Thursday, July 7, 2016

Electionline Weekly July-7-2016

Legislative Updates

California: Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) plans to introduce legislation designed to protect the voting records of individuals. “With new technology advancements come new levels of fraud and abuse,” Waldron said. “My legislation will update process and protections for voters in the new digital age.”

SB450, which would send a mail ballot to every registered voter was approved by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.

Delaware: A bill that eliminates the requirement for ex-felons to complete all the monetary requirements of their sentences before having their voting rights restored has been approved by the General Assembly. Under Senate Bill 242, once a felon has completed the other terms of their sentence, they may have their rights restored even if they have outstanding financial obligations.

Illinois: Under a law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) on June 30, Illinois will now be a part of ERIC. State Sen. Terry Link, who sponsored the bill, said the system will not only modernize the State’s Voter Registration system but allow it to keep better track of voter records and ensure the election system’s integrity. Illinois is the 19th state and the District of Columbia to join ERIC.

U.S. Virgin Islands: The Senate has approved legislation that would move the Virgin Islands to a Unitary Elections Board. Under the approved legislation, there will be one, Unified Elections Board with 14 members, seven from each district.

Legal Updates

California: U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer refused to grant a motion from the California Council of the Blind for a preliminary injunction against San Mateo County and the State of California. The original suit claimed that the County and State were disenfranchising blind and visually impaired voters by using an all-paper absentee ballot pilot program.

Iowa: In a 4-3 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that all felonies are “infamous crimes” and therefore all ex-felons remain permanently disenfranchised under the State Constitution. "This ruling goes in line with 150 years of precedence and has been reaffirmed by the people of Iowa and their elected representatives on multiple occasions," Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement. Some lawmakers and civil rights groups vow to change the State Law and amend the Constitution.

Louisiana: Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE) has filed suit in the 19th Judicial District seeking to restore voting rights to nearly 70,000 Louisiana citizens. The lawsuit, which names Gov. John Bel Edwards and Secretary of State Tom Schedler as defendants, takes aim at a law passed in 1976 that altered the definition of who may vote so that it excludes people on probation or parole. The lawsuit claims that law was passed improperly and that the State Constitution, as written and approved in 1974, actually afforded voting rights to probationers and parolees.

New Jersey: The New Jersey Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the State’s Voter Registration deadline. The Rutgers University Student Association had argued that the State’s 21-day registration deadline is no longer needed because of electronic systems to verify registrations.

North Carolina: A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-1 that new voting maps for the Wake County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education are unconstitutional because they violate equal representation. Candidate filing for the November election was set to start Friday, but that now is in limbo.

: After nine days of trial, Judge James Peterson heard closing remarks in Wisconsin’s Voter ID law challenge. During closing arguments, Peterson said, “Both the Democratic side and the Republican side probably overstated or over-predicted the impact the voter ID law would have on elections,” adding that he doesn't see "anything powerful either way." Peterson said he will rule by the end of July.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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