VII. Legal Updates
Arizona: Coconino County has reached an agreement with the Justice Department to make county polling places accessible to people with mobility and vision impairments. Under the agreement, the county will start remediating polling places in time for the next election and will ensure that all of its polling place are accessible during elections to people with disabilities by no later than the November 2020 election.
Also in Arizona, U.S District Judge Douglas L. Rayes has ruled that restrictions on Arizona voting purportedly aimed at reducing voter fraud—eliminating ballot harvesting and provisional ballots—do not impose an undue burden on minorities and were not intended to. The suit was originally brought by the Democratic National Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party.
California: Los Angeles County is being sued by two registered sex offenders for the right to become poll workers. Their lawsuit says that state law doesn’t bar registered sex offenders from serving as poll workers and so they are suing the county for violating the state constitution.
Florida: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal has tentatively scheduled oral arguments in the state’s fight against restoring the voting rights to ex-felons for the week of July 23.
Hawaii: The Hawaii Supreme Court overturned the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by county Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto and a former elections clerk against Hawaii County, former Councilman Dominic Yagong and a private investigator. The 48-page clears former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, saying the comments attributed to her in a 2012 newspaper article weren’t defamatory because they were true.
Indiana: According to the Chicago Tribune, lawyers representing the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and group of Lake County voters have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would force the state to consolidate small voting precincts in Lake County.
Kansas: The ACLU has asked U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson to order Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay more than $50,000 in attorney fees and other damages as punishment for violating a court order.
Louisiana: Plaintiffs in a suit challenging Louisiana’s 1976 law that prohibits ex-felons from voting are asking the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing after the court affirmed a lower court ruling that upheld the law. The Appeals court, on Wednesday, chose not to rehear the case.
Maine: The Maine Republican Party has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the secretary of state from implementing ranked-choice voting for the party’s June 12 primary. According to the Press Herald, the suit seeks a quick injunction against Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap that would prohibit him from proceeding with a retabulation of the ballots cast in the Republican primary as called for under the ranked-choice voting law if a candidate does not win a majority in the first count of ballots. Arguments have been set for May 23.
New Hampshire: The Attorney General’s office has asked the state’s Supreme Court to block a lower court’s ruling that the state’s entire voter registration databased be turned over to parties challenging a 2017 law that tightened vote requirements. The attorney general's office argued in a motion to the high court that the database information for nearly 1 million active New Hampshire voters is private under state law and that the Superior Court judge is requiring state officials to “commit a crime in order to release this information to the plaintiffs.”
Also in New Hampshire, Judge Charles Temple has recused himself from the suit against Senate Bill 3 because the state has hired an outside attorney who Temple considers a close friend.
North Dakota: U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller has granted a request from attorneys for several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa for a settlement conference with the state of North Dakota over the state’s voter ID law. The judge set the conference for May 29 at the federal courthouse in Bismarck.
Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s voter-approved 2010 voter ID law is constitutional. “The Oklahoma Voter ID Act is a reasonable procedural regulation to ensure that voters meet identity and residency qualifications to vote and does not cause an undue burden,” according to the opinion.
Pennsylvania: Thurman George, 57 of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to election fraud during the 2017 House special election. George, along with three other election workers, was accused of harassment and intimidation against voters who wanted to vote for candidates of their choice, but not the candidate being pushed by the city’s Democratic Party.