V. Legal Updates
California: San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil has ruled that San Diego County did not follow proper procedures in an audit of the June 2016 primary and must use a different process when verifying future contests. Wohlfeil determined that state election law says all mail-in ballots need to be included in a manual count of votes from 1 percent of precincts. According to the Union Tribune, previously the registrar of voters only used mail-in ballots received by Election Day as part of the manual count.
Kansas: U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has set a joint hearing on the fate of two federal lawsuits challenging the state’s proof-of-citizenship require for voter registration. The hearing is set for March 3.
Maine: The Senate has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to rule whether the state’s new ranked choice voting system — approved by the voters in November — satisfies several requirements of the Maine Constitution.
New York: Following an eight-month investigation, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is accusing the New York City Board of Elections of gross negligence for improperly purging 120,000 voters. According to WNYC, in addition to the 120,000 voters purged in Brooklyn, the attorney general’s office found that the city improperly removed another 60,000 voters in 2014 and 43,000 voters in 2015, in violation of state and federal laws. “That these things were going on reflects, in our view, gross negligence and a real dereliction of duty,” Schneiderman told WNYC.
Also in New York, in an 11-page decision, Judge Martin Auffredou of the Fourth Judicial District of State Supreme Court, Essex County board of elections commissioners were ordered to release election-ballot images and cast-vote ballots from the November 2015 election.
South Carolina: Sara H. Benenhaely, 64 has been charged with willful neglect or corrupt conduct by officers other than an election manager. According to the warrant for her arrest, the Sumter County poll worker is accused of using her position to “instruct or coerce” people to vote for a certain candidate during the June 2016 primary and runoff.