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.