Connecticut: Judge To Rule Tuesday On Whether Hartford Council Can Remove Registrars | Hartford Courant

A Superior Court judge is expected to rule Tuesday on whether the city council has the authority to remove Hartford’s three registrars of voters. Judge Constance Epstein will also decide whether to grant an injunction, sought by attorneys for the registrars, that would stop the removal hearings from going forward. The hearings are scheduled to begin Tuesday at 3 p.m.. A decision by Epstein on whether the hearings may move forward is expected by 2:30 p.m., the judge has said. The council in January began the process of seeking to remove the registrars — Democrat Olga Vazquez, Republican Sheila Hall and Working Families Party member Urania Petit — following problems on Election Day that caused some polling places to open late, delaying voting.

Connecticut: Attorney: Hartford Council Can Remove Elected Officials | Hartford Courant

An attorney retained by the city council said in a written opinion Wednesday that the council has the power to remove elected officials. Allan B. Taylor, a legislative and legal adviser to the council, said he was responding to questions raised about whether the panel has the authority to remove such officials. The council has begun the process of seeking to remove Hartford’s three registrars of voters, following problems on Election Day that caused several polling places to open late.  People were unable to vote at as many as 10 polling locations when they opened at 6 a.m. on Election Day because the voter lists were not delivered on time. Voters waited more than an hour at some polling places, and some left without voting, prompting the Democratic Party to seek extended hours. A Superior Court judge eventually ordered that two polling places remain open for an extra half-hour. PDF: Attorney’s Report On Hartford Registrars

North Carolina: Recount possible in North Carolina Supreme Court race | News Observer

Despite an effort by the Republican State Leadership Committee to influence the Supreme Court races in North Carolina, the three candidates targeted by the organization emerged as victors. Democrats Cheri Beasley, Sam Ervin IV and Robin Hudson won their races for seats on the bench of the state’s highest court. Hudson, an incumbent targeted in a spring attack ad funded largely by the Republican State Leadership Committee, and Ervin each received more than 52 percent of the vote. Ervin, a N.C. Court of Appeals judge who ran an unsuccessful bid for a high court seat in 2012, collected more votes than Bob Hunter, a former colleague on the state appeals court.

Alaska: Plaintiff says they won’t appeal ballot lawsuit ruling | Juneau Empire

The plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the merged campaigns of two Alaska gubernatorial candidates will not appeal a judge’s ruling that an emergency order allowing the ticket was valid, he said Monday. Plaintiff Steve Strait said, however, that state lawmakers should enact a permanent regulation to address a legal “train wreck” — the label used by Superior Court Judge John Suddock in describing a gap in Alaska election statutes. Suddock sided with the state on Friday.

Alaska: Judge rules Walker-Mallott ticket can stand | Alaska Dispatch

An Alaska Superior Court judge Friday morning denied a complaint brought by a Republican Party official that could have unraveled the “unity” ticket of gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker and his running mate, Byron Mallott. Steve Strait, an Anchorage district chair of the Alaska Republican Party, said he will decide over the weekend whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Judge John Suddock said the lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections acted appropriately when they issued an emergency regulation Sept. 2 allowing the merger of the “nonparty” ticket, though primary voters had previously chosen Mallott as the Democratic nominee for governor. In a lengthy explanation of his decision, Suddock said he was constrained by three decades of precedent, including a Supreme Court ruling, attorney general opinions, similar decisions by past lieutenant governors, and numerous Legislatures that had “OK’ed this kind of monkey business after the primary” by not creating a statute to address such situations.

Alaska: Judge sides with state in ballot lawsuit | Juneau Empire

A judge on Friday sided with the state of Alaska and ruled against a lawsuit that challenged the merged campaigns of two candidates in the governor’s race. Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock ruled that an emergency order issued by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell that allowed the merger was valid. The state argued that invalidating the order would leave the November election in shambles and disenfranchise voters, saying more than 2,400 overseas ballots have already been mailed out. “The people of the state of Alaska expect an election,” Suddock said after opposing sides had presented their oral arguments. “They expect to have a choice.” The lawsuit was filed last week by Steve Strait, an Alaska Republican Party district chair. Strait maintained Treadwell erred in his Sept. 2 order, which permitted candidates affected by the merger to officially withdraw from their respective races.

California: Sen. Roderick Wright case expected to go to jury Friday | Los Angeles Times

With only the prosecution’s rebuttal remaining in the perjury and voter fraud trial of state Sen. Roderick D. Wright, the case is expected to go to jury Friday. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy delivered detailed instructions to the jury Thursday before both sides presented their closing arguments. Wright, 61, an Inglewood Democrat, was indicted more than three years ago on eight counts of perjury and voter fraud stemming from steps he took to run for what was then the 25th Senate District. Prosecutors allege Wright cooked up an elaborate scheme in 2007 to make it appear he was eligible to run when he registered to vote and made other moves to establish as his legal residence an Inglewood rental complex he owns. They allege his true residence, or “domicile” as state law puts it, was a single-family home in Baldwin Hills, outside the district he wanted to run in.

Editorials: Connecticut judge keeps candidates on ballot who had been thrown for a filing technicality | Hartford Courant

A judge’s decision to keep candidates of “Save Westport Now,” a minor party, on the November ballot rings the bell for democracy, giving that town’s voters greater choice. Stamford Superior Court Judge Kenneth Povodator’s ruling is a welcome precedent for at least a dozen other Connecticut cities and towns where third-party candidates have been thrown off municipal election ballots because of a filing technicality. Those candidates should be restored to the ballot, too. In East Hampton, for example, the Chatham Party’s 16 candidates — including four incumbents who make up the town council majority — have been disqualified and are forced to run write-in campaigns. That’s a travesty.

Arizona: Who controls local elections at issue in suit against state | Arizona Daily Star

Tucson will be in court today for the first round in its most recent legal battle with the state over who controls local elections. Tucson and Phoenix will jointly ask Pima County Superior Court Judge James Marner to overturn a state law mandating all elections occur in even-numbered years. The Legislature passed the bill in 2012 over the vehement opposition of most incorporated cities and towns across the state. Supporters of the measure say the bill will increase voter turnout and save money since turnout is higher in even-numbered years when national and statewide offices are on the ballot. Opponents say the bill will harm cities since municipal contests will be relegated to the bottom of a multi-page ballot.

North Carolina: Court upholds redrawn North Carolina voting maps |

A three-judge panel on Monday upheld legislative and congressional districts drawn by the Republican-dominated General Assembly in 2011, ruling unanimously that the maps were constitutional. Democrats, the state NAACP and good-government groups had sued to invalidate the maps, saying they were improperly drawn based on racial considerations. The opponents also argued lawmakers too finely split the state, dividing so many local voting precincts that it would create confusion. But the three Superior Court judges found that those challenging the maps had not showed “a violation of any cognizable equal protection rights of any North Carolina citizens, or groups thereof, will result.” The plaintiffs in the case, including a former state lawmaker and the state NAACP, have 30 days to decide whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.

Indiana: From levers to touch screens: A brief history of Tippecanoe voting technology | Journal and Courier

In the past 20 years, Tippecanoe County has spent more than $1.5 million upgrading its voting technology, transitioning from pull-lever machines to modern touch-screen devices. Even so, some observers say the new technology hasn’t removed the potential for vote-counting chaos that marred the 2000 presidential election. A look at voting technology in Tippecanoe County. Dec. 12, 1978: Tippecanoe County Clerk Sarah Brown proposes switching from pull-lever voting machines to computer punch cards. One reason, she says, is the expense of moving 90 voting machines the size of upright pianos into and out of precincts at election time — $10,000 that year alone ($35,000 in 2012 dollars).

California: Judge resets trial on San Mateo County’s besieged voting system until after fall election | San Jose Mercury News

A judge Wednesday granted San Mateo County’s request to postpone a trial on the legality of its at-large system for electing supervisors, which critics contend is discriminatory because it dilutes the votes of minority residents. But in agreeing to wait until after the Nov. 6 election, Superior Court Judge Beth Freeman said the trial wouldn’t be moot even if residents approve a ballot measure to replace countywide supervisor elections with district elections. As civil rights lawyers who sued the county argued in their legal papers, “it is highly unlikely that the entire case would be moot if the voters approve district elections,” Freeman said in her ruling. “It is, however, quite clear that voter action would significantly affect the scope of the legal challenge and inform the court of the remedies remaining.” The lawsuit, filed in April 2011, contends that selecting supervisors countywide instead of by the districts they represent violates the California Voting Rights Act because that action weakens the voting power of Latino and Asian-American residents. Although each minority group makes up about one-quarter of the county’s population, there’s been only one Latino supervisor and no Asian-Americans since 1995, according to the lawsuit.

Arizona: Redistricting headed to two courts | Arizona Daily Sun

The Independent Redistricting Commission wants a judge to throw out efforts by Republicans to void the map it created for the state’s nine congressional districts. Legal papers filed late Monday charge that those seeking a new map are using “innuendo, selectively extracted transcript experts, and speculation to weave a conspiracy theory intended to cast doubt on the commission’s work.” Attorneys for the commission also said the lawsuit never says that the maps, which will be used beginning this year, do not meet the constitutional goals. These range from requirements to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act to creating compact districts and protecting communities of interest. Instead, Mary O’Grady and Joe Kanefield, the two lead attorneys for the commission, told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain that the complaint is instead focused on “manufacturing flaws” about the procedures used to draw the map.

Indiana: Access to Marion County voter database triggers lawsuit | Indianapolis Star

Three Marion County judicial candidates and two candidates for the Indiana House on Thursday sued the Marion County Election Board and the Board of Voter Registration for access to the county’s voter registration database. The complaint, filed in Marion Circuit Court, says the voter registration office unlawfully denied requests to access the database for their campaigns. The plaintiffs are running against their parties’ endorsed candidates in the May 8 primary.