V. Legal Updates
Indiana: The Indiana NAACP and the League of Women Voters has filed a lawsuit in federal court which alleges that the state’s new way to cross-check names on voter rolls violates federal law and is discriminatory. Under a bill signed into law in July, the new “Interstate Registration Crosscheck” allows election officials to immediately remove voters identified as being registered in another state. The process finds matches based on first and last name and date of birth.
Iowa: Terry Lynn Rote, 56, who pleaded guilty to attempted voter fraud has been sentenced to two years of probation and a $750 fine. The judge ruled that her record will be expunged if she completes all terms of her sentence.
Kansas: A trail started this week involving the Kansas secretary of state’s office and a former employee who claims she was unfairly fired for not attending church enough.
Rhode Island: The Attorney General’s office and the Cranston police have both agreed that there was no voter fraud in the November 2016 election. Police Chief Michael J. Winquist told the Providence Journal that the results of the department’s investigation were submitted to the attorney general’s office for advice, and that office opined that because of evidence concerns and the level of proof required in such cases, charges shouldn’t be filed.
New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Superior Court this week contesting that Senate Bill 3 — signed into law in July — is a former of voter suppression that will disproportionately affect young, low-income and minority groups.
North Carolina: Richard Robert Rowling, 59 of Cary has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and failure to discharge a duty of his office. During a routine audit of the April 2016 primary results, Durham County elections board officials mishandling of provisional ballots. An investigation by the State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement discovered that Rawling ran or ordered subordinates to run provisional ballots through tabulators more than once and made manual changes to the ballot count so the results of the provisional canvass would match the number of approved provisional ballots.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has thrown out Texas’ voter ID law. Gonzales Ramos ruled that Senate Bill 5, signed into law in June, does not absolve lawmakers from the responsibility for discriminating against black and Latino voters. The judge ruled that the state failed to prove that the new law would accommodate those voters moving forward.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a provision in the Texas Election Code which requires interpreters helping someone cast a ballot to also be registered to vote in the same county in which they are provide help violates the federal Voting Rights Act.
Also in Texas, the state’s attorney general has launched an investigation into the December 20, 2016 runoff election in Robstown. The investigation comes after Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands filed a complaint about possible electioneering and illegal voter assistance.
Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to halt the partial redrawing of congressional maps ordered by a lower court before 2018.