Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago met April 11.
Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago met April 11.
Here is the minutes provided by the Board:
Marisel A. Hernandez, Chairwoman (telephonic attendance)
WilliamJ. Kresse, Commissioner/Secretary
Jonathan T. Swain, Commissioner
Lance Gough, Executive Director
Kelly Bateman, Assistant Executive Director
James M. Scanlon, General Counsel
Jim Allen, Communications Director
Peter Peso, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Bill Perez, Coordinator Hispanic Outreach
Sarita Villarreal, Consultant
Gary Rycyzyn, Consultant
Geneva Morris, Videographer
Helene S. Gabelnick, League of Women Voters - Chicago
Sandy Hed, Election Works
Chaya Rubenstein, Clean Count Cook County
Sue Casey, ES&S
I. Call to Order: Chairwoman Hernandez called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m.
II. Roll Call: All members were present.
III. Consideration of Agenda: The agenda was approved as presented.
IV. Approval of Minutes:
A. Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of March 28, 2017: Commissioner Swain moved to approve the Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of March 28, 2017. Commissioner Kresse seconded the motion. The Minutes were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.
V. Executive Director's Report
Executive Director Lance Gough reported that he was a panelist at the Election Assistance Commission's (EAC) meeting to discuss "elections as a part of critical infrastructure". Copies of Mr. Gough's speech were sent to the Board Members. Mr. Gough thanked Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Allen fortheir help in preparing the speech.
At the end April Mr. Gough will be attending the EAC Standards Board meeting, of which Mr. Gough is a member, and the Council ofState Governments (CSG) working session, which are being held in conjunction with the U. S. Department of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) meeting in San Antonio. Thanks to Jim Scanlon and JimAllen, we have prepared a Standards Package, a copy of which was sent to each of the Board members.
Everything in the office is functioning well.
Jim Allen, Joan Agnew, Kelly Bateman and Mr. Gough are working on a new organizational chart for the office. The chart should be available to the Commissioners in a week or two.
Commissioner Kresse asked that with the recognition of elections as critical infrastructure ifitlooks as ifthere Is potential for any funding. Mr. Gough's response was that the message he received in Washington was that there will not be any funding forelections coming from the Federal Government, and they were very forceful about that.
A. Assistant Executive Director Bateman had nothing further to add. Every department is helping Registration with their daily intake cards and routine cleanup.
Communications Director Allen noted that on Thursday April 13, following up to the February voting equipment expo, there will be a showcase with fewer vendors - only 4 - than in February. The showcase will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the large conference room on the lower level. The format will give each vendor one hour to present and take written questions submitted to the moderator. Itwill be structured for our goal of getting information in order to prepare and issue a request for proposal.
Shobhana Johri-Verma, our Southeast Asian outreach liaison, gave a presentation that was well received before the US Civil Rights Commission. In fact, she has been invited to speak again in Washington.
Mr. Allen served as a Judge of Election during the recent suburban elections. Mr. Allen stated that it was an eye-opener seeing what we do at the retail level. He found it helpful and will provide further information in the future.
VI. Old Business
A. Infrastructure Projects and Changes in Election Administration: Discussed.
B. Electronic Poll Books: Nothing new to report.
C. Voting Equipment: Vendor show this Thursday (discussed above).
D. Legislation: General Counsel Scanlon sent a Status Report of pending legislation to the Commissioners. Mr. Scanlon has nothing further to report at this time.
VII. New Business
A. Consideration and Approval of Proposed Settlement Agreement between U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Board regarding polling place accessibility.
Mr. Scanlon provided a short outline of the salient features of the Agreement along with some background. The U.S. Department of Justice (USDoJ) conducted a compliance review in March 2016 and found that a number of polling places did not meet the accessibilities requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since that time there have been a number of meetings and discussions with the US Department of Justice along with Equip for Equality, the Federally designated advocacy organization for people with disabilities in the State of Illinois. The parties worked collaboratively to try to reach consensus on how to move forward to make sure that polling places in the City of Chicago are fully accessible. The result of those discussions is the Settlement Agreement before the Board.
• The Agreement would be in effect for 4 years after the effective date of when it is approved.
• The Board pledges to workwith Equip for Equality (or some other Third Party Expert acceptable to the USDoJ) to survey all polling places (both early voting and election day polling places) using a survey tool approved by USDoJ.
• Beginning with the March 2018 primary election, the Board will secure accessible polling places to ensure that by the November 2018 general election every polling place is permanently or temporarily accessible.
o if a polling place is not accessible, the Board will relocate the polling place to an alternate, accessible location.
o Ifan accessible polling place cannot be secured, the Board will implement procedures that will at least make the polling place temporarily accessible using measures outlined in the Agreement,
o If the Board finds that it cannot implement an accessible recommendation regarding a specific polling place location, the Board and the USDoJ will meet and confer to see if there can be some resolution.
• The Agreement reserves the right of the Board to request USDoJ's approval for modified "curbside" voting in the rare event that no suitable accessible polling place can be found.
• The Agreement does not preclude the Board from using "vote centers" ifand when such "vote centers" are authorized by State law and compliant with all federal statutes.
• The Agreement also imposes training requirements for all election coordinators and election judges.
• USDoJ agrees to refrain from filing any civil suit with regard to Chicago's polling places for a period of 4 years.
• USDoJ will worktogether with the Board to assess whether proposed polling place locations are or can be made accessible.
• If USDoJ believes that the Board has failed to substantially comply with the Agreement, itwill notify the Board inwriting. A meeting will be held in an attempt to resolve in good faith any issue. But ifthe matter cannot be resolved, the USDoJ may initiate a civil action.
Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Gough recommend that the Board approve the Settlement Agreement and authorize Lance Gough to sign and execute the Agreement on behalf of the Board.
Commissioner Kresse moved to approve the Settlement Agreement between U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Board regarding polling place accessibility and authorize the Executive Director to sign on behalf of the Board. Commissioner Swain seconded the motion. The motion was approved by unanimous vote of the Board
VIII. Legal Report: Mr. Scanlon had nothing to report at this time.
IX. Financial Report: None
X. Public Comment
A. Chaya Rubenstein representing Clean Count Cook County (formerly Who's Counting Chicago) asked the Board to clarifythe types of election related equipment that will be replaced by the soon to be released RPR? The Chairwoman Hernandez responded that when the RFP is released, all will have access to it and will be able to see it, but It has yet to be finalized.
XI. Executive Session: None
XII. Adjournment: Motion to adjourn until the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting of April 25, 2017 was made by Commissioner Swain, seconded by Commissioner Kresse and passed by unanimous vote of the Board. Meeting adjourned at 9:22 a.m.