VI. Legal Updates
Arizona: In response to a lawsuit filed in Pima County Superior Court, the county elections department will hold onto digital images of ballots cast during this week’s primary, despite a policy for clearing them out daily after results are tabulated. The suit alleges that the county is required to hold onto those images for at least 22 months.
California: U.S. District Judge William Alsup has dismissed a suit brought by Bernie Sanders supporters as moot since the election was two months ago. In an attempt to keep the lawsuit alive following the primary, plaintiffs said they were shifting their focus to 2020.
Kansas: An unsuccessful candidate in this August’s Democratic primary is asking the Kansas Supreme Court to order Douglas County court officials to summon a grand jury to investigate Secretary of State Kris Kobach. After Douglas County Chief Judge Robert Fairchild rejected the petition, Steven X. Davis filed a motion with the state’s highest court.
Missouri: Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has refused to dismiss a case that could result in a new election for state representative in St. Louis. “In spite of …testimony, nothing has changed. As we acknowledged last week, we are reviewing the allegations of voter fraud. Beyond that, the Circuit Attorney does not discuss the status or process used to investigate criminal allegations.”
North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court endorsing a lower court’s decision to strike down election reforms in North Carolina including eliminating voter ID, reinstating early voting and same day registration. On Wednesday, a divided Supreme Court refused the emergency request from the state to reinstate the law meaning that most voters will not need an ID to cast a ballot in November.
Ohio: The Ohio Democratic Party will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Golden Week. The party expects to file the appeal with the high court within the next few days.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has denied Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to delay setting a date for a hearing on the state’s voter ID law. According to The Dallas Morning News, Gonzales Ramos said she will hold a hearing in January. Paxton had requested that a date be set no earlier than August 2017 to give the Legislature time to make changes to the state's law.
Utah: Judge Lyle Anderson has ruled that while Wayne County Deputy Clerk Coral Brinkerhoff illegally helped her husband win his campaign for county commission, that the election will not be voided. "Mrs. Brinkerhoff not only failed to be careful in separating her work on (her husband's) campaign from her duties as county clerk, but improperly used her position to benefit (his) campaign," Anderson concluded. But Anderson failed to void the election because he said the clerk’s action impacted 45 votes and David Brinkerhoff won by 55 votes.
Virginia: The Virginia GOP has filed a contempt-of-court motion against Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) for his recent action to reinstate the voting rights of 13,000 ex-felons. McAuliffe said that he reinstated those rights individually, as the court ordered, but Republicans argue that McAuliffe’s workaround is no different than his original order.
West Virginia: In his appeal to the state’s highest court to gain access to the ballot as an independent candidate for Kanawha County clerk, former state senator Erik Wells said his 1st and 14th amendment rights are being violated.
Wisconsin: The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Wisconsin’s voter ID law meaning that barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the state’s voter ID will be in place in November and beyond. The court found that the affidavit process was unnecessary because the state had broadened the number of acceptable IDs in order to cast a ballot.