Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is recommending dozens of changes to state election law following last year’s disputed write-in election battle for a U.S. Senate seat. None of the changes to election law or regulations would have changed the outcome, Treadwell said, and many conform Alaska election law to existing court rulings that guided the outcome of that election. Some were recommended by a judge who heard Republican senatorial nominee Joe Miller’s challenge to write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s eventual election victory. The report’s most important conclusion is that the election process was handled appropriately despite the lack of laws addressing key aspects of how such an election needed to be handled. Read More
The House Republican Leadership has introduced a bill that the Leon County Supervisor of Elections calls a travesty. Proposed House Bill 1355 passed through a subcommittee Friday morning. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho says proposed House Bill 1355 destroys the election process as it currently exists in Florida and he went to legislators to let them know that he strongly opposes it. Sancho shook his head at the 128-page document before heading inside the House Office Building to let the Governmental Operations Subcommittee know how he feels. But, to no avail. The subcommittee members voted in favor of proposed House Bill 1355. Sancho says he disagrees with a change that would allow the partisan appointee of the governor to control all supervisors of elections and give them orders, or remove them from office. Sancho said, “This is ridiculous. It would be as if an appointed water district commissioner could order an elected legislator around. There’s only one reason for this and that is partisan control over the process. It serves no interest of the citizens.” Sancho says he’s also against the bill because it would make it illegal for voters to continue doing address and name changes at their voting location. Sancho says this bill would only make voting harder for residents–which he says is the last thing voters in Florida need, considering the state’s voting history. He says the changes would force people not to vote or not know if their vote counted after casting their ballot. It has to go through another subcommittee. But, Sancho says he does not believe it will go all the way because he says these changes go against federal law.
Russ Ragsdale, Broomfield`s first and only city and county clerk and recorder, retired Thursday after more than 10 years in Broomfield, helping build the clerk`s office from the ground up during his tenure. His retirement comes just weeks after the departure of Director of Recreation Services John Ferraro, who ended his 35-year career in Broomfield March 15. Taking over for Ragsdale, at least for the time being, is Broomfield Administrator of Elections and Recording Jim Candelarie. Just as the city named one of Ferraro`s longest tenured employees, Nancy Harrold, acting director of recreation services in his wake, Candelarie, who worked with Ragsdale for 10 years, was promoted Friday to acting city and county clerk and recorder until the hiring of a new clerk and recorder can be completed. “I feel really well prepared,” Candelarie said of his promotion. “Russ has some really good people in key spots, so I`m relying on them. They`re really good professional people.” Candelarie has 20 years experience in administering elections. He has overseen every election in Broomfield`s 10-year history as a unified city and county. Ragsdale said Wednesday that he has the utmost faith in Candelarie`s abilities. The pair first met in the 1990s when Candelarie was serving as chief deputy clerk in Adams County and Ragsdale was his counterpart in Larimer County. Ragsdale said Candelarie was working in elections at the state level when he offered him the election administrator job in Broomfield. “I hired Jim in 2001, and I felt that was a coup hiring him away from the Secretary of State`s Office,” Ragsdale said. “I`ve seen what he can do, and I know he can serve the people Broomfield well. He gets the mission.” As Broomfield continues to rolls through its 50th anniversary year as an incorporated city, the wheels continue to turn on a series of high-ranking personnel changes at the city and county building. Read More
Over the objections of county elections supervisors and public-interest groups, a bill that would make numerous changes to Florida’s elections law cleared a House subcommittee on Friday. The Government Operations Subcommittee voted up the bill on Friday by a party-line tally of 9-4. Its sponsor, state Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said the changes will get the state’s Elections Code in “ship-shape” for the next election cycle and the redrawing of congressional and legislative district lines. “This bill preserves and protects the political process,” Baxley told the subcommittee. The bill started as a 14-page document and grew to 128 pages by Friday. “It’s a massive undertaking, but this will get us in good position to conduct wholesome elections so we’ll know every vote counts,” he said. But critics such as Ion Sancho, Leon County’s six-term Supervisor of Elections, said the changes are meddlesome and unneeded. “This is just partisan shenanigans raising its head again,” said Sancho, one of the three Florida county elections supervisors – out of 67 – who are not party-affiliated. Read More
Carrie Phillips knows well the toughest challenge of adapting to election consolidation. “Learning the new laws and finding who’s responsible for doing what,” said Phillips, Kootenai County Elections supervisor. Now that Kootenai County Elections is charged with running all local elections under new state law, it means a larger workload, Phillips said. The county has been harried with prepping for the upcoming May 17 elections, in which 11 highway, library and school districts have seats up for election. “It has been a little bit stressful and causing more workload for us,” Phillips said. Part of the county’s responsibilities lately, said Clerk Cliff Hayes, have been training taxing districts on the changes under the Elections Consolidation law that took affect on Jan. 1. “There were significant changes to what the districts did, to what the county now has to do,” Hayes said. For instance, taxing districts previously counted paper ballots, he said. Ballots will now be counted by the county’s electronic ballot machines. “The electronic counting is significant,” he said of expediting the process. Read More
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz issued a statement Friday criticizing Iowa Senate Democrats for killing his proposal to require all Iowa voters to show a photo identification card before they vote in an effort to prevent fraud. “It is unfortunate that Senate Democrats have decided to kill a common-sense bill,” said Schultz, a Republican who had made the ID plan a cornerstone of his campaign last fall to oust incumbent Democrat Michael Mauro. The House had approved the bill, House File 95.”I understand there were auditors who objected to HF 95, but the county auditors specifically stated that they were not opposing the concept of photo ID legislation,” Schultz said. nSchultz said the bill died in the Iowa Senate State Government Committee, with all seven Republicans in support, but not a single Democrat. Read More
The Harrison County Commission has approved an eleventh-hour purchase of 80 new electronic voting machines. County Clerk Susan Thomas has been waiting patiently since the end of January for Commission to approve the purchase of new AutoMARK voting machines. Harrison County has been using the iVotronic machines for about five years. The state’s contract with the company that makes them expired in 2010. So Republican and Democratic representatives visited Lewis County earlier this year to see the AutoMARK machines in action; both parties approved of the easy-to-use machine. IVotronic machines are entirely computerized, but the AutoMARK system will fill out a paper ballot for the voter. Supporters of the new system say the iVotronic machines were daunting for some voters and could have impacted voter turnout. Read More
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