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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Information & Analysis

Minnesota state canvassing board begins counting absentee ballots

The Secretary of State’s staff is meeting today with campaign representatives to begin counting over 900 absentee ballots that both campaigns agree should not have been rejected. The Supreme Court has, as yet, issued no additional orders in Coleman v. Ritchie in response to Coleman’s petition that seeks to alter the standard for determining which rejected ballots should now be included in the canvass. In the absence of Court action, the counting was set to begin today as originally scheduled. Soon after the meeting began, a recess was called while the opinion of the Attorney General was sought on the question of whether the absentee ballots ought to be marked in a way that makes them identifiable as evidence in potential future litigation. The Coleman campaign’s position was that the Court’s Dec. 24 order did not completely supersede it’s Dec. 18 order which included the requirement to keep the ballots identifiable. The Supreme Court’s order of Dec. 24 had no stipulation that ballots be numbered to preserve evidence and Attorney General Lori Swanson agreed with Franken’s representatives that the Dec. 18 order was superseded by the order of Dec. 24. However, Swanson still recommended that the Secretary’s staff number the ballots because of the strong likelihood of future litigation by one or both of the parties. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbman informed the campaigns of this decision and staff members assured everyone that voter privacy will be preserved. Each ballot is inside a secrecy envelope which is inside a white return envelope. Each of these three pieces will be numbered and the names and numbers will not be made available to the public.


Edward B. Foley

Of Bouncing Balls and a Big Blue Shift

Edward B. Foley

It is a fortuitous coincidence that the University of Virginia’s Journal of Law & Politics has just published a piece of mine that shows the relevance of the current vote-counting process in Virginia’s Attorney General election to what might happen if the 2016 presidential election turns on a similar vote-counting process in Virginia. 

Read full post here.

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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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