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electionlineWeekly — September 25, 2014

Table of Contents

 IV. Legal Update

Alaska: With the ballot printing deadline ticking, Judge John Suddock agreed to move quickly on a lawsuit challenging an emergency order that allowed two gubernatorial candidates to fuse their campaigns into one ticket.

Also in Alaska U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ordered state officials to provide written translations of most of the important election materials they provide. The judge also directed officials to increase six-fold the number of hours bilingual workers are paid to help Yup’ik and Gwich’in speakers. According to Alaska Dispatch News, Gleason said she was issuing her order on an interim basis for just the coming election and provided a series of timed steps by which to measure compliance.

Arkansas: Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) announced this week that attorney’s for Secretary of State Mark Martin’s (R) office will argue on behalf of the state’s voter photo ID law before the state Supreme Court next week instead of his office. "I have made a commitment to uphold my constitutional obligation to defend the law, and I will continue to do so as counsel to the Board [of Election Commissioners]," McDaniel said in a statement released by his office. "However, Secretary Martin's attorneys have asked to argue the appeal, and I have no objection to them taking the appellant's argument time."

Kansas: The state Supreme Court ruled that the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate must be removed from the ballot following his withdraw from the race. Secretary of State Kris Kobach had argued that Chad Taylor’s name must remain on the ballot. In other news in the Chad Taylor withdraw, the Supreme Court kicked another case on the issue back down to a lower court. A registered Democrat from Kansas City had filed a petition with the court trying to compel Democrats to appoint a replacement for Taylor in the Senate race. Kobach has filed a motion to intervene in the case.

Maryland: The state attorney general’s office is filing an appeal in the ballot-marking device case. Earlier this month a judge ruled that the state must allow for usage of an online ballot-marking tool to blind and disabled voters. The state is appealing to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mississippi: On Monday, the Mississippi Supreme Court granted permission for Conservative Action fund, an Alabama-based organization, to file briefs in the Senate primary runoff case.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Supreme Court consolidated and remanded back to a lower court two cases pitting Secretary of State Dianna Duran against Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. The counties wanted to include advisory questions on the November ballots and Duran refused.

North Carolina: Arguments in the appeal against North Carolina’s new voting law were set for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at press time. The court will consider whether the November elections can be held under the voting law approved by Republican lawmakers.

Ohio: A three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s earlier ruling restoring early voting cuts and reinstating the “Golden Week.” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that he will ask the full court of appeals to overturn the panel’s ruling.

South Dakota: A voting rights group has filed a federal lawsuit against Jackson County claiming that there is unequal access to the polls in the county that includes the northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Texas: The case against Texas’ voter photo ID law is now in the hands of U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. Both sides completed their closing statements on Monday with plaintiffs arguing that the law would adversely impact poor and elderly voters while the defense argued that the state had done “extensive research and there was no evidence to show the law was discriminatory.” Gonzales Ramos did not indicate when she would rule but it could be in advance of the November election.

Wisconsin: Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin GOP against the Government Accountability Board (GAB). The GOP had sued the GAB over the board’s new model ballot arguing that the new design had the potential to confuse voters. Kieffer dismissed the case because the filing of the suit did not follow the correct procedures.