The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the state’s appeal of a ruling invalidating the voter ID law passed in 2017. Judge Alice Gray enjoined the law as an unconstitutional addition of a restriction on voting, but the Supreme Court earlier stayed that order and the law was put in place in primary voting. Jeff Priebe, attorney for the plaintiff, Barry Haas, in a public interest lawsuit, argued that the 2017 law was an attempt to circumvent a similar law passed in 2014 that was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court. A change was made that allowed voters who didn’t have an ID to cast a provisional ballot and sign an affidavit and the vote is supposed to be counted unless other problems are found.
A federal judge formally dismissed the lawsuit challenging the Texas voter ID law Monday, the final step in a yearslong fight that will allow the state to enforce a weakened version of the 2011 statute. At the urging of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi issued a two-sentence order dismissing the case in light of April’s decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld the law. Lawyers for the minority voters, Democratic politicians and civil rights groups that challenged the law had argued that Paxton’s request for a dismissal was an unnecessary step because there was nothing left to decide — except for assessing legal fees and costs — after the 5th Circuit Court’s decision.
Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don’t have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID. While some organizations have sued to overturn these laws, a nonprofit organization called Spread The Vote has taken a different tack: It helps people without IDs get them. And people over 50 years of age have presented some of their biggest challenges. On a recent Tuesday morning in Austell, Ga., 53-year-old Pamela Moon tried to get a replacement for an ID she had lost. She worked with a Spread The Vote volunteer at the Sweetwater Mission. The group sends volunteers to the mission every other Tuesday, so that people who come for food and clothes can get help obtaining a Georgia ID at the same time.
North Dakota is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that found problems with how the state’s voter identification laws affect Native Americans. The state is arguing the case Monday in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in April agreed to expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections. The judge also ordered eliminating a requirement that those documents include residential street addresses, which sometimes aren’t assigned on American Indian reservations.
United Kingdom: Ministers urged to abandon Voter ID as rollout at general election estimated to cost up to £20m | The Independent
Ministers are facing calls to ditch plans for nationwide voter ID checks as it emerged introducing them at a general election could cost up to £20m – even though there were only 28 cases of polling station impersonations alleged in 2017. The government has been urged to abandon the contentious proposals, with the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) pointing out that at this rate, the cost could equate to £700,000 per fraud allegation. Labour has claimed the moves are in danger of locking people out of the democratic process, and critics fear it could disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and the poorest.
Attorneys for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate were at the Iowa Supreme Court today, arguing for reinstatement of parts of Iowa’s new Voter ID law. Requiring an ID at the polls doesn’t take effect until next year, but new rules for absentee ballots went into effect this year. Last month, a district court judge issued a temporary injunction halting those parts of the law. The Secretary of State wants the injunction lifted so the new absentee ballot rules can be in effect for the November election.
North Carolina: Russian election threat grows, but GOP wants more scrutiny of North Carolina voters | News & Observer
The motive behind requiring a photo ID to vote has always been thinly veiled. The real intention isn’t to protect the integrity of an election. It’s to discourage voting by people from groups that tend to vote Democratic — African-Americans, Hispanic immigrants and college students, in particular. Now the investigation into Russian meddling in U.S. elections has laid that hypocrisy bare. The U.S. intelligence community agrees that the threat of Russia’s interference is real. Studies show the threat of people impersonating other voters isn’t. Yet North Carolina’s lawmakers are pushing to stop the latter and saying little about the former.
United Kingdom: Voter ID: our first results suggest local election pilot was unnecessary and ineffective | The Conversation
The 2018 local elections in England were surrounded by a fierce debate over a pilot requiring voters to present ID at polling stations. The government had argued that a clampdown on security was needed, because it was concerned about ongoing electoral fraud in polling stations. It’s important to have neutral evidence to judge these claims. We think our findings from the largest ever survey on electoral integrity at UK polling stations can help to achieve this. Following up on a 2015 survey, we conducted a survey of the staff managing polling stations across England, issuing ballot papers and sealing up ballot boxes at the 2018 local elections. We asked if they had suspicions that electoral fraud was taking place and whether party agents were acting within electoral law. We also asked if voters were turned away. The survey was circulated in 42 local authorities that were not piloting voter ID and there were 2,274 responses.
Attorneys representing a state NAACP chapter asked the 11th Circuit on Friday to throw out a district court ruling which dismissed their challenge to Alabama’s voter ID law without a trial. The Alabama NAACP, joined by Interfaith group Greater Birmingham Ministries and three individual voters, claims that the state’s photo voter identification law was specifically crafted by lawmakers to discriminate against thousands of black and Latino voters. In January, U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler ruled that the 2011 law, which requires absentee and in-person voters to show photo ID in order to cast a ballot, is constitutional.
An Iowa judge Wednesday issued a temporary injunction barring the state from implementing some provisions of Iowa’s new voter ID law. The ruling, for now, restores the absentee early voting period from 29 days to 40 days and blocks certain ID requirements of the law, passed by the GOP-led Legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Terry Branstad in May 2017. Polk County District Judge Karen Romano ruled that elements of the state’s new system requiring state-issued voter identification numbers on absentee ballots could harm the rights of voters to participate in elections, “in contravention” of Iowa’s Constitution.