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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Information & Analysis

January, 2010

Below are postings from January, 2010. (See Archives | Recent Headlines)

IN Supreme Court grants transfer in LWV v. Rokita

Jan. 25 - The Indiana Supreme Court today (1/25) entered an order granting transfer and assuming jurisdiction in the case of League of Women Voters v. Rokita.  The Court granted the transfer petitions of both the Appellants and the Appellee, and oral argument has been scheduled for March 4, 2010.   [See EL@M case page for additional information.]

U.S. Supreme Court decides major campaign finance case

Jan. 21 - The Supreme Court today (1/21) entered an opinion in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission regarding campaign contributions.  EL@M generally limits its news coverage to cases involving regulation of the voting process itself (casting, counting, and recounting ballots, as well as registering to vote). Thus, for news coverage of this new campaign finance case, see Rick Hasen's Election Law blog. EL@M opinion commentary, however, covers all aspects of election law, including campaign finance, and thus expect to see some commentary on this important case in our opinion column.

MN Court Allows for the Viewing of 2008 Absentee Ballots

Jan. 6 - In the aftermath of Coleman v. Franken, several Minnesota television news organizations filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment to have absentee ballots from the November 2008 general election classified as accessible to the public.  The District Court of the Second Judicial District recently issued an order in the case of KSTP-TV, KSTC-TV, WDIO-TV, KAAL-TV and KSAX-TV v. Ramsey County (62-CV-09-9240) agreeing with the news agencies and declaring the absentee ballots public data that may be viewed.  [See EL@M Coleman v. Franken case page for background information.]  

Recent Felon Disenfranchisement Decisions

Jan. 5 - Two separate courts have ruled on cases dealing with felon disenfranchisement in recent days. In Farrakhan v. Gregoire, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District held that the plaintiffs had “demonstrated that the discriminatory impact of Washington’s felon disenfranchisement is attributable to racial discrimination in Washington’s criminal justice system” and thus the felon disenfranchisement law violates § 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs.

In Janis v. Nelson, the focus was on felons who were removed from voter registration lists after being sentenced to probation, rather than incarceration. The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota denied most of the state defendants’ motions for judgment on the pleadings, keeping alive claims based on federal and state constitutional and statutory grounds. One of the more interesting claims that survived is based on the Help America Vote Act’s state voter registration list maintenance requirements.


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...