A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a controversial new voter registration law is heading to trial next August, according to a recent court order. The law in question, known commonly as Senate Bill 3, adds tougher penalties for people who fail to provide certain kinds of documentation showing they live where they’re trying to vote.
New Hampshire: Judge’s ruling on voting law sets stage for deep, lengthy review of new ID requirements | WMUR
When Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple issued a ruling early Tuesday morning blocking the state from enforcing its new voter registration law, Senate Bill 3, he set the stage for a deep review that is expected to take many months to resolve. Temple is a former University of New Hampshire Law professor appointed in 2013 by then-Gov. Maggie Hassan. In the Tuesday order, he denied the state’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit by the state Democratic Party, League of Women Voters and three individual plaintiffs. With a special election for a New Hampshire House seat scheduled for Tuesday, the judge heard arguments on the dismissal motion and the plaintiffs’ attempt to block the law on Monday afternoon, concluding at 4:30 p.m, and then told the attorneys that he’s have a ruling out by 8 a.m. Tuesday.
A lawsuit by the N.H. Democratic party to block implementation of a new election law is about to become a federal case. Lawyers for the defendants — Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald — filed court motions on Thursday to have the lawsuit removed from Superior Court in Nashua and transferred to U.S. District Court in Concord. On the same day, the Democratic Party filed motions to have its lawsuit married to a virtually identical action filed by the League of Women Voters, increasing the likelihood that the lawsuits will be combined and heard in federal court.
New Hampshire: Bill Would Bar Voting By People in New Hampshire For ‘Temporary Purposes’ | New Hampshire Public Radio
Republican lawmakers have proposed dozens of individual bills to tighten up New Hampshire election laws this year, but one new proposal coming forward this week would on its own enact a number of changes in what’s required for voters to register and how officials are expected to verify those credentials. The bill would specifically bar anyone who comes to New Hampshire only for “temporary purposes” from voting in the state – in this case, that includes anyone who’s here less than 30 days for vacation, anyone here for short-term work, volunteering or “working to influence voters in an upcoming election.” If someone already voted somewhere else and planned to return to vote there again in the future, that person “does not gain a domicile in New Hampshire regardless of the duration of his or her presence in New Hampshire.”
Proposed changes to New Hampshire election law could unfairly disenfranchise college students, seasonal residents, university professors, military personnel, and all sorts of transient workers, according to opponents of the legislation who dominated testimony on several election-related bills before the House Election Law Committee. State Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, sponsor of three measures debated Tuesday, said his bills are not aimed at any particular segment of the population. “All I’m trying to do is ensure that only residents of our state are voting in New Hampshire,” he said. “My objective is to return to what our state laws always used to be, which required a person to be a resident in order to vote here.”
The Arizona State Legislature drew statewide backlash last week when Republican State Representative Bob Thorpe filed two bills aimed at changing the voting rights and cutting social justice classes for college students in Arizona. House Bill 2260 would in effect disallow any student living in a “dormitory address or other temporary college or university address,” to use that address to register to vote. Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who oversees voter registration in Maricopa County, said that the bill is both unconstitutional and unenforceable. “It violates the First Amendment, it violates the due process clause and it violates the equal protections clause,” Fontes said. “I would think a constitutional conservative like Thorpe would have looked at these things.” Fontes, who made student polling locations and voting rights priorities in his campaign, said that he would stay committed to those goals and staunchly opposed the bill. “This is disenfranchisement on its face,” he said. “It treats one particular class of eligible voter different then another eligible class of voters.”
Newly introduced legislation seeks to reduce the influence of nomadic recreational-vehicle owners on South Dakota elections. State Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, last week introduced a bill that would essentially forbid the use of a mail-forwarding service as an address for voter registration. “It’s intended to make sure that people that vote in our elections here have at least some connection to South Dakota,” Tieszen said in a recent Journal interview, “and to make sure those people who do not have a connection to South Dakota do not participate in our elections.” The bill targets nomadic recreational-vehicle owners, known as RVers, and others who use mail-forwarding services such as Americas Mailbox near Rapid City, whose address is listed by nearly 3,500 registered voters. Those voters do not actually live at the address but pay the business to help them establish a postal address, forward their mail and sometimes assist with other things including driver licensing, vehicle registration and concealed-weapon permitting.
Ohio: State Supreme Court rules in blogger Randy Simes’s voting rights case | Cincinnati Business Courier
A Cincinnati native who is owner and managing editor of UrbanCincy.com has the right to vote in Hamilton County while living in South Korea for his job, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled. In a 6-1 decision, the court ruled that the Hamilton County Board of Elections did not abuse its discretion in 2013 when it decided that Randy Simes had the right to vote here. The court upheld both the Board of Elections’ decision and a Hamilton County Appellate Court ruling. Two people – Barbara Holwadel and Steven Johnson – pursued the case, which started when Simes voted in the 2013 Cincinnati mayoral primary between John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls, all the way to the state’s highest court.
Five years ago today, Wyclef Jean – the Haitian-American hip-hop superstar whose 2004 hit song mused, “If I was President” – revealed in an interview with me that he was actually running for President. Of Haiti. Whether Jean would have been a good pwezidan is certainly debatable. But what made his candidacy most significant – especially in the wake of Haiti’s catastrophic 2010 earthquake – was the prospect of finally seeing a real bridge built between Haiti and its large diaspora. “I’m the only man who can stand in the middle and get the diaspora and Haiti’s elite families to cooperate,” Jean told me. And yet Haiti’s elite families hardly seemed ready to welcome Jean into the presidential palace. Three weeks after he entered the 2010 presidential race, Haiti’s election commission disqualified him because it said he didn’t meet constitutional residency requirements. This despite the fact that Jean was born in Haiti and hadn’t ditched his Haitian citizenship. As a result, many Haitian-Americans said his ejection was typical of how Haiti treats the Haitian diaspora.
The New Hampshire House passed a bill Wednesday that requires people to live in the state for 30 days before they are eligible to vote. It passed largely with support from Republicans. Senators passed the bill along party lines earlier this year, but the House bill further defines the factors that contribute to a person’s domicile, including whether someone pays taxes in New Hampshire, owns a hunting license or has a New Hampshire driver’s license. Currently, a person who is “domiciled” in the state can register and vote on the day of an election. Supporters of the House bill said they want to crack down on “drive by” voting and ensure people voting in New Hampshire elections actually live in the state. “This bill will ensure the people of New Hampshire decide our own elections, not out-of-state voters,” said Republican Rep. William Gannon of Sandown.
The New Hampshire House passed a bill Wednesday that requires people to live in the state for 30 days before they are eligible to vote. It passed largely with support from Republicans. Senators passed the bill along party lines earlier this year, but the House bill further defines the factors that contribute to a person’s domicile, including whether someone pays taxes in New Hampshire, owns a hunting license or has a New Hampshire driver’s license. Currently, a person who is “domiciled” in the state can register and vote on the day of an election.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner is signaling support for a bill its sponsors said would crack down on so-called drive-by voting. Supporters of SB 179 said it would safeguard the integrity of New Hampshire elections, but others see it as a political ploy to keep some voters away from the polls. When Vice President Joe Biden’s niece, Alana Biden, cast a ballot in New Hampshire in 2012 after a short campaign stint, she didn’t break the letter of the law, but many think she violated the spirit of it. “When that happens, it hurts all of our votes,” Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Hudson, said. “It disenfranchises the people that really live here.”
A bill has been passed by the New Hampshire state Senate that would require voters to reside in the state for 30 days before becoming eligible to vote. Senate Bill 179 was passed by the Republican-controlled state Senate in a party-line vote, and is currently in committee in the House. New Hampshire law currently permits same-day voter registration. The legislation would amend the way the state defines “domicile” to require that a voter reside in the Granite State for “no less than 30 consecutive days” before they become eligible to cast a ballot.
New Hampshire: State Supreme Court hears arguments on law linking voter registration to motor vehicle rules | Concord Monitor
The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case challenging language that would tie voter registration to motor vehicle laws. A law passed in 2012 sought to amend the state’s voter registration forms that required those registering to vote to also affirm, among other things, that: “In declaring New Hampshire as my domicile, I am subject to the laws of the state of New Hampshire which apply to all residents, including laws requiring a driver to register a motor vehicle and apply for a New Hampshire’s driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident.”
It may seem fairly obvious, but only those people who fulfil particular requirements are given voting rights in an election. In Japan, voters must be Japanese citizens aged 20 or over and have a registered address in a municipality within a relevant electoral district for more than three months. According to the Public Offices Elections Law, exploiting this requirement by moving one’s residential registration to another municipality — just on paper — for the purpose of voting, while continuing to reside in an original municipality, is illegal. But this kind of electoral fraud is a prevalent and deeply rooted problem in the Japanese electoral process.
On November 24, 2014 widely reported stories told of Sony Pictures being hacked, resulting in the loss of an incredible amount of intellectual property. Then last month, a massive cyberattack hacked Anthem Blue Cross, leading to a breach of over 11 million customers’ personal information. Now, with the end of the session less than four weeks away, legislators in Colorado—both Democrat and Republican—are working on a bill that could expand the use of internet voting, claiming that it is safe and secure. The bill, known as House Bill 15-1130, would mark the third year in a row that the legislature has tried to overhaul elections in Colorado. Each bill has been worse than the last. In the 2013 session, the Democrat-controlled legislature passed a bill that contained mandatory all mail-in ballots, same day voter registration and reduced residency requirements for any state-wide election. In 2014, they extended these bad ideas to local elections.
New Hampshire voters would be required to live in the state for 30 days prior to voting if a bill passed by the state Senate on Thursday goes into effect. Supporters called it a reasonable effort to avoid ‘‘drive-by’’ voting and other voter fraud, but opponents said the bill will disenfranchise some. ‘‘We always say if you didn’t vote you don’t have any right to complain,’’ said state Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a Democrat. ‘‘Well, if we don’t allow you to vote then you have every right to complain.’’ The Republican-controlled Senate passed the measure along party lines.
Ohio: Legislature Advances Controversial Bill That Could Deter Students From Voting | Huffington Post
Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a transportation budget Wednesday containing a controversial provision that critics say could dissuade college students from voting. The amendment to the budget, which was added at the last minute by a Senate committee, would require out-of-state students who register to vote from their campus address to register their cars in Ohio within 30 days and obtain state driver’s licenses. Completing both of those steps would cost over $75. If the more than 116,000 out-of-state students who attend Ohio’s public and private colleges and universities fail to do so, their out-of-state licenses would become invalid and they could face misdemeanor charges. Current law has allowed new Ohioans to claim residency and vote while keeping their out-of-state licenses and registrations because the state hasn’t specified a deadline for obtaining documentation.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo’s effort to reduce residency requirements for Guam’s governor, lieutenant governor, senators and mayors through an Organic Act Amendment is troublesome and gives rise as to its motivation. Residency provides confidence that aspiring candidates have good knowledge and understanding of the history of current community issues. This lack of knowledge and current connection, with the Guam community, was a Bordallo campaign issue when challenged by Karlo Dizon and Margaret Metcalf.
Must public officials assess a new law to determine whether it’s constitutional before carrying it out? That’s the upshot of a federal-court ruling Monday declaring Secretary of State Jon Husted liable for enforcing a law passed by the Ohio General Assembly that later was declared unconstitutional. At issue was a 2013 measure — Senate Bill 47 — declaring that circulators of initiative petitions must be Ohio residents. Judge Michael Watson of U.S. District Court in Columbus said that even if Husted assumed the law were constitutional, “a reasonable official would have understood that enforcement of the residency requirement would violate plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to engage in political speech despite the presumptive validity of the statute.”
Student leadership and university officials faced off Thursday at the state Capitol over a bill that would create a new student identification option for voting amid questions of student safety and over whether it creates a special class of voters. The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 2330, which would add a university-issued student ID as an acceptable form of ID for voting. The new IDs would need to list a student’s date of birth and residential address and would be issued beginning Jan. 1. Universities would also be required to provide information on voting eligibility requirements. The debate centered on whether a new student photo ID would enable more students to vote, as well as whether the action would create a special class of voters. The idea of student information on the IDs drew criticism from university officials based on safety concerns.
A new survey from North Dakota State University found that about 3 percent of North Dakota college students who tried to vote in November’s election “were unable to participate due to confusion over residency requirements.” The survey, conducted by the Upper Midwest Regional Center on Public Policy at NDSU and released Tuesday, comes after the North Dakota Legislature eliminated the voter affidavit option in 2013, which allowed someone to cast a ballot without proper identification. IDs had to reflect the voter’s current precinct 30 days before the November election in order to vote there. Almost 93 percent of survey respondents who tried to vote were successful. Out of the 79 students surveyed who tried to vote but were unsuccessful, 36 reported some issue related to their residential address, while others had issues related to absentee ballots or other issues.
Florida: North Miami Beach leaders discuss steps to prevent voter fraud in elections | The Miami Herald
North Miami Beach officials want to avoid drama, confusion and voter-fraud issues that have plagued campaign seasons of the past. The last two municipal elections were tainted with soap-opera-style incidents that included accusations of death threats, campaign misdeeds and complaints about an incumbent mayor unfairly targeting opponents with code violations. “We don’t want to have the circus we had two years ago to happen again,” said council member Anthony DeFellipo at Tuesday’s council meeting. With four of the seven council seats up for grabs in the May 5 municipal elections, the council discussed efforts to fend off any confusion that could result in voter fraud or any unfavorable image of their city.
Residents of Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Oldsmar and Safety Harbor won’t have a representative in the Florida House — for now, at least. State lawmakers voted Tuesday to throw out the results of the House District 64 election, creating a vacancy in that district. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to call a special election. State Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, had already raised questions about the integrity of the Nov. 4 contest, which he won comfortably. Earlier this month, he pointed out that an appellate judge deemed the election unconstitutional. “You can’t send a candidate to Tallahassee to office on the back of an election that was deemed unconstitutional,” he told the Herald/Times.
A New York State appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who is running against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the Democratic primary, can remain on the Sept. 9 ballot. Mr. Cuomo’s campaign, which had sought to disqualify her, said it would not appeal. The campaign had questioned whether Ms. Teachout, who teaches at Fordham Law School, met the state’s five-year residency requirement to be governor, arguing that in recent years, she had intended for Vermont, where she grew up, to be her legal residence. It cited a variety of records in which Ms. Teachout used a Vermont address. But a State Supreme Court justice rebuffed the challenge last week. Mr. Cuomo’s campaign appealed that ruling, and the appeal was argued in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
The city’s Election Commission met Friday morning to discuss continued issues stemming from a misprint on 392 absentee ballots, and to test tabulation equipment for Wards 2 and 3. This is the third meeting the Commission has held on the issue, which began when it was discovered June 27 that Ward 3 City Council candidate Bob Dascola had been left off the first wave of absentee ballots issued by the city. The state’s Bureau of Elections initially instructed the city to not count Ward 3 votes on the original, incorrect ballot but reversed its position over the next few days, instead instructing the city to count Ward 3 votes on the incorrect ballots over concerns of voter disenfranchisement, which prompted Dascola to file a motion against the city on July 7.
A judge sharply questioned lawyers Wednesday in a dispute over whether U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit gets on the ballot for a chance to extend one of the longest careers in Congress. The Democrat, first elected in 1964, has been scratched from the August primary because of problems with people who collected signatures for his nominating petitions, a standard task for any candidate. Some of those people weren’t registered voters or put a wrong registration address on the petitions. It spoils those petitions, under Michigan law, and means Conyers lacks 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
Massachusetts voters will be able to cast their ballots early beginning in 2016, under a new law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday. “Whenever we have a law that expands access to the ballot and makes it easier for people to register and to vote, it makes our democracy better,” Patrick said moments after signing the law, surrounded by legislators and voting reform activists. The election reform law allows for early voting in biennial statewide elections, starting 11 business days before an election and ending two business days before Election Day. The law also establishes online voter registration and requires the Secretary of State’s office to develop a tool that lets voters check their registration status and their polling location online. The law allows 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, although they will not be allowed to cast a ballot until they turn 18.
Wisconsin: State Supreme Court hears arguments on voter identification law; no timeline on ruling | Star Tribune
A member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority said Tuesday she’s troubled by the state’s voter photo ID requirements, saying it’s not fair that people who lack identification may have to pay for supporting documents to obtain it. The League of Women Voters and the NAACP’s Milwaukee branch have filed separate lawsuits challenging the Republican-authored voter ID mandate. Both cases have wound their way to the Supreme Court; the justices spent more than three hours listening to oral arguments in a packed hearing room Tuesday. The lawsuits face an uphill fight given the court’s ideological makeup. Surprisingly, though, Justice Patience Roggensack said the provisions were troubling because people who lack acceptable IDs for voting would have to pay for copies of supporting documents, such as birth certificates, to get them. “It’s still a payment to the state to be able to vote,” Roggensack said. “That bothers me.”
Colorado Republicans on Monday launched their bid to undo a new elections law that allows same-day registration, saying they’re still not convinced the change isn’t a recipe for possible voting fraud. Democrats insist the new law is sound and won’t be going anywhere. The Republican proposal includes a two-year “time out” on the new law, which added same-day registration and a requirement that ballots go by mail to all registered voters. Republicans want to undo that law, at least temporarily, while a bipartisan panel reviews the measure. Republicans say the law is riddled with problems, such as conflicting residency deadlines between state and local races. Their main gripe, though, is same-day voting registration, which makes voting more convenient for people who forget to register but could also make it more difficult to determine who’s eligible to vote in an election.