VI. Legal Updates
Alabama: Chief District Judge W. Keith Watkins has denied a request by advocacy groups for a preliminary injunction in lawsuit that seeks to have the voting rights of Alabama felons automatically restored following a change in state law that more clearly defines what felonies require someone to lose their voting rights.
California: Ray Lutz, founder of the Citizens Oversight Project has sued San Diego County seeking to personally recount votes from the 2016 presidential primary to see if the results were accurate. Lutz alleges that the difference in vote margins between early vote-by-mail ballots and votes cast at precincts on primary day was so large that likely fraud occurred. The county stands by the vote count and denies any fraud occurred.
Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach has filed notice that he is appealing the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals order that he submit to a deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union in a case regarding the state’s proof-of-citizenship law. On Wednesday, the Appeals Court denied the request.
North Carolina: Two judges of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said recently that they are concerned that legislative leadership has taken few, if any steps to draw new election maps since the court struck those down last year. “What concerns, at least me, is the seriousness of how this is being taken by the legislature. This is serious,” Judge James A. Wynn of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals told a lawyer for the legislative leaders at a hearing in federal court in Greensboro.
On Monday, the panel rejected the request by voters to force the state to hold special elections. The next legislative elections won’t occur until November 2018. The judges gave lawmakers until Sept. 1 to get the new boundaries draw, but did say they would extend it until Sept. 15 if the lawmakers showed that they were working.
Ohio: In a legal brief, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has told the Supreme Court of the United States that the Ohio’s procedure for purging voters does not violate federal prohibition against removing individuals for failing to vote. According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the brief said election boards ask inactive registrants to confirm their eligibility. Failure to respond to those confirmation notices, not failure to vote, is what triggers the cancelation of the voter’s registration.
Tennessee: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments this week in a case that questions the method state officials used to count votes on an abortion amendment that was approved in 2014 by 53 percent of the vote. In the lower court ruling, U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp wrote that the state violated due process and equal protection rights.