Thursday, January 11, 2018

Electionline Weekly Jan-11-2018

Legislative Updates

Federal Legislation: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has introduced a Bill that would End a longtime quirk with the Postal Service that has some Rural Northern Missouri Residents have an Iowa Mailing Address.

Alabama: With the spotlight off for now, Lawmakers in Alabama are looking for ways to streamline the State’s Special Election process. SB-18, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-13th District) has introduced a Bill that would require the Governor to Appoint a Person to a Vacancy in the Office of U.S. Senate and issue a Writ of Election to fill the Office for the remainder of the Term at the Next General Election occurring more than One year after the Vacancy occurs.

California: Sen. Mike McGuire (D-2nd District) has introduced a Bill that would establish a process for Election Officials to Notify Voters when their Vote-by-Mail Signature Mismatches the one on File. The Bill would also require Voters whose Signatures don’t Match be given the Opportunity to Correct the Discrepancy. The Bill was recently Approved by the Senate Elections Committee.

Indiana: A Bill that would allow Elections Officials to Count the Ballots of Voters who cast an Early Vote or Absentee Ballot, but then Die before Election Day has been Approved 9-0 by the Senate Elections Committee.

The Senate Elections Committee also Approved a Bill that would allow for No-Excuse Absentee Voting. The Indiana Clerks Association has expressed its Support for the Bill.

Kentucky: Rep. McKenzie Cantrell (D-38th District) has filed House Bill 98 which would require a Special Election when an Unexpected Vacancy occurs on a Local Council.

House Bill 23, which would Change the Election Year of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and State Constitutional Officers from Odd-number years to Even-numbered years has been Approved by the House Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R) has announced his intentions to bring forward Legislation that would require Maine Voters to Show a Photo ID in Order to cast a Ballot.

Maryland: The City of Rockville Council is considering a proposal from its Board of Supervisors of Elections that would allow the City to conduct Elections by Mail. Under the Proposal, every Registered Voter would receive a Ballot which they could return by Mail, to a Ballot Drop Box, or In-Person. There would be Election Day Vote Centers as well.

The City of Greenbelt Approved a Measure to Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections to 16. In order to be able to Vote in Local Elections, 16 and 17-year-olds must be a Resident of Greenbelt and must be Registered in Prince George's County. The New Rule becomes Effective on Feb. 27th.

Virginia: House of Delegates Member Sam Rasoul (D-11th District) recently introduced Four Election Reform Bills including HJ 333 which would Lower the Voting Age in Local Elections to 16-years-old. He also introduced HJ 34 which would allow for Citizen-lead Initiatives and Referendums as well as Recalls.

House of Delegates Member Debra Rodman (D-73rd District) plans to introduce Legislation that will create a Pilot Vote-by-Mail Program. A Bill that would Allow No-Excuse Absentee Voting, a Bill that would give New Citizens more time to Register to Vote, and a Bill that would Add to the List of Accepted Forms of Voter Photo ID.

Washington: Officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman are supporting a Series of Election Proposals they want the Legislature to take up this year. The Proposals include Automatic Voter Registration, Election Day Registration, and “districts that better represent the makeup of a community or neighborhood.”

Legal Updates

Alabama: U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler ordered a Lawsuit filed by the Greater Birmingham Ministries, Alabama NAACP, and a group of Individuals against the State over its Voter ID Law be Dismissed. According to, part of Coogler's Court Order reads "...a person who does not have a photo ID today is not prevented from voting if he or she can easily get one, and it is so easy to get a photo ID in Alabama, no on is prevented from voting."

Illinois: Kane County Judge David Akemann has Ruled that there were Enough Signatures on Petitions to put a Question on the Ballot about the Fate of the Aurora Election Commission. If Approved, the County Clerk will take over the Duties of Running Aurora’s Elections.

Kansas: Judge Julie Robinson has set a March Trial Date for the Case of Fish v Kobach in which the Plaintiffs are Challenging Kansas’ Proof-of-Citizenship Law. Robinson also tossed aside some Testimony including from Hans von Spakovsky. According to HPPR, the Courts said von Spaovsky lacks Direct Knowledge or Academic Training related to some of his Claims.

Michigan: Felony Ballot Tampering Charges have been Dropped against Grout Twp. Clerk Linda Birgel. “The bottom line is, with all the evidence and everything we had, there is insufficient evidence that (Birgel) did anything to defraud or impact the election in any way," Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks told the Midland Daily News.

New Mexico: Without providing a reason, the New Mexico Supreme Court turned away a Legal Challenge to the Implementation of Ranked-Choice Voting in Santa Fe. Therefore, a Decade after Voters Approved moving to the New System, they will use it for the First time this Spring.

North Carolina: A Three-Judge Panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Unanimously found that North Carolina’s Republican Lawmakers Violated the Constitution’s Equal-Protection Clause when they Drew the State’s New Congressional Maps. “On its most fundamental level, partisan gerrymandering violates ‘the core principle of republican government … that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around,’” the Majority Opinion states.

Richard Robert Rawling, 59 of Cary pleaded Guilty to Failure to Discharge a Duty of his Office and was sentenced to 30 days in Jail, Suspended to a year on Probation, and a $500 Fine. Investigators determined that Rawling Ran, or Ordered Subordinates to Run Provisional Ballots through Tabulators more than Once and made Changes to the Ballot Count.

Ohio: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio’s Voter Roll Purge Case this week and according to Reports from those in attendance, the Justices appeared sympathetic to the State. According to The Associated Press, Justice Anthony Kennedy said States are "trying to protect their voter rolls...What we're talking about are the best tools to implement that reason, to implement that purpose." Kennedy's Vote often is Decisive in Voting Cases that otherwise Split Conservative and Liberal Justices.

Virginia: A group of Four Voters are Appealing a Lower Court Decision that said Errors that led some Voters in a Close House Race to be given the Wrong Ballot were not significant enough to Delay the Seating of the Winning Candidate.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: