NVRA

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Missouri: Federal judge orders protection for Missouri voters at risk of being disenfranchised in 2018 Midterms | St. Louis American

A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri issued an order on Friday requiring the State of Missouri to take immediate steps to prevent Missourians from being denied their right to vote in this November’s election as a result of the state’s failure to comply with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The judge ordered that the online and mail change-of-address forms used by the state motor vehicle agency, the Department of Revenue (DOR), be updated to provide voter registration information, and that the state send every voter who has used these forms since August 1, 2017 a mailing that includes a voter registration form and information about the appropriate polling location. These mailings must continue to be sent to every voter who uses the mail and online change-of-address forms until the court-ordered changes to those forms are completed.

Full Article: Federal judge orders protection for Missouri voters at risk of being disenfranchised in 2018 Midterms | Local News | stlamerican.com.

Missouri: Judge Orders Missouri Officials To Comply With Motor Voter Law | KCUR

A federal judge ordered Missouri officials to provide voter registration information to residents seeking to update their addresses at motor vehicle offices by mail or online. U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes found that their failure to do so violates the National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the federal motor voter law. Wimes ordered the action to be taken ahead of this November’s election. His order came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the League of Women Voters and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. The suit named Missouri Secretary of State John R. “Jay” Ashcroft and Joel Walters, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Ashcroft is the state’s chief election official responsible for enforcing the motor voter law. The Department of Revenue oversees the Driver License Bureau.

Full Article: Judge Orders Missouri Officials To Comply With Motor Voter Law | KCUR.

Kentucky: Department of Justice Announces Settlement with Kentucky Ensuring Compliance with Voter Registration List Maintenance Requirements | Imperial Valley News

The Department of Justice Thursday announced that it recently entered into a settlement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Kentucky State Board of Elections, and the Kentucky Secretary of State, resolving the Department’s claims that Kentucky was not complying with the voter registration list maintenance procedures set forth in Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Under the terms of the settlement, Kentucky will develop and implement a general program of statewide voter list maintenance that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of registrants who have become ineligible due to a change in residence in accordance with Section 8 of the NVRA and state law.

Full Article: United States Announces Settlement with Kentucky Ensuring Compliance with Voter Registration List Maintenance Requirements.

Texas: State appeals after a judge orders the state to implement online voter registration for drivers | The Texas Tribune

The legal fight over whether Texas is disenfranchising thousands of voters by violating a federal voter registration law is on its way to federal appeals court. Just after a federal judge gave Texas less than two months to implement a limited version of online voter registration, the state on Monday formally notified U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that it was appealing his finding that Texas was violating the law — also known as the “Motor Voter Act” — by failing to allow drivers to register to vote when they renew their driver’s licenses online. Pointing to registration deadlines for the November election, Garcia created a 45-day deadline for the state to create the online system for drivers in order to comply with the federal law that requires states to allow people to register to vote while getting their drivers licenses.

Full Article: Texas appeals after a judge orders the state to implement online voter registration for drivers | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: State lawyers object to proposed motor-voter solutions | Austin American-Statesman

After losing a legal fight over the way Texas handles online voter registration, state lawyers are arguing that fixes proposed by a civil rights group go too far and should be rejected. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio had given both sides until Thursday to submit plans that will let Texans easily register to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license on the Department of Public Safety website. The current system violates the National Voter Registration Act’s motor-voter provision, Garcia ruled, because online users are directed to a separate page run by the Texas secretary of state, where they must download a voter registration form, print it out and mail it to their county registrar.

Full Article: Texas objects to proposed motor-voter solutions.

Texas: Asked to propose a fix to voting rights violation, Texas offers few answers | The Texas Tribune

Told it was breaking the law and asked to propose a fix, Texas seems to have mostly declined in a new filing the state’s legal adversaries have called “bad faith foot-dragging.” Following a ruling last month that Texas was violating a federal law designed to ease the voter registration process, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia orderedboth the state and the voting rights advocacy group that sued Texas to submit detailed plans for fixing the violation. The Texas Civil Rights Project submitted its plan Thursday afternoon. About three hours later, Texas responded with a document criticizing that group’s proposal as overly broad and once again disputing the judge’s ruling. It did not present a clear, specific solution of its own.

Full Article: Asked to propose a fix to voting rights violation, Texas offers few answers | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: How a federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas | The Texas Tribune

From Jacquelyn Callanen’s perch in the Bexar County elections office, the period following Texas’ voter registration deadlines is best described as a paper tsunami. Some of it arrives by mail. Some stacks are delivered by volunteer voter registrars. The secretary of state’s office sends over a handful of boxes filled to the brim. No matter the carrier, last-minute drives to register people by the 30-day deadline ahead of each election typically leave local elections offices with a surge of work. To make sure prospective voters make it onto the rolls in time for Election Day, county offices have to hire temporary workers to help thumb through and process tens of thousands of voter registration cards and applications. “We hope and pray that all the cards are filled out completely,” Callanen said.

Full Article: How a federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: Saying the state is violating a voter registration law, federal judge gives Texas until Thursday to propose a fix | The Texas Tribune

Texas has less than a week to tell a federal judge in San Antonio how it will begin complying with the National Voter Registration Act, a decades-old federal law aimed at making it easier for people to register to vote by forcing states to allow registration while drivers apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled more than a month ago that Texas was violating the law, sometimes called the Motor Voter Act, by not allowing Texas drivers to register to vote when they update their driver’s license information online. But it wasn’t clear until this week what exactly state officials would have to do to address that — and by when they’d have to do it. Now, Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project — which sued the state over the issue in 2016, saying Texas’ current system disenfranchised thousands of voters and violated the U.S. Constitution — have until Thursday to propose a detailed fix for the system. After that, Garcia will weigh the proposals and order a remedy.

Full Article: Saying the state is violating a voter registration law, federal judge gives Texas until Thursday to propose a fix | The Texas Tribune.

Missouri: State Accused of Violating Federal Voter-Registration Laws | Courthouse News

The League of Women Voters of Missouri sued the state Tuesday, claiming it did not follow federal voting-rights law requiring it to update the voter database with information from motor-vehicle records, which the group says impacts half a million residents every year. The National Voter Registration Act, or NVRA, requires states to offer residents the opportunity to register to vote whenever someone applies for a new or renewed driver’s license or state ID. It also requires the state to update the individual’s voter registration record whenever a voter updates their address information with the state motor vehicle agency. But the League of Women Voters of Missouri, joined by the St. Louis and Greater Kansas City branches of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, claims the state has failed to comply with the federal law.

Full Article: Missouri Accused of Violating Federal Voter-Registration Laws.

Missouri: State sued for alleged violation of voter laws | Associated Press

Advocacy groups on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Missouri for not following federal voter laws. The lawsuit accuses the state of not automatically updating voter registration after address changes and not providing required registration information to some voters. The lawsuit lays blame on the Department of Revenue for its role in registration tied to driver’s license services, as well as the secretary of state for not ensuring voter laws are followed.

Full Article: State sued for alleged violation of voter laws | Central MO Breaking News.

California: Golden State Settles Suit Over Moter-Voter Rules | Courthouse News

Starting this April, the more than 1 million Californians who renew their driver’s licenses by mail each year will be able to register to vote using one form under the terms of a new settlement agreement. The settlement reached Jan. 10 ends eight months of litigation over California’s alleged violations of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993. The League of Women Voters and three other groups sued the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Secretary of State’s Office in May 2017, claiming the state burdens would-be voters by making them fill out the same information on two separate forms to register to vote.

Full Article: Golden State Settles Suit Over Moter-Voter Rules.

Nevada: DMV chief criticizes alleged voter fraud investigation | Las Vegas Review-Journal

DMV Director Terri Albertson said a letter sent to her office late Friday by Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske came “as a complete surprise.” In a written response to Cegavske, Albertson said, “you and your office have reviewed, contributed to, and approved the processes you are expressing concerns about.” The Republican secretary of state late Friday announced an investigation into alleged voter fraud, saying her office has uncovered evidence that noncitizens had cast ballots in the November election. Non-U.S. citizens who are in the country legally and live in Nevada can obtain a state driver’s license. Those without legal status can obtain a driver authorization card, which cannot be used as formal identification. Neither are eligible to vote.

Full Article: Nevada DMV chief criticizes alleged voter fraud investigation | Kaplan Herald.

Arizona: Voting rights groups say state is in violation of National Voter Registration Act | Arizona Daily Sun

A coalition of voting rights groups is charging that state agencies are violating federal laws designed to provide opportunities for people to register. In a 15-page complaint Tuesday to Secretary of State Michele Reagan, attorneys for the groups detailed what they say are flaws in both state statutes and the processes used by state agencies in getting people signed up to vote. The lawyers say if the problems are not corrected within 90 days they will sue. Attorney Darrell Hill of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona defended the 90 day deadline. “The state has been aware of some of these problems for quite some time,” he told Capitol Media Services. Hill said groups have filed similar complaints in the past.

Full Article: Voting rights groups say state is in violation of National Voter Registration Act | Local | azdailysun.com.

Pennsylvania: Federal Court Lambastes Conservative Effort To Strip Felon Voting Rights In Philadelphia | HuffPost

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the Philadelphia City Commissioners that tried to force the city to purge convicted felons from the voter rolls, using scathing language against a conservative group that brought the suit. Felons in Pennsylvania cannot vote while they are incarcerated, but are eligible to do so upon release. The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), a conservative group that has pushed for more aggressive voting rights restrictions across the country, said felons should be removed from the voter rolls after incarceration and sued the city, alleging it was violating the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which sets guidance for how states can purge their voter rolls. Judge C. Darnell Jones II of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a George W. Bush appointment, dismissed the lawsuit last year.

Full Article: Federal Court Lambastes Conservative Effort To Strip Felon Voting Rights In Philadelphia | HuffPost.

Editorials: Purging voter rolls to suppress turnout | Baltimore Sun

Last week, the U.S. Solicitor General took the unusual step of reinterpreting a 24-year-old federal statute specifically designed to convenience voting in order to switch sides in a pending Supreme Court case that centers on Ohio’s aggressive purging of voter rolls. The Trump Justice Department now sides with Ohio, which contends that not voting for six years — and then not responding to a single mailing asking the voter to confirm his or her registration — is sufficient to remove that person from state voter rolls. That should cause no small amount of alarm. It’s part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to restrict voting rights under the guise of fighting fraud, which is nearly non-existent. The true purpose is to keep from the polls individuals who are less likely to support Republican candidates or causes. And it’s a potential stake through the heart of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the “Motor Voter Act,” which was meant to expand, not shrink, the nation’s voter registration rolls.

Full Article: Purging voter rolls to suppress turnout - Baltimore Sun.

Editorials: Partners in Voter Suppression | The New York Times

The Trump administration moved deeper into the politics of voter suppression this week by reversing the federal government’s opposition to Ohio’s effort to purge tens of thousands of voters from the rolls simply because they vote infrequently. A federal appeals court blocked Ohio’s move last year as a violation of voting laws, in a case brought by civil rights advocates and backed by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. Now that an appeal has been accepted for this term by the Supreme Court, Trump appointees at Justice — not career professionals — have changed the government’s position to side with Ohio, in effect endorsing the purge and asking that it be allowed to go forward.

Full Article: Partners in Voter Suppression - The New York Times.

Kansas: Appeals court ruling requires Kobach to testify under oath | The Washington Post

A federal appeals court ruling will force Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to answer questions under oath about plans to change U.S. election law. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied the Kansas Republican’s request for an emergency stay of his deposition by the American Civil Liberties Union. Kobach’s office declined to comment on the decision. 

Full Article: Appeals court ruling requires Kobach to testify under oath - The Washington Post.

National: Leader Of Voter Fraud Probe Really Doesn’t Want To Release Trump Meeting Documents | HuffPost

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) continued to fight releasing documents from a meeting with President Donald Trump in November, saying that the public did not need to see them and that disclosing them would impede his ability to serve on Trump’s commission to investigate voter fraud. Kobach, who has lent support to Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and exaggerated instances of it in the past, made the argument with his lawyer in a Friday court filing as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union over a Kansas law requiring people to prove their citizenship to vote. As part of the lawsuit, the ACLU is requesting a Kansas federal judge unseal documents that Kobach was photographed holding when he met with Trump in November 2016, as well as a draft amendment to federal voting law, which circulated in his office. The documents contain potential amendments to the National Voter Registration Act, a 1993 law requiring motor vehicle and some other state agencies to provide opportunities to register to vote.

Full Article: Leader Of Voter Fraud Probe Really Doesn't Want To Release Trump Meeting Documents | HuffPost.

National: Emails show Kobach crafting changes to federal voting law after Trump win | The Wichita Eagle

Kansas Secretary of Kris Kobach was developing federal legislation immediately after the November election to “make clear” that proof of citizenship voter registration requirements – like what Kansas has – would be permitted nationwide. Emails contained in court filings on Friday show that the day after the presidential election Kobach was already preparing changes to the National Voter Registration Act, commonly called the motor voter law, for the future administration of President Donald Trump. Kobach, who announced a bid for Kansas governor in June, began a Nov. 9 email by referencing draft legislation for submission to Congress early in the Trump administration. “I have already started regarding amendments to the NVRA to make clear that proof of citizenship requirements are permitted (based on my ongoing litigation with the ACLU over this), as well as legislation to stop the dozen states that are providing instate tuition to illegal aliens in violation of (federal law),” Kobach wrote.

Full Article: Emails show Kobach crafting changes to federal voting law after Trump win | The Wichita Eagle.

National: Voter fraud commission worries civil rights advocates | McClatchy

President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission is coming under fire not only for requesting mass amounts of voter information but also for including two key members who have been accused of championing legislation that would suppress voter participation along partisan lines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was appointed the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity after Trump signed an executive order in May. … “We all agree American elections need to be secure,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “What we’re looking into here is to ensure … all of the information is being considered under the light.” Kobach, who launched his campaign for governor of Kansas last month, has supported Trump’s unfounded claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

Full Article: Voter fraud commission worries civil rights advocates | McClatchy Washington Bureau.