The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recently announced the winners of the 2018 Clearinghouse Awards, affectionately known as the Clearie Awards. The annual Clearie Awards recognize county, city and state election offices for best practices in election administration and highlight innovative programs designed to better serve voters. Five counties were among those receiving awards: Bernalillo County, N.M.; Contra Costa County, Calif.; Martin County, Fla.; Montgomery County, Md.; and Weber County, Utah.
In announcing the awards, former EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks praised election administrators as great civic leaders who, despite limited resources and zero margin for error, constantly strive for innovative solutions to support and enhance our democratic process. “Each recipient of this award represents the very best of what it means to be an election administrator,” said Chairman Hicks. “We at the EAC applaud them for their dedication, and hope their work can serve as an example to others.” Submissions are judged based on efficacy, innovation, sustainability, outreach effort, cost-effectiveness and replicability.
Counties were awarded Clearies across three categories:
Best Practices in Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers
- Bernalillo County, New Mexico: After an overhaul of their existing training program, the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office was able to reduce errors at poll sites and redirect staff time towards completing post-election procedures through an innovative online poll worker training program called “Learn the Vote.”
- Montgomery County, Maryland: Since the Montgomery County Board of Elections launched its “Future Vote Initiative,” over 43,000 students in grades 6-12 have participated, including over 10,000 who have served as election judges after their sixteenth birthday.
Outstanding Innovations in Elections Administration
- Weber County, Utah: With a small team of elections staff serving 116,000 registered voters, the Weber County Elections Division was recognized for their innovative “Winning in Weber” program that engages students, voters with disabilities, veterans and other community members in the electoral process.
Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities
- Contra Costa County, California: As part of their “A Simple (Accessible) Path for All” initiative, the Contra Costa County Elections Division provides Accessible Polling Place Location and Equipment (APPLE) classes and kits to ensure that polling places remain accessible throughout Election Day by training election workers on the ballot marking devices and providing tools like ramps and signs to ensure the path of travel is accessible.
- Martin County, Florida: For the 2016 Presidential Election, the Martin County Elections Center saw an eight percent increase in participation among voters who indicated they had special needs in response to a series of educational videos in their “Count Me in Too” campaign.
Click here to learn more about the Clearie Awards and these award-winning programs.