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electionlineWeekly — May 19, 2016

Table of Contents

V. Legal Updates

National: Robert Barnes with The Washington Post has a look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in support of Indiana’s voter ID law. During a recent discussion with Justice Elena Kagan at the judicial conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit former Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the lead opinion in the court’s 6-3 ruling on the law expressed his regrets about the ruling. “I learned a lot of things outside the record that made me very concerned about that statute,” Stevens said in the conversation with Kagan and Wood. “So I had the question: Should I rely on my own research or what’s in the record?” “And I thought in that case I had a duty to confine myself to what the record did prove, and I thought it did not prove the plaintiffs’ case. And as a result, we ended up with a fairly unfortunate decision.”

Kansas: U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the state’s proof-of-citizenship requirements likely violate provisions of the National Voter Registration Act and ordered that Kansas register about 18,000 voters currently in limbo. According to the Associated Press, she put her preliminary injunction on hold until May 31 to give the state an opportunity to appeal, something that Secretary of State Kris Kobach has said they will do.

Louisiana: In an opinion released last month, Attorney General Jeff Landry has ruled that parish election board supervisors may bar board members from bringing cellphones into the room when votes are being counted. “The parish board of election supervisors may take any action necessary to ensure that no information with respect to the counting and tabulation of absentee by mail and early voting ballots is transmitted from the location where the absentee by mail and early voting ballots are being counted and tabulated prior to the close of the polls on election day,” the attorney general’s opinion reads.

North Carolina: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia has set June 21 for a hearing on North Carolina’s voter ID law review. The first briefs are due later this week.

Wisconsin: A trial got underway this week in Wisconsin over whether changes made to the state’s voting laws by Republican legislators have made them a burden to Democratic-leaning voters. On the first day of the hearing, a former GOP staffer told the court that some Republican senators were “giddy” over the prospect of the state’s voter ID law.