A federal judge signed a consent order Tuesday concluding a voting rights challenge in Georgia that has drawn national attention because of a proposed earlier registration deadline before a hotly contested congressional election runoff. In the end, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp agreed not to impose voting registration deadlines earlier than those set by federal law 30 days before an election, according to an order signed by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten Sr. of the Northern District of Georgia. Civil rights advocates filed the lawsuit in April after the secretary of state tried to impose a voter registration deadline for the special election for the Sixth District runoff. That would have cut off registration two months earlier than the 30 days the federal law allows. But Batten issued a preliminary injunction opening up registration. Batten’s order also said the secretary will also have to pay “reasonable attorney fees and costs” for the plaintiffs, which include: the Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta Inc., Third Sector Development Inc. (parent of the New Georgia Project) and ProGeorgia State Table Inc.Full Article: Civil Rights Lawyers Cheer Settlement in Georgia Voting Rights Case | Daily Report.
Kansas has once again taken center stage in the fight over voting rights in America. The American Civil Liberties Union on Sunday night made a point of calling out Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has championed stricter requirements for voters and alleged widespread election fraud that he’s been unable to prove. The criticism of Kobach came as the ACLU kicked off a 50-state “Let People Vote” campaign at the Lied Center in Lawrence, roughly a half hour from Kobach’s office in Topeka. “This is going to be difficult, this is complex,” said Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s national political director. “Because given the dysfunction in Congress, we are not going to pass anything through there to expand voting rights. It would be ideal if we could. But it’s not going to happen. “So the only way that we can fight to expand voting rights in America is to go state by state by state.”Full Article: ACLU kicks off voting effort on Kris Kobach’s home turf | The Kansas City Star.
New Hampshire: ACLU, state come to terms on release of voter data to Trump fraud commission | Union Leader
The Secretary of State will proceed with the release of information from voter checklists to a presidential commission on election fraud, now that a lawsuit filed by two New Hampshire lawmakers and the ACLU to stop the release has been resolved. The resolution was announced in a Nashua courtroom just as a hearing was about to get under way Monday on a request for an injunction to stop Secretary of State Bill Gardner from providing the information to the election commission. The case came down to interpretation of language within the same state statute (RSA 654), which in one part states “the information contained on the checklist of a town or city … is public information subject to (the Right to Know law),” but in another section regarding the statewide database maintained by the Secretary of State, says “The voter database shall be private and confidential and shall not be subject to (the Right to Know law).”Full Article: ACLU, state come to terms on release of voter data to Trump election commission | New Hampshire.
A lawsuit led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Missouri’s new photo voter ID law will have a hearing in September. The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, claims the state hasn’t adequately provided education, poll worker training or funding for ID’s the law calls for. Daniela Velazquez with the ACLU of Missouri says that voters’ right are under threat. “This lawsuit is really about ‘Can Missouri really implement this law that they said they were going to do without putting the voters of Missouri at risk for being able to vote” said Velazquez. When the lawsuit was filed in the second week of June, the ACLU had hoped a judge would issue a temporary restraining order to block the law before two local special elections took place – one in southern Missouri’s New Madrid, and the other in St. Louis city. The judge declined to do so.Full Article: Opponents of Missouri’s voter ID law seek favorable results in upcoming hearing.
A court petition by the American Civil Liberties Union and two state lawmakers seeking to block the secretary of state from sending voter data to President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission cites a 2006 state law that restricts how such voter information can be disseminated. But the sponsor of that bill 11 years ago, former House Speaker William O’Brien, said Monday the legislation was not intended to keep voter information that is already available publicly from the federal government. The ACLU’s reinstated petition to block Secretary of State William Gardner from sending publicly available voter data to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, on which Gardner serves, says that in 2006, Gardner’s office supported the O’Brien-sponsored bill that restricted the use of the data.Full Article: ACLU suit says NH voter list restrictions have roots in 2006 bill.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that President Donald Trump’s voting commission “was formed with the intent to discriminate against voters of color in violation of the Constitution.” “Statements by President Trump, his spokespersons and surrogates … as well as the work of the Commission as described by its co-chairs, are grounded on the false premise that Black and Latino voters are more likely to perpetrate voter fraud,” the suit alleges. As evidence, the suit points to Trump’s repeated unsubstantiated claims that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 election. Those claims were subsequently repeated by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, now the chair and vice-chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which Trump set up to investigate his unfounded claims.Full Article: NAACP Legal Defense Fund becomes seventh group to file federal lawsuit against Trump's voter fraud commission - The Washington Post.
A day after Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law legislation to tighten voter registration identification requirements, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire said it is reviewing whether to mount a constitutional challenge. ACLU legal director Gilles Bissonnette, who was one of the most outspoken critics of Senate Bill 3 throughout the legislative session, in a statement called it “an attack on eligible voters’ voting rights.” Bissonnette said the bill improperly allows people to be fined for “doing nothing wrong other than not returning to a government agency with certain paperwork — paperwork that these legitimate voters may not have. Senate Bill 3 is also a violation of voters’ privacy by sending government agents to voters’ homes to check their documents. Requiring people to accept this government intrusion as a condition of voting will chill the right to vote.”Full Article: ACLU-NH mulls constitutional challenge to voting bill signed by Sununu.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the state of Missouri over its new Voter ID law. The ACLU is challenging the Show-Me State in court, saying Missouri failed to provide adequate funding to implement the law. The funds are to be used for voter education, providing free voter identification and birth certificates, and training for poll workers. The new law took effect June 1. The case was filed on behalf of the Missouri NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Missouri, who are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the law from remaining in effect during a local special election on July 11. In-person absentee voting begins Monday, June 12, and an additional 52 Missouri counties head to the polls on August 8.Full Article: ACLU challenging Missouri’s Voter ID law in court - The Missouri Times.
The American Civil Liberties Union and another civil rights group filed suit Thursday seeking to stop implementation of Missouri’s new photo ID voting law in advance of a July 11 St. Louis special election, claiming the law is an attempt to disenfranchise voters. The suit, filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City, alleges the state has failed to provide adequate public education about the new requirements. “Voters were promised that this law was not about disenfranchising the most vulnerable in our state,” Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, said in a written statement. “The state’s lack of funding and implementation of this law tells another story.”Full Article: Civil rights groups sue to block Missouri's new voter ID law | Political Fix | stltoday.com.
Thousands of Kansas voters will be allowed to cast regular ballots in local, state and federal elections in November without providing proof of citizenship under an agreement forged by the American Civil Liberties Union and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The agreement was announced Thursday, a day before Kobach was to appear in court for a contempt hearing. The hearing was canceled shortly after the agreement was filed in court. Federal Judge Julie Robinson had ordered Kobach in May to ensure that people who registered to vote at the DMV could vote in November’s election under the federal Motor Voter Act regardless of whether they had provided proof of citizenship. There were more than 18,600 such voters earlier this month. Kobach and the ACLU, representing the plaintiffs, disagree about what that order entails, but they have resolved the most pressing issues. Voters can cast their ballots unimpeded on Nov. 8 while the case continues to be litigated. Under the agreement, Kobach will instruct local election officials to send out a new notice “that unequivocally advises covered voters that they are ‘deemed registered and qualified to vote for the appropriate local, state and federal elections’ ” in the Nov. 8 general election.Full Article: Kobach, ACLU reach agreement over DMV voters | The Wichita Eagle.
A federal appeals court will decide whether Kansas has the right to ask people who register to vote when they get their driver’s licenses for proof that they’re citizens. The decision could affect whether thousands of Kansas residents have their ballots counted in November’s election. Three judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Tuesday from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the American Civil Liberties Union but didn’t indicate how soon they could rule. Kansas wants the court to overturn a ruling by a federal judge in May that temporarily blocked the state from disenfranchising people who registered at motor vehicle offices but didn’t provide documents such as birth certificates or naturalization papers. That was about 18,000 people at the time. If the order is allowed to stand, the state says up to an estimated 50,000 people who haven’t proven they’re citizens could have their votes counted in the fall.Full Article: Federal court considers Kansas rule that voters prove citizenship | The Wichita Eagle.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block a Kansas election rule that could throw out thousands of votes in state and local races by people who registered at motor vehicle offices or used a federal form without providing documents proving U.S. citizenship. The temporary rule, sought by Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and approved last week by the State Rules and Regulation Board, will count votes only for federal races by that segment of new Kansas voters through Nov. 8, the date of the general election. It comes in response to a federal judge’s recent decision that voters do not need to show citizenship papers to register for federal elections as required by a 2013 Kansas law. If allowed to stand, thousands of Kansas voters will be denied their right to vote in state and local elections in a year when all 165 seats of the Kansas Legislature are up for election, the ACLU argued in its lawsuit.Full Article: ACLU sues Kansas over voting rule for state, local races - Houston Chronicle.
Civil rights groups demanded Tuesday in an open letter that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach rescind his instructions to local election officials to throw out votes cast in upcoming local and state races by tens of thousands of people who registered at motor vehicle offices without providing proof of U.S. citizenship. The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, Micah Kubic, says Kobach is “deliberately creating chaos” for voters and “acting out of petulance.” At issue is an email sent from Kobach’s office to county election officials last month outlining the state’s plans for implementing a two-tiered election system in the wake of a federal court order requiring Kansas to allow such voters to cast provisional ballots in the federal race. Kobach wants to allow election officials to throw out any provisional ballots in which votes were cast in state and local races and count only votes cast for president and U.S. Senate and House races.Full Article: ACLU: Kris Kobach 'deliberately' creating voter chaos | CJOnline.com.
Secretary of State Jon Husted is not illegally removing voters from voter registration rolls, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed suit in April arguing Husted was too aggressive in his efforts to clean-up voter rolls in an effort to keep the list updated. In recent years, Husted’s office has removed 465,000 deceased voters and 1.3 million duplicate registrations from Ohio’s voter rolls. The ACLU argued Husted violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by canceling the registrations of those who do not update their registrations or vote over six years, including three federal general elections. Voters also are sent a confirmation notice. But U.S. District Judge George C. Smith said Ohio’s process is consistent with the Registration Act because voters are never removed from the rolls solely for failure to vote.Full Article: Secretary of State Jon Husted wins election suit | The Columbus Dispatch.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday will seek to block a Kansas state law that requires people to prove American citizenship if they want to register to vote while applying for a driver’s license. The civil rights group will ask a federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, to issue a preliminary injunction pending the outcome of a lawsuit the group filed in February. The ACLU claims Kansas is making illegal demands for additional proof of citizenship, violating the so-called Motor-Voter Law that Congress passed in 1993 to boost voter registration for federal elections by allowing voters to register at motor vehicle departments. The Kansas law requiring documents like a birth certificate or U.S. passport for voter registration, which took effect Jan. 1, 2013, is one of numerous voter ID laws passed by Republican-led state legislatures in recent years. The ACLU alleges that Kansas goes beyond what is required by federal law.Full Article: ACLU asks federal court to block Kansas voter ID law | The Fiscal Times.
Kansas: Republicans hold to hard-right stance; ACLU and League of Women Voters ‘communists,’ Kobach says | Lawrence Journal-World
The Kansas Republican Party held firm to its hard-right stance on social issues during its state convention this weekend as various officials gave speeches railing against Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, the Kansas Supreme Court, the Obama administration and even the League of Women Voters. The convention came just two weeks before Republican voters in the state will vote in the March 5 caucuses to make their choice for a presidential nominee. And while some of the presidential campaigns sent surrogates to speak on their behalf, the real focus was on upcoming races for the Kansas Legislature. “Help them out because the national left doesn’t like what we’ve done in Kansas. So the next target will be getting at these state legislators,” Gov. Sam Brownback said. “You really need to get out and help them.” One of the biggest events of the day Saturday was the annual Kansans for Life prayer breakfast, which drew attendance from dozens of legislators and the state’s entire congressional delegation.Full Article: Kansas Republicans hold to hard-right stance; ACLU and League of Women Voters 'communists,' Kobach says / LJWorld.com.
Missouri: Voting on trial: ACLU case against Ferguson-Florissant goes to court | St. Louis Public Radio
Are African-American voters in the Ferguson-Florissant school district shortchanged because board members there are elected at-large? Or would dividing the district into subdistricts actually weaken the clout of black voters, not increase it? U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel will hear arguments for both sides of the issue this week in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU claims that the racial history of the makeup of the board shows that African Americans do not have representation proportional to their population. Dale Ho, an attorney from New York who handles voting rights cases nationwide for the ACLU, says the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 brought a sharper focus to the issue. But, he added, it really has been present since the 1970s, when the Ferguson-Florissant school district was created from the Ferguson, Berkeley and Kinloch districts under a federal court order.Full Article: Voting on trial: ACLU case against Ferguson-Florissant goes to court | St. Louis Public Radio.
Around the nation, voting rights for people of color are under attack. But in central Washington, an historic advance for Latino voters is taking place in the wake of a legal victory by the ACLU. In the City of Yakima, Latinos account for approximately one-third of the voting-age population and approximately one-quarter of its citizen voting-age population. Yet, in 37 years, no Latino has ever been elected to the Yakima City Council. In the absence of Latino representation on the City Council, issues of interest to the Latino community in Yakima have been met with indifference. Now things are changing in this agricultural community of 93,000. Five Latino City Council candidates are on the ballot in Yakima’s November general election. Two of the five candidates are running in the same district, so that district is certain to have a Latino representative. However, it is possible that one, two or three other Latinos may also be elected.Full Article: Latino Voters Are Making History in Yakima, Washington | ACLU of Washington.
More than 100 people filed into the Yakima City Council chambers Tuesday, calling for an end to the city’s appeal of a voting rights case that changed Yakima’s elections system to give Latinos a greater voice. But none of the four council members who supported both the appeal and a request to stay this year’s elections offered a motion to reconsider the issue. The protest was in response to the council’s surprise vote June 2 to seek an emergency stay more than a month and a half after the city said it would allow elections to proceed, despite appealing the judge’s ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court.Full Article: Voting rights: Despite pleas, Yakima council stands by appeal of ACLU case | Local | yakimaherald.com.
A proposal to allow Washington cities to rearrange voting districts so minorities could have a greater voice in elections was praised Thursday as a way to avoid costly federal lawsuits and denounced as a Trojan horse for more litigation. The proposed state Voting Rights Act, which passed the House on a partisan vote during the regular session but stalled in the Senate despite bipartisan support, got an airing in a joint Senate committee work session. It’s unlikely to be revived for the special session, which is concentrating on budgets, but that didn’t keep tempers from occasionally flaring as legal experts disagreed on its effectiveness.Full Article: State Voting Rights Act gets an airing | The Spokesman-Review.