V. Legal Updates
Arkansas: Barry Haas, a former poll worker, has filed suit against the state’s voter ID law. A previous law was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 and in 2017, the state Legislature approved a new law, Act 633. In his 23-page petition Haas is asking Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to rule that the new law is also unconstitutional.
California: A candidate for the special election for the District Two supervisor has sued the city elections department seeking to move the election from November 6 to June 5. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the plaintiffs cite an amendment to the City Charter passed in 2001 that election dates must minimize the time a political appointee spends in office to prevent back-room deals or giving the candidate an unfair advantage.
Florida: U.S District Judge Mark Walker has ruled that Florida’s “scheme” of restoring voting rights to ex-felons is unconstitutional. "Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony," Walker wrote. "To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida's governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration … The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not."
Georgia: The secretary of state’s office and the ACLU of Georgia have reached a settlement in a suit brought by the ACLU over Georgia’s notification process for those in danger of being purged from the voter rolls. Moving forward, the secretary’s office will instruct local elections officials to automatically update addresses for people who move within the same county.
Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach will represent himself during a March trial over the state’s proof-of-citizenship law. Kobach received permission to do so from Attorney General Derek Schmidt. According to the Kansas City Star, Kobach said his self-representation saves tax dollars.
Minnesota: St. Paul City Council member Dai Thao has been charged with unlawfully marking a ballot, misconduct in or near polling places and unlawful assistance of a voter. The first charge is a gross misdemeanor, the other two charges are petty misdemeanors. Thao allegedly took an elderly voter to the polls and help her cast her ballot.
North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a partial request from the North Carolina Republicans to block a voting map drawn by a federal court. The order blocked the implementation of the map while the justices consider whether or not they will hear an appeal of the map.
Pennsylvania: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has reached a settlement with Cumberland County over polling place accessibility. The county has agreed to evaluate its polling places for ADA compliance. “The settlement requires the county to either relocate inaccessible polling places to new, accessible facilities, or to use temporary measures such as portable ramps, signs, traffic cones and doorbells, where appropriate to ensure accessibility on Election Day,” according to the announcement.
Texas: Belinda Garcia, 45 has been charged with one count of election fraud and one count of fraudulent application for ballot by mail in Starr County. Garcia is the third person charged of the same charges in Starr County.