Kevin Kamenetz, a Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor, died suddenly earlier this month – and his death is creating a difficult situation for election officials and candidates as running mate Valerie Ervin takes his place on the June 26 primary ballot – which has already been printed and begun to be distributed to voters. It’s a far more tragic variation on the evergreen idea that there is “no small stuff” in elections, requiring a balance between equitable concerns for Kamenetz’ successor and voters, fiscal and materials constraints and an ever-dwindling election calendar.
Articles by Doug Chapin
Florida local election officials will get access to federal cybersecurity funds this year, after the Governor (who is running for U.S. Senate) overruled his Secretary of State (who had said the funds wouldn’t be available this year) and directed that the state take steps to access the money. It highlights the urgency many local election officials feel about accessing the new federal funds – and the high profile that cybsersecurity, and states’ responses to it, will enjoy in this fall’s election.
Short break this week for a family graduation … blog will return Thursday, May 24.
Everyone’s favorite electiongeek, the Democracy Fund’s Tammy Patrick, counts among her many roles the unofficial title of “queen of election mail.” In that vein, she has a guest post in this week’s electionlineWeekly about the 2018 National Postal Forum in San Antonio, TX.
Election officials across the country were understandably encouraged by Congressional approval of $380 million in cybersecurity funding – but in Minnesota, the Secretary of State has had to resort to a public plea for state legislators to move the money out from under the seemingly annual impasse of a state funding bill.
Recently, I wrote about Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s proposal to have the state fund prepaid return postage for all vote by mail ballots, sparked in part by King County (Seattle)’s move to do so for county voters and motivated by ensuring equality for all voters statewide. Yesterday, she and the Governor announced they had found the money – but not for King County, which must still spend its own funds and seek reimbursement next year. Needless to say, King County is none too pleased.
Arizona PBS’ Cronkite News has a new story that examines some of the challenges that face Native Americans when they seek to cast their ballots. It’s an excellent glimpse into the work that must be done- and remains – to ensure full access to all voters in those communities.
Last week, the Washington Post’s “Cybersecurity 202” ran an article declaring Colorado the “safest state to cast a vote” for its approach to ballots, tabulation and auditing. It’s a great summary of the various steps the Mile High State has taken to secure voting for its citizens.
I had the good fortune to join a meeting last week at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government focused on improving voter turnout – to unprecedented levels. Entitled “Getting to 80 Percent”, the meeting brought together folks from across the country to talk about what it would take for the country to undertake what organizers called a “moonshot” goal of 80% participation – which is especially significant given survey data showing the strong recent uptick in interest in elections among many sectors of the American public.
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is continuing its work on election security, and yesterday released a report that includes a list of guidelines for states and localities on measures they can take to harden their systems. It’s a solid list, and the overall tenor – that states and localities need to look for ways to protect their systems, and the federal government should offer assistance and resources to make that possible – is spot on. Here’s hoping that these guidelines mean that the Committee, and Congress generally, are prepared to offer more funds to state and local election officials for the long haul.