State of Elections

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Category: Florida (page 3 of 4)

Weekly Wrap Up

Emanuel got the green light for candidacy: Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor, after a unanimous decision by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Court found that he meets the residency requirements because he paid taxes and maintained a residence he planned to use as his permanent residence–even though he rented it out–in Chicago while working in the White House.

Every vote counts in Ohio: A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 27 that ballots improperly cast because of errors by poll workers must be counted in the judicial election in Hamilton County. Although the exact number of ballots that must now be counted is unknown, Democrats claim it could be in the hundreds. Republican John Williams currently leads by 23 votes.

Is there a fight brewing over Fair Districts in Florida?: In one of his first acts as governor, Rick Scott withdrew the request to the Justice Department to approve the redistricting amendments passed by voters in November. The amendments are also currently being challenged in court in a lawsuit filed by two U.S. Representatives from Florida.

Some will Win, Some will Lose, Some States are Born to Sing the Blues: The Coming Battle Over Reapportionment

The stakes are incredibly high, reapportionment is looming, and recent data from Election Data Services shows that neither Democrats nor Republicans will be too pleased come next year. States which have been recently labeled as ‘safe Republican’ in Presidential elections will gain seats, but in more Democratically inclined areas. States recently labeled as ‘safe Democrat’ in Presidential elections will lose some seats. The biggest gain will be in Texas. Texas can expect to gain four House seats, at least some of which will be placed in locations more favorable to Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, New York, a state typically labeled as ‘safe Democrat’ in Presidential elections, will likely lose two House seats. In terms of multi-district moves, Florida will likely gain two seats and Ohio will likely lose two seats. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will all likely gain a seat while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will all likely lose a seat.

Reapportionment is becoming a problem not only for certain Presidential candidates but also state and federal candidates, especially candidates in the Midwest where rapid population flight is decimating the electoral landscape. The close electoral math is mapping onto reapportionment strategy. Democrats and Republicans are locked in a mortal struggle to gain control of state houses and governor’s mansions across the nation, in anticipation of being able to influence the composition of both state legislatures and Congress over the next decade. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Due to a loophole in Florida election law, a violation can go without any punishment. On September 30, a Florida District Court of Appeals ruled that because the statute allowed candidates to opt for an administrative hearing regarding their violations but didn’t give those courts the power to levy sanctions, candidates could violate election law and not be penalized. This was caused by a “glitch” in the legislation and was not intentional. Florida Election Commission Chairman says that it won’t affect the cases for this year’s elections because the legislature will have an opportunity to fix it before they’re heard.

According to the 9th Circuit, Washington doesn’t discriminate against minorities in prison. The Court ruled on October 7 that the Washington felon disenfranchisement law, which prohibits incarcerated felons from voting, does not constitute discrimination despite disproportionately affecting minorities. In January, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit held 2-1 that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote. Sitting en banc to reconsider the decision, the Court unanimously upheld the law. The Court ruled that the felons must show “intentional discrimination” on the part of the state and not merely that the law does discriminate, something the prisoners failed to do in this case. Continue reading

Not So Fast on the Draw: “Trigger” Funds Provisions Come Under Fire

Campaign finance reformers have spent much of 2010 fighting in the courtroom. Across the nation, campaign finance laws are being challenged in the courts.

Some decisions, like Citizens United, came down from the Supreme Court and affect every election, from the national level on down. But there have also been several court decisions across the country that changed the complexion of local and state primaries and might shape the upcoming November elections. In states as diverse as Kentucky, Washington, and California, federal courts have ruled on spending limits for both individuals and corporations. Some courts have found these limits unconstitutional by following Citizens United; others have upheld the limits, citing interests noted by the Supreme Court in their decision. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

–  On June 8th, California voters will weigh in on two election reform measures, Propositions 14 and 15. Proposition 14 would create a single ballot for primary elections. The two candidates who received the most votes would face off in the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. Theoretically, this could result in a general election contest between two members of the same party. Prop 14 also allows candidates to choose to keep their party affiliation off the primary ballot.

Proposition 15, also known as the California Fair Elections Act, would repeal California’s ban on public funding for elections.  Candidates for Secretary of State would be eligible to up to 1,000,000 dollars in public funding for primary elections, and 1,300,000 in public funding for the general election.  Candidates who accepted the funds would be prohibited from raising or spending any money beyond what they receive from the public fund.

–  On May 29th, Florida governor Charlie Crist signed a far-reaching elections bill.  The bill will have a number of effects, including a requirement that any group engaging in political advertising disclose their source of funding. The bill will also make it easier for overseas and military voters to cast their ballots. Interestingly, HB 131 has been criticized by the ACLU for failing to provide adequate voting machines for disabled voters.

– The California State Senate has approved a bill to allow Election Day voter registration.

–  In Ohio, a redistricting reform bill has stalled in the legislature.


Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in election law.

– Check out our CU + and the States page to track the latest state responses to the Citizens United ruling.  The page is constantly updated and contains over 50 links discussing the impact of Citizens United at the state level.

-The Rose Institute released this state by state guide to redistricting in America.

– Georgia’s photo identification requirement for voting has survived another legal challenge.

– Florida will begin providing bilingual ballots in 2012.

An Idaho judge has ruled that Idaho’s election laws are unconstitutional and biased against independent candidates.  An independent presidential candidate requires 6,500 signatures to get on the ballot in Arizona, but nonresidents are forbidden from circulating petitions in Idaho.  These two laws combined to make it particularly difficult for an independent to get on the ballot in Idaho.


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Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in state election law.

– Gerry Hebert, one of the panelists at our recent election law symposium, wrote this article about a recent legislative effort to undermine Fair Districts Florida.  Fair Districts Florida is an organization dedicated to fixing the redistricting process and the prevention of  gerrymandering.

– In Virginia, there is growing confusion about the restoration of felon voting rights.  Earlier this week, the governor’s office sent letters to 200 ex-felons, telling them that they would need to submit an essay as part of the application process for the restoration of their voting rights.  On the 14th, Governor McDonnell claimed that the letters had been sent in error, and that the essay requirement was simply a “draft policy proposal“.  Of course, this is only the third most controversial retraction the Governor has issued in the last month.

– A bill that would require voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot has received first round approval from the Missouri House. A previous photo ID law in Missouri was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court for being a “heavy and substantial burden on Missourians’ free exercise of the right of suffrage.”

– In Cleveland, an elections board test of voting machines has produced alarming results.  About 10% of voting machines failed the test, and the state has less than a month.

– Maryland has become the first state to count prison inmates as residents of their home address, instead of counting them as residents of their prison location.  The U.S. Census considers inmates to be residents of their prison, a practice that has been criticized as distorting the population count and leading to unfairness during the redistricting process.

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Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in state election law.

– ACORN, the controversial voter registration and activist group, is disbanding because of declining revenue.

– In the Arkansas Senate race, there’s some controversy over an obscure state law that prevents the use of professional or honorary titles on ballots.  One Republican Senate candidate had hoped to put the title “Colonel” in front of his name on the ballot, but was refused by election officials.  Nicknames, however, are perfectly legal.  Just ask Harold Kimbrell, who will appear on the ballot as “Porky” Kimbrell.

–  During last week’s election law Symposium at William & Mary, the panelists mentioned that census data can be skewed when large numbers of incarcerated felons are counted as “residents” of the state they are incarcerated in.  Here a few editorials discussing that practice.

– More news on the California Redistricting Commission.  Even though over 25,000 people filed the initial application to be on the Commission, less than 1,200 have completed the second step of the application process.  For more general information on the Commission, see this post.

– Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has signed a law that should make absentee voting easier in that state.  The law will require election officials to send a replacement ballot, or notify the voter that he should cast a new ballot, if an absentee voter’s ballot is rejected.

– After much debate, the Florida Senate has passed an electioneering bill.  An alternate version of the bill was ruled unconstitutional for requiring all organizations to register with the state and comply with financial reporting requirements if they even mentioned a candidate or political issue.  The new version of the bill would still require certain organizations to register, but not those that focused only on issues.

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Weekly Wrap Up

Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in state election law.

– The Idaho and Alaska legislatures have introduced bills to streamline the absentee voting process.

– A Mississippi proposal to require voter identification at the polls will appear on the 2011ballot.

– Election Systems and Software, the nation’s largest voting machine provider, has agreed to a settlement in an anti-trust action.  ES&S will be required to sell off assets acquired in its recent merger with Premier Election Solutions.

-The Kansas legislature is considering a change to the state constitution that would protect the voting rights of the mentally ill.

– In San Francisco, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has proposed an amendment to the county charter that would allow same day voter registration.  If passed, the amendment would make San Francisco the first county in California to allow same day registration.

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