V. Legal Updates
California: The 3rd District Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked a new law that aims to delay a recall election targeting a Democratic senator. The election will remain on hold while the judges determine whether the law is legal or not.
Florida: Gladys Coego, 74 of Miami-Dade County was ordered to serve two years of house arrest plus three years of probation for filling in other people’s absentee ballots.
Hawaii: The Hawaii Supreme Court has agreed to hear a 2012 defamation lawsuit by Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto against former County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi and former Council Chairman Dominic Yagong.
Kentucky: Keith Justice of Pikeville was pleaded guilty to four counts of attempting to intimidate an election officer and one count of attempting to interfere with an election and was sentenced to 30 days home incarceration and must pay a $500 fine.
Michigan: Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has invoked her 5th Amendment rights and will not speak with investigators from the sheriff’s office who are investigating that Spranger filed false documents about her residency when she filed to run for office. Also, Macomb County Circuit Judge Kathryn Viviano recused herself from Spranger’s case saying that while she believed she could be impartial, she felt it was appropriate to recuse herself since she previously oversaw a case between Spranger and the county executive.
Also in Michigan, Chief circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. denied an election challenger’s request to have all Detroit absentee ballots from the August primary thrown out saying that there was no evidence to justify the move and that it would disenfranchise voters.
Minnesota: The Minnesota Voters Alliance, a self-proclaimed election watchdog group, has filed suit against Secretary of State Steve Simon to gain access to the state’s voter data. Simon turned over information he deemed public—names, year of birth, voting history—but did not turn over other information that the group claims is public such as voter status and details about voting challenges.
Texas: In a 107-page ruling, a three-judge panel of federal judges in San Antonio unanimously ruled that two Texas congressional districts violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act and that they must be fixed either by the Legislature or a federal court.