Where We Stand

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 nowStruck 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

All caught up?  Welcome back, Rick!

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