Saturday, November 5, 2016

Recent State Election Law Challenges: In Brief

"During the final months and weeks leading up to the November 8, 2016, presidential election, courts across the country have ruled in numerous challenges to state election laws. For example, there have been recent court rulings affecting the laws regulating early voting, voter photo identification (ID) requirements, registration procedures, straight-party voting, and voter rolls. Accordingly, many such laws have been recently invalidated, enjoined, or altered. Others continue to be subject to litigation.

Recent rulings in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas are illustrative examples. In Michigan, a court preliminarily enjoined a 2016 law that ended the ability of voters to vote for a political party’s entire slate of candidates with a single notation—straight-party voting— concluding that it was likely that the challengers would succeed on the merits of their claims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In North Carolina, a court invalidated several recent changes to that state’s election laws, including a voter photo ID law, holding that the laws were enacted with a racially discriminatory intent in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the VRA. In Ohio, a court held that a law setting forth the process for removing the names of inactive voters from the voter rolls violates the National Voter Registration Act, and in another case, upheld a law that eliminated a period of early voting and same-day registration, known as “Golden Week,” against a challenge under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the VRA. Finally, in contrast to the North Carolina ruling, a court declined to invalidate a Texas voter photo ID law, but required it to be administered on November 8, 2016, with modifications, holding that the law has a discriminatory effect on minority voting rights in violation of Section 2 of the VRA..."
Election law challenges

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