V. Legal Updates
Arkansas: An investigation into the 2016 wet-dry vote in Shady Grove has ended with no charges filed. The investigation centered around allegations that camp trailers with no basic utilities, were used as places of residence by people who registered to vote.
Florida: Judge Rosa Rodriquez has denied a candidate’s attempt to force the city halt distribution of ballots and reprint them with her name listed first. According to The Miami Herald, Denise Galvez Turros had sought to place her name first on the ballot ahead of Manuel “Manolo” Reyes and Ralph Rosado. In a complaint filed this month after absentee ballots began to go out, she argued that the supervisor of elections and Miami city clerk had wrongly considered her surname to be Turros, resulting in her third-ranked placement on the ballot due to alphabetical ordering.
Georgia: A computer server involved in a lawsuit against elections officials in Georgia was destroyed on July 7 by technicians at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University. The lawsuit was filed July 3. The state attorney general will no longer be litigating the case, instead that will be done by a law firm run by former Gov. Roy Barnes.
Indiana: Common Cause Indiana has filed a suit against Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) seeking an injunction against Lawson alleging her office unlawfully removes voters from the rolls using the Crosscheck system. The suit alleges this violates the NVRA.
Kansas: In a deposition recently made public in the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law, Secretary of State Kris Kobach testified that he wants to change federal election law so states would have an incentive to require proof-of-citizenship in order to register to vote.
Louisiana: Six words — “while under an order of imprisonment”— are at the center of a fight to have voting rights restored to about 70,000 Louisiana formerly incarcerated people. The plaintiffs, the Advancement Project, argue that the words mean a person’s rights should be restored when released from incarceration even if the all the terms of their sentence has not been fulfilled. Secretary of State Tom Schedler, for the defense said the wording does not solely refer to physical imprisonment, but to those still under legal “custody” of the Department of Corrections.
Michigan: Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Switalski has ordered County Clerk Karen Spranger not to create a hostile work environment or otherwise interfere with the rights of unionized employees. Spranger has been accused of “guerilla warfare” by AFSCME.
New Hampshire: Attorney General Gordon MacDonald has issued a cease and desist order ruling that two proposed raffles to encourage voting in the upcoming municipal election are prohibited by state law. Two businesses were planning to raffle off items to anyone coming into their businesses with I Voted stickers on.
New York: A Supreme Court justice has dismissed Town Clerk Diana Quast's lawsuit against the Westchester County Board of Elections and the town of Yorktown, saying she does not have the standing to challenge the relocation of polling places.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Court of Appeals denied an appeal of a lower court decision that allowed the county Board of Elections to use the student union at Appalachian State as an early voting site. According to the Watauga Democrat, BOE member Stella Anderson had sought a decision by a Wake County Court that ruled in favor of the campus site, and BOE chair Bill Aceto filed an appeal of that decision, and a temporary stay was issued October 18th. The October 25th Court of Appeals decision denied Aceto's appeal and the stay was "dissolved."
Ohio: The Supreme Court of the United States has delayed arguments in the case over Ohio’s process for purging voters because an attorney involved with case is on medical leave. Arguments had been set for November 8, but will not likely happen after the first of the year.
Pennsylvania: Four election workers — Dolores Shaw, the Judge of Election at poll 43-7, Calvin Mattox, the minority inspector, Thurman George, the machine inspector, and Wallace Hill, a bilingual translator, have all been charged with violating state laws that regulate elections in connection with a special election in Philadelphia.
Washington: Even though backers of a recall effort in Yakima County have called off the effort stating that it wouldn’t be worth the $250,000 cost to taxpayers for the special election, the state’s Supreme Court said the recall effort against Yakima County Clerk Janelle Riddle could move forward.
Also in Washington, the Cowlitz County Sheriff's office has referred four cases of suspected voter fraud in the 2016 general election to county prosecutors. Two people admitted to voting on behalf of dead relatives and two people are suspected of voting in two states.