Weekly Wrap Up

Is World Wrestling Entertainment political advertising?  According to election officials in Connecticut, it is.  They have told poll workers that they can ask voters wearing WWE gear to cover it up, fearing that it could be construed as political advertising for Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, who is also the former CEO of WWE.  Officials said that McMahon is so closely associated with WWE that the gear could easily be considered a violation of rule banning political campaigning within 75 feet of a polling station.  McMahon’s husband, Vince McMahon, said that this was a violation of WWE fans’ First Amendment rights and would deny them their right to vote.  Connecticut Republicans are also up in arms, with the State Party Chairman calling the action “voter intimidation.” This is not unprecedented, however; a similar rule was in place in California, forbidding voters from wearing “Terminator” gear when Arnold Schwarzenegger was on the ballot.

The 9th Circuit struck down part of Arizona’s voter registration laws on October 27, holding that the provisions of the law requiring proof of citizenship conflicted with the federal law. The federal law only requires that applicants “attest their citizenship under penalty of perjury”, while the 2004 voter-approved initiative in Arizona required applicants to register to vote to show proof of citizenship by providing one of the documents on the approved list. The citizenship requirement was “an additional state hurdle” to registration, something the federal law was trying to prevent. The 9th Circuit appeals panel–which included retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor–did not, however, overturn the requirement that voters show identification at the polls in order to vote.

Alaska voters can see a list of write-in candidates at the polls, according to the state’s Supreme Court. The Alaska Supreme Court issued an emergency stay of a Superior Court’s decision, just hours after the lower court blocked the Division of Elections from providing a list of write-in candidates–which included each candidates’ name and party–to voters at the polls. The ruling was good news for incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary but has since staged a write-in campaign. The Alaska Democratic and Republican parties joined in filing the lawsuit, claiming it violated state election laws. While voters may see the list of candidate names, the candidates’ party affiliations will be removed.

Spurred by Charlie Crist, who changed parties less than 24 hours before the deadline to qualify, Florida is proposing a “sore loser” rule, that would make it harder for candidates to change parties in the middle of their campaign.   The Florida Senate Ethics and Elections committee has also recommended that election law be changed to prevent candidates who lose a primary from re-entering the race under a third party.  The proposed rule would require a candidate to be declared as a certain party for at least one year before they have to qualify for the office they’re running for.  This would then lock them into that party choice about 18 months before the general election took place.

UPDATE: A New York Federal district judge has dismissed NOM’s case challenging the state’s election law.  The judge stated that it was premature because election officials hadn’t actually declared NOM a political committee yet.

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