A wrapup of what’s where in the world of prominent election-related litigation after the events of the last week:
- TX photo ID law: in place, for now. Struck down by a federal trial court on 10/9, but that decision was stayed by the 5th Circuit 10/14. After the election, the 5th Circuit will address an appeal on the merits.
- WI photo ID law: not in place, for now. Struck down by a federal trial court 4/29, and reversed by the 7th Circuit on 10/6, but 7th Circuit stayed its own mandate on 10/15. After the election, the law will be back in place absent SCOTUS activity.
- NC omnibus law: in place, for now. A federal trial court denied a preliminary injunction 8/8; the 4th Circuit reversed 10/1 with respect to same-day registration and out-of-precinct ballot cutbacks, and SCOTUS stayed the 4th Circuit order 10/8. After the election, the case will proceed toward trial on all of the claims, but same-day registration and the ability to count out-of-precinct ballots will be restored pending trial.
- OH early voting cutback: in place, for now. A federal trial court granted a preliminary injunction for the 2014 election on 9/4; the 6th Circuit affirmed 9/24, but SCOTUS stayed the 6th Circuit order 9/29. After the election, the case will proceed toward trial.
- GA voter registrations: who knows? The New Georgia Project says there are more than 50,000 forms that have not been processed; the Secretary of State says there are not. A hearing is scheduled in state court late next week.
- KY electioneering law: not in place, for now. On 10/14, a federal trial court struck down the ban on electioneering anywhere outside of the room where voting occurs. The case is currently up on appeal.
- MS Senate race: still waiting for a ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court about Chris McDaniel’s challenge to Thad Cochran in the primaries.
- NC early voting site on ASU campus: not in place, for now. On 10/13, a state trial court required that the site be moved back to the Appalachian State campus, but an appellate court stayed that ruling on 10/17; the fight is now proceeding to the state Supreme Court.
- WI coordination ban: not in place, for now. On 10/14, a federal trial court temporarily (and ex parte) enjoined enforcement of state rules against coordinating spending with candidates, for anything that is not express advocacy of electoral victory or defeat. There will be further proceedings on a motion for preliminary injunction (and perhaps an appeal of the judge’s order, though there’s no appeal docketed yet).
- CT Dems’ mailer using federal funds: under attack. The Connecticut GOP filed a lawsuit on 10/17, protesting the Democrats’ use of federal funds to support a state campaign.
- CO disclosure for Citizens United movie: not in place, for now. A federal trial court denied a preliminary injunction 9/22, but the 10th Circuit ordered on 10/14 that Citizens United needn’t disclose donors involved in making the movie (but would have to disclose donors for ads about the movie) pending the appeal. After the election, the case will proceed both on the appeal of the denial of a preliminary injunction, and toward trial on the merits.
- CO disclosure for small nonprofit: not in place. On 10/10, a federal trial court enjoined state reporting and disclosure requirements as applied to a small nonprofit seeking to distribute an advocacy piece. There has not (yet) been an appeal.
- NH disclosure for push-polling: in place, but only for state candidates. The NH Supreme Court decided 10/15 that the law was preempted as applied to federal candidates.
- MT ban on partisan judicial endorsements: in place, for now. A federal trial court denied a preliminary injunction 10/1; both the 9th Circuit and SCOTUS denied a stay. After the election, the case will proceed toward trial.
- IN limited judicial nominations (Marion County): in place, for now. A federal trial court struck down Marion County’s system of limited nominations for judicial seats, allowing each party to nominate candidates for only some positions. But then the judge stayed the order pending an appeal. After the election, an appeal (filed 10/17) will proceed on the merits.
- AR language on referenda: up in the air. A lawsuit has been filed in state court to determine whether a “for” vote is a vote in favor of an enacted ordinance, or in favor of its repeal.
- And that’s just for this election. That doesn’t include the ongoing litigation about ballot access (particularly but not exclusively for minor parties), proof of citizenship and the federal registration form, electronic voting machines, judicial solicitation rules, federal contractor contribution limitations, and the continuing fights over redistricting, including a SCOTUS case on Alabama redistricting, and another on Arizona redistricting. Except that the redistricting cases aren’t just about redistricting at all: the Alabama case touches on the appropriate use of race in state decision-making, and the Arizona case touches on the appropriate regulation of federal elections by any body other than a state legislature.
All caught up? Welcome back, Rick!