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electionlineWeekly — December 14, 2017

Table of Contents

 V. Legal Updates

Colorado: Steve Curtis, the former chairman of the Colorado GOP has been found guilty of voter fraud and forgery for signing his ex-wife’s mail ballot. Curtis had claimed he was suffering a diabetic episode and that’s why he signed the ballot. It took a jury about four hours to find him guilty.

Connecticut: The state Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in an expedited appeal of a lower court’s ruling that found fraud and abuse by Bridgeport election officials and ordered a new primary.

Florida: Leon County Circuity Judge Charles Dodson ruled that while it’s “unfortunate” that two special elections occur when they do, moving up the dates could lead to an argument that shorter windows for absentee voting would prevent people from voting. The Democratic Party has sought to move up the elections so the seats would not remain vacant.

Illinois: U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey has denied a challenge to how Chicago’s elections board conducts post-election audits. Several election monitors had filed suit claiming that the audit methods used by the Chicago BOE violated their right to vote as well as their right to association. “Simply put, the plain text of (the law) unambiguously says that the discovery procedure’s results, and thus the 5 percent test’s results, cannot change election results," Blakey said in the decision. "Under Illinois law, the only outcome of an error in the 5 percent test count is a publicly available written report.” 

New Mexico: Attorneys for the city of Santa Fe have written an emergency appeal to the state Supreme Court arguing that ranked choice voting is unconstitutional and the city should not be forced to implement it in 2018.

Tennessee: The Shelby County election commission voted unanimously to file suit against the state election coordinator and the city of Memphis over ranked choice voting. According to the Daily News, the purpose is to get a ruling on whether the use of RCV via a 2008 city charter amendment is valid or if a September opinion from state election coordinator Mark Goins saying there can be no use of RCV is valid. The charter referendum is binding on the election commission and so is the legal opinion from Goins.

Washington: Snohomish County is planning to sue the state in order to recoup the money it spent on a new law requiring more ballot drop boxes. According to news reports the county expects to spend $250,000 to install and operate 19 new ballot boxes.

Wisconsin: Judge Elliot Levine has declined to punish Connie Sykes, 63 of La Crosse for voting while ineligible. The judge called the case a “waste of time.” Sykes was still on probation for a 2015 felony conviction when she cast her ballot in the 2016 election. The judge imposed a $518 fine for court costs, which he then vacated.

Also in Wisconsin Judge Martin De Vries accepted a guilty plea from Herbert E. York Jr. for illegally voting in the 2016 election. York was still on parole for a felony conviction when he voted.