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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Information & Analysis

October, 2010

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

Sixth Circuit upheld Tennessee's felon voter laws

Oct. 28 - The Sixth Circuit upheld Tennessee's felon voter laws, ruling that laws barring former felons with outstanding child support or victim restitution payments from voting were rationally related to governmental interests and were not an unlawful poll tax prohibited by the 24th amendment. Read whole opinion.

Alaska Supreme Court Issues TRO

Oct. 28 - The Alaska Supreme Court has temporarily stayed a temporary restraining order (TRO) that prohibited Alaska’s Division of Elections from displaying, distributing, or communicating write-in candidate lists at polling locations. Parties to the suit were required to submit briefs to the Supreme Court by 3:00 PM (7:00 PM EST) Thursday.

FL Senate Candidate changes

Oct. 27 - In the Florida 12th State Senate District, Jim Norman won the primary but was subsequently disqualified for financial disclosure irregularities. Norman's attorneys are in the Florida First District Court of Appeals arguing to overturn his disqualification. In the meantime, the state Republican party chose a new candidate, Rob Wallace. Norman's name is on the ballot, including for early voting, but votes for Norman will be counted for Wallace, unless Norman wins today or on subsequent appeals. If Kevin Ambler, who lost to Norman in the primary and brought the successful challenge to Norman's qualifications wins, according to Florida Election officials, votes for Norman will be counted for Ambler. This confusion in balloting has kept some voters from the polls, while others have simply voted despite the confusion over candidates.

Possible machine calibration problems in North Carolina

Oct. 27 - North Carolina voters have commented that two counties have had calibration problems with early voting machines, with possible problems in a third county. Voters who selected a Republican ticket were displaying that the machine read a straight Democrat ticket. The Deputy Director of the State Board of Elections reported that the machines were recalibrated and voters were able to cast their votes properly.

Rewards for proof of voting technology manipulation

Oct. 27 - At a time when trust in voting technology is low, the election watchdog group ProtectOurElections.org has offered a $20,000 award to any technology expert who can definitively show vote tabulation manipulation in the 2010 midterm election results. This announcement comes after the organization received tips of possible attempts of manipulation in the upcoming election.

Nevada GOP complaint about problems with early voting

Oct. 27 -  The Nevada GOP has sent a letter through an attorney to the Secretary of State asking him to investigate several issues relating to early voting. Specifically, the letter complains of issues with voting logs, including transcription errors and changing methods for logging vote counts on machines before polls opened.

Illinois misses overseas ballot mailing deadline

Oct. 27 - Illinois counties failed to send ballots to overseas and military voters by the deadline. The state board of elections and the U.S. Department of Justice have ordered the local election officials to extend the deadline for receipt of the ballots to November 19th. State legislators are considering investigating the incident.

Pre-Election Challenge in Alaska Senate Race

Oct. 27 - In a three-candidate race for US Senator from Alaska, lawyers from the Republican and Democratic parties have joined together to file a lawsuit against the State Division of Elections alleging that the division allowed write-in candidate lists to be handed out at polling stations, and in some cases actually posted inside the voting booths themselves. State regulations explicitly forbid materials about write-in candidates within 200 feet of a polling station. State Superior Court Judge Pfiffner issued an opinion this morning granting a temporary restraining order stopping the distribution of write-in candidate names at polling stations. This ruling also applies to the posting of candidate names in the polling stations and verbal communications from poll workers to voters.

Decision in Arizona proof of citizenship case

Oct. 26 - The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, today held that Arizona’s requirements for proof of citizenship for voter registration violate the National Voter Registration Act. Read the opinion here.

Instant Runoff Voting as a "Game Changing" Alternative Voting System?

Oct. 26 -

Thoughts on the Alabama Indictments

Oct. 4 - The Department of Justice announced its indictment today of 11 people in Alabama for allegedly engaging in  a conspiracy to buy and sell votes on state legislation. The indictment reminds us that our system does need some controls and that unethical individuals will attempt to use money to subvert the democratic process.


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.

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...