State of Elections

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Tag: mail-in voting

Mississippi: Masks, Mandates, and Mail-In Voting

By Catrina Curtis

Mississippi finds itself in an odd position going into this important Election Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: it is the only state to have allowed its statewide mask mandate to expire and the only state that is not offering early or mail-in voting for all of its citizens. 

The Magnolia State is one of only five states that will not offer no-excuse absentee voting for this November’s election, even as the vast majority of states have expanded their mail-in voting options due to health and safety concerns. However, among the five states not offering no-excuse absentee voting, Mississippi is the only state also not offering early voting. Although the Mississippi Legislature passed an amendment this summer to allow for those quarantining due to COVID-19 or those caring for someone with COVID-19 to vote by mail, the Mississippi Supreme Court recently held that the amendment does not also allow for those with pre-existing conditions at a greater risk of COVID-19 to vote absentee, striking down a lower interpretation of the amendment that was appealed by the Secretary of State. 

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

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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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Retweet: Colorado Secretary of State Urges Careful Election Night Reporting

By Anna Pesetski

In a Twitter thread on October 1, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold encouraged news outlets to abstain from reporting the results of the presidential election on the night of the election. In her tweets, Griswold stated that this is an “unprecedented election” and “call[ed] on national media networks to pledge to #PressPause for democracy” by refraining from making projections or reporting results on election night. She quickly received backlash for these statements from both sides of the political spectrum. Fox News host Laura Ingraham, a conservative, stated that “[i]t’s not up to her to say what the media or anyone else says on election night.” Colorado state senator Steve Fenberg, the Democratic majority leader, tweeted “[t]his will only cause mass confusion and creates an opening for reckless behavior from the President. Demanding journalists to withhold verifiable facts or rational projections is counter to how a free democracy works.” 

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Postmark on Validity: Nevada’s Mail-in Ballots and the Constitution

By: Liz DePatie

On Monday, August 3rd, the Nevada governor signed Assembly Bill No.4 (AB4) into law. On Tuesday, August 4th, President Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit claiming the law was unconstitutional. Thus, Donald J. Trump for President v. Cegavske was born.

AB4 was drafted and passed by the Nevada legislature in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the bill is to make mail-in and early voting easier and safer for Nevadans during times of crisis. Among other things, the bill validates and counts ballots with unclear postmark dates to be counted if received within three days of Election Day

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Mail-in-Voting: A Showdown in Texas Over Expanding Access Due to COVID-19

By Sikander Zakriya

There is a battle raging in the Lone Star State. No, not the one with COVID-19 – although it was the virus that gave this conflict new life. 

A fight over mail-in-voting emerged between the Republican state officials in Austin and the Democratic clerk’s office in Harris County over whether the county can mail all of its residents an application to receive mail-in-ballots. The secretary of state and the attorney general sought to restrain the Harris County clerk from sending all residents of the county an application for a mail-in-ballot because the Republicans claim it will lead to mass voter fraud. 

Harris County already sent applications for mail-in-ballots to voters over the age of 65 because Texas law permits those voters to automatically qualify for mail-in-ballots. However, the state of Texas filed suit against Harris County seeking an injunction prohibiting the clerk’s office from sending out the mail-in-ballot applications to all voters because they allege the move would violate Sections 31.005 and 84.012 of the Texas Election Code. 

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