News

8/22/2014

The NAACP has appealed a federal judge’s decision to allow elections to proceed under the sweeping changes made to North Carolina voting laws in 2013.

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder rejected a request earlier this month by the NAACP and other challengers of the 2013 overhaul to hold the November elections under old election laws instead of the ones at the heart of the lawsuit scheduled for trial in July 2015.

The NAACP, the League of Women Voters, registered Democrats in North Carolina and others contend that voters will suffer “irreparable damages” if any elections scheduled before the hearing of the lawsuit are held under the laws adopted by the Republican-led General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last summer. ...

In its recent ruling, the District Court also denied the State’s motion to dismiss the case, ruling that plaintiffs had presented plausible legal claims that require a full trial next year.

“We are pleased that the judge denied the state’s motion to dismiss, and found that our claims against this law merit discovery and a trial on the merits,” said Kirkland & Ellis partner Daniel T. Donovan. “But much is at stake if the law is not stopped now, and our clients will use all legal avenues available to ensure that elections are fair and accessible to all citizens.”

8/18/2014

Tuesday is Election Day for some voters in Fairfax and Arlington counties.

A special election Aug. 19 in the 48th House District will fill a seat left vacant by Del. Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington, who has taken a position with Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration.

Republican David M. "Dave" Foster will face Democrat R.C. "Rip" Sullivan Jr..

Tuesday's election will be the last time Northern Virginia voters go to the polls before new photo ID requirements kick in.

Voters heading to the polls Tuesday will be required to present some form of identification. Acceptable forms of identification include:


Voter registration card
Social security card
Virginia driver's license
Virginia concealed handgun permit
Valid student ID issued by an institution of higher learning located in Virginia
Valid employee ID card that has a photo and was issued in the ordinary course of business
Any ID issued by any state agency, political subdivision or the federal government
Copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck that shows both the name and address of the voter ...

Voters who don't have approved photo identification can contact local voter registration offices for a free Virginia Voter Photo Identification Card.

Registered voters going to the polls with no photo ID can still vote using a provisional ballot but will have to provide a valid photo ID at a later day in order for the ballot to be counted.

In the District of Columbia and Maryland registered voters are not subject to photo ID requirements.

8/18/2014

Here is the draft of Mike Pitt's forthcoming article in the Indiana Law Review:

This article is part of a series of studies related to the impact of Indiana’s photo identification law during the two presidential election cycles at which it has been implemented — 2008 and 2012. This article tracks the number of provisional ballots cast and not counted because of a lack of voter identification at Indiana’s 2012 general election. Importantly, this article also addresses an argument against photo identification laws that has became more prominent in recent years — the idea that photo identification laws disparately disfranchise female voters. This article addresses that argument by tracking the gender of those persons who cast provisional ballots due to a lack of valid photo identification — something that does not seem to have been previously done anywhere in the literature. While the research presented here allows for several conclusions, the most important of those conclusions are as follows. First, Indiana’s photo identification law has a relatively small (in relation to the total number of ballots cast) overall actual disfranchising impact on the electorate. Second, Indiana’s photo identification law’s actual disfranchising impact seems to be headed in a downward direction when one compares data from the 2012 general election to the 2008 general election. Third, Indiana’s photo identification law appears to have a disparate impact on women.

8/16/2014

Saturday afternoon, there was a press conference at the St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church at 7th and Topeka Boulevard.

The church says it has the names of more than 20,000 registered voters in Kansas who were not able to vote in the most recent primary election….and are at-risk for not being able to vote in november because their applications are in suspension due to the new voter ID laws.

“It has not only insulted, dehumanized, humiliated and degraded a segment of people, but it has denied life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to each person that has been affected,” Pastor and Social Action Committee Director Rev. Dr. Carieta Cain Grizzel said.

“Mr. Kobach we ask you, we ask you please to sit down with us, to talk with us and work hand in hand with us,” Wichita St. Paul AME Church Pastor Rev. Steven Shepard said.

Earlier this week, Kobach told WIBW 580 radio: “We’re absolutely going to keep fighting back, and Kansans overwhelmingly approve it. I don’t know what churches – and I would put churches in quotation marks – because the vast majority of church leaders I’ve spoken to are fully in favor of our photo ID law.”

8/16/2014

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments Aug. 25 in the case, pitting Kansas and Arizona against the federal Election Assistance Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to develop and oversee the federal registration form. The issue at hand is whether the two states can force the federal agency to comply with state laws requiring documents proving citizenship to register to vote.

The states’ forms require that proof, almost always in the form of a birth certificate or passport.

The federal registration form doesn’t require paper proof of citizenship, but it does require registrants to sign a sworn statement of citizenship under penalty of perjury. …

[Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach will be giving the arguments on behalf of Kansas, Arizona and other states that have the joined the case, Alabama and Georgia. Several conservative legal organizations have also joined on Kobach’s side. …

A brief filed on behalf of the [L]eague [of Women Voters] and other voting-rights interest groups asked: Where does it end if the states win?

“States could pile endless document requirements on the federal form if they claimed them ‘necessary’ to enforce eligibility requirements: an original birth certificate to assess age; a title deed to property to prove residency; a doctor’s certificate to prove mental capacity; an FBI background check to demonstrate lack of criminal convictions,” the brief said.

8/14/2014

As street-level bureaucrats, poll workers bear the primary responsibility for implementing voter identification requirements. Voter identification requirements are not implemented equally across groups of voters, and poll workers exercise substantial discretion in how they apply election law. In states with minimal and varying identification requirements, poll workers appear to treat especially minority voters differently, requesting more stringent voter identification. We explain why poll workers are different from other street-level bureaucrats and how traditional mechanisms of control have little impact on limiting poll-worker discretion. We test why many poll workers appear not to follow the law using a post-election survey of New Mexico poll workers. We find little evidence that race, training, or partisanship matters. Instead, poll worker attitudes toward photo-identification policies and their educational attainment influences implementation of voter-identification laws.

8/14/2014

It's hard enough to get voters to pay attention to midterm elections, but a growing number of states have set restrictions on voting that critics say are intended to erect barriers for young people, potentially benefiting Republican candidates.

Since 2010, 22 states have passed laws that make it more difficult to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. ...

Currently, 31 of the 50 states have laws requiring voters to show ID when they vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Eight states have "strict photo ID" laws that only allow voters without ID to cast provisional ballots that require extra effort from the voters to be counted, according to the NCSL. They are Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia -- all of which voted Republican in the last presidential election. ...

This year's midterm elections may reflect the historic pattern of much reduced turnout, even among young people. But [Matthew Segal, the founder of OurTime] said the restrictive laws may have caught young people's attention.

"When people are told that their rights are taken away," Segal said, "you often see a surge in trying to win those rights back."

8/13/2014

A federal judge has denied a request by Wisconsin's attorney general to put on hold his decision blocking the state's voter identification law from taking effect.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Wednesday denied Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request for a stay of his April order blocking the photo ID law. Adelman says he is denying the request because Van Hollen's likelihood of winning the case on appeal is low.

Van Hollen has appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and asked it to also lift Adelman's injunction blocking the photo ID requirement. That appeals court has given opponents of the law until Tuesday to respond to Van Hollen's request.

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