V. Legal Updates
Florida: U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ordered Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to allow a cure in the cases in which a voter’s signature on a mail-in ballot envelope does match the signature on file.
Georgia: A Chatham County judge ordered that the county extend its voter registration deadline until October 18 following the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew.
Also in Georgia, the ACLU has sued the state to reopen voter registration in Bryan, Camden, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties for six days claiming that disruptions from Hurricane Matthew prevented residents in those counties from meeting the deadline. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Moore denied the request.
Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach has asked a federal court to set aside the default judgement against him for failing to file a timely response to a lawsuit. Kobach argued that he believed the court had suspended certain deadlines in the case.
Also in Kansas, on Wednesday the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal released an 85-page opinion from an earlier ruling that prohibited the state from asking for proof-of-citizenship when registering voters.
Maryland: U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to throw out Baltimore’s primary. Bredar said plaintiffs waited too long to file the suit. Plaintiffs had wanted to the primary redone because of alleged irregularities and a vote-buying scheme.
North Carolina: U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder denied a request to expand early in-person voting in five counties after some voters filed suit claiming that the counties’ early voting schedules did not comply with a summer court ruling. Schroeder agreed with state attorneys that changing early voting — it begins Oct. 20 — would create logistical difficulties. He also wrote he could find no evidence government officials violated his injunction blocking a 2013 state law that previously scaled back early voting. On Wednesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request.
Also in North Carolina, Wake Superior Court Judge Don Stephens extended voter registration in 36 counties affected by recent flooding from Hurricane Matthew to October 19.
Ohio: Judge George C. Smith of the U.S. District Court in Columbus restored the voting rights to several thousand Ohio voters who had been purged from the voter rolls. Smith ordered Husted’s office to add 15 percent more provisional ballots to each polling place, while noting that figure was not a projection of how many additional voters would show up Nov. 8. “There is no dispute that the remedy ordered by this court will not involve the reinstatement of all voters who have been removed from the voter registration rolls,” Smith wrote in a 22-page decision
Utah: U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish has denied a motion that would have required San Juan County to take additional steps to ensure that Navajo voters have equal access to polling sites. The Navajo Human Rights Commission had argued that the county’s move to vote-by-mail violated the Voting Rights Act because Navajo is a spoken language. Parrish acknowledged that “the Navajo people, as a whole, are subject to some of the most severe and debilitating impoverishment in the nation,” but that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate how vote-by-mail would have a greater impact on Navajo voters than white voters.
Virginia: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed suit against the state of Virginia seeking to have the voter registration deadline extended because the state’s online voter registration was slow and crashed on Monday, the deadline to register to vote. The group argues that the deadline should be extended because some may have not had the opportunity to register. And on Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), asked a federal judge to extend the registration. The hearing is set for late Thursday morning.
Wisconsin: U.S. Western District Judge James Peterson has ordered the state to make changes to and expand its public education efforts surrounding its voter ID law. "It's not really going to address all the problems we have implementing Wisconsin's voter ID law," Peterson said of his order. "What we're doing here is patching it up, getting us in good enough shape to get through the November election."