V. Legal Updates
Georgia: The ACLU of Georgia has send a notice of intent to sue the Chatham County Board of Registrars and the secretary of state after a resident of Thunderbolt received a letter challenging her right to vote. About 300 people in Thunderbolt have received the letters.
Illinois: A Madison County judge has ruled that ballot selfies are indeed legal in Illinois. Attorneys for the plaintiff had argued that the ban on ballot selfies was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
Also in Illinois, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision and found that there is no evidence that allowing same-day registration in large Illinois counties discriminates in voters in small counties.
Indiana: The Indiana NAACP and several Lake County residents have filed suit against the plan to consolidate many of the county’s small voting precincts. The plaintiffs are asking a federal judge to block the state election commission from adopting any consolidation plans and declaring that the mandate to consolidate is unconstitutional.
Kentucky: The Kentucky Attorney General has released a decision that the Rowan County Board of Elections is compliant with the state’s Open Meetings Act. Following a precinct change in Lakeview Heights Mayor David Bolt had complained that the BOE should do more than “post meeting notices on the office door of the county clerk’s office and should post the meeting dates, times, and location on the county clerk’s website and with The Morehead News.”
Texas: Hart InterCivic, a Texas-based voting machine manufacturer has filed suit in Travis County seeking to block the secretary of state from certifying rival machine makers whose devices produce a paper receipt of votes cast. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the lawsuit asks a state judge to pre-emptively rule that voting machines that produce a paper record don’t comply with state laws requiring the use of electronic voting machines for all countywide elections. [Hart InterCivic is an underwriter of electionline.]
Ohio: This week, the U.S. Department of Justice reversed its position in Ohio voter purge case before the U.S. Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, in their brief, government lawyers say they reconsidered the Ohio vote-purging issue after the “change in Administrations” and they argue that the state’s actions are legal under federal law.
West Virginia: Ten former employees in the secretary of state’s office have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the secretary. The suit claims the employees were part of a mass 16-employee purge, about one-third of the office, after Secretary of State Mac Warner took office. According to the Associated Press, Warner said the firings were part of downsizing, but since then he has hired 22 new employees. The lawsuits allege that 15 of the 16 fired employees were registered Democrats, and 19 of the 22 new employees are registered Republicans. The complaints also note that many of the fired employees, most of whom had between eight and 50 years' experience, were replaced with hires with little or no governmental experience.