Thursday, March 9, 2017

Electionline Weekly Mar-9-2017

Legislative Updates

Federal Legislation: Sens. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and David Perdue (R-Georgia) have reintroduced the State and Local Cyber Protection Act that would increase cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and State and Local Governments.

Rep. Jerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) have introduced the Fair, Accurate, Secure and Timely (FAST) Voting Act which would provide Federal Grants to States to boost Voting System Security and increase Voter Access to Elections. The Bill would let States compete for Federal Funding to implement Policy Changes aimed at Increasing Voter Access to Elections and boosting Voting System Security. TheGgrants would be administered by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, if it is still in existence.

Alaska: By a 32-8 Vote, the House has approved Legislation that would make it Legal to take a selfie with your Marked Ballot and post it on Social Media. The Bill heads next to the Senate.

Arkansas: Early in the week the Senate rejected a Bill to require Voters to show a Photo ID, but the Bill was approved on a second try. While Legislation to approve Voter ID moved forward, another Measure that would put the Question to the Voters in 2018 was also Approved.

California: Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) has introduced a Constitutional Amendment that would lower the State’s Voting Age from 18 to 17.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta has introduced Assembly Bill 918, the California Voting for All Act. Under the Bill, eligible Voters with limited English proficiency would be allowed to bring Laminated Translated Voting Ballots with them to the Polling place.

Colorado: By a 31-4 Vote, the Senate has approved Legislation that will allow Ballot Selfies in Colorado. While Lawmakers had twice rejected Bills to allow Ballot Selfies, this time both the Senate and the House have approved Legislation that Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has indicated he will sign.

Connecticut: Lawmakers debated two proposed Constitutional Amendments this week. One would allow No-Excuse Absentee Voting and the other would allow for Early Voting.

Florida: Under House Bill 1325 Local Elections officials would not be able to Extend Polling hours. “[U]nless there is a specific showing or finding of fact that extraordinary circumstances exist to justify the extension,” that option would not be available to Local Supervisors of Elections.

A Bill that would make the Secretary of State an Elected position instead of one Appointed by the Governor was Approved by the Senate Committee on Ethics and Elections.

Idaho: The House Education Committee has killed a Bill that would have made every Election Day in Idaho a School Holiday. While the Measure was created to protect the Safety of Students and Staff who work in Schools that serve in Polling Places, it drew strong opposition from School Boards Statewide.

Kansas: Sen. Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka) said that he plans to introduce Legislation that would empower County Commissioners to appoint County Elections officials instead of the Secretary of State.

Maine: The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee deadlocked 6-6 on a Bill that would require Voters to show a Photo ID to Vote. The Bill would require Voters to display a Photo Identification issued by the State, the Federal Government, a Maine College or University, or an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card used for Food Stamps or other Welfare Benefits. Voters who cannot provide a Photo ID could cast a Provisional Ballot, but that Vote would only be Counted if the Person’s Identity is subsequently Confirmed.

Massachusetts: Republicans in the Massachusetts Senate plan to introduce a Bill requiring the State to Reimburse Cities and Towns for Mandated Costs related to Early Voting.

Michigan: House Bill 4328, which has been referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee would Legalize Ballot Selfies in Michigan. The Bill would apply to Ballots cast In-Person at Polling places or by Absentee.

Minnesota: Initially introduced as a stand-alone Bill (Senate File 1225) a Measure to introduce Provisional Ballots to Minnesota has been rolled into a larger Elections Reform Package (Senate File 514). Under the Proposal, Provisional Votes would be cast, then set aside until a Challenged Voter’s Eligibility is Reviewed by Election authorities and either Affirmed or Denied. Officials would have seven days to make that Decision.

The House has approved $14 million in Funding for Counties to Update Voting Equipment, but Local Elections officials say that is not nearly enough and is about half what they really need.

New Hampshire: One of the many Election-Reform Bills making its way through the New Hampshire Legislature is one that would Bar anyone who comes to New Hampshire only for “Temporary Purposes” from Voting in the State. This includes anyone here for less than 30 days for Vacation, Short-Term Work on Volunteer Work.

The House of Representatives approved a variety of Election-Related Bills on Thursday, including a measure to step up Enforcement of Unverified Voter Affidavits by turning the process over to the Secretary of State. The House also passed HB 430, which requires Local Election officials to keep track of Voters using an Out-of-State Driver’s License as Proof of Identity when Voting, by a Vote of 187-160. An Automatic Voter Registration Bill was defeated as was a Bill that would allow any Voter to Vote by Absentee Ballot.

Nebraska: According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, LR1CA, a Constitutional Amendment which would require Voters to show a Photo ID may be headed for a Filibuster showdown.

Nevada: By a 3-2 Partisan Vote a Senate Committee approved Automatic Voter Registration Legislation. The Bill now moves to the full Senate where it is expected to Pass.

Ohio: By a 32-0 Vote, the Ohio Senate has approved SB 10 which would allow Counties to eliminate uncontested Primary Races from Ballots. In addition, Special Primaries for Open Congressional Seats would not be held if only One Candidate qualifies for the Ballot. Do not know what happens to write-ins.

Oregon: Senate Bill 683 would require the State to Pay Postage for all Mail-In Ballots at a Cost of about $650,000 per year. If Approved, it would go into effect in 2019.

Rhode Island: Rep. Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) said he plans to introduce a Resolution in the Rhode Island House of Representatives urging the U.S. Congress to Rework the Federal Motor Voter Act to allow States to require Proof-of-Citizenship to Register to Vote.

Utah: By 59-12 with Bipartisan Support, the House has voted to Approve HB349 which would implement Ranked-Choice-Voting in Multi-Candidate Primaries. However, with a 3-3 tie, a Senate Committee Voted to Kill the Bill.

The House Voted 26-45 to Kill HB314 which would have required Mail-In Ballots arrive at a County Clerk’s office on or before Election Day.

A Senate Committee has Approved Legislation in support of Automatic Voter Registration. The Bill would change the current Opt-In System to an Opt-Out System. The Bill was Approved 5-1 and now moves to the full Senate.

Washington: The Senate voted 34-15 to Move the State’s Presidential Primary from May to early March beginning in 2020. The Approval came despite some complaints that the Bill only addressed the Presidential Primary and not the entire Primary System.

Although No Cases of Ballot Box vandalism have been reported. Lawmakers have Approved Legislation to Protect Ballot Drop Boxes. The Bill defines the Removal, Destruction or Damage of a Drop Box or its contents as Malicious Mischief. It Upgrades the Crime to a Class C Felony with a Penalty of up to Five Years in Prison, a $10,000 Fine or Both.

West Virginia: The House has approved Legislation that will allow Electioneering as close as 100 feet from the Entrance to a Polling Place, including during Early Voting. The current Law is 300 feet and was approved in 1986.

In the House, the Judiciary Committee worked through a new Voter ID Bill and sent it down to a Subcommittee for further review. The Bill, if approved, would require Residents to show a Valid Driver’s License, State ID Card, Passport or Passport Card, an Employee ID Card or any other Government Agency ID or Military Card. It would ban use of High School or College IDs, Birth Certificates, SNAP ID Cards, Utility Bills, Bank Cards, etc. as allowed under Current Law.

Legal Updates

Federal Litigation: U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia has Ruled that it’s up to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to decide whether its Executive Director Exceeded his Authority when he allowed Three States to change a National Mail Voter Registration Form to include a Proof-of-Citizenship Requirement.

Colorado: The Colorado Court of Appeals has sent back to District Court a Lawsuit challenging Fees collected by the Secretary of State’s Office to Fund Elections. The National Federation of Independent Businesses sued claiming that Business-Filing Fees are Taxes because they are used for Non-Business-Related Functions. The Appeals Court on Thursday asked Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ Office to determine whether there have been any Fee Hikes since 1992 that possibly could be subject to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

Toni Newbill has pleaded Guilty to Voting Twice in the 2016 Primary. She cast her Own Ballot and attempted to cast a Vote for a Person who Died in 2012.

Florida: Manuel Alejandro Angulo, 29, has been Charged with One Count of Falsely Registering a Non-Citizen to Vote, a Third-Degree Felony. A Nonpartisan Voter Outreach Group Angulo worked for Contacted the Elections Department when they discovered what he had been doing.

Georgia: Hancock County has agreed to Restore the Voting Rights of dozens of African-American Registered Voters they Disenfranchised ahead of a 2015 Election. About Three-Quarters of the People they removed from the voting Rolls, nearly all of them black, still live in the Voting District and will be Restored to the County's Registered Voter List under the Settlement.

Iowa: Fifth Judicial District Judge Porter has reversed a 2012 Reprimand of former Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett. Porter wrote that the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board did not prove Slockett, who served until 2012, Wasted County Money when he took Campaign Calls in his County Office.

Kansas: Oral arguments were held recently in the Case against Proof-of-Citizenship for Voter Registration. During Oral arguments, Attorneys representing Voters Denied Registration asked for Summary Judgment in their Companion Cases, rather than going to Trial. They argued that evidence already on the record proves that Elements of the Law were Unconstitutional.

Maine: Briefs have been submitted by Maine’s Attorney General, Legislative Republicans, and others in the Lawsuit against the Voter Approved Measure to move the State to Ranked-Choice Voting. A Trial Date is set for April.

Minnesota: The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Minnesota’s Law of Banning Political Apparel at Polling Places does Not Infringe on First Amendment Rights. The Case arose after Members of the Minnesota Tea Party wore “Please ID Me” Buttons to the Polls in 2010 and they were asked to Remove the Buttons.

Three Felons have been charged with knowingly Voting as an Ineligible Person in the 2016 General Election. All three are accused of Voting before they had Completed Probation for Felony Convictions. All also reportedly said they did not know they were Ineligible to Vote.

Ohio: The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, and the Ohio Democratic Party are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a Years-Long Challenge to Ohio’s Provisional and Absentee Ballot Rules. The Homeless Advocates argue that a pair of 2014 Laws adding Requirements for Absentee and Provisional Ballots unfairly Disenfranchise Minority Voters.

Rebecca Hammonds has been Sentenced to 180 days in Jail for Voter Fraud. Hammonds was found guilty of Falsifying Voter Registration Records including Registering people to Vote who had already died.

Rhode Island: The Cranston Police is investigating Eight Criminal Cases of Illegal Voting including two Non-Citizens who voted in Cranston; two people who voted Twice in one Cranston Elections; a person who voted in Cranston as well as Providence; and an Imposter who voted in Providence. According to The Providence Journal there is no suggestion that the Illegal votes swayed any Election.

Texas: U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinjosa has Denied Motions to Dismiss a Case against Starr County Elections Administrator Rafael Montalvo. The American Civil Rights Union Sued the County alleging that the Number of People Registered to Vote in the County is more than the Number of those who are Eligible and of Voting Age.

Noe Olvera, 43, a former Mailman, has admitted to Selling Lists of Mail-In Voters to Political Operatives in Hidalgo County. According to KURV, Olvera acknowledged taking $1,000 to provide the List.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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