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electionlineWeekly — December 15, 2016

Table of Contents

 VII. Legal Updates

Iowa: A Des Moines woman accused of voting twice for Donald Trump has entered a plea of not guilty. She told Iowa Public Radio she voted twice because she was concerned her first vote for Trump would be changed to one for Hillary Clinton, and that “the polls are rigged.”

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton has formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the state’s voter ID law, which was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Dept. of Justice has said that the law was passed to disenfranchise African-American and Hispanic voters, but it’s unclear what the DOJ may do/say under a new administration.

Also in Texas. State District Judge Don Witting ruled that Hidalgo County must redo a June council election after he found “clear and convincing evidence” that one candidate received votes in violation of the Texas Election Code.

Utah: Saratoga Springs prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss a criminal case against a voter who work a Make America Great Again hat to a polling place during early voting. Tai Ho’o was cited for disorderly conduct after he refused to wear the hat and an argument ensued. The Utah County Clerk and the Lt. Governor’s Office investigated the accusations and determined that because “Make America Great Again” did not specifically name Donald Trump, it didn’t fall under their definition of electioneering.

Virginia: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has turned back a challenge to Virginia’s voter ID law. In 2015, the state’s Democratic Party and two voters filed suit alleging that the Republican-controlled General Assembly had enacted the law to disenfranchise voters. In May, after a two-week trial in March, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson upheld the photo ID requirement, and the plaintiffs appealed. This week, a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based appeals court upheld Hudson’s decision. “In sum, not only does the substance of (the law) not impose an undue burden on minority voting, there was no evidence to suggest racially discriminatory intent in the law’s enactment,” Judge Paul V. Niemeyer of the appeals court wrote.