ElectionlineWeekly on 2018 EAC Clearie Award Recipients

[Image via EACGov on Twitter]

This week, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission announced the winners of its 2018 “Clearie” awards recognizing state and local election offices for best practices in election administration. electionlineWeekly‘s Mindy Moretti has the story:

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) [Wednesday] announced the recipients of the 2018 Clearinghouse Awards for best practices in election administration, also known as the “Clearie” Awards. Born of the EAC’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the annual “Clearie” awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models which can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions. This year’s award categories celebrate excellence in election innovations, voting accessibility and the recruitment, training and retention of election workers.

“Election officials are some of the greatest civic leaders our nation has to offer,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “They are tasked with being the stewards of the bedrock of our democracy, who often implement innovative solutions with limited budgets and zero margin for error. The annual Clearie awards give the EAC an opportunity to recognize their vital contributions on a national stage and highlight best practices within the field of election administration. Each recipient of this award represents the very best of what it means to be an election administrator. We at the EAC applaud them for their dedication, and hope their work can serve as an example to others.”

Now in its third year, the “Clearie” awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s efficacy, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness and replicability. This year’s honorees are [click on the winner’s name to see a more detailed release – DMCj]:

Outstanding Innovations in Election Administration

  • City of Rochester Hills, Michigan – For its Election Day Precinct Support Portal which allowed precinct workers to submit requests or questions via a smart phone or tablet using a simple Google Form.
  • New Mexico Secretary of State – For its electronic ballot software system, launched in the spring of 2018, which allowed blind or visually impaired voters to independently cast an absentee ballot.
  • Weber County, Utah – For its “Winning in Weber” program to engage students, veterans, teens, seniors, individuals with disabilities, and children in the electoral process.
  • Wisconsin Elections Commission – For “Securing WisVote,” a series of online learning modules which enhanced the cybersecurity of the state-wide election database and in local governments statewide.

Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities

  • Contra Costa County, California – For its “A Simple (Accessible) Path for All” initiative which included Accessible Polling Place Location and Equipment (APPLE) classes and follow up kits that provided instruction on establishing and maintaining accessible polling places.
  • Martin County, Florida – For “Count Me in Too,” a series of educational videos which helped increase voter registration and turnout among voters who indicated they had special needs by 8 percent during the 2016 Presidential Elections.
  • Iowa Secretary of State – For the Helping Veterans and Iowans with Disabilities Vote Project educated thousands of veterans and Iowans with disabilities about resources available to help them vote privately and independently.

Best Practices in Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers

  • Montgomery County, Maryland – For the Future Vote Initiative, which since 2004, has recruited 43,619 students from grades 6 to 12 to participate in elections, including over 10,000 who have served as election judges after their sixteenth birthday.
  • The City of Ely, Minnesota – For their partnership with nonprofit “Walking Civics,” on a program that connected high school students and veterans to serve at the polls together on Election Day.
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico – For “Learn the Vote,” a new online training program for election workers which reduced instruction time, decreased election worker errors and allowed the Clerk’s Office to redirect staff time towards completing post-election procedures more efficiently.

This year’s Clearie awards are dedicated to the life and legacy of Wendy Noren and R. Brian Lewis. Wendy Noren served as Boone County Clerk for over three decades and was a member of the EAC’s Board of Advisors before passing away in March 2018 following a long battle with cancer. R. Brian Lewis served as Counsel to the Office of the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee before his passing, and was an early and steadfast proponent of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and election officials. Both were luminaries in the field of election administration who will long be remembered for their hard work, integrity and friendship.

The Clearie Awards is one of the EAC’s best programs, in that they offer an opportunity to recognize state and local election offices for innovation as well as vehicle for sharing those innovations with the field. Congratulations to all of the winners – and thanks as always to my friend Mindy Moretti for sharing the story! Have a safe and happy Presidents’ Day weekend – and I’ll see you back here next Tuesday, February 19. Stay tuned …

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