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electionlineWeekly — June 21, 2018

Table of Contents

VI. Legal Updates

California: A San Luis Obispo County superior court judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the county clerk’s office at the behest of a candidate for county supervisor. Attorneys for Lynn Compton accused the clerk’s office of violating elections code by accepting corrections of vote-by-mail ballot envelopes after the deadline. The judge ultimately denied the challenge and lifted the restraining order.

Florida: Lawyers for Gov. Rick Scott’s administration are asking the federal court to step aside in a suit filed by the League of Women Voters over early voting on college campuses. The state’s lawyers argue the case should be heard in state court. "A state court, interpreting state law, can decide the case on narrow, statutory interpretation grounds and, perhaps, avoid any constitutional issues," the state's brief said.

Indiana: According to The Associated Press, the city of Anderson and its former mayor will pay $30,000 to a former city worker who filed a lawsuit alleging she was arrested for trying to deliver her mother’s absentee ballot.

Kansas: In a 118-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has struck down the state’s proof-of-citizenship law saying that it violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Robinson ordered Kobach's office not to enforce the law against any voter registration applications in Kansas. And citing what she called Kobach's "well-documented history of avoiding this Court's Orders," she spelled out specific steps the Secretary of State's office must carry out to ensure that all voters are registered in the same way, regardless of whether they have shown proof of citizenship. In addition, Robinson ordered Kobach to attend at least six hours of continuing legal education courses focusing on civil rules of procedure and evidence. Kobach has said he will appeal the ruling.

Also in Kansas, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class action lawsuit against Kobach over the Crosscheck program that put the personal data of more than 900 voters at risk.

Minnesota: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Minnesota’s ban on wearing political apparel at polling places. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the state’s limits on political clothing violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that "if a state wishes to set its polling places apart as areas free of partisan discord, it must employ a more discernible approach than the one Minnesota has offered here," adding that Minnesota "has not supported its good intentions with a law capable of reasoned application."

Texas: Miguel Hernandez, 28 has pleaded guilty to a single count of using an unlawful method of returning a marked ballot. According to CBS DFW, he was accused of visiting a woman in April and collecting her blank absentee ballot, then filling it out and forging her signature before mailing it to the county. Dozens of senior citizens in West Dallas and Grand Prairie filed complaints about receiving mail-in ballots they had not requested.