VI. Legal Updates
Federal Legislation: A federal court in Illinois has dismissed a voting rights lawsuit filed by six U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin. The suit argued that U.S. citizens with voting rights should retain those voting rights if they move to one the U.S. territories, the same way they retain those rights when moving to a foreign country.
California: A lawsuit against San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu will head to trial in October. The suit alleges that Vu’s office illegally excluded some provisional and mail-in ballots in its audit of the June 7 primary. The trial is set for Oct. 3.
Kansas: This week the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case of Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law. There was no indication when the three-judge panel would rule.
Missouri: St. Louis Circuit Judge Julian L. Bush has ruled that there is nothing in state law that addresses keeping absentee ballot applications confidential and therefore the St. Louis Board of Elections is no longer allowed to refuse to provide copies of absentee ballot applications and ballot envelopes.
Ohio: With a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has eliminated “Golden Week” in Ohio. Golden Week allowed Ohioans to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time. The court ruled that the legislatures elimination of Golden Week did not discriminate against any particular bloc of voters.
South Carolina: A court has ordered that the Richland County Board of Elections and Voter Registration and its current and former members must pay more than $38,000 to a nonprofit watchdog that was owed the money from a February court ruling.
West Virginia: Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles King has ruled that Eric Wells—husband of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant — is ineligible to run as an independent for the Kanawha County clerk’s position. “This is not a case of ballot access, but a case of too little, too late,” King’s order said.“When the respondent decided he wanted to run for office, after the primary election, it was too late to get on the ballot as a Democrat, so he was forced to try to go through the back door when, legally, he could not go through the front door.” The West Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
Wisconsin: The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has declined a request to reinstate certain voting restrictions including limitations on early voting. Attorney General Brad Schimel has said that will no longer pursue the case to higher levels.