IV. Legal Updates
Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach has asked a Sedgwick County judge to block the release of voting machine tapes that are being sought by Wichita State University mathematician Beth Clarkson. Kobach argues that the records are not subject to Kansas open records act.
In other legal news, a Topeka judge has denied a move by Kobach to quash a lawsuit challenging the state’s two-tier voter registration system and Judge Franklin Theis said Kobach had exceeded his authority with the way he runs elections.
North Carolina: Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan heard arguments this week about whether or not changes enacted this summer to soften North Carolina’s voter ID requirements should end a lawsuit that claims the state’s voting law violates the state constitution.
Ohio: The Associated Press reports thatthe Ohio Democratic Party and two of its county organizations are seeking to join a federal lawsuit filed in May that alleges that election laws and rules disproportionately burden Democratic-leaning voters. The Ohio Organizing Collaborative brought the case. But in court filings last week, the organization’s attorneys asked Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King to let it withdraw and substitute in its place the state’s Democratic Party and Cuyahoga and Montgomery county parties.
Texas: According to The Houston Chronicle, in court filings last week, the Justice Department and civil rights organizations asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow a lower court to start working immediately on an interim remedy to the state’s voter ID law passed in 2011. The Justice Department and the civil rights groups argue that timeline might not allow for an interim solution to be put in place across the state for early voting, which starts Oct. 19. They've asked the 5th Circuit to allow the federal court in Corpus Christi to come up with a fix earlier.
Utah: The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission is threatening to sue San Juan County saying that the 2014 vote-by-mail election had a negative impact on Navajo voters. Among other things, the commission contends that because the county has the responsibility to provide language assistance and the vote-by-mail system eliminates that assistance.