John Kauffman, longtime elections director in Multnomah County, OR, retired this past Friday.
John is well known and well respected in the elections field. He served on a number of regional and national advisory panels. John also deserves accolades from the academic community. He has not just been willing to help, but has been an enthusiastic partner in research projects.
Most of the first wave of papers dealing with Oregon’s voting by mail system rely on data made available by John (and the indomitable John Lindback, Oregon State Director of Elections). I hope Priscilla Southwell, Adam Berinsky, Mike Traugott, Nancy Burns, Michael Hamner, Jeffrey Karp, and Susan Banducci find a moment to send John a note of congratulations on his retirement.
My own recent work on early voting relied heavily on insights, guidance, and gentle corrections from the two Johns.
I knew that John had been planning to retire for some time. Sadly, it looks like his departure was hastened by some internal politicking at Multnomah County, this just as Oregon is preparing for it’s first contested presidential primary in decades, and is in the midst of a hard fought Senate primary.
This is only the latest political casualty in the elections administration field, and hopefully this does not signal a trend.