Voting Blogs: Russia’s elections that weren’t | openDemocracy

On 10 September, Russia faces another election. In some places, the vote is for municipal councils, in others for regional ones; two regions are holding by-elections for the State Duma (some single-seat district representatives have resigned for various reasons). Importantly, sixteen regions will be electing their governors. Since spring, political analysts have been predicting that two in particular (Buryatia and the Sverdlovsk Oblast) will see a real struggle with an uncertain outcome. In other regions, it seemed as though victory for the Kremlin’s candidates was far from assured. Such predictions did not appear unfounded. 

Voting Blogs: Federal Lawsuits Challenge Indiana’s Wildly Disparate Precinct, Early Voting Site Laws | The Brad Blog

In two separate federal lawsuits, Common Cause v Marion County Board of Elections (May 2, 2017) and Indiana NAACP v. Lawson (Aug. 9, 2017), both challenging restrictions on voting rights in Indiana, civil rights organizations have sought to block what they describe as unconstitutional Republican schemes that, with “surgical precision”, seek to depress the vote in large minority, Democratic-leaning counties while contemporaneously enhancing voter turnout in white, Republican-leaning counties. The lawsuits entail two sets of laws. One of the lawsuits seeks to block a law that specifically targets Lake County — and only Lake County — for precinct consolidation and/or elimination. Lake County sports the state’s second largest African-American population and its largest Hispanic population. The other lawsuit challenges a voter suppression scheme that significantly reduces early absentee voting sites for a significant number of African-American (Democratic) voters in Marion County, even while mostly white (Republican) voters in neighboring counties benefit from a significant expansion in the number of available early absentee voting sites.

Voting Blogs: FVAP submits 2016 post-election report to Congress | electionlineWeekly

The Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2016 Post-Election Report to Congress shows that its voting assistance efforts work: FVAP continues to make progress in reducing obstacles to absentee voting for active duty military and has expanded outreach initiatives for voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). “I am proud of the work accomplished by FVAP to support military members, their families, and Americans living abroad throughout the 2016 cycle,” FVAP Director David Beirne said.

Voting Blogs: Redistricting Goes to Court | NCSL Blog

“Redistricting is a game of margins,” attorney Kate McKnight told lawmakers at the Legislative Summit in Boston. Legislatures always start with existing district maps and work from there, she said. No one starts completely from scratch. McKnight was joined by fellow attorney Abha Khanna for a discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in recent redistricting cases. Moderating the session, “Redistricting Goes to Court,” was Jessica Karls-Ruplinger, with the Wisconsin Legislative Council. As state legislators prepare to adjust the margins of districts in the next redistricting cycle based on the 2020 census, they’ll be looking to the court for guidance. It can be difficult to predict how a decision in one case might apply to others, but the attorneys told the group the court has asserted some general principles in recent decisions.

Voting Blogs: The Case for Courage: Fight for voting rights, not just for yourself but for your neighbor, too | Andrew Cohen/Brennan Center for Justice

The catastrophic first months of the Trump administration have caused countless Americans to ponder, aloud or to themselves, what they can do to save the nation from the looming grip of authoritarian rule, what they can do to save democracy itself from the clutches of a venal White House and a supine Congress. Millions have taken to the streets in protest. Others have decided to run for federal office themselves. Some have filed lawsuits to challenge some of the more dubious actions of the Trump team. Others have become symbols of resistance simply by being fired. But the simplest and most direct way to effect change, to restore respect for the rule of law and for legal and political norms, is to vote and to fight back forcefully against the administration’s cadre of vote suppressors so that other citizens can vote as well. That this requires some degree of personal courage again 52 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act says a lot about how powerful and well-placed are the men and women who want to make it harder for certain Americans to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot.

Voting Blogs: Can Federalism Cope with Russian Election Meddling? | Ciara Torres-Spelliscy/Brennan Center for Justice

I’ve spent many hours this summer watching Senate hearings on the integrity of American elections. Lest we forget the Church Committee, which investigated the CIA, or the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, the Watergate Committee, Congress can be one way Americans learn the truth. As a former Senate staffer, I have much respect for the professionalism and bipartisanship shown by the two leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman Richard Burr (R-S.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) Nearly 20 million people watched Former FBI Director James Comey testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month. One of his warnings was that the Russians had come after American democracy “[a]nd they will be back.” But two other hearings that garnered much less attention left me troubled that the American electoral system won’t be fortified in time for the 2018 election. One hearing was about the history of Russian hacking in Europe and the other was about the reaction of state election officials to federal assistance in light of Russian interference. 

Voting Blogs: Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections? | BradBlog

“I worry that what we have here in Georgia is the Titanic Effect,” Georgia Tech Computer Scientist Richard DeMillo observed, regarding the myriad security issues revealed during the course of last month’s U.S. House Special Election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. “Georgia officials are convinced the state’s election system cannot be breached. Shades of the ‘unsinkable ship’. They have neglected to give us life boats…a fail-safe system designed so that in case of a catastrophe Georgia voters can easily verify that reported vote totals match voter intent. It is the sort of common-sense approach that first-year engineering students learn. Other states have that capability. Inexplicably, Georgia does not,” DeMillo said in a statement quoted in support of a legal challenge filed contesting the 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 contest. The computer scientist’s concerns are hardly the first expressed about Georgia’s absurd voting system. In fact, they cap well over a decade of chilling revelations, shocking vulnerabilities and dire warnings issued from the community of experts who have examined the Peach State’s voting system, including a number of those who installed it in the first place back in 2002.

Voting Blogs: Free & Fair to build risk-limiting audit system for State of Colorado | Free & Fair

We are proud to announce that Colorado has chosen Free & Fair to build a risk-limiting audit (RLA) system to be used statewide beginning with the November 2017 general election. First developed in 2008, RLAs promote evidence-based confidence in election outcomes by comparing a random sampling of paper ballots to their corresponding digital versions. This will be the first time anywhere in the United States that risk-limiting audits are conducted on a regular, statewide basis. Free & Fair has already prototyped an open source risk-limiting audit tool called OpenRLA, for RLAs of election contests in single jurisdictions. The production RLA system being developed for Colorado will facilitate statewide, multi-county and individual county audits. Like OpenRLA, the RLA system developed for Colorado will be released under an open source license (GPL Version 3). Risk-limiting audits provide strong statistical evidence that a jurisdiction’s voting system accurately interpreted and tabulated voter markings on paper ballots, with relatively little hand counting. The “risk limit” is the largest chance that an outcome-changing error in the initial tabulation will not be discovered and corrected in the audit. If the risk limit is 5% and the outcome wouldn’t match the result of a full, accurate count of the paper ballots, there is at least a 95% chance that the audit will correct the outcome.

Verified Voting in the News: Exit Interview: Verified Voting’s Pam Smith | electionlineWeekly

This interview with Pam Smith was posted electionlineWeekly. on July 6, 2017.

In recent weeks we’ve said good-bye to some leaders in the elections field and this week completes our unfortunate trifecta of departing “election geeks”. Pam Smith has stepped down as the president of Verified Voting. Smith joined Verified Voting in 2004, and served as its president for 10 years. She was an outspoken advocate for the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on accuracy, transparency and verifiability of elections. If you had a question about election technology or audits, Smith was the go-to source. Good luck Pam. We will miss your willingness to go on the record and talk about voting technology.

You are leaving the field at an interesting time, to say the least, why now?

Why, is something going on? Just kidding. Actually, I hope I’m not leaving altogether. I started out as an advocate before I came to Verified Voting, and I’ll likely stay one. And as anyone knows who works in elections, once it’s in you, you can’t ever really let it go!

But your point is a good one. Enormous progress has been made in moving toward getting the tools in place that enable officials around the country to demonstrate the correctness of election outcomes.

The work isn’t done yet. But what’s different today from when I started is that on major networks, in op-ed columns, in legislatures and around the coffee table, there’s awareness that we need to take steps to ensure our election systems are reliable. People are saying it out loud. It feels like the effort has a full head of steam now, and that was always one of my goals.

Voting Blogs: The Kobach fallout on election security | Derek Muller/Election Law Blog

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity offered its first public request this week, as Vice Chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach requested voter information from every state. That single request has likely done long-lasting damage to the political ability of the federal government to regulate elections. In particular, any chance that meaningful election security issues would be addressed at the federal level before 2020 worsened dramatically this week. The request is sloppy, as Charles Stewart carefully noted, and, at least in some cases, forbidden under state law. The letter was sent to the wrong administrators in some states, it requests data like “publicly-available . . . last four digits of social security number if available” (which should never be permissible), and it fails to follow the proper protocol in each state to request such data. Response from state officials has been swift and generally opposed. It has been bipartisan, ranging from politically-charged outrage, to drier statements about what state disclosure law permits and (more often) forbids. But the opposition reflects a major undercurrent from the states to the federal government: we run elections, not you.

Voting Blogs: What Will It Take for Americans to Understand the Basics of Election Integrity? | BradBlog

There are several basic election integrity truths that have escaped the attention of most Americans, even as they confront the scope of alleged Russian cyber intrusions into America’s disparately run, local elections systems. [Despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that hackers didn’t go so far as to alter vote counts, Department of Homeland Security officials concede that they failed to run an audit in order to determine whether the 2016 vote count had been manipulated by anyone, be they hackers, foreign or domestic, from Russia or anywhere else, or by election insiders whose direct access could facilitate a malicious, or even accidental, manipulation of vote totals. The mainstream U.S. media has also raised concerns that the United States, under the Donald Trump administration, is not doing enough to prevent hacking or manipulation of the 2018 and 2020 elections.] The first basic election integrity truth is that, as The BRAD BLOG reported in 2009, following a stark presentation by a U.S. intelligence officer to the nation’s only federal agency devoted to overseeing the use of electronic voting and tabulation systems, all electronically stored and/or processed data — registration records, poll books, ballot definition scripts and, most importantly, computerized vote tabulators — are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

Voting Blogs: First Thoughts about the Pence Commission Voting List Request | Election Updates

I’ve had a chance now to read the letter that vice-chair Kris Kobach has sent to the states, requesting that they send the Pence Commission copies of their publicly available voter files. My initial reactions fall into two buckets, the small and the expansive. I want to make clear that there is no intrinsic problem with matching voting lists against other lists and reporting the results. In fact, valuable insights can emerge from linking voter records. I don’t know a better way to advance knowledge and practice than to conduct research, report the results, and then hash out what they mean. But here’s the caveat. As a social scientist who has conducted voter roll matching both for scientific research and for litigation, I know how hard it is to do this right. For example, the well-known “birthday problem” makes it likely that two different people will be mistakenly matched to one another. Few people have the expertise to handle these complexities correctly. Just as litigation is rarely the best vehicle to advance the science of a field, I worry about developing matching routines on the fly in the context of a commission that is controversial.

Voting Blogs: Russian Intrusion and Partisan Pressures: Aspects of Election Administration Reform After 2016 | More Soft Money Hard Law

In 2016, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson found that state election officials were suspicious of federal offers of assistance in defending their voting systems from cyber attack. He tried to persuade them to accept DHS designation of those systems as “critical infrastructure,” which would have given states access on a priority basis to a range of protections. The response he received ranged from “neutral to negative.” DHS concluded that, in the middle of an election, it was best not to have a protracted, politicized fight over this step. It focused on providing assistance where it could, and a large number of jurisdictions requested help. In January 2017, even with officials remaining skeptical about the designation, Secretary Johnson proceeded to issue it.

Voting Blogs: It is Time For Members of Congress to Step Up and Protect Our Election | Lawrence Norden/Brennan Center for Justice

On Monday night, the Intercept published a leaked National Security Agency report that recounts a Russian military intelligence cyberattack against a voter registration software company. According to the report, Russian government hackers appear to have used “data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration–themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.” On one level, this story was not particularly surprising. Even before the Intercept article, we knew—based upon previous news reports, as well as a January report from American intelligence agencies—that hackers working on behalf of the Russian government were targeting state and local voter registration databases. And there is nothing in the NSA report or the Intercept piece that supports the idea that Russian hacks against election offices and registration system prevented anyone from voting or changed vote totals in any way. (It always bears repeating that the voter registration system and vote tallying systems are different. An attack against the registration system will not change vote totals on a voting machine.)

Voting Blogs: Iowa program provides tablets and accessibility app to all auditors | electionlineWeekly

It was like Christmas in April when Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate provided all 99 Iowa county elections office with computer tablets. But these weren’t your average tablet, each of the Acer Tablets included the ADA Checklist for Polling Places Program to help elections officials determine if their voting sites (1,681 statewide) are compliant with the American Disabilities Act. The checklist provides guidance to election officials to determine whether a polling place has the basic accessibility features needed by voters with disabilities, or can be made accessible on Election Day. Features of the app include the ability to take photos of polling place structures, and providing guidance for making temporary accommodations. Additionally, it helps counties with polling place layout, reports, and tracking supply needs for individual polling places. While the state could have just provided the app to each county, an important part of the program was also providing the tablets.

Voting Blogs: EAC Commissioners Divided on Authority Over Proof of Citizenship Documents | Brennan Center for Justice

Officials on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission announced in a federal court filing today that they’re split along partisan lines over whether the panel’s executive director acted within his authority last year when he allowed three states to include documentary proof of citizenship requirements on federal voter registration forms. The disagreement means that the September 2016 injunction against the burdensome registration requirements stills stands. The memo, filed by commissioners in federal district court today, discussed Executive Director Brian Newby’s decision to grant the federal form requests at issue in the case. Two commissioners, Chair Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick, both Republicans, found that Newby had the authority to do so. One, Thomas Hicks, a Democrat, found that he did not and wrote separately to that effect.

Voting Blogs: Project Vote to close its doors on May 31 | electionlineWeekly

Project Vote, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit that has spent recent years focusing its attention on improving voter registration, especially the enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) will officially close its doors on May 31. Michael Slater, executive director since 2003, cited the lack of funding as the reason for the closure. “[F]unding for voter registration programs declined precipitously after 2008, and the number of funders supporting voting rights advocacy and litigation slowly decreased as well,” Slater said. “At the same time, more organizations created voting rights programs, which resulted in more competition.” Slater also pointed to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act which resulted in the donor community focusing available voting rights resources on VRA enforcement, which had the effect of reducing funds for other work, such as Project Vote’s work enforcing the NVRA.

Voting Blogs: Hawaii Open Primary Case – The Political Parties and Their Problems | More Soft Money Hard Law

The Supreme Court has refused to review a Ninth Circuit ruling denying political parties the right to exclude nonmembers from participation in their primaries. Hawaii law requires an open primary, and under the Ninth Circuit decision, parties would bear the burden of showing that this requirement severely burdens their rights of association. In other words when parties must open their candidate selection processes to non-members, the infringement of that associational right is not, apparently, self-evident.

Voting Blogs: Voter Fraud Was Complete Non-Issue in 2016 Elections | Democracy Chronicles

Following numerous claims by members of the Republican Party, including the including the President of the United States, that the election system is “rigged”, there have been numerous studies released following the election cycle that have debunked those claims. One of the most notable instances of voter fraud accusations include President Trump accusing residents from Massachusetts traveling over to New Hampshire and voting a second time in the Presidential election (and New Hampshire Senatorial election). However, a new study done by the Brennan Center for Justice and the Washington Post, concluded that there was no credible evidence for those claims. The two studies reported both on the claim that President Trump made about New Hampshire (the Washington Post’s study), although the study produced by the Brennan Center for Justice focused on nation wide voter fraud allegations.

Voting Blogs: What To Look for When the Supreme Court Decides the North Carolina Redistricting Case | Richard Pildes/Election Law Blog

The Court has already decided one major racial redistricting case this Term, Bethune-Hill, from Virginia. The other major racial redistricting case, Cooper v. Harris, from North Carolina, is now one of three cases outstanding the longest since argument. Cooper involves two congressional districts, CD 1 and CD 12 (by now, CD 12 must have been litigated before the Supreme Court more times than any congressional district in history). I want to untangle the various issues at stake and provide perspective on which legal issues are the key ones to focus on when this opinion finally comes down. To begin, the issues concerning CD 1 and CD 12 are quite different – and the ones involving CD 1 have the broadest legal significance (that makes it a bit unfortunate that most of the oral argument focused on CD 12).

Voting Blogs: Just the Facts on Fraud | David Becker/The Center for Election Innovation & Research

Six months after the election, there’s still discussion about the extent to which voter fraud exists and whether the White House will follow through with an investigation. In the meantime, election officials across the country have been quietly doing their jobs and are wrapping up investigations from the last election while preparing for the next. The reviews to date confirm what most election officials have been publicly stating for some time – that while the amount of actual voter fraud is not zero, it’s very close, with only an infinitesimal number of cases of potential voter fraud nationwide. Several states have released the results of their inquiries. One of the most comprehensive analyses was conducted by Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) in Ohio. After comparing voter data to files from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Secretary Husted’s office found that 385 non-citizens were registered to vote, and identified 82 of these non-citizens as possibly having voted, referring those cases for further investigation to confirm whether they voted and if fraud occurred.

Voting Blogs: California Leading the Way to Lower Voting Age to 17 | openDemocracy

In an effort to get more young people involved in the democratic process, many states are attempting lowering the voting age to 17 to get young people active. “A lot of young people last year wanted to make their voices heard but were unable to do so because the rules prevented them,” said Jonathan Brater of the Brennan Center for Democracy. Since 1971, the legal voting age in the United States has been 18, lowered from 21. Today like then, the numerous states across the U.S are attempting to lower the voting age in the General Election to 17 tend to have strong Democratic majorities in their State senators and House legislatures. Among them, California, Minnesota, and Nevada are the most prominent states in this effort, with California leading the way. If constitutional amendment 10 passes in California, 17-year old’s, would be allowed to vote in the general election during a Presidential election.

Voting Blogs: Social Media in Politics-and The Problem of What (or Not) to Do About Fake News | More Soft Money Hard Law

Nate Persily of Stanford Law is emerging as the leading authority on the effect of the internet and social media on political campaigns. His recent article in the Journal of Democracy displays Persily’s strengths: deep research, clarity of exposition and a grasp of what is significant in the messy world of facts. He is unmistakably alarmed: indeed, in interviews, he has said so. Persily fears that a ruthless marriage of technology to “fake news” can destroy the prospects for responsible democratic deliberation. Where does this discussion of fake news go from here, and what are the pitfalls? Professor Persily notes that the dominant Internet platforms are moving toward policies to help readers locate the bona fide news items. Facebook now works with traditional media organizations and fact-checking enterprises to “flag” dubious stories.

Voting Blogs: Can Lebanon’s sectarian elite agree on an electoral law? | openDemocracy

Given Lebanon’s tenuous political and sectarian balance, no wonder that the choice of an electoral system is among the most contentious topics. After all, it is the electoral system that determines how votes are translated into seats and therefore, how the sectarian/political elite predetermine their shares. Lebanon’s electoral laws have been amended several times since the country’s independence in 1943. The last time was in 2008 as part of a political settlement, the Doha Agreement, following a deep political crisis. Yet, all of Lebanon’s postwar electoral laws are based on the majoritarian “Block Vote” system and the same deficiencies persist, such as malapportionment, gerrymandering, the lack of pre-printed ballots, a flaw-ridden counting process, along with other grave defects in the administrative aspect of the process.

Voting Blogs: The Supreme Court as “Electoral Prize” | More Soft Money Hard Law

It is difficult to follow Linda Greenhouse’s reasoning that the Court has been “broken” because it has been made into an electoral “prize.” Presidential candidates campaign on promises to support the nomination and confirmation of Justices who will move the Court’s jurisprudence in a desired direction. Why should they not? The Court does not decide only abstruse legal issues of interest primarily to learned commentators. If electoral competition necessarily features arguments about–to name a few– reproductive rights, or voting rights, or the role of money in politics, then it will require candidates to take a stand on the Court. And in some elections, the issue will be right in the thick of the fight. Donald Trump made as much as he could of the critical importance to Republicans of a Court molded in the image of the late Justice Scalia. Secretary Clinton told the Democratic Convention that: “We need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.” No one doubted that the election would be consequential for the Court. Voters were entitled to know how much of a priority each party attached to the issue and what the candidates would look for in their nominees. The parties and their candidates obliged–as they should have.

Verified Voting in the News: About that ‘Hack’ of Georgia’s U.S. House Special Election | Brad Blog

Early last month, someone reportedly hacked into the voting records database at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, which is contracted to maintain and program all of Georgia’s 100% unverifiable touch-screen Diebold voting systems and electronic poll books. The state still uses the same unverifiable 2002 voting systems that, as we reported more than a decade ago, were hacked in a minute’s time by researchers at Princeton University, where they were able to implant a virus that could pass itself from machine to machine and flip the results of an election with little or no possibility of detection. The recent hack at Georgia’s KSU, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described at the time as possibly compromising some 7.5 million voter records, resulted in a quiet FBI investigation, and comes as special elections are about to be held in a number of states to fill U.S. House seats vacated by Republican members of Congress tapped to serve in the Trump Administration. … Longtime computer scientist and voting systems expert Barbara Simons of VerifiedVoting.org joins me today to explain the ongoing concerns about the still-mysterious Georgia hack, Verified Voting’s effort to get answers about it from GA’s Republican Sec. of State Brian Kemp; the group’s request to have him to offer paper ballots to voters in the wake of the reported “massive data breach”; and this weekend’s similarly cryptic news that the FBI has now concluded its investigation.

Voting Blogs: NASS releases facts and findings on cybersecurity in 2016 election | electionlineWeekly

Rigged! Hacked! Tampering! Fraud! Even before one vote was cast in the 2016 election, rumors swirled about the integrity of the election. The cacophony of misinformation and innuendo has not stopped since the election and all of this has caused some Americans to lose faith in the electoral system. In the days leading up to the election a survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 4 in 10 Americans had a high degree of confidence that their votes would be counted correctly nearly a third of all who responded thought there was a great deal of voter fraud in the country despite the lack of evidence. This week, the National Association of Secretaries of State released the State Election Officials Report Facts & Findings on Cybersecurity and Foreign Targeting of the 2016 U.S. Election. The report is an effort by NASS to help improve voter confidence and show for a fact that the election was not “hacked”.

Voting Blogs: Get them while they’re young California 16- and17-year-olds can now pre-register online | electionlineWeekly

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens report going online daily — including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly.” With that in mind, California is bringing Muhammad to the mountain by allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote using the state’s online voter registration portal. “Online pre-registration will help more young people vote as soon as they are eligible. Whether they’re at school or at home or hanging out with friends, young Californians can pre-register to vote in just minutes in their smartphone, tablet or laptop,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. California is one of 10 states and the District of Columbia that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote and also one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that allows people to register online to vote. As far as we know, it’s the only state that allows those pre-registrants to use the online portal. [Update: Massachusetts and Utah also allow pre-registrants to do so online. Thanks to our alert readers for letting us know!]

Voting Blogs: The Demise of North Dakota’s Voter Identification Law | State of Elections

In one sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are lax as North Dakota is the only state without voter registration requirements. In another sense, North Dakota’s voting laws are anything but lax as a federal district court recently found North Dakota’s voter identification law (also referred to as “HB 1332”) to be unduly burdensome. In his opinion in Brakebill v. Jaeger, District Judge Daniel L. Hovland determined HB 1332 to be unduly burdensome to North Dakota’s Native American population, writing that “[t]he public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State.” Judge Hovland granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against the law, barring North Dakota from enforcing the law (but not striking the law down).

Voting Blogs: 15 States File Amicus Brief Seeking Clarification on NVRA, Non-Voting and List Maintenance | Election Academy

Fifteen states have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to hear a case in order to clarify if and how states may use evidence of non-voting as a factor in removing voters from the rolls. The question stems from an Ohio case I wrote about last April. There, plaintiffs challenged the state’s “supplemental process” for list maintenance, which uses failure to vote over a two-year period as a trigger for mailings seeking confirmation that the voter still wishes to vote. The allegation is that the use of non-voting as a trigger violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which expressly prohibits the removal of voters simply for failure to vote.