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electionlineWeekly — February 1, 2018

Table of Contents

 V. Legal Updates

Connecticut: Perhaps the third time will be the charm. The Connecticut Supreme Court has ordered the city of Bridgeport to hold a third primary for a city council seat. The high court agreed with a lower court ruling that the previous two elections should be tossed because they were skewed by political corruption.

Louisiana: The American Probation and Parole Association has filed an amicus brief in a case before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals that is seeking to reverse a Louisiana law that prohibits felons on probation and parole from voting. The Association argues that restoring the right to vote to ex-offenders is of critical importance to better integrate offenders back into society.

North Carolina: In a 4-3 vote, along party lines, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the General Assembly overstepped its authority in 2017 when it overhauled the state elections board. According to WRAL, the positions on the new Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement have been vacant for months, as Gov. Roy Cooper (D) declined to appoint any members until the lawsuit was resolved – a decision backed by the courts. It is unclear when such appointments will be made.

In other legal news, a three-judge panel refused Republican lawmakers’ request to block the use of new legislative district maps the judges had previously approved for the 2018 election cycle. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, even with the unanimous denial by the federal judges, GOP lawmakers have a similar request pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts wants a brief from the voters who've successfully sued over state House and Senate districts by late next week. Candidate filing begins Feb. 12, with primaries to be held in May.

Ohio: Eric Morgan, former Miami County deputy elections director has sued the board of elections and a former member of the board claiming that the board violated open meeting laws and that the member defamed Morgan.

Tennessee: The trial of Brian “Wormy” Hodge, who is accused of buying votes in the 2014 Monroe County sheriff’s race has been moved. The new start date is April 10.

Texas: A Republican candidate for Dallas County commission has dropped his lawsuit seeking to have Election Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole removed from office. According to The Dallas Morning News, the candidate said he had little choice but to drop his suit because the judge on the case said it could only move forward if District Attorney Faith Johnson joined the suit, which she declined to do. Johnson wrote to the judge saying she "cannot join the proceeding," because only the Dallas County Elections Commission and the Dallas County Commissioners Court have the authority to suspend or fire the elections head. 

Utah: Attorneys representing the Navajo Nation in a successful lawsuit against vote-by-mail in San Juan County are seeking more than $3 million in legal fees from the county.