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electionlineWeekly — May 12, 2016

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 VI. Legal Updates

Ohio: U.S. District Judge George C. Smith has ruled that blind Ohioans have been denied “meaningful access” to the state’s absentee voting system. In his decision, Smith wrote, “The inability of disabled voters to vote absentee in a private and independent manner evidences that these voters do not have the same meaningful access to mail-in absentee voting that non-disabled voters enjoy.”

Oregon: An unlawful termination suit is headed to trial later this month in Clatsop County. Former County Clerk Maeve Kennedy Grimes’ claims that she was unlawfully fired in 2014 after errors were discovered on the November general election ballot. According to Kennedy Grimes’ $1 million suit against the county, she was fired because her boss, County Manager Scott Somers did not like that he was not consulted about how to fix two ballot mistakes.

Utah: Plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit against San Juan County over vote-by-mail, have filed a motion in U.S. District Court of Utah to dismiss a counterclaim by the county. The original claim, filed in early 2016, argues that the county is violating parts of the Voting Rights Act and 14th Amendment by only voting by mail.

Virginia: Phyllis Booze, former Botetourt County registrar, has dropped her unlawful termination suit against the county. Booze had claimed she was terminated from her job for political reasons. In agreeing to the dismissal, the electoral board made no settlement and admitted no wrongdoing. “Everybody is just walking away,” County Attorney Michael Lockaby told the Roanoke Times.

Washington: The City of Yakima owes the ACLU $3 million to cover costs and fees associated with the long-running voting rights fight which the city ultimately lost.