Secretary of State John Merrill said Thursday his office is doing all it can to respond to voter ID requests. But they don’t know the scope of the need in the state. The Secretary of State’s Office does not have estimates of the needs for voter ID cards among the more than 3 million registered voters in Alabama, and Merrill said Thursday they do not plan to. “We don’t want to expend our energies and resources in trying to identify that need when we’re trying to meet it each and every day,” he said.
A national progressive organization filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Missouri’s voter ID law on behalf of a 70-year-old Jackson County woman. The suit was filed in Cole County by Priorities USA, a Democratic-aligned group that advocates for voting rights and works to identify “opportunities for progressives to stand up to the Republican agenda,” according to its website. Missouri voters in 2016 approved the voter ID requirement as an amendment to the state’s Constitution by a 26-point margin. But attorneys for Priorities USA argue that it creates undue burdens for voters who lack the required photo identification.
A bill filed by Republican legislative leaders last week would let voters decide whether to add a constitutional amendment to require photo IDs at the polls. A federal court shot down a previous attempt at Voter ID laws in North Carolina. If the question gets on the ballot this fall and passes, would it stand up to a legal challenge? Legal experts say there’s nothing inherently unconstitutional about Voter ID laws – 34 states have them. The issue is the motivation behind the laws. “What makes them unconstitutional is if they’re adopted with an intent to discriminate against a particular racial group, or racial groups,” Duke University Law School professor Guy Charles said.
Editorials: North Carolina voter photo ID bill is vague and leaves lots of questions | Gerry Cohen /News & Observer
There are important questions to be resolved before the legislature votes to put voter photo identification in the state Constitution via referendum. The ballot question says, “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.” This language appears to not allow exceptions for those without ID or those who have lost them, as the 2013 law did. Will it be a “hard ID” like that struck down in federal court, or a “soft ID” like the 2013 House version that allowed student ID, public assistance ID or employer ID? Will there be a tedious provisional ballot process?
Iowa’s top election official said a campaign appeared to be responsible for texting voters incorrect information about polling places. But Secretary of State Paul Pate wouldn’t identify the campaign, telling reporters Tuesday afternoon there seemed to be “nothing malicious” about the text messages. Voters reported the texts to auditors in Black Hawk, Johnson, Linn, Polk and Winneshiek counties, Pate said. He was unsure how many voters received them. The text messages were sent from a toll-free number, which could not be independently tracked to its source. “I think it’s under control,” Pate said, adding that he wouldn’t comment further until the details were verified.
A Latino civil rights organization and an Iowa State University student filed a lawsuit calling the state’s new voter ID law unconstitutional and particularly burdensome for minority, disabled and elderly voters. The legislation at issue, House File 516, was passed on a party-line vote by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad last year. It made a number of significant changes to the Hawkeye State’s voting laws, including a requirement that voters show a photo ID or an approved substitute ID at the polls, as well as new restrictions on absentee ballots and the elimination of straight-party voting. According to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court, HF 516 “severely burdens and abridges Iowans’ fundamental right to vote.”
Wisconsin: Appeals court yet to rule on voter ID, election laws after 16 months | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
More than a year after hearing arguments, a federal appeals court has yet to rule on a host of Wisconsin voting laws, including aspects of the state’s voter ID statute. The long delay has left some scratching their heads and raised questions about whether the court will act before this year’s elections, including the fast-approaching Aug. 14 primary. “It is rare but not unprecedented for a case to take this long,” said Joshua Douglas, a University of Kentucky College of Law professor. “I do think it’s very weird and I’m very surprised it has taken this long.” What’s at issue has only grown more complicated. In one recent development, the state sued a voting rights group to try to prevent it from contacting voters who have had difficulty getting free state IDs. Litigation over the voter ID law has been going on since shortly after the measure was approved seven years ago. The law has largely been upheld, but courts have modified parts of it to make it easier for people who don’t have birth certificates to get free IDs.
A civil rights organization and an Iowa State University student is suing Iowa’s secretary of state over a voter ID law they say infringes on Iowans’ ability to fairly cast a ballot. The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and ISU student Taylor Blair announced Wednesday morning that they are filing a lawsuit in Polk County District Court. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who administers Iowa elections, is named as the defendant in a draft of the lawsuit, which did not appear online in the state’s filing system as of Wednesday afternoon. Under the law, Iowans are required to present a valid form of identification when casting a ballot. Those forms include a driver’s license, non-operator’s license, passport, military ID, veteran’s ID or state-issued voter card.
Talks between the state of North Dakota a group of Native Americans failed to reach agreement over ways that tribal members can prove their identity in order to vote. Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger said the two sides could find no agreement during the closed-door meeting Tuesday. He declined to discuss any of the proposals, saying they are confidential. Discussions “possibly may continue,” Jaeger said. “We’re leaving the door open.” Tom Dickson, a Bismarck-based lawyer for tribal members, said he was hopeful a settlement could be reached. But he said “the ball is in the state’s court.” The talks were suggested by U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who had criticized the state for raising a “litany of embellished concerns” about people taking advantage of his ruling last month that expand the proof of identity Native Americans can use for North Dakota elections.
The two sides fighting over North Dakota’s voter identification law failed to reach a settlement Tuesday, May 29. More than two years after several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa sued Secretary of State Al Jaeger over the state’s voter ID laws, the two sides met in a settlement conference at the federal courthouse in Bismarck Tuesday. But that ended without an agreement, Jaeger told county auditors in a message. Jaeger, a Republican, said he couldn’t disclose any proposals because the talks were confidential. He said “discussions may continue.”