This is an intriguing decision, analogizing the challenge to cases protecting advocacy groups’ right to circulate petitions without undue regulation.
This one’s not the work of a criminal mastermind.
According to [AG] Platkin, James Devine allegedly emailed the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections about 1,948 fraudulent voter certifications in support of [a] petition for a spot on the ballot. Because of the ongoing COVID pandemic, the state allowed electronic signatures on the nominating papers.
A few days later, on April 9, 2021, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee challenged Devine’s paperwork by detailing issues with the voter certifications, including a certification that at least one voter was dead, Platkin said.
In addition, every voter certification was in the same font and signature style and one voter apparently included a number in his name, “Jose8,” Platkin said.
In addition, Platkin said, in almost every case, the same number of extra spaces were between the city name and “NJ” in the address line. The state Division of Elections found it suspicious and believed that it indicated a computer mail merge program had filled out the forms, the attorney general added.
(The candidate supported by the petitions was removed from the ballot.)
Susan Bushnell was in a hurry when a man, clipboard in hand, approached her outside a Walmart Supercenter in Vista, Calif., one afternoon last September.
The man asked Bushnell to sign a petition as she wrangled her fussing 5-year-old daughter into a shopping cart. He said the petition would help to raise wages for fast-food workers in California.
“Oh, that’s a good cause,”Bushnell remembers thinking, having once worked in retail. Bushnell paused her rush into the San Diego County store to jot down her signature.
But what the man told Bushnell was false. The petition was part of an effort to kill a newly approved law that could bring significant wage increases for California’s fast-food workers.
That law, known as Assembly Bill 257, or the FAST Recovery Act, was set to go into effect Jan. 1 but is now on hold. State election officials said last week that a coalition of fast-food corporations and industry trade groups, which raised millions to oppose the law, secured enough valid signatures to block implementation of AB 257 until California voters decide next year whether to repeal the law.
Bushnell is among 14 voters interviewed by The Times who say petition circulators for the ballot measure to overturn AB 257 lied to them about what they were signing. Others said the signature gatherers made vague and misleading claims — a Hollywood canvasser, for instance, presented the petition as an inflation cure — or tried to hide legally required paperwork explaining the proposed referendum, sometimes becoming abusive when questioned.
Fascinating story from WRAL, suggesting that Democratic operatives tried to persuade signers of a Green Party petition to ask that their names be removed, leading to the State Board of Elections voting not to certify the Green Party.
Joe Spaulding, lead field strategist for the Voters Not Politicians Michigan independent redistricting campaign that got 440,000 signatures in 4 months without paying any signature gatherers, reveals some follicular (and data-supported) tactics for fighting diminishing returns out in canvass-land. Thread.
The plot thicks. Maybe.
Earlier this week, I’d mentioned a movement to amend state constitutions to prohibit voting by noncitizens in state elections, even though every state currently prohibits voting by noncitizens in state elections.
Now a report featuring speculation (and it is only that) about another motive for the campaign in Florida, where the nonprofit is based: the possible attempt to corner the market on petition circulators, to box out another campaign.
And in the middle of it all, the election administrators trying to keep up with the volume.
When partisan officials control the process for certifying summaries and titles for initiatives and referenda heading onto the ballot, there will be controversy along the way. This story is about alleged foot-dragging on beginning the petitioning process to validate a Missouri referendum on a new abortion law.
1. Certain signatures on the Petition are declared invalid …. Removal of these signatures results in the Petition not qualifying in the 34 House districts required by § 13-10-601,MCA.2. Plaintiffs’ complaint for a declaratory judgment removing the Montana Green Party from the election ballot is GRANTED.
2. The Green Party’s Petition is declared invalid and the Secretary is directed to remove the Montana Green Party from the election ballot. The Secretary, his agents, officers,
employees, and successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, are enjoined from implementing, enforcing, or giving any effect to certification of the Green Party’s Petition.
The vote on this point in Chula Vista Citizens for Jobs v. Norris was 2-1. I expect this issue will go en banc and perhaps to the Supreme Court—with a decent chance of reversal.
Time is short, so I’m guessing this means no appeal, but who knows?
See my earlier coverage on the potential for a successful appeal.
Detroit News reports. But we are awaiting a ruling today from a U.S. District court in the federal lawsuit.
Jeff Jacoby column on ballot access and Rep. Conyers.