IV. Legal Updates
Federal Lawsuits: The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has filed paperwork with U.S District Court of the District of Columbia consisting of a proposed memorandum, a tally vote and a short statement from Commissioner Tom Hicks. The paperwork is in response the court’s request for guidance on agency policy regarding the Executive Director’s authority under the NVRA to add state-specific proof of citizenship instructions to the federal voter registration form.
Georgia: Gwinnett County has filed a new motion in the federal voting rights lawsuit agains them which claims that district boundaries were drawn to dilute the ability of minority of voters to elect the candidates of their choice.
Illinois: Louis Alexander Bertaux of Geneva has sued the Kane County jail claiming that a correctional officer denied his request for an absentee ballot during the 2016 election. "Upon the news of this presidential election being concluded, without my ability to participate, by exercising my Constitutional right to vote, I experienced the equivalent of being murdered inside," the lawsuit states, "like a debilitating gutpunch that deflated my soul, and diminished my spirit, and caused terrible and negative thoughts and feelings so damaging to my heart and psyche, that I've been struggling to uphold my superior state of mind." He is suing the jail for $1 billion (yes, with a b).
Indiana: Inmates in the Allen County jail are suing the sheriff alleging that they were denied the right to vote in 2016. The suit alleges Sheriff David Gladieux “systematically disenfranchised hundreds of eligible voters held in the Allen County Jail during the 2016 general election by refusing to provide them absentee ballots or alternative access to the polls.”
North Carolina: A state three-judge panel has ruled that a law combining oversight of elections and ethics under one board may move forward. The panel did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, rather they simply said they did not have the jurisdiction to rule.
Also in North Carolina, the United States Supreme Court struck down dozens of the state’s legislative districts because they disadvantaged black voters.
Rhode Island: U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. has granted the State Board of Elections motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the board’s former executive director who claimed the board had violated his rights by firing him. Robert Kando, the former executive director, has asked the court to reinstate the lawsuit.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos heard arguments this week about Texas’ voter ID law. The plaintiffs in the ongoing suit argued that the state’s new ID law doesn’t absolve lawmakers from intentionally discriminating against minority voters in 2011.