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electionlineWeekly — March 16, 2017

Table of Contents

 V. Legal Updates

Alabama: Elbert Melton, 69 Mayor of Gordon has been arrested on three counts of absentee voter fraud, a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He won his election by 16 votes.

California: In a report entitled “No Voter Fraud Here: The Transparent Election Process,” an Orange County grand jury says it conducted a thorough review of the local voting system and found no signs of significant fraud in the recent election.

Florida: A suit has been filed against Gov. Rick Scott (R) and three elected cabinet members by the Fair Elections Legal Network on behalf of seven ex-felons. The suit seeks to end Florida’s “unconstitutionally arbitrary” system for restoring the civil rights of convicted felons. The lawsuit says 1.6 million Floridians are currently disenfranchised, the most of any state, and that more than 10,000 are awaiting public hearings on their restoration applications.

Illinois: Steveland Kidd, 29 of Alorton has plead guilty to voter fraud charges in the April 2013 election. He was charged with two counts of violating absentee ballots. He was sentenced to 12 days in county jail and is barred from electioneering or campaign activities.

Louisiana: State District Judge Tim Kelly has ruled that more than 700,000 Louisiana residents on probation or parole for felony crimes will remain disenfranchised. Kelley called it unfair to keep thousands of people from voting if they're working, paying taxes and following the law. But he said Louisiana's constitution and a four-decades-old state law required him to continue denying the voting rights. "I don't like this ruling. I don't like it. It's not fair," Kelley said via the Associated Press.

Nevada: Under a court-ordered agreement, the state of Nevada and Washoe and Mineral counties have agreed to pay $60,000 in legal fees to the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute tribes. The tribes won a federal lawsuit against the state and counties to provide early voting to the tribes.

Texas: In a 2-1 ruling a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Republicans redrew Texas’ congressional map to intentionally discriminate against Latino and black voters.

Virginia: Walter Mason, mayor of Waverly, has been indicted on 12 counts of felony election fraud. According to the indictments, Mason "unlawfully and feloniously, willfully make a false statement or entry on an absentee ballot application," four different times between February and April of 2016. He is also accused of helping seven people "in a violation of absentee voting procedures."