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electionlineWeekly — April 19, 2018

Table of Contents

 V. Legal Updates

Kansas: U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court. In her ruling, Robinson referred to Kobach as disingenuous and according to the Kansas City Star, she chastised him for failing to treat the voters in the ongoing case the same as all other registered voters in accordance with a previous court order.

Louisiana: The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Baton Rouge has upheld a lower court’s ruling that the state law that prohibits felons on parole on probation from voting does not violate the state’s constitution. Felons on parole or probation are still in a "custodial" setting and still serving part of a criminal sentence, Judge Toni Higginbotham wrote in the main opinion, joined by Judge Allison Penzato. "Plaintiffs' understanding of the constitutional phrase as meaning only physical imprisonment would lead to absurd results, because it disregards that a person can legally be under an order of imprisonment without being physically in prison." Higginbotham wrote.

Maine: The state’s highest court heard oral arguments about the implementation of the voter-approved ranked-choice voting in time for the upcoming June primaries. According to Maine Public Radio, during a 35-minute hearing, nearly all seven justices appeared skeptical of the Republicans' arguments, and some wondered why the court was asked to solve a problem that Legislature wouldn't, or couldn't. On Tuesday, the court ruled that the law should stand for the June elections.

Michigan: Former Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger is appealing the ruling of St. Clair County Judge Daniel Kelly that removed Spranger from her role as clerk. Spranger was found guilty of lying about her residency on her election paperwork.

Missouri: The ACLU, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Missouri and the Kansas City-area chapter of the AFL-CIO has sued the state claiming that the Department of Revenue is not automatically updating voter registration after address changes and is not providing registration information to all voters.

Mississippi: Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is requesting that two lawsuits, one filed by the Mississippi Center for Justice and the other by the Southern Poverty Law Center be merged since both are seeking the same thing — to restore voting rights to ex-felons.

New York: An appeals court has ruled that the state’s Freedom of Information Law covers the electronically scanned images of ballots taken from voting machines. The state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Third Department made the decision in the case of Kosmider v. Whitney. Essex County was sued after a FOIL request by Essex County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Bethany Kosmider to see the cast-vote records from the 2015 election was denied.

Texas: Visiting Judge Martin Lowy certified six more ballots in the contested GOP primary in Kaufman County. However, after the certification, Lowy declared that voting improprieties in the court-at-law race proved in the case left no way to determine a true winner and a special election should be held.

U.S. Virgin Islands: The government of the USVI has sued the territorial elections board in Superior Court claiming that the board has violated the territory’s election laws. According to the Virgin Islands Daily News, a complaint filed in Superior Court by Assistant Attorney General Ariel Smith, the board has violated the requirements of territorial law by failing to meet as a single board, and by failing to elect board officers, as required by Act 7982. The lawsuit seeks a declaration from a judge that the members of the district boards failed to follow the law, Smith wrote.

Virginia: J. Christian Adams, a former member of the disbanded presidential election commission has been sued by a group of plaintiffs lead by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The suit alleges that Adams inaccurately accused hundreds of Virginians of illegally registering to vote.