A former Arkansas lawmaker serving on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity died Monday in Little Rock. David Dunn, a lifelong Democrat from Forrest City who served three terms in the state House of Representatives, died at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock while undergoing surgery to fix an aortic aneurysm, friends said. He was 52 years old. Dunn, who grew up in Pine Bluff, was a former executive director of the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce. After serving in the General Assembly from 2005-11, he co-founded Capitol Partners, a Little Rock lobbying firm.
The Voting News
Florida: Online voter registration form may violate law that created it, elections chief says | Sun Sentinel
Florida’s new online voter registration form violates the very state law that created it, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said Tuesday. “The law requires no differences [between in-person registration and] online,” Bucher told the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation. “But in the online program, voters must provide their exact name from the Department of Highway Safety and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and the date of issuance [of their driver’s license].” In-person registrants can provide either their Social Security number or their driver’s license number but do not need to supply both. With much fanfare, the Florida Department of State debuted online voter registration at the beginning of October. The online registration system was created under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature in 2015. That bill was filed by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, a member of the Palm Beach Legislative Delegation.
More than a dozen voters have used new paper-ballot voting machines in Conyers with no reported problems, the first step of a new pilot program to test the machines in Georgia. “It’s fair to say we’re excited to get the ball rolling and partner with a good elections office and give voters a preview of what the future of voting may look like,” said Chris Harvey, Georgia’s elections director. “This kind of technology seems to be what a lot of states are going toward,” Harvey added. “This is becoming the new normal.”
Two dozen Iowans testified at a public hearing Monday afternoon, offering both praise and criticism for proposed rules to implement Iowa’s new voter verification law. Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP, said she’s worried the rules will make it harder for groups like hers to register new voters. “I have great concern about that,” Andrews said. One proposed rule will remove people from voter registration rolls if they’ve been called to jury duty, but notified the court that they couldn’t serve because they are not a citizen. Connie Schmett of Clive, a long-time GOP activist, praised the move. “We simply can’t allow our laws and our elections to be tainted,” Schmett said.
A federal judge on Tuesday shut down the city’s attempt to dismiss a voting rights lawsuit, which alleges that Lowell’s at-large election system has shut minority candidates out of local offices for decades and continues to do so. But even as U.S. District Court Judge William Young dismissed the city’s arguments that the case did not have enough merits to proceed toward trial, he expressed a concern with the plaintiffs’ case. Lawyers representing the 13 Asian American and Hispanic residents who brought the suit had argued that if some city councilors and School Committee members were elected by district, at least one district would be majority-minority and therefore increase the chances of a minority candidate gaining office.
A federal lawsuit challenging petitions to recall three Nevada state senators in districts with significant Hispanic and African-American populations alleges the effort is an unconstitutional attempt to replace the legislators with Republicans in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court also seeks to strike down Nevada’s recall laws, which do not require any cause or justification for a recall as long as the petition has signatures from 25 percent of voters in the previous election. Recall petitions were launched in August against Democratic Sens. Joyce Woodhouse of Henderson and Nicole Cannizzaro of Las Vegas, and Sen. Patricia Farley, a former Las Vegas Republican-turned-independent.
Primary elections for trial court and appeals court seats in 2018 have been scrapped after Republicans on Tuesday overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that foretells potentially more judicial changes ahead. The House voted to make state law a measure — approved two weeks ago then formally objected to by Cooper — that also would delay candidate filing for those judicial races from February to June. The Senate voted Monday night for the override. At least 60 percent of the legislators present in each chamber had to agree to overcome Cooper’s veto. The override marks the latest action by the GOP-controlled General Assembly to retool the judicial branch. Earlier this year, lawmakers passed bills making District Court and Superior Court races officially partisan elections again and reducing through attrition the number of Court of Appeals judges from 15 to 12. Cooper vetoed both of those bills, but they were also overturned.
North Carolina: Legislature opens ballots to third parties in veto override | The North State Journal
The state legislature voted Tuesday for the 10th veto override since Gov. Roy Cooper has been in the Executive Mansion, well more than half of his 13 total vetoes. The lawmakers needed a three-fifths vote to override, voting in the Senate Monday night 26-15 along party lines and in the House Tuesday morning, 72-40. Two Democrats voted in favor of overriding the governor’s veto: Reps. William Brisson (D-Bladen) and Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland). This time the override is on an election bill aimed at making it easier to get third-party candidates on the state’s election ballots, but also canceling the 2018 judicial primaries. Lawmakers say they want to allow newly eligible candidates to be able to get a closer look at planned new judicial district maps. The effort to update judicial district lines was launched over the summer by Rep. Justin Burr (R- Stanly), but some members of both parties say its overdue.
Juanita Wallace was among many voters of color who sued the state over its redistricting plans in 2011, accusing lawmakers of redrawing its political boundaries in a way that diluted the power of black and Latino Texans. Six years later, several elections have played out using embattled state House and congressional maps, even though federal judges so far ruled that Texas leaders intentionally discriminated in approving the boundaries. And the maps will probably stay in place for the 2018 elections as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the state’s latest appeal. Wallace — a longtime educator, civil rights advocate and former head of the Dallas NAACP — won’t be around to see the result. She died of cancer last year at age 70.
Wisconsin: Elections official blames Schimel for keeping him from talking | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The head of the state Elections Commission says the attorney general is effectively stopping him from participating in a forum on Wisconsin’s gerrymandering case — a move that he says amounts to a top Republican limiting the speech of a Democrat. Attorney General Brad Schimel counters he is simply following a rule for lawyers to make sure one of his clients doesn’t talk to opposing attorneys without his own lawyers present. The dispute comes as state officials adjust to a new elections agency that is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Mark Thomsen, a Democrat and chairman of the commission, was invited to speak Friday on a panel that also features attorneys challenging Wisconsin’s election maps and voting laws. Thomsen wanted to participate in the forum but Schimel barred Thomsen and the attorneys from appearing together because Thomsen is a named plaintiff in the lawsuits at issue.