Thursday, June 6, 2019

Electionline Weekly June-6-2019

Legislative Updates

California: Under Assembly Bill 1036 the Secretary of State would be Required to Upgrade Governing County Voter Outreach Programs and would be encouraged to provide Additional Support to Counties with the Lowest Voter Registration Rates. The Bill also establishes a High School Voter Education Pilot Program in Yolo County. The Pilot allows County Officials to Conduct Student Government Elections using Voting Machines and Custom Ballots in order to Teach Youth how to Vote and Encourage Future Voter Participation.

Connecticut: An effort to Approve a Bill, backed by Secretary of State Denise Merrill, that would Automatically Register Residents to Vote fell Victim to the Threat of a Filibuster in the Waning Hours of the Legislative Session.

District of Columbia: Councilmember Robert White (I, At-large) has introduced Legislation that will Repeal a 1955 Law which Disenfranchises District Residents upon their Conviction. While DC Automatically Restores the Rights of Felons once they are Released from Incarceration, the New Bill would Allow those still Serving Time to Cast a Ballot.

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward One) has introduced a Bill that would Send a Mail Ballot to every Registered Voter in the District. The Legislation leaves in place Precinct-Based Voting on Election Day and leaves it up to the DC Board of Elections on how to deal with Early Voting Sites and Days.

Illinois: Under Senate Bill 2090, the Voting Rights of those in Jail will be Expanded. A Person in Jail Awaiting Trial would be able to cast a Ballot, County Jails with a Population greater than 3 Million Residents would have a Polling Place in the Jail and a Person leaving Jail or Prison would be given a Voter Registration Application and Information on the Voting Rights.

Louisiana: By a Unanimous Vote, the Senate has Approve a Bill that will allow Voters to use a Military ID as a Form of ID in order to cast a Ballot.

Maine: The House has Approved a Bill that would create a System of Automatic Voter Registration at the State’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Massachusetts: The City of Springfield has given initial Approval to a City-sponsored Get-Out-the-Vote effort. Under the Proposed Ordinance, the City will Pay to Send out Postcards and Robocalls reminding Voters of Upcoming Local Elections.

Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has Vetoed a Bill that would have included Nevada in the National Popular Vote Compact.

In the Closing hours of the 2019 Session, the Senate Approved a Bill that will Allow for Same-Day Voter Registration.

New Hampshire: The Senate Voted 14-10 along Party Lines to Approve a Bill that will essentially Repeal a 2017 Law requiring Additional Documentation from Voters who Register within 30 days of an Election.

By a 13 to 11 Vote, the Senate Approved a Bill that will Allow for No-Excuse Absentee Voting.

The House has Defeated a Bill that would have Prohibited Secretary of State Candidates from making Political Contributions.

New Mexico: The Albuquerque City Council has decided Not to take up whether or Not to Move the City to a System of Ranked-Choice Voting and instead is considering having it Added to an Upcoming Ballot to give Residents a Chance to Decide.

North Carolina: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has Signed a Bill into Law that Alters the Rules on how Student and Government Employee ID Cards can Qualify as Voter ID Cards.

Pennsylvania: The Senate has Approved a Bill that would Move Local Elections in Ronda to Even-Numbered years.

Under House Bill 1579, Voters in Pennsylvania would have to Show some Form of ID, including a Bank Statement or Government Check, in order to Cast a Ballot.

Oregon: The House has Approved Senate Bill 870 by a 37-22 vote. If signed into Law, the Bill will include Oregon in the National Popular Vote Compact.

Rhode Island: A Bill proposed by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea that would Remove Birth Dates from the List of Publicly available Voter Data has been sent back to the Judiciary Committee for further Review.

Vermont: The Legislature did Not take Action on Proposed Charter Amendments in Montpelier and Brattleboro. The Montpelier Amendment would allow Noncitizens to Vote in Local Elections and the Brattleboro Amendment would Lower the Voting Age to 16 in Local Elections.

Legal Updates

Georgia: U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has Rejected the State’s Motion to Dismiss a Lawsuit brought by Voting Advocates alleging Far-reaching Voting Problems last year during the Gubernatorial Election.

Indiana: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has Vacated a Consent Decree reached between Common Cause Indiana, the Indianapolis NAACP, and the Marion County Election Board. The Agreement, which was Approved for U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Baker called for adding more Early Voting Sites. In the appeal, State AG argued that the Federal Court acted against the Public’s Interest by Interfering in the Administration of Elections. While this was all going on in Court, the County moved to a Vote Center system which made the entire Case more or less moot.

Michigan: The Eastpointe City Council this week announced a Settlement in a Federal Lawsuit over the Rights of Black Voters. Through a Four-year Consent Decree, the City will become the First in the State to use a Ranked-Choice Voting system.

This week, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Plans for a College-age Get-Out-the-Vote effort which is expected to Help resolve a Lawsuit filed by the College Democrats last year. Initial Steps include: the Creation of a Website Dedicated to Advice for First-Time Voters and College Students, a Written Update for Local Clerks in College Towns suggesting Voter Registration Drives, and more Frequent Deployment of a Mobile SOS Office to Campuses.

Mississippi: Four African-American Voters have filed a Lawsuit against Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the State GOP accusing the State of Violating the 14th and 15th Amendment as well as a Section of the Voting Rights Act. “Absent court intervention, the challenged provisions will continue to infringe upon the constitutional and statutory rights of African American voters in Mississippi, dilute African American votes and violate the one-person, one-vote principle in the upcoming general election and in every statewide election for years to come,” the Complaint read.

Pennsylvania: Oral Arguments were heard this week in a Lawsuit filed by a Group of Voters who claim they were Disenfranchised saying that the State’s Earlier Deadline for Absentee Ballots is Unconstitutional.

Tennessee: Attorney General Herbert Slatery is asking a Federal Judge is asking a Federal Judge to Dismiss the Lawsuit brought against the State’s New Voter Registration Law which Penalizes Third-Party Registration Groups. In his Filings, Slatery argued that the Law has Not taken effect yet so Claims in the Lawsuit are Moot.

Washington: The Washington State Association of Counties has indicated that it will be Filing Suit against the State in the coming days for what they are calling an Unfunded Mandate requiring Counties to Provide at least One Ballot Dropbox in every City and Town within their Jurisdiction.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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