VII. Legal Updates
Hawaii: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier decision to support Hawaii’s open primaries. The Democratic Party of Hawaii had challenged the state's open primary system where registered voters can choose any party's ballot to cast their votes without formally joining the party.
Kentucky: Two Magoffin County officials have been convicted by a federal jury in a vote-fraud scheme. The officials were charged with conspiring to buy votes in 2014 for a slate of candidates.
Michigan: A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s motion to stay an injunction against the lower court ruling to keep straight-ticket voting in place for the November election.
Missouri: A losing candidate in the recent Democratic primary is suing the St. Louis County board of elections claiming that the high number of absentee votes the winning candidate received puts the results in question.
North Carolina: A three- judge panel of the U.S. District Court has ruled that 28 of North Carolina’s legislative districts are unconstitutional because they are racially gerrymandered. Despite the ruling, the districts will still be in place for the November 2016 election.
Also in North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory asked the U.S. Supreme Court to freeze parts of the federal appeals court opinion that struck down provision of a 2013 election including voter ID, same-day registration and early voting limitations. "We have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the Fourth Circuit's ruling and reinstate North Carolina's Voter ID law," said McCrory in a statement.
Oklahoma: Bucking recent trends, Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons dismissed a case against the state’s voter ID law this week after hearing oral arguments. The fight over the state’s voter ID law began in 2012.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman blocked the state from enforcing a law that limits the availability of interpreters in polling places saying that the limitations violates the Voting Rights Act. Pitman ruled that the residency requirement violated Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act, which guarantees voters the right to be helped by a person of their choice if they need assistance because of blindness, disability or inability to read or write.
Also in Texas, the state announced plans this week to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the state’s voter ID law in place.
Wisconsin: Attorney General Brad Schimel has filed a motion with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay in lower court’s ruling lifting restrictions on early voting in Wisconsin.