3:57 p.m: The NC State Board of Elections has won a national award for its work on a program designed to foster better collaboration between the state agency and the 100 county boards of elections and improve the administration of elections for voters and candidates.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced Thursday that the State Board received a Clearinghouse Award for “Outstanding Innovations in Elections” (Large Jurisdictions) for its “HUBS” program.
The Wake County Board of Elections also won in the “Outstanding Innovations in Elections” (Large Jurisdictions) category for its data-driven solution on determining which Election Day precincts should be split by using voter registration, Election Day turnout, and projected voter population rather than individual preferences or political bias.
The Durham County Board of Elections received a “Clearie” award for its “No Bull: I Voted” sticker.
HUBS, which stands for “Helping Us Be Successful,” is a program establishing working groups of county and state elections staff who are experts in various elections topics. These groups serve as literal “hubs” for gathering and sharing information on subject areas and working toward solutions to address the needs of voters, candidates, and elections officials.
The program includes 13 HUBS in important areas such as Voter Registration, Voting Systems, Absentee Voting, In-Person Voting, and Campaign Finance. Each HUB meets regularly online.
This work structure fosters a team approach to elections administration, gives county directors and staff – the front lines of the elections process – a strong voice in important decisions, and trains subject matter experts across the state in various aspects of elections.
“In elections, there are many jurisdictions but one purpose – successful elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, in the Clearie submission. “We wanted strong connections between the county and state boards and constant communication, and we needed to create a system for that.”
HUBS, for example, helped design absentee ballot forms and envelopes, and created filing packets for candidates and a candidate filing guide.
“All of this was done in plenty of time for the counties to prepare for the filing period,” said Dell Parker, Scotland County elections director. “I was very proud to be a part of the process that brought the state and counties together to provide timely documents and assistance.”
The EAC presents the Clearinghouse Awards annually for best practices in election administration. Winners were selected by independent panels of election officials and members from the EAC’s advisory boards, with the EAC Commissioners serving as judges for the sticker category.
“The recipients of these awards should be incredibly proud of the work they did to ensure the accuracy, security, and accessibility of the 2021 election,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “Their innovative thinking, resourcefulness, and creativity are excellent examples for other election administrators to follow and learn from.”
The State Board also received a “Clearie” award last year for the Democracy Heroes program, which identified nearly 60,000 North Carolinians willing to serve as election workers for the 2020 general election. See State Board Receives National Award for 2020 Poll Worker Recruitment Efforts.