hart InterCivic’s unique and industry known culture of innovation, transparency and customer-centric focus creates an environment where team members will continually grow and be challenged to develop their careers. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Product Specialist, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a tech-savvy and passionate, Product Specialist, to be based in our downtown Toronto, Ontario office. This role is responsible for responsible for the installation, operation, repair, and maintenance of all Dominion Voting Systems elections products; providing elections support services and customer training; and interfacing directly with customers, co-workers and election officials. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Senior Project Manager, Denver, Colorado — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking an experienced, well-organized and passionate Senior Project Manager to join our team in downtown Denver! This position will be responsible for overseeing the successful execution of assigned projects in the State of Colorado as well as managing a team of local and remote employees. This position is critical to the success of our customers throughout the State of Colorado. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.
Software Developer II, Toronto, Ontario — Dominion Voting Systems is seeking a talented and passionate, Software Developer II, to join our team in downtown Toronto! This position will be responsible for providing high-level technical expertise to design development, coding, testing and debugging of new voting system software and/or significant enhancements to existing software for our customers. This position will work on a team utilizing an Agile development environment. Salary: Negotiable base + bonus target & benefits. Deadline: Open until filled. Application: For the complete job listing and to apply, click here.