Every week, State of Elections brings you the latest news in election law
– On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Doe v. Reed. The plaintiffs argue that Washington’s Public Records Act, which makes the names of signatories to ballot initiatives a matter of public record, should be declared unconstitutional . Members of a group called “Protect Marriage Washington”, who submitted petitions for a referendum to repeal Washington’s domestic partnership laws, have asked for an injunction against the publication of their names. The signatories fear harassment from gay marriage proponents should their names be published, as required under the Public Records Act. Here’s a transcript of the oral arguments.
– The Supreme Court of New Jersey has agreed to hear a case involving an attempt by a Tea Party organization to recall Senator Robert Menendez. The New Jersey constitution allows Senators to be recalled, but the U.S. Constitution is silent on the issue. The appeals court previously ruled in favor of the Tea Party and allowed their recall efforts to continue.
– Merced County in California is seeking to remove itself from the restrictions of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 requires that certain states and municipalities “preclear” changes to their voting laws with the Attorney General. Only four counties in California are subject to the additional restrictions imposed by Section 5.
– Here’s a very odd story out of Orange County California. According to a local newspaper, dozens of voters were allegedly tricked into registering as Republicans. Members of the Republican Party supposedly tricked passersby into thinking they were signing petitions for liberal causes, like legalizing marijuana, when they were actually signing voter registration forms that identified them as Republicans. The California Republican Party offers an $8 dollar bounty for every new Republican registration, which apparently inspired this latest attempt to trick voters into registering as Republicans.