Thursday, December 5, 2019

Electionline Weekly December-5-2019

Legislative Updates

Federal Legislation: In an interview this week, House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19th District) said that she believes the House will take up a Bill, before year’s end, that would lay the Foundation for the Restoration of the Full Voting Rights Act that was Altered by the 2013 Supreme Court Ruling in Shelby v. Holder.

Arizona: SB 1014, Proposed by Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23rd District, Scottsdale), would Require that any Changes in the Formal Election Manual be Approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council. That means there would be Formal Public Hearings. What it also means is that the Council would be able to Quash any Changes that Members believe go Outside the Legal Authority of the Secretary of State.

State Rep. Kelly Townsend (R-16th District) has pre-filed a Bill that would Limit the Number of Acceptable Forms of ID in order to Cast a Ballot. Townsends would Eliminate the use of Student IDs as well as the use Non-Photo Documents like Bank Statements and Utility Bills.

Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has Approved a Proposal from Bay County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Anderson. to Allow the County, which is still struggling to Recover from Hurricane Michael in 2018, to use Vote Centers in the 2020 Election Cycle. “I have six identified fully which would be nine days for the presidential primary and then the primary will be another nine days but when we hit the general, they’ll be open for 14 days. These sites will allow us that we will open them but we will not close until election night,” Andersen said.

Kentucky: Under a Bipartisan Proposal by House Speaker David Osborne (R-59th District) and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins (D-99th District), an Automatic Recount would be Triggered if Election Results show a Candidate Winning by Less than Half of a Percentage Point. The Change would Require a Constitutional Amendment.

Another Proposal up for consideration in the 2020 General Assembly would Expand the List of those Allowed to Cast Absentee Ballots to Include those Employed in Roles that are Deemed “essential services personnel”.

Michigan: The Oakland County Board of Commissioners Approved a Resolution, along Party Lines, Designating Election Day a Paid Holiday for Oakland County Employees.

Minnesota: The Red Wing City Council has Decided to Suspend the Push toward putting Ranked-Choice Voting on the 2020 Ballot.

New Jersey: By a 46-23 Vote, the Assembly has Approved a Bill that will Reinstate Voting Rights to those on Parole or Probation. The Bill would Not Extend Voting Rights to those Incarcerated and would provide Criminal Penalties for those Incarcerated Persons who Cast a Ballot. A Similar Bill has been Introduced in the Senate. I think, someone in Jail awaiting a Trial, should be able to Vote.

Ohio: A Bill that would essentially Create Automatic Voter Registration in the Buckeye State has been Temporarily put On Hold. The Bill was Scheduled for a Hearing this week, but the Bipartisan Sponsors of the Bill have Requested a Delay in the Hearing in Order to Hear from more Interested Parties.

Pennsylvania: Following a slew of Voter Complaints on Election Day, a Speedy Bill seeking to Alleviate the Privacy Problems is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) Desk. In addition to requiring Counties to provide Voters with more Privacy to Cast their Ballot, the Bill also would do away with Ballot Stubs which caused Problems with York County’s New Voting System.

Vermont: By a 9-3 Vote the Burlington City Council Passed a Resolution that seeks to Adopt Ranked-Choice Voting in All Mayoral, City Councilor and School Commissioner Elections. The Resolution now heads to the Charter Change Committee for a Vote on whether to put the Question on the March 2020 Ballot to be Approved by Voters. The State Legislature will get the Final Say.

Washington: The Port Angeles City Council Voted 4-2 against Adopting a Resolution to consider Adopting Ranked-Choice Voting. Two Weeks before the Vote, the City Council asked City Staff to Create the Resolution. Councilman Mike French said he Doesn’t Think Voters here have a Clear enough Understanding of Ranked-Choice Voting to be Adopting the Resolution.

Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers (D) recently Signed a Bill into Law that will make Voting more Accessible to People with Disabilities. Voters with Speech-Affecting Disabilities will No longer be Required to State their Name and Address at a Polling Place. They will now be able to use: Written Identification, or have a Election Official or Trusted Person, can say the Voter’s Name and Address for them.

By a 5 to 1 Vote, the Wisconsin Elections Commission has Voted to Direct Staff to start Talking to Lawmakers about the Process for when they should Purge Voter Rolls. The Commissioners want Clearer Rules about how to treat Voters who may have Moved, either with a Law that Spells Out those Rules or a Law that gives the Commission the Power to Set those Rules on its own. They just need to Read the Rules in the Voting Rights Act.

Legal Updates

Arizona: Priorities USA and Voto Latino have filed a Complaint Alleging that the State’s Absentee Ballot Deadline, 7pm on Election Day, puts an Undue Burden on Voters and takes Away Rights to Procedural Due Process.

Florida: The Legal Battle over Amendment 4, and whether or Not Felons have to Complete Financial Restitution before Regaining their Voting Rights continued this week with a Contentious Hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle over whether or Not the Entire Amendment was Void because of the Lack Severability with Regard to the Restitution Issues.

Michigan: Priorities USA has filed another Lawsuit in Michigan, this one against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) that Challenges Two Provisions in the State’s Voting Laws: Restrictions on Documents that demonstrate Residency and Restrictions on Automatic Voter Registration for People Younger than 17-and-a-half.

Mississippi: The Fifth Circuit heard Arguments this week in a Challenge to a Mississippi Law that Permanently Blocks certain Felons from Voting unless they can get their Rights Restored through a Process their Attorney says is Basically Nonexistent. A Lawyer for the Plaintiff’s told the Judges that the State’s Permanent Disenfranchisement Law is Preventing 29,000 Mississippians who have already Served their Sentences from Voting.

Missouri: The State of Missouri has Agreed to make Online Voter Registration Easier in order to Settle a Lawsuit Alleging the State was Violating the Federal National Voter Registration Act. As Part of the Settlement reached Thursday, the Department of Revenue will Redirect Residents to the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration website when they Change their Address through the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue also Agreed to Changes to In-Person and by Mail Change-of-Address Transactions. The Suit was brought by the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

New Hampshire: Opening Arguments began this week in the Legal Battle over Senate Bill 3 which Requires those Registering to Vote within 30 days of an Election to provide Documentation Proving that they Live where they say they do. Plaintiffs Argue that the Law Imposes Unnecessary Burdens on the Registration Process, especially for College Students, the Elderly, and Homeless People. The State Attorney General’s Office Counters that the Law simply Requires People Registering to Vote to Substantiate that they are Domiciled in the State.

New York: A Federal Judge has Thrown Out a Lawsuit from a Coalition of Advocacy Groups against the Rensselaer County Board of Elections over a Proposal to Share Voter Registration Data with Federal Immigration Authorities, saying Both Parties shouldn’t have Acted so Quickly.

Pennsylvania: Court Papers filed by Former Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein and several Supporters Accuse Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) Administration of Violating their year-old Agreement in Philadelphia’s Federal Court by Certifying the ExpressVote XL Touchscreen System made Election Systems & Software (ES&S). The Filing is Asking the Court to Force the State to Rescind its Certification of the Machines.

South Carolina: The S.C. Democratic Party and Two National Democratic Campaign Organizations have Sued the State Election Commission over a Longstanding State Law that Requires Prospective Voters to Submit their Full Social Security Number in Order to Register. The Groups Argue the Requirement has an Unconstitutional Chilling Effect on Potential Voters who are concerned about Sharing Social Security Numbers, something that is Mandated in Only Four States.

Tennessee: Pamela Moses of Memphis faces 12 Counts of Illegal Registration or Voting, One Count of Falsifying an Election Document and Perjury. According to an Indictment returned by a Grand Jury, Moses Voted in Several Elections dating back to 2016 knowing that she was a Convicted Felon and disqualified from Voting. The Indictment also Alleges she made a False Entry on her Voter Registration Information on Sept. 3rd, 2019.

Shelby Advocates for Valid Election (SAVE) have Appealed a Judge’s September Dismissal of their Suit against the State and the Use of Electronic voting Machines. The Group’s Recent Lawsuit claimed that Touchscreen Voting Machines are Not Secure because they don’t Produce a Voter-Verifiable Paper Trail. A District Judge Dismissed the Suit in September because he said it Failed to Show that any Harm has been Caused by these Machines. Now the Group is Appealing the Decision and Pushing for Hand Marked Paper Ballots. “That’s what we’re after, hand marked ballots is basis. If someone can hack a machine, they can put in ransom ware and hold an election at ransom,” said Plaintiff Mike Kernell.

Texas: Former Austin Assistant City Manager Terrell Blodgett, Texas Young Democrats (TYD), and Texas College Democrats (TCD), are Suing the Secretary of State’s Office over House Bill 1888 that Bans Local Governments from setting up Temporary Polling Locations, or any Polling Location that isn’t Open Throughout All of Early Voting, this includes Mobile Voting Sites at Senior Communities.

West Virginia: Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin, who had Ordered Provisional Ballots in the Harpers Ferry June 11th Municipal Election be Counted as Part of a Recount on Nov. 6th, ruled that those who have Challenged that Decision have until Dec. 6th to “perfect” their Appeal before the State’s High Court. The State Supreme Court of Appeals has been asked to Expedite a Review of the case, but McLaughlin Ruled she would Lift a Stay that she has Granted in the Case if the Appeal isn’t Perfected with the High Court by Dec. 6th.

Wisconsin: The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin asked Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy to let it Intervene in a Lawsuit brought by Conservatives that could Force up to 234,000 Voters Off the Rolls. A Hearing is Scheduled for Dec. 5th.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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