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Electionline Weekly Feb-8-2018

Legislative Updates

Connecticut: During his final State of the State Address, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that he will be signing an Executive Order to Study whether Connecticut should move to a Vote-by-Mail system. He also said that during his Final year in Office he would work to get Early Voting approved.

Florida — A House Subcommittee has voted 10-0 to forward a Bill that would make Private most of the Personal Data associated with a Registered Voter. The House Bill has the support of many of the State’s Supervisor of Elections. The Senate has yet to introduce a corresponding piece of Legislation however the Senate has introduced a Bill that would Limit the Public availability only of those 16- and 17-year-olds who are Pre-Registered.

Many states will make your Voter Information, some for a Fee, other with an Official request.

Idaho: Secretary of State Lawerence Denney is seeking a 70% increase in his Budget. Most of the additional Funds would cover a Major Upgrade to the State’s Election Software system.

Illinois — The Senate has approved SB2273 which would pull the State out of the Crosscheck program. The 35-17 was decided along Party Lines with Three Republicans Abstaining. The Bill next moves to the House.

Under House Bill 4469, County Jails would be directed to allow Eligible Inmates to Vote-by-Mail. It would also establish a temporary Polling Place inside the Cook County Jail.

Maine: Supporters of Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) in Maine have submitted more than the 80,000 Signatures necessary for a “People’s Veto” which would mean sending the issue back to the Voters in June. After the Legislature voted to Delay implementation of RCV, which Voters Approved in 2016, Supporters launched another Petition Drive that would in essence Veto the Legislature’s Delay.

Maryland: The City of College Park is considering whether or not to ease Absentee Voting Rules for City Elections. Currently there are only Five Valid reasons for receiving an Absentee Ballot and one of those reasons is Not Attending Classes at the University of Maryland.

Massachusetts: The House has unanimously approved a Bill that would provide more than $1 Million in Reimbursements to Cities and Towns for conducting Early Voting. The Bill moves next to the Senate.

Michigan: They League of Women Voters of Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, and the State and Detroit Branches of the NAACP have filed Petition language with the State that if Approved would allow the Groups to Circulate Petitions to put an Initiative on a future Ballot to allow for No-Excuse Absentee Voting and Same-Day Registration.

Minnesota: Rochester could become the next City in Minnesota to use the Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) system if Advocates get enough Signatures to put the Question to Voters in November. They will need to get about 2,900 Valid Signatures by July 10th.

Missouri: With at least 330 different Initiative Petitions filed so far in 2018, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is seeking Legislative Relief. Ashcroft has asked Lawmakers to Overhaul the Initiative Process, including Charging Fees for Filing Initiative Petitions and Verifying Signatures.

New York: The General Assembly has approved a Bill that will move the State Primary Election from Tuesday, September 11th to Thursday the 13th. Lawmakers had sought to move the Bill not only because the Election Date coincides with the 17th Anniversary of the Attacks on the World Trade Center, but also because it Conflicted with Rosh Hashanah.

South Dakota: The House and a House Committee have Approved Bills that would Restrict Funding to Ballot Measure Committees from outside the State, and require Circulators to give up more information on Petition Forms and on the Ballot.

Tennessee: By an 11-2 vote, the Memphis City Council decide to put the Question of whether Voters will use Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) before the Voters in November.

Virginia: The House of Delegates has Approved a series of Election Law changes that were introduced in light of some of the issues that arose during the 2017 Election Cycle. By a 91-6 vote one of the Bills Approved would clarify the State’s Recount Rules and Limit those to one Recount. A Second Bill, Approved 50-48 would Permit the General Assembly to Change District Lines more often than every 10 Years if the Changes were Meant to Align the Districts with New Voting Precinct Boundaries. Under another Bill, People Voting Absentee In-Person ahead of an Election would No Longer be required to Provide the Last Four Digits of their Social Security Numbers. And finally, the House Approved a Bill that would Overhaul the State Board of Elections. The New Board would be Six Members, Three Democrats and Three Republicans, and the Board would appoint the State Elections Commissioner instead of the Governor.

Legal Updates

Arkansas: Barry Haas, a former Poll Worker, has filed Suit against the State’s Voter ID Law. A previous law was Ruled Unconstitutional in 2014 and in 2017, the State Legislature Approved a New Law, Act 633. In his 23-page petition, Haas is asking Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray to Rule that the New Law is also Unconstitutional.

California: A Candidate for the Special Election for the District Two Supervisor has Sued the City Elections Department seeking to move the Election from November 6th to June 5th. The Plaintiffs cite an Amendment to the City Charter passed in 2001 that Election Dates must Minimize the Time a Political Appointee spends in Office to Prevent Back-Room Deals or giving the Candidate an Unfair Advantage.

Florida: U.S District Judge Mark Walker has ruled that Florida’s “Scheme” of Restoring Voting Rights to Ex-Felons is Unconstitutional. "Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony," Walker wrote. "To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida's governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration … The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not."

Georgia: The Secretary of State’s Office and the ACLU of Georgia have reached a Settlement in a Suit brought by the ACLU over Georgia’s Notification process for those in danger of being Purged from the Voter Rolls. Moving forward, the Secretary’s Office will instruct Local Elections Officials to Automatically Update Addresses for People who Move within the Same County.

Kansas: Secretary of State Kris Kobach will Represent himself during a March Trial over the State’s Proof-of-Citizenship Law. Kobach received Permission to do so from Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Kobach said his Self-Representation saves Tax Dollars.

Minnesota: St. Paul City Council Member Dai Thao has been Charged with Unlawfully Marking a Ballot, Misconduct in or near Polling Places, and Unlawful Assistance of a Voter. The first Charge is a Gross Misdemeanor, the other Two Charges are Petty Misdemeanors. Thao allegedly took an Elderly Voter to the Polls and Help her Cast Her Ballot.

North Carolina: The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a Partial Request from the North Carolina Republicans to Block a Voting Map Drawn by a Federal Court. The Order Blocked the Implementation of the Map while the Justices Consider whether or not they will Hear an Appeal of the Map.

Pennsylvania: The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has reached a Settlement with Cumberland County over Polling Place Accessibility. The County has agreed to Evaluate its Polling Places for ADA Compliance. “The settlement requires the county to either relocate inaccessible polling places to new, accessible facilities, or to use temporary measures such as portable ramps, signs, traffic cones and doorbells, where appropriate to ensure accessibility on Election Day,” according to the Announcement.

Texas: Belinda Garcia, 45 has been Charged with One Count of Election Fraud and One Count of Fraudulent Application for Ballot by Mail in Starr County. Garcia is the Third Person Charged of the same Charges in Starr County.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker


This post first appeared on The Independent View, please read the originial post: here

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Electionline Weekly Feb-8-2018


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