Monday Morning News Roundup – Blog Followup Edition

[Image via knowstartup]

Regular readers of the blog know that I usually end my posts with a “stay tuned!” Today, I wanted to prove that I follow my own advice and keep you up to date on some recent stories by sharing some updates on topics I’ve blogged about here:

Medical leave delays SCOTUS arguments on Ohio voter list maintenance. Bloomberg News reports that a lawyer’s medical issue has resulted in a delay in the case regarding Ohio’s rules for removing inactive non-voters from the rolls:

The U.S. Supreme Court is delaying arguments in a dispute over Ohio’s system for dropping people from voter-registration rolls because one of the lawyers in the case is on medical leave.

Another attorney will take over arguing the case for the people challenging Ohio’s voter-purge system and needs time to prepare, the court was told in a letter Friday. The argument had been set for Nov. 8, and the high court has removed it from the calendar. The challengers have asked that it be rescheduled in January or later. The case is Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, 16-980.

Small Kansas town gets second chance to vote itself out of existence. Frederick, KS – a tiny town thwarted in an effort to dissolve itself due to election errors – will get a second chance to cast ballots. The HeraldOnline has more:

A tiny town in central Kansas is getting a second chance to vote itself out of existence after people in another community mistakenly cast ballots on the issue last year.

Residents in Frederick will get another chance Nov. 7 to decide the town’s future. Robert Root, acting mayor by law, told the Hutchinson News that the eight people left in town have committed to voting for disincorporation.

During the November 2016 election, 20 people cast ballots, but Frederick had only nine registered voters and only six of those voters went to the polls. The problem was that at the Eureka township voting precinct, election workers accidentally gave ineligible township residents ballots with Frederick’s incorporation question…

The town, which once had 150 residents, hasn’t set a budget in more than two years, which is required by state law. No one ran for re-election when positions were up in April 2015, including Root.

Wendy Noren honored by local Democrats. Former Boone County, MO Clerk Wendy Noren – who retired recently after serving since 1982 – was honored with a new room at local Democratic headquarters, according to the Columbia Missourian:

When Wendy Noren began her career focusing on voter registration and elections, she thought she would only stay in the Boone County Clerk’s Office for one or two years. She didn’t imagine that this job would last for more than three decades.

On a chilly Friday night, the Boone County Democrats gave a warm welcome to Noren as she gave her speech during the dedication ceremony of an office for future Democratic candidates. The Wendy Noren Room is named after Noren in honor of her 35 years as the former Boone County Clerk…

Noren resigned in June after being diagnosed with cancer. She came back after two months, however, to provide consulting services for the county, according to previous Missourian reporting.

After writing the county’s voter registration programs and tax programs, Noren said her job now is to train programmers in the office to maintain files.

“I didn’t want the things that I designed over the last 35 years not to work,” Noren said. “Since I was the only one who used most of these tax programs, I need to document it, train the programmers on what needed to be done on that type of thing.”

Kentucky SoS fires back on allegations of impropriety. Last week, I wrote about the sudden dismissal of Kentucky’s top two election officials – a dismissal the outgoing deputy suggested was due to a memo he wrote questioning the actions of Secretary of State Alison Lundergran Grimes regarding access to the state’s voter file and an external contract for cybersecurity services. Grimes recently responded to deny those allegations, according to the Richmond Register:

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released a statement Thursday afternoon countering accusations by the Assistant Director of the Board of Elections fired by the board on Tuesday…

On Wednesday, Selph released a memo he sent to four unnamed board members in which he alleged Grimes improperly downloaded voter registration data during campaigns, allowed her staff improper access to voter data and interfered with the awarding of a contract for cyber security.

Grimes’ communications director Bradford Queen said in an emailed statement Thursday that Grimes “has always obtained voter information in the same manner as any other duly qualified candidate. Candidates for office in Kentucky have a number of available alternatives to obtain voter data, including purchasing it from the State Board of Elections or receiving it from political parties. As a result, in her capacity as a candidate, Secretary Grimes would have no reason to obtain voter data by other means.”

Queen’s email included a copy of the board’s minutes from its Feb. 21, 2017 meeting which indicated the board heard a presentation from Cyberscout, the security vendor Selph mentioned in his accusations, and the board approved the contract.

“Further, neither the Secretary of State’s Office nor the Board of Elections awards contracts,” Queen said in the statement. “The Finance and Administration Cabinet approves all contracts into which the Commonwealth enters, and did so in this case.”

That’s all the news for now; we’ll see you back here tomorrow … stay tuned!

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