October 2017

electionlineWeekly on Partnership Between West Virginia SoS, Air National Guard

The latest electionlineWeekly features a story by Mindy Moretti about a fascinating new partnership between the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office and the state’s Air National Guard wing. Given how much cyberdefense has become a key component of many military units, it makes sense for states to create partnerships like this one to protect their election systems.

Pennsylvania SoS Pedro Cortes Resigns

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Pedro Cortes resigned yesterday in a surprise move announced by the governor’s office without much warning or explanation. There is speculation – but no confirmation – that a growing controversy about the state’s registration procedures may have been a factor.

When an Open Door is a Problem: Controversy in Ohio’s Summit County

Many election offices across the country operate with an “open door” policy in an effort to demonstrate transparency, but the idea got pushed a little too far earlier this week in Summit County (Akron), Ohio when the doors to the Board of Elections office were automatically unlocked on Columbus Day when no one was there.

Fargo Commissioners Spar on Approval Voting, Next Steps for Election Reform

Back in March. I wrote about discussions in Fargo, ND about using approval voting to elect members of the City Commission. Now, commissioners are divided on whether and how to put those proposed reforms into place. It’s a useful reminder that proposals to change elections remain proposals until they have support from policymakers – who are often motivated by concerns that have nothing to do with election policy.

EAC’s Brian Hancock on “The Last Mile” in Election Security

Brian Hancock of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has a new blog post that looks at the suddenly-popular and always-vital topic of election cybersecurity and makes the important observation that improved security not only requires policymakers and election officials to think big, but also requires them to think small – a reminder that election security doesn’t work for any of us unless it works for all of us.

Members Only: FL’s Closed Primaries Draw Criticism

Florida lawmakers and election officials are taking a look at the state’s closed primary system as more and more voters are abandoning traditional partisan affiliations but still want to have a say in nominating contests. The Sunshine State’s decision to wrestle with these issues could be a harbinger of similar debates in other states across the country.

NY Federal Court Upholds Selfie Ban, Sets Up Potential Date with SCOTUS

A New York federal court ruled last week that the state’s ban on ballot selfies – and a New York City policy implementing that law – do not violate the First Amendment and thus may be enforced at the polls, setting up a potential conflict with a similar case from New Hampshire that could eventually find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case uses some familiar data – and raises even more interesting questions.