Thursday, April 27, 2017

Electionline Weekly Apr-27-2017

Legislative Updates

Alabama: Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) has introduced Legislation that would allow for No-Excuse Absentee Voting in The Yellowhammer State. While voters would not be required to provide an excuse, they would have to include a Copy of their Photo ID with their Absentee Ballot Application. A very good addition to help with Fraud protection. Another option could have the Board of Elections to snail mail a security-code that the sender would have to add the the Absentee application.

Arizona: Senate Bill 1307 is now before Gov. Doug Ducey that would add an extra day to the Voter Registration Deadline if the Deadline falls on a Weekend or a Holiday.

California: The Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendment has unanimously approved a Bill that would prohibit the Department of Motor Vehicles from giving the Secretary of State’s office Electronic information needed to complete the Voter Registration Affidavit for Ineligible voters how holding special Drivers’ Licenses for Non-Citizens.

The full body has approved Bill 286 that would allow Voters who lose their Vote-by-Mail Ballot or never Receive it, to cast a Regular Ballot instead of Provisional one at an In-Person Polling place.

Assembly Bill 668, offered by Lorena Gonzales (D-San Diego) would allow Lawmaker to place a $450 million Voting-Equipment borrowing Measure on the June 2018 Ballot to Replace many of the State’s Aging Voting machines.

Indiana: Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a Bill into Law that expands the opportunities for Indianans to Register to Vote, but does not allow them to Automatically get Registered.

Louisiana: A House Committee has Rejected a Bill that would have Restored the Voting Rights of 70,000 Ex-Felons. The Committee also Rejected a Bill that would have put ex-Felon Voting Rights Restoration before the voters.

Maine: Largely along Partisan lines, the House has vote Down a Requirement to show a Photo ID in order to cast a Ballot by a 76-67 vote. According to the Portland Press Herald, the measure will likely see some Senate Action, but overall appears Dead for the 2017 Session.

Nebraska: The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted 6 to 2 to Advance to the floor Legislative Resolution 1CA that asks Residents if they want to put a Photo ID for Voting requirement in the State Constitution. If approved the language will appear on the Ballot in November 2018.

Lawmakers have Approved a Bill that will rRstore a Felons’ Right to Vote as soon as they have completed the Terms of their Sentence. Currently there is a Two-Year Waiting period after all Terms of their Sentence are complete. Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he will not Sign the Bill, but he did not go so far as to Veto it.

Nevada: With the clock ticking, by a 12-9 vote the Senate has Approved a Bill that will allow voters to Register and Vote on the same day. The Bill extends Voter Registration until the last day of Early Voting and allows Same-Day Registration at Designated locations. The Bill also establishes Voting Centers.

North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has vetoed a Bill that would have Consolidated the State Elections and Ethics Board. On Monday, the Senate voted 33-15 to Override the Veto. The House completed the Override on Tuesday.

The North Carolina House unanimously voted to begin the process of Amending the State Constitution to remove Article VI, Section 4 which says “Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language.” House Bill 148 would let Voters decide the fate of the Provision in a November 2018 Referendum. “I don’t think I need to explain why we want to repeal it,” Republican Rep. Michael Speciale told the News & Observer. “It’s a stain on North Carolina, and I just think it’s something that needs to come out of the constitution.”

The Senate has approved a Bill from Sen. Andrew Brock (R) would prevent voting Hours from being extended in a Precinct where there was Equipment Malfunction or another problem unless every other Precinct in the State stays open as well.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) has Signed a Bill into Law that Reworks the State’s Voter ID Laws allowing Voters who don’t have the required ID to Cast a Provisional Ballot. An Attorney for the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa that is Suing the State over the ID Law argues that the Legislative changes don’t fix the constitutional problems with the Law.

Ohio: Senator Frank LaRose has introduced Senate Bill 135, a Supplemental Appropriation Bill for Multiple Fiscal years that would allow for the Acquisition and Implementation of new Voting machines and other Elections-related equipment.

Tennessee: The Legislature has Approved a Measure that allows High School Students who Volunteer at the Polls on Election Day to turn those hours into Community Service hours necessary for Tennessee Scholars and Tennessee Promise Scholarships.

Texas: The McAllen City Commission has Approved a Measure that will allow an All-Volunteer Signature Verification Committee to review Absentee Ballots for the upcoming Election. With more than 500 Absentee Ballots expected, this should save the Elections office about 12 hours of work.

The Texas House Committee on Election discussed House Bill 3425 that would Decrease the Number of Mail-In Ballots a person can handle and impose a heavier Fine for those who Violate the Law.

Legal Updates

Florida: The State’s Highest Court has given the go-ahead for a proposed State Constitutional Amendment that would change the way Ex-Felons have their Voting Rights Restored. The Voting Restoration Amendment would Restore Voting Rights to those with felony Convictions after they complete all Terms or their Sentence including Parole and Probation.

Georgia: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have filed a Federal Lawsuit accusing the State of Violating Federal Law by Reducing the amount of Time Residents have to Register to Vote. The Suit claims Georgia Law cuts off Voter Registration for Federal Run-Off Elections two Months earlier than Guaranteed under Federal Law.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has filed another federal Lawsuit against the State claiming Georgia Lawmakers Violated Federal Voting Rights Laws by moving Black voters out and White voters in, to two state House Districts in 2015.

Kansas: Judge James O’Hara has agreed to Stay his Order Demanding that Secretary of State Kris Kobach turn over Documents he took with him to a Transition Meeting with then-President-Elect Trump. O’Hara has stayed his Order long enough for Kobach to Appeal the Order to U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson.

Texas: By a 2 to 1 vote, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a Republican-Drawn Map setting the Boundaries of Texas’ Statehouse Districts Violates the Constitution by Intentionally Discriminating against Minority Voters. In the Ruling, Federal Judges round Signs of Racial Gerrymandering and Evidence that Republicans Intentionally Diluted the growing electoral Power of Minorities around Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett has said that he is considering an Independent Review of Harris County’s 765 Polling locations to ensure they are Accessible to the Voters that need them. "We're talking about something that really needs an intensive review," the Judge told the teams of Lawyers in the Courtroom. "There's no blanket order I can give. We're going to have to look at almost each of these sites or on a site-by-site basis."

The Dallas County district Attorney’s Office is Investigating complaints involving Mail-In Ballots. According to WFAA, the Dallas County Elections office has received between 50 and 100 Complaints from Voters about questionable Mail-In Ballots for the upcoming May 6th Election. Toni Pippins-Poole, the Dallas County Elections Administrator, is working closely with the District Attorney’s office in the ongoing Criminal Investigation.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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