Friday, July 15, 2016

Electionline Weekly-July-14-2016

Legislative Updates

Delaware: This week, Gov. Jack Markell signed Legislation into law that lifts the financial burden for ex-felons to restore their voting rights. Under the new law, felons will still have to complete the terms of their sentence before their rights are restored, but they will not have to complete paying all fines, fees and restitution they may owe.

Michigan: Rep. Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, and Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, introduced a "Voter Bill of Rights" resolution that would amend the Constitution to allow No-Reason Absentee voting, Early Voting and Automatic Registration when a voter gets a driver's license or State ID card. It would also automatically send ballots to Michiganders serving in the Armed Forces overseas.

Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon (D) have vetoed Legislation that would have required voters to show a Government-issued Photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Although there were provisions in the bill that would have exempted anyone born before 1946, those with disabilities or those with religious objections, Nixon said the allowances didn’t go far enough. “Due to the overwhelming evidence that photo ID requirements aren’t necessary, the proliferation of these laws is widely understood to be motivated by an attempt to suppress turnout among certain classes of voters,” Nixon said in his veto message.

Legal Updates

Georgia: Project Vote has sued Secretary of State Brian Kemp in an effort to force the release of Voter Registration records the group says it needs to determine if voters were improperly rejected or purged from Voter rolls.

Minnesota: The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction of Wanamingo Township Supervisor Thomas Joseph Shane who burned ballots after the Spring 2014 election. According to the Republican-Eagle, Shane’s attorney argued that destroying ballots is a specific-intent crime under State statute, meaning the act needed to have been carried out with the intent to commit a crime. But the Appeals Court determined it is a General-Intent law, and that the act only had to have been done on purpose. State law requires that ballots must be kept for 22 months following an election.

Nevada: Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish has dismissed a challenge to the Primary election saying that the challenger did not demonstrate the errors on Voter Registration cards could have changed the results of the election.

North Carolina: Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan has set a Sept. 26 trial date for the State’s voter ID law. Morgan rejected calls from lawyers for the State and Legislature to assign the case to a three-judge panel or dismiss it altogether. "I will move this case forward as expediently as possible," Morgan said in court.

Oregon: The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a misdemeanor conviction of a man who satirically offered to buy blank ballots. "No matter how much one might wish to reduce cynicism about elections and any justifications for that cynicism, the Legislature cannot accomplish that goal by suppressing expression because of the 'supposed harm that the message itself might be presumed to cause to the hearer or to society,'" Chief Judge Erika Hadlock wrote.

Pennsylvania: A former Allegheny County Election judge and two others were charged with conspiring to steal funds during April’s Primary election. Sharon Troutman is accused of submitted false attendance rosters and pay sheets for her son and cousin.

U.S. Virgin Islands: The Joint Elections Board of the U.S. Virgin Islands has rejected a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding ADA compliance at polling sites. According to the St. Croix Source, while the Joint Board did not have problems with many aspects of the settlement, they did take exception with the requirement to train election workers in ADA compliance or to designate someone to oversee each polling place for compliance issues.

Utah: U.S. District Judge Jill Parish has denied motions to throw out claims in a lawsuit that alleges Vote-By-Mail procedures in San Juan County hinder the ability of Navajo citizens to vote. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the suit, filed in February, says the County closed all polling places and the only way to vote in person in the 2014 election was to go to the clerk's office in Monticello, which is not on the reservation. The plaintiffs are seeking an order reopening polling sites and requiring translation services to Navajo-speaking voters for all future elections.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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