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electionlineWeekly — May 31 2018

Table of Contents

IV. Legal Updates

Arkansas: The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert H. Wyatt was wrong when he ordered the Jefferson County board of election commissioners to allow former election coordinator Will Fox access to county property or to information necessary to conduct an election.

Iowa: The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair have sued Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate over the state’s voter ID law saying that infringes on Iowans’ ability to cast a fair vote. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to block most provisions of the law from taking effect while the lawsuit is ongoing which could potentially halt its enforcement during the upcoming primary.

Maine: U.S. District Judge Jon Levy has dismissed the Maine Republican party’s legal attempt to get out of having to use ranked-choice voting in the state’s upcoming June 12 primary. According to the Portland Herald Press, in his ruling, Levy dismissed the party’s main argument – that ranked-choice voting might result in a different candidate being selected than if the nominee were chosen in a plurality vote. The party had argued that ranked-choice voting therefore violated its First Amendment rights of freedom to associate.

Maryland: The Maryland State Board of Elections is being sued by a gubernatorial candidate to get her name on the ballot. Valerie Ervin decided to run for governor after her running mate died unexpectedly. The state has said not only is there not enough time to reprint the ballots before the June 26 primary, but also that it would be cost prohibitive, about $2 million.

North Dakota: Settlement talks between several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the secretary of state’s office over the state’s voter ID law have ended without an agreement at this time. Tom Dickson, an attorney for the tribal members, told the West Fargo Pioneer he was "hopeful" for more talks but "the ball is in (the state's) court."

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late last week to block an order by a district judge that would force Texas to fix its online voter registration system, which was found in violation of federal law.

Also in Texas, Crystal Mason, the ex-felon sentenced to five years in prison for voting while still on parole has asked State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez to reconsider his ruling and grant her a new trial. Gonzalez ordered both sides to file additional written arguments by June 7 that he will use to issue a ruling on the new trial motion by June 11.

Wisconsin: The State Election Commission voted unanimously to authorize attorneys for the commission and the state Dept. of Justice to try to resolve the issue of how overseas voters receive their ballots. The U.S. Department of Justice had threatened to the sue the state because Wisconsin law prohibits overseas voters from receiving their ballots electronically, even though federal law allows it.