V. Legal Update
With so much election litigation out there, this week we’ll begin an occasional section highlighting what’s going on where.
Arizona: The problem-plagued Peoria city council primary in Arizona is now officially scheduled to coincide with the November 4 general election. A federal judge ruled that the primary will take place that day and if necessary, a March 10, 2015 runoff. None of the previously cast ballots will count.
Maryland: A federal judge in Baltimore ruled that Maryland must adopt an online ballot-marking tool for voters with disabilities who are casting an absentee ballot. Under the ruling, the tool will only be available for the November general election. No word on an appeal.
Mississippi: This week the state’s high court released a schedule for the appeal by State Sen. Chris McDaniel in his challenge of the primary Senate runoff. According to The Associated Press McDaniel has until September 12 to file legal arguments to his appeal and the defendant’s side has until September 24.
North Carolina: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a September 25 hearing date to consider the challenge to North Carolina’s 2013 elections overhaul legislation that limits early voting and requires a photo ID.
Ohio: In Ohio, a federal judge temporarily blocked the state’s new early voting law that had scaled back early voting hours. Secretary of State Jon Husted has said the state will appeal. On Wednesday U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus denied a request to stay his ruling while the appeal is pending.
Pennsylvania: Eight years after a suit was filed in Commonwealth Court on behalf of two dozen voters over the commonwealth’s use of DRE voting machines, the case made it’s way to the state Supreme Court this week. Plaintiffs argue that 23,500 DRE machines in 50 counties do no create a paper record of votes cast. The latest ruling in the case was in 2012 when a seven-judge panel rejected the plaintiff’s claims.
Tennessee: Nine losing candidates in Shelby County have filed suit in the County Chancery Court contesting the election. According to the Memphis Daily News, the seeks a vote recount and/or setting aside of the election results as they are “individually affected and a declaration declaring them to have won the election.”
Texas: Attorneys in the Lone Star State continued their arguments before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales this week about the legality of the state’s voter ID law. This week the state presented their case which according to the Austin American-Statesman relied, in part, on written testimony provided by Republican lawmakers. Closing arguments are expected on September 22.
Utah: Utah, the state’s highest court has struck down a lower court’s ruling that Millard County conduct a new primary. The justices ruled that without a clear winner in the county commission race, the Republican Party should get to pick its candidate.