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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Information & Analysis

Minnesota Supreme Court order on absentee ballots - brief analysis

The Supreme Court issued a 3-2 decision requiring election officials and both campaigns to agree on a uniform counting standard and allowing only those absentee ballots that both candidates agree were improperly rejected based on the agreed-upon standard to be counted and included in the recount. Presumably, those absentee ballots whose validity the campaigns cannot agree on would be the subject of one or more election contests. Minnesota law explicitly provides for correction of obvious errors by county officials where the two candidates agree in writing to the correction. See 204C.38. However, the Court found that 204C.38 and 204C.39, both sections on correction of obvious errors, did not apply. Rather, its decision was based on 204B.44 which allows any individual to petition the Supreme Court to order counties to correct any wrongful act, omission, or error (or show cause for not doing so) by an election official in a state or federal election. See the Supreme Court’s order here on our Coleman v. Ritchie case page. Two justices wrote in dissent. Justice Page’s dissent alleges that the majority’s decision will create the kind of equal protection problem it seeks to avoid by treating valid, legally cast ballots differently based on the arbitrary agreement of candidates and officials. It should be noted that 204B.44 does not require this particular manner of relief. The statute directs the court to order “appropriate relief”.

Commentary

Daniel P. Tokaji

What's the Matter with Kobach?

Daniel P. Tokaji

By "Kobach," I mean the Kobach v. EAC case in which the Tenth Circuit heard oral argument Monday – rather than its lead plaintiff, Kansas’ controversial Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who argued the position of his state and the State of Arizona. This post discusses what’s at issue in the case, where the district court went wrong, and what the Tenth Circuit should do.

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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Info & Analysis

Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in NC Case

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in a case challenging a new North Carolina voting law as violating the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution. Judge Schroeder also denied the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case is North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory.

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