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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Information & Analysis

January, 2008

Below are postings from January, 2008. (See Archives | Recent Headlines)

Florida Primaries Going Smoothly

Jan. 29 - Reports indicate that Florida's primary voting is going smoothly for the most part (see here). The most serious reported problem seems to have occurred in Royal Palm Beach, where voting machines in one precinct were accidentally turned off (see here). The machines could not be rebooted so replacements are being obtained.

ACLU Asks Judge to Block Cuyahoga County Primary

Jan. 29 - The ACLU of Ohio on Monday (1/28) filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in ACLU of Ohio v. Brunner (see here)(disclosure). The Motion asks the Judge to block the March 4th primary election in Cuyahoga County if the County switches to a paper ballot system that does not allow voters to correct errors. The Judge set a deadline of next Monday (2/4) for the Ohio Secretary of State and the county elections board to respond. A hearing on the Motion is scheduled for February 5th. The Motion is available at the EL@M case page.

New Expansion of Interactive Maps

Jan. 29 - EL@M has expanded two of its interactive maps to include new information about states with upcoming February 5 primaries. The unverified ballots and provisional ballots with technical mistakes maps were expanded.

N.H. Primary Recount Possible

Jan. 16 - Presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich (D) and Albert Howard (R) are requesting a recount in the New Hampshire primary, although the recount will not go forward if they cannot pay the cost. Kucinich claims there were disparities between hand-counted ballots, machine-counted ballots, and pre-election polls. Howard claims the tally of his vote total on C-SPAN was erased before his very eyes. Neither candidate came close to winning their respective primaries.

Nevada Caucus Hearing to Occur Thursday

Jan. 15 - The Las Vegas Sun reports that a TRO hearing has been scheduled for Thursday to determine whether Nevada's in-casino caucus locations impermissibly make it easier for some voters to participate than others.

Nevada Caucus Lawsuit Filed

Jan. 14 - A Nevada state teachers' union has filed a lawsuit alleging that the timing and location of the state Presidential caucuses makes it more difficult for some types of voters to participate than others. The complaint is here. EL@M's case page is here.

N.H. Primary Ballots Run Low

Jan. 8 - New Hampshire's Secretary of State reports that some polling places are running low on ballots due to high turnout. However, supplies are being restocked, and there is no indication that voting has been prevented.

NM GOP Sued for Investigating Voters

Jan. 1 -

The New Mexico ACLU has sued key Republican leaders in the state for allegedly using social voters' social security numbers to investigate their eligibility to vote (complaint).  Among other things, the suit claims that the Republicans violated state privacy laws by disseminating copies of 7 voter registration forms with unredacted dates of birth.

Republicans Asks Federal Judge To Close 5-Day Window

Jan. 1 -

The Ohio Republican Party today (9/26) [See EL@M case page]  filed suit today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio over Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner's directive that would allow qualified voters to simultaneously register and receive an absentee ballot for a five-day period of time (30-35 days before the election).  This is the third suit involving the "five-day window" filed in the last two weeks.  The first suit, State ex. rel. Colvin v. Brunner, was a mandamus action filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on 9/12/08.  The second suit, Project Vote v. Madison County Board of Elections, was filed on Wednesday (9/24) with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.   

Additional Information added to Key Questions for Key States

Jan. 1 -

Information from Arizona and Georgia regarding Voter Identification, Election Day Challenges, and Voting Technology has been added to the Election Law Maps.

Ohio Supreme Court Backs 5-

Jan. 1 -

ACLU sues over voter registration in Rhode Island

Jan. 1 -

The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties has filed suit against the state Board of Elections.  Rhode Island permits same day voter registration in presidential elections.  Not registered voters can go to their city or town hall and cast a vote.  The lawsuit is centered around a recently adopted administrative regulation.  This new regulation allows towns and cities to designate a different location for the same day voter registration procedure if "voting in a city or town hall has become impracticable due to inadequacy of the available facilities or other concerns."  The issue is whether this newly adopted administrative regulation impermissibly conflicts with the Rhode Island statutory law.

WI: 7 Absentee Ballots Challenged on Residency Grounds

Jan. 1 -

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that an off-duty police officer has challenged a handful of absentee ballots on the claim that the voters who cast those ballots are not residents of the state.  Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation.

Colorado Sued over Purges

Jan. 1 -

Common Cause has filed a complaint against Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman alleging that the state has executed illegal purges of the statewide voter registration database.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that Colorado violated the NVRA by purging the voting rolls within 90 days of an election for unauthorized reasons, including the failure of post-registration address confirmation postcards to reach new registrants.  See Major Pending Cases case page here, Lawsuit Tracker page here.

Conflicting Stories Over Degree of Polling Problems

Jan. 1 -

Conflicting stories keep coming out of Pennsylvania and Virginia, where voting may or may not be going well.  On the one hand, Election Protection claims that voters in these states are encountering "major obstacles," including machine malfunctions and failure of polls to open at all, that "could disenfranchise thousands of voters in each state."  On the other hand, Virginia election officials this afternoon claimed that "the reality is we have not seen a pattern of widespread problems."

Republican Lawsuit in New Hampshire

Jan. 1 -

It is being reported that the New Hampshire Republican State Committee is filing a lawsuit against New Hampshire Secretary of State, William Gardner, claiming that Republican election observers are being kept away from new registration tables.  EL@M will have more details as they become available.

Georgia poll workers not giving out provisional ballots unless voters have ID

Jan. 1 -

One Atlanta precinct lost all voting machines and ran out of printed ballots and paper provisional ballots.  Poll workers at a College Park precinct were not giving out provisional ballots to voters who did not have a government ID.  Election Protection is working with government officials to resolve the situation.

Conflicting Reports on VA, PA

Jan. 1 -

Conflicting reports keep coming out of Virginia and Pennsylvania, where voting either is or is not going well  On the one hand, Election Protection claims that serious problems, including widespread machine malfunctions and failure of polls to open, may potentially disenfranchise thousands of voters.  On the other hand, other reports, including this one from officials in Virginia, say that there have been no problems beyond the ordinary garden-variety issues.


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.

more commentary...

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.

more EL@M in the news...

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.

more info & analysis...