VII. Legal Updates
Florida: Circuit Judge Raag Singhal has ruled that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes violated state and federal laws by destroying ballots from a 2016 Congressional race while the ballots were the subject of a lawsuit against the office. According to the Sun Sentinel, based on that ruling, Florida’s Department of State will send election experts to the Broward elections office in the upcoming election “to ensure that all laws are followed,” the governor’s office said. It could also cost the elections office more than $200,000 to pay attorney’s fees for Tim Canova, the defeated candidate who sued the office.
Georgia: Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall has issued an order that Fulton County elections officials should grant the secretary of state’s office “immediate access” to ballots, recaps, tally sheets, voter applications and other documents related to the 2017 Atlanta mayoral contest the secretary of state’s office is now investigating.
Illinois: A group of Kane County voters have filed suit against the county clerk seeking to have a March 20 tax vote voided because there was incomplete information on the ballot. When the mistake was discovered on March 9 during early voting, the county clerk allegedly drew up a plan to address the missing information, but when the voters who are suing cast their ballot on March 14, the missing information was still missing from the ballot.
Maine: U.S. District Judge Jon D. Levy ruled this week that The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting may not intervene in a pending lawsuit seeking to block the use of ranked choice voting in the June primary. In his ruling, Levy said the inclusion of the group in the suit “would complicate a case that badly needs to be expedited.”
New Hampshire: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has asked the state’s Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of House Bill 1264, a bill that would merge the definitions of domicile and residency for purposes of registering to vote. The state’s executive council recently approved the request to move the questions to the Supreme Court.
New York: Dutchess County Judge Peter Forman has dismissed a petition to move a Town of Poughkeepsie polling site from a local elementary school to Vassar College. Officials wanted the site moved because it was located outside of the area that it serves. Forman determined that the petition did not establish itself in line with Article 78.
Texas: U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has given Texas until May 17 to tell him how the state will comply with the National Voter Registration Act. More than a month ago Garcia ruled that Texas was in violation with NVRA and now state officials have a deadline to comply with that ruling.
Also in Texas, Laura Janeth Garza, 38, has been indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on two charges of illegally voting in Harris County after she allegedly stole the identity of a U.S. citizen and using that information to register to vote.
U.S. Virgin Islands: Superior Court Judge Denise Francois has ruled that 13-members of the elections boards from St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John violated recently approved bills to restructure the bodies into one, unified USVI elections board. Francois also invalidated any work done by the boards since the law went into effect. The boards of elections are appealing the ruling.
Wisconsin: According to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, for the second time, Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office has concluded there is no evidence a Democratic activist broke voting laws in 2016.