VI. Legal Updates
National: U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon has rejected a request that would have blocked Alabama, Georgia and Kansas from requesting proof-of-citizenship from those who are using the federal voter registration form. According to The Washington Post, Leon said the civil rights groups failed to establish that they would be “irreparably harmed” by the changes. He said the changes, “although an inconvenience,” in no way preclude “the organizational plaintiffs and their members from conducting their core activities of encouraging civic participation in both state and federal elections.”
Arizona: The Arizona Green Party has sued the state arguing that state law unconstitutionally requires political parties to file their presidential nominating papers more than 90 days before a primary election. Arizona is one of two states that requires parties to submit their nominees by Aug. 1 which is sometimes before party conventions.
Indiana: This week, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended the law license of former secretary of state Charlie White for a period of at least two years. In February 2012, White was convicted of six felony charges including voter fraud. While three of those charges were eventually thrown out, the other three remained.
Nevada: Six losing Republican candidates have filed a legal action in Clark County District Court claiming that there were possible issues with the county’s voting machines during the June 14 primary. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the “statements of contest” seek a judicial order requiring that the electronic vote tallies in their races be compared with the back up paper records.
North Carolina: This week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether Republican lawmakers relied too heavily on race when they redrew the state’s congressional districts. The case will be heard in the fall.
Ohio: Secretary of State Jon Husted has filed an opening brief as part of the state’s appeal of the reinstatement of the “Golden Week” of early voting. In the brief, Husted said that Ohio’s early voting period is one of the most generous in the nation. “Ohio is a national leader in making voting easy. It permits absentee voting beginning 29 days before an election. This is the tenth longest period in the country…Thirteen States, including New York, Michigan, and Kentucky, require voters to vote only on Election Day,” Husted said. “Absentee voting has always been ‘a privilege.’…Only if the State ‘absolutely prohibits’ a voter from voting on Election Day could an absentee-ballot denial burden protected rights…Yet the Democratic Parties did not identify a single person whom Ohio absolutely prohibits from voting.”
Also in Ohio, U.S. District Judge George C. Smith said the state’s process of purging voter rolls of inactive voters is consistent with the Registration Act because voters are never removed from the rolls solely for failure to vote. The ACLU had sued the state saying that Husted was too aggressive in his efforts to clean up voters rolls.
Texas: During a hearing this week, District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa said that while the American Civil Rights Union probably has a right to sue over Starr County’s voter rolls, he indicated that he doesn’t believe the county’s elections administrator is the right person to be named in the suit.
Virginia: Attorney General Mark R. Herring has asked the state Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit over Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s restoration of voting rights to 206,000 felons. According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, in the 51-page dismissal request, the AG’s office said potential error in the rights restoration is not a legal argument against the order.