National: Latinos and African Americans targeted by voter purges, lawsuit alleges |

Harris County rejected more voter registration applications than any other Texas county and the county’s tax assessor-collector systematically targeted Hispanics and African-Americans in voting-roll purges from 2009 to 2012, the League of United Latin American Citizens and seven citizens charged in a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday. The suit alleges the county has violated the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. It also claims that Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners has not followed the terms of a 2009 settlement of a previous lawsuit the Democratic Party filed against the county’s voter registration procedures. “Sumners targets the Latino and black communities in his voter-purging by ZIP code,” said San Antonio attorney Luis Roberto Vera Jr., LULAC’S national general counsel.

Iowa: Iowa Secretary of State says voting rule changes are on hold in wake of judge’s ruling | Sioux City Journal

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said Monday that “everything is on hold right now” after a district court judge’s ruling last week that halted the Iowa Republican from implementing voting rules he established on an emergency basis earlier this year. Polk County District Court Judge Mary Pat Gunderson ruled on Friday that Schultz could have followed normal rule-making procedures and that emergency rules were unnecessary before the November election. In so doing, the judge stayed the rules and issued a temporary injunction, which prevents Schultz from enacting them until the court can hear the full arguments of challenges brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa to stop the rules. Schultz met Monday with Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office is representing the secretary of state, to discuss options going forward.

Iowa: Judge refuses to throw out voting rules lawsuit against Secretary of State Matt Schultz | Des Moines Register

Polk County judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit against Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, rejecting Schultz’s argument that a Latino advocacy group and the ACLU have no legal standing to try to block his imposition of new voting rules. District Judge Mary Pat Gunderson said the controversy, which stems from new rules that Schultz instituted in July under emergency rule-making procedures, falls within a special exception to legal limits on who has the ability to bring court cases in certain issues. Iowa Supreme Court justices in 2008 refused to overturn actions by the 2004 Iowa legislature, finding that the Sioux City taxpayer who sued hadn’t satisfied requirements that she 1) be personally involved in the controversy and 2) be seriously injured by the questioned action. According to a ruling filed by Gunderson late Tuesday, “The court in (that case) saw the absence of any allegations implicating ‘fraud, surprise, personal and private gain or other such evils inconsistent with the democratic process’ as diminishing the need to intervene in the activities of another branch of government.

Iowa: Judge will weigh in on new Iowa voter rules |

A Polk County judge says she will decide whether new voter rules created by Iowa’s Republican secretary of state will be enacted before the November election. Judge Mary Pat Gunderson said in a ruling filed Wednesday that two civil rights organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union and League of United Latin American Citizens, do have a legal standing to challenge the rules. Both groups filed a lawsuit to block Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz from enacting the rules, which would allow Schultz to begin a process to purge certain voters from Iowa’s voter registration list and make it easier to report fraud. Lawyers from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office representing Schultz contended that the groups have no legal standing to challenge the rules and asked Gunderson to dismiss the case.

Iowa: Court hearing held on new voter rules | WCF Courier

A Polk County judge heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit filed by two civil rights organizations challenging new rules enacted by Iowa’s Republican secretary of state that would purge certain voters from Iowa’s voter registration list and make it easier to report fraud. The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit last month to block Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz from enacting the rules he quietly issued on July 20. Schultz bypassed the normal state rulemaking process claiming he didn’t have enough time before November’s general election to allow for a public hearing and comment period. Assistant Attorney General Jeff Thompson argued that the new rules are intended to provide protection to all voters by ensuring that people who are not citizens are not voting. But lawyers for the civil rights groups allege Schultz intentionally waited to pass the rules knowing it would limit time for challenges. “This is a very critical public issue affecting potentially thousands of Iowans’ right to vote in this election,” attorney Joseph Glazebrook said in asking Judge Mary Pat Gunderson to declare the rules invalid and block Schultz from enforcing them.

Iowa: Groups ask judge to halt Iowa voter fraud investigation | The Des Moines Register

A judge heard arguments Thursday over whether Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz exceeded his authority in a search for thousands of possible ineligible voters before November’s election. Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and a Latino advocacy group, League of United Latin American Citizens, argued for an injunction to halt an effort to check identities against a federal immigration database to determine citizenship. The move is unnecessary and improper because no evidence of voter fraud exists and the rule creates fear and confusion for eligible voters, an attorney for the advocacy groups said. State attorneys, however, said the rule would expand due process because it creates an appeals process and the federal database reduces the risk of mistakes. Schultz’s plans to investigate 3,582 possible non-U.S. citizens registered to vote in Iowa has thrust the state into a contentious national debate. Critics say a state-by-state voter suppression effort by Republicans disproportionately affects poor and minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats.

Texas: Minority groups: New voting maps ‘total devastation for the Latino community across Texas’ | Associated Press

Disheartened and angry over the latest Texas voting maps handed down by federal judges, Democrats and minority rights groups looked Wednesday to a separate court in Washington as their last likely hope of cutting deeper into a solid Republican majority in the 2012 elections. The GOP stands poised to hardly lose any power under the latest Texas congressional and state House maps delivered this week by a San Antonio federal court, which confronted how the state’s political boundaries should be changed with more than 3 million new Hispanic residents.