Secretary of State

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California: Secretary of state candidates call for changes in recount law  | Los Angeles Times

Both candidates vying to be California’s next secretary of state say the controversial recount in the controller’s race demonstrates the need to change election laws. Sen. Alex Padilla, the Democratic candidate from Pacoima, called the process “embarrassing.” Pete Peterson, a Republican who leads a public policy institute at Pepperdine University, said recount laws are “a mess.” The recount was called by Assemblyman John A. Pérez after he finished 481 votes behind Betty Yee, a Board of Equalization member, in the June 3 primary. The two Democrats are vying for the chance to face off with Ashley Swearengin, the Republican mayor of Fresno, in the November general election. In California, any candidate or registered voter can call for a recount, but he or she has to pay for it. Read More

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Colorado: Secretary of State adopts emergency rule related to Loveland special election | Loveland Reporter-Herald

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office adopted an emergency rule Tuesday that forces the Larimer County Clerk and Recorder to count Loveland special election ballots that come in a county primary envelope. As a result of the city of Loveland running its own election separate from the Larimer County primary election, affiliated voters in Loveland received two ballots — one encased in a blue envelope that needs to be returned to the city and one in a white envelope returnable to the county. Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers said last week that approximately 40 Loveland ballots that were received in Larimer County envelopes have been disqualified.  Read More

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North Dakota: Secretary of state says election glitch shouldn’t resurface | Bismarck Tribune

Officials with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office said the cause of an election night technical problem with the state’s election results page has been fixed. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said safeguards have also been put in place to ensure any similar problems don’t occur during the Nov. 4 general election. To prevent a repeat of the primary election, a load test of the department’s site will be conducted sometime prior to the November election. Jaeger said testing of the state election website was done prior to the 2012 general election, which produced the largest voter turnout in state history. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said the problem was a relatively minor one discovered in the system. ”It was a query that was running inefficiently,” Silrum said. “I can’t blame it on Information Technology Department; I can’t blame it on our vendor.” Read More

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Ohio: Troubled Lucas County election board under microscope | Associated Press

Ohio’s elections director will be taking a close look at one of the state’s largest counties, where a series of missteps and squabbling among election board members delayed voting results for hours in this past week’s primary. The latest trouble comes on top of several years of infighting and accusations of wrongdoing within the Lucas County’s elections board. Secretary of State Jon Husted called the situation there the worst he’s faced from an elections board. “There’s not even a close second,” he said. A committee appointed by Husted in early April to look into the board’s operations recommended Friday that the county’s top two elections officials be fired and that three of its four board members be replaced. Read More

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Ysursa

Idaho: Secretary of State Ben Ysursa reflects on 40 years of Idaho elections | The Idaho Statesman

June will be a big month for Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa. He’ll celebrate his 65th birthday and mark 40 years in office – 28 as the closest aide to the late Secretary Pete Cenarrusa and a dozen as Cenarrusa’s successor and Idaho’s top election official. He’ll have put to bed the last of the 21 primaries. Just one contest will remain – the November election to decide who will be the first secretary since 1967 without roots in northern Spain. ”It will obviously be a non-Basque,” Ysursa joked Tuesday as he announced his support for Republican Phil McGrane. “So it’s even more important to watch.” Kidding aside, Ysursa fought back emotion as he spoke of the office’s tradition of fairness. Just behind him, his wife, Penny, who worked for Cenarrusa and met her husband on the job in 1974, teared up as a Capitol crowd loudly applauded Ysursa. Read More

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Leland Yee

California: Leland Yee quits secretary of state race | San Francisco Chronicle

State Sen. Leland Yee withdrew from the California secretary of state race Thursday, one day after his arrest on public corruption charges, his attorney said. ”This was a very personal decision on the part of the senator,” said Paul DeMeester, his attorney, at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco. “This is what he wanted to do.” Yee, a Democrat who represents half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County, was one of 26 people ensnared in a five-year federal investigation that targeted Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a notorious Chinatown gangster who had claimed to have gone straight, officials said. An outspoken advocate of gun control and open government, Yee is charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms as well as six counts of scheming to defraud citizens of honest services. He has not commented on the allegations. Investigators say Yee took bribes in exchange for political favors in order to pay off a $70,000 debt from an unsuccessful run for San Francisco mayor in 2011 and to fund his run for secretary of state. The bribes were paid by undercover agents, the FBI said. Read More

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Oregon: Secretary of State website breach: Database users asked to change passwords to personal accounts | OregonLive

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office has deleted all passwords for users of its business and elections databases after a breach of its website Feb. 4. Users are also asked to change their passwords to personal accounts if they used the same passwords for the Secretary of State’s Central Business Registry or ORESTAR, the state’s campaign finance reporting system. It’s unclear if the hackers accessed the passwords, but the agency is recommending that the passwords to personal accounts be changed as a precautionary measures, agency spokesman Tony Green said. ”The investigation so far indicates that sensitive personal information was not compromised,” said an agency email sent Thursday night to database users. Read More

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Editorials: How Could Michigan Elections be Improved? | WMUK

Jocelyn Benson is the Dean of Wayne State University’s Law School and has written a book on the role of state Secretaries of State. Michigan Democrats chose Benson as their nominee for Secretary of State in 2010. She lost that race to the Republican currently in the office, Ruth Johnson. Benson is also the founder of the Michigan Center for Election and Law as well as Military Spouses of Michigan. WMUK’s Gordon Evans asked Benson about drawing legislative boundaries. She has advocated changes in Michigan’s process, which currently leaves it to the lawmakers to agree on the districts for state Legislature, as well as Congress. Benson says any process that involves citizens would have more integrity than the currently system. She says it is difficult to keep politics out of drawing boundaries for legislative districts. But Benson says states that include citizens have a system which is more fair than having lawmakers create their own districts. Benson says election administration should be non-partisan. But she says Secretaries of State can  have a major influence on elections. Benson says both parties are trying to influence races for Secretary of State because they know it’s important. “But it’s still wrong” she says. Read More

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National: Big-money partisanship invades quiet realm of secretary of state elections | The Washington Post

The partisan battle over voting restrictions is engulfing secretary-of-state races around the country, as parties on both sides focus on controlling the offices responsible for administering election laws. Democrats and Republicans are launching high-profile and well-financed campaigns aimed at spending millions of dollars in what are normally under-the-radar contests. On the left, veterans of President Obama’s reelection campaign have launched iVote, a super PAC that will funnel money to battleground states with competitive races for secretary of state. Another group, dubbed SoS for Democracy, is being led by longtime labor activists Steve Rosenthal and Larry Scanlon. From the right, a super PAC called SOS for SoS — organized by a former top official at an outside group that supported Newt Gingrich — is aiming to raise and spend $10 million on key races. Read More

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National: Groups pledge to spend millions on secretary of state races in Ohio, other battleground states | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohioans surfing the web this week may see ads railing against Secretary of State Jon Husted, but they’re not from his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Nina Turner. A Democratic-led national political action committee began running online ads against Husted last week and a conservative-driven rival PAC also plans to raise and spend money on the race as well. The national attention is to be expected, given recent politically charged battles in the Statehouse over early voting days and ballot procedures. But the national groups also are looking to the 2016 presidential race and the role secretaries of states can play as chief elections officials in crafting and enforcing voting rules that favor their respective parties. The 2014 voting hours set by Husted last week, which omit evenings and the Sunday before Election day, have been characterized by Democrats as a partisan move to suppress voting by minorities and working Ohioans. Read More

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