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electionlineWeekly — April 16, 2015

Table of Contents

 V. Legal Updates

Alabama: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will decide whether the government must pay the legal bills of the lawyers who represented Shelby County before the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawyers are owed about $2 million. The U.S. Department of Justice has argued that a trial judge correctly applied a tougher standard in deciding that the firm was not entitled to fees.

California: This week, Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon ruled that San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu did not err when he left about a dozen ballots uncounted in a race that was won by two votes. According to the Union Tribune, the decision concluded that Vu was right in declining to count 10 provisional ballots.

New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Supreme Court declined to issue an opinion on House Bill 112 which links a person’s voting domicile to the state’s motor vehicle laws. The House approved the bill but had tabled it until the court weighed in. The legislation is similar to what was recently line-itemed by Ohio’s governor and requires that a person’s voting address must be the same for their license or vehicle registration.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Court of Appeals is allowing two lawsuits challenging firings of former employees of the secretary of state’s office to proceed to trial. The appellate court overturned one lower court ruling and upheld another.

Utah: A federal judge has denied a GOP-requested injunction to delay the implementation of SB54, a law the GOP believes is unconstitutional. While representatives for the state’s Republican party said they will discuss what to do, Mark Thomas, chief deputy in the Lt. Governor’s office told KUER, the ruling doesn’t mean much. “From the elections office standpoint, the Lt. Governor’s office, we are moving forward," he says. "We are preparing. We are going to be getting the candidates and political parties, and the public ready and knowledgeable of what SB54 does and how it changes the election law.”

Washington: The Yakima city council voted 5-2 this week to appeal a federal court ruling requiring the city to create a new voting system. Elections on the calendar for 2015 will proceed under the new system though.