State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Author: jaboone (page 2 of 2)

Voter Intimidation in Virginia

By Canaan Suitt

During the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump failed to condemn white supremacists when asked if he would do so by moderator Chris Wallace. Trump asked for a specific group, and Biden named the Proud Boys, a group with a “yearslong reputation for not only violence but very clear ties to white supremacy” according to Amy Cooter, a lecturer at Vanderbilt who studies nationalism, race, and rightwing militias. Trump responded: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

On social media, far-right groups celebrated Trump’s remark, interpreting it as legitimation of their efforts to combat “radical leftists” and as a call to arms to monitor polling places on Election Day. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, said: “I got shivers. I still have shivers. He is telling the people to stand by. As in: Get ready for war.”

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Squaring State Legal Challenges with Purcell

By Fiona Carroll

Following the near-disastrous administration of Georgia’s June primary, there are a number of suits pending that will determine how, when, and whether some voters may engage in the general election next month.

Just in the last week, courts have been sorting out how ballots will be counted. One of the most contentious of these issues involves Georgia’s absentee ballot reception deadline. With the current public health situation, demand for mail-in voting has skyrocketed. Voting rights advocates urged state election officials to extend the period for which county election offices would count ballots postmarked by Election Day to the three days following the general election. When officials refused, voting rights advocates sought an injunction to force the State to extend the deadline.

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California Voters: Don’t Ignore that Address Confirmation Card

By Josh Turiel

If you received an address confirmation notice from your local elections official, you may want to pay attention. In early 2019, California reached a settlement with the conservative group, Judicial Watch, concluding a lawsuit that accused the state of failing to fulfill its responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The Act requires that states make a reasonable effort to remove inactive voters – those who have moved out of the jurisdiction or passed away – from voter registration lists. Judicial Watch targeted Los Angeles County because they determined its registration rate was 112% of the voting age population – the result of an absence of reasonable effort to clean its voter rolls.

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Delaware’s Emergency House Bill: Is It Junk Mail?

Mailbox

 

By Andrew Jeacoma

In response to COVID-19, House Bill 346 (“HB 346”) was signed into law by Delaware Governor John Carney on July 1, 2020. HB 346 grants all Delaware citizens the ability to vote by mail in the upcoming 2020 general election. The bill was a departure from the constitutional rule of voting-by-mail established by Article V, Section 4A  of Delaware’s Constitution; a rule that requires an individual to first meet one of the preset requirements before voting by mail.

On August 19th, 2020, The Republican State Committee of Delaware (the “RSC”) filed a complaint against the State of Delaware Department of Elections and its Commissioner, Anthony J. Albence. In their complaint, the RSC framed HB 346 as unconstitutional for three principle reasons: first, it goes against the already established constitutional rule governing absentee ballots, second, in passing HB 346 the General Assembly impermissibly sought to amend the constitution, and third, the universal voting by mail envisioned by HB 346 has numerous practical problems that result in voter disenfranchisement.

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Part II: Pre-filled absentee ballot applications cause pre-election headaches for Iowa voters

By Clara Ilkka

This is part II on coverage of Iowa’s absentee ballot application dispute; see part 1 here

When it comes to attention during presidential elections, Iowa is no stranger to hosting members of the press—usually in February, during its caucus. With all that has happened in 2020, the Iowa caucus may feel like it occurred eons ago, but the state is garnering attention later on, for more reasons than one. Along with having the potential to be a swing-state this year, Iowa has been at the center of a legal battle between Republicans and Democrats over absentee ballot applications. Despite the ongoing pandemic causing an increase in absentee ballot requests, the Iowa legislature passed into law an appropriations bill (HF 2643) that included new rules for how county auditors handle absentee ballot applications, which cannot be requested online through the Secretary of State’s website. This bill created its own set of challenges.

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