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electionlineWeekly — September 14, 2017

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 VI. Legal Updates

California: Judge John Menedez has dismissed a suit against Siskiyou County Registrar of Voters Colleen Setzer, the county’s sheriff and several state employees and agencies brought by Hmong residents of the county who alleged in they were discriminated against during a voter fraud investigation.

North Carolina: A state Supreme Court ruling has made it possible for two-member county boards of elections to continue to do their work while the larger lawsuit about the state’s electoral process proceeds. Associate Justice Mike Morgan issued an order on Sept. 1 that says local election boards with just two members can conduct business. Their votes have to be unanimous to take effect, he said.

Texas: Late last week, plaintiffs in the ongoing suit against the state’s new voter ID law asked all 14 judges of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to void a prior ruling by a three-judge panel of the court that would allow the state to use the ID law for this year’s elections.

Also in Texas, in a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked two lower court rulings that had required Texas to redraw certain congressional and state House districts after the lower courts ruled the district lines discriminate against minorities. According to the Houston Chronicle, the justices gave no reasons in their one-paragraph statement granting a request from Texas that it not be forced to draw new districts until the Supreme Court reviewed the lower court's decision.

Utah: U.S. District Court Judge Jill Parrish has rejected a request by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission to rule in their favor in their suit against San Juan County and its decision to move to vote-by-mail. The suit alleges that the reduced number of polling places burdens Navajo voters who must sometimes drive hours to vote. Judge Parrish also rejected a request by the county to dismiss the lawsuit outright.