Presentation on theme: "New Clerks 101: What Have I Gotten Myself Into? December 13, 2011 Election Administrator’s Conference."— Presentation transcript:
New Clerks 101: What Have I Gotten Myself Into? December 13, 2011 Election Administrator’s Conference
New Clerks 101 Basic Survival Tips: Filings There is not a state form for everything. Clerk doesn’t prepare lawsuits, only files the pleadings.“My name tag says clerk, not your attorney.” Election documents are legally “filed” when: (1) document is presented to proper individual; (2) document is received by individual; and (3) individual records when document was received. Time stamps or hand notations OK. IC 3-5-2-24.5. Make sure version of form is still current or authorized. Check IED Forms List. Forms must be rejected (and not filed) if on obsolete forms. IC 3-5-4-8 Forms can’t be accepted after legal deadline. Must be rejected. Exception: VR applications; campaign finance IC 3-5-4-1.9.
New Clerks 101 Things That Are Usually True Every election law has exceptions! Rules apply 99% of time. NOON means NOON. Deadlines are important: If the deadline isn’t noon, when is it? Almost all documents are public records, available for public inspection, including original voter registration cards and absentee ballot applications. IC 3-5-4-8 Some exceptions: Certain provisional ballot information at certain times (IC 3-10-1-31.1; 3-11.7-5-2.7); Certain voter registration information about where an applicant applied. (IC 3-7-30-1)
New Clerks 101 Open Door Law and “Legal” Notices Clerk serves as “Secretary of County Election Board”, and keeps records and minutes. Posting notices of County Election Board meetings: At “principal office” or in building where meeting is held. At least 48 hours in advance, not counting weekends and holidays. Must also post advance notice of any “executive session” authorized by state law. “Emergency” meetings permitted for actual or threatened disruption to election activity. Notice to media, posting at location. IC 5-14-1.5-5 Legal notice (paid publication in newspaper) almost never required. Exceptions: Notice of elections; Notice of public tests.
New Clerks 101 Dual lucrative office Indiana Constitution says a person cannot hold more than one “lucrative office” at same time: “Lucrative” means any amount of money, however small, other than reimbursement for actual expenses. “Office” is not same as “employment”. “Office” is not limited to an ELECTED office. Can be appointed. Person taking second lucrative office automatically resigns first one. Only a judge can give a definite answer to the question. There are Attorney General Advisory Opinions, but these are not binding.
New Clerks 101 Nepotism (Indiana Code 36-1-20.2) 2012 statute (not truly an election law issue, but that won’t stop anyone from asking you for legal advice). Basic requirement: Individual cannot employ a “relative” to work for a unit of local government is one relative is in “Direct line of supervision” of other relative. Local units of government can adopt stricter policies against nepotism or waive exemptions that ordinarily apply. Check with county attorney. Does not apply to anyone employed on July 1, 2012 by unit of local government unless there is break in employment. Annual certification required that official has not violated state law. Enforcement? If notified of violation by State Bd of Accounts, then Dept of Local Govt Finance may not approve budget of unit of local government. No action specified against employee or hiring authority.
Candidates need special care and handling You are not the “Candidate Police…. Except…” Know the “Put Up or Shut Up Law” IC 3-8-1-2. You are not the Campaign Manager, or Candidate’s Attorney
New Clerks 101 Voting Systems Know the players: Indiana Election Commission (4 member body) certifies each model or upgrade of voting system. No such thing as a “certified vendor”. Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) – Ball State University faculty and staff who examine voting systems, collect voting system information, make recommendation to Indiana Election Commission. Co-Directors of Election Division: work with IEC, VSTOP, and vendors. Vendors: some supply and support machines, others support for other vendor equipment. Certifications and “grandfathering”: All system certifications expire October 1 after presidential election. Some vendors choose to reapply for another 4 years; others can be “grandfathered”. Means county can continue to use voting system so long as system complies with law.
New Clerks 101 Voting Systems In working with vendors, learn from the experience of others: “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!” Louis B. Mayer If it is important -Get it in writing. Don’t rely on what one vendor says about another vendor or their machine. Get your county commissioners and county attorney involved: Ask county attorney or other counsel to review your contracts County commissioners required to file contracts with Indiana Election Division within 30 days after board approves. IC 3-11-7-18; 3-11-7.5-27 Ballot disasters – typos or candidate changes: The more eyes, the better. Offer every candidate a chance to check the ballot. Give vendor an alert when you know that ballot reprinting might be required- sometimes reprints happen at last minute – Candidate deaths, for example.
New Clerks 101 Education and Outreach Offer briefings for candidates (campaign finance reporting requirements, for example) Plan outreach to schools for new voters. Outreach to General Public: “Model” press releases about VR deadlines, election day, etc., are available from HAVA staff. Consider ways to improve poll worker training – role playing, for example. Some people learn best by reading; Other people learn best by listening; and some people learn best by acting it out.
New Clerks 101 Election Day in (or near) the Polls Be prepared to answer questions about who can be in the polls Everyone (except people voting or minor children with them) needs a credential that states their name, and why they are in the polls Could be party challenger, watcher, pollbook holder Could be county election board member or mechanics Could be media watchers Be prepared to answer questions about “electioneering” in polls or chute. Be prepared to answer questions about photo ID requirements (changes regarding certain veterans ID)