Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the lower court finding the legislative reapportionment in the map colloquially known as "Ad Astra 2" constitutionally deficient as a partisan and racial gerrymander, holding that Plaintiffs did not prevail on any of their claims that Ad Astra 2 violates the Kansas Constitution.The district court held that Sub. SB 355 violates the Kansas Constitution as both a partisan and a racial gerrymander. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) this Court had jurisdiction to hear Plaintiffs' claims; (2) claims of excessive partisan gerrymandering are nonjusticiable in Kansas; and (3) Plaintiffs did not establish the elements of their race-based claims. View "Rivera v. Schwab" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court upheld the validity of Substitute for Senate Bill 563 (Sub. SB 563), holding that the Kansas State House and Kansas State Senate reapportionment maps contained within Sub. SB 563 contain no constitutional errors.The two maps at issue were approved by bipartisan majorities, and Sub. SB 563 was signed into law on April 15, 2022. On April 25, Attorney General Derek Schmidt petitioned the Supreme Court to determine the validity of Sub. SB 563, as required by Kan. Const. art. 10, 1(b). The Supreme Court held that Sub. SB 563 passed constitutional muster because the legislative maps contained therein satisfied the constitutional requirement of one person one vote, they were not discriminatory, and they satisfied the requirements of the Voting Rights Act. View "In re Validity of Substitute for Senate Bill 563" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court prohibiting a vote tabulation regarding a school board tax recall based upon alleged violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 132.017 and Ky. Rev. Stat. Chapter 369, holding that there was no error.This case involved a tax increase adopted by the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) in 2020. A recall committee was formed to challenge the excess portion of the tax. A recall petition was subsequently certified. JCBE filed suit, seeking review of the county clerk's certification pursuant to section 132.017(2)(i). The recall committee intervened and counterclaimed for failure to comply with Ky. Rev. Stat. 133.185 and the notice requirements of Ky. Rev. Stat. 160.470(7)(b). The circuit court dismissed the counterclaim and ordered no further action regarding the regular ballot votes for the tax recall. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the public's right to vote on a tax recall is rendered null by the inadequacy of the recall petition occasioned by the alterations and lack of required information. View "Friedmann v. Honorable Bobbie Holsclaw" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court held that the Attorney General's certification of Initiative Petition 21-13 to be placed on the ballot in the 2022 statewide election complied with article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution.On September 1, 2021, the Attorney General certified to the Secretary of the Commonwealth that the initiative petition at issue, entitled "Initiative Petition for a Law to Implement Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Benefit Plans," was in proper form for submission to the people. After it was determined that a sufficient number of certified signatures had been submitted Plaintiffs brought this action alleging that the measure was not in compliance with the requirement that an initiative petition contain only subjects that are related or that are mutually dependent. The Supreme Judicial Court denied relief, holding that Initiative Petition 21-13 did not contain unrelated subjects and that the Attorney General's certification complied with article 48. View "Clark v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court held that the Attorney General's decision to certify two initiative petitions to be placed on the ballot in the 2022 statewide election was in error and that the petitions may not be placed on the ballot.Plaintiffs, twelve registered voters, brought this action arguing that the two initiative petitions, each proposing "A Law Defining and Regulating the Contract-Based Relationship Between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers," violated the requirement under article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution that initiative petitions must contain only related or mutually dependent subjects. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding (1) the initiative petitions were not in compliance with the related subjects requirement of article 48; and (2) therefore, the petitions were not suitable to be placed in the 2022 statewide election. View "El Koussa v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the Attorney General's certification of Initiative Petition 21-03, "An Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform," holding that the Attorney General properly certified the initiative as in proper form to be submitted to the voters.Plaintiffs, opponents of the initiative, sought to enjoin the Secretary of State from placing the petition on the November ballot, arguing that the certification of the petition was improper because the measure did not present "a unified statement of public policy on which the voters can fairly vote 'yes' or 'no.'" The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the Attorney General's certification of the initiative petition was in compliance with the requirements of article 48 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. View "Colpack v. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Starbuck filed a nominating petition seeking to be placed on the ballot for the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives. The Tennessee Republican Party, through the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee (TRP SEC), determined that Starbuck was not a bona fide Republican, and would not appear on the ballot. Starbuck sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants violated the Tennesse Open Meetings Act (TOMA), Tenn. Code 8-44-101-111, by determining in a non-public meeting that he is not a bona fide Republican.The trial court concluded that the defendants violated TOMA and ordered that Starbuck be restored to the ballot. The Tennessee Supreme Court assumed jurisdiction and vacated. Only the state primary boards, not the state executive committees, are required to comply with TOMA (Tenn. Code 2-13-108(a)(2)). Section 2-13-104 provides that “a party may require by rule that candidates for its nominations be bona fide members of the party.” Under section 2-5-204(b)(2), a party’s state executive committee makes the determination of whether a candidate is a bona fide member of the party. TRP SEC, by statute, was acting as a state executive committee, and not a state primary board, when it determined that Starbuck was not a bona fide Republican and was not required to comply with TOMA. View "Newsom v. Tennessee Republican Party" on Justia Law

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Senate Bill 1, the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., ch. 1, 1.01, was intended “to make all laws necessary to detect and punish fraud” in connection with elections. A federal district court preliminarily enjoined enforcement of its provisions making it an offense for certain officials to “solicit[]” the submission of applications to vote by mail from persons who have not requested such applications" and that impose civil penalties for violations.On appeal, the Fifth Circuit certified three questions to the Supreme Court: whether one plaintiff, a volunteer deputy registrar, is a “public official” to whom the antisolicitation provision applies; whether certain types of speech constitute “solicitation” under that provision; and whether the Attorney General can enforce the civil penalties. The parties subsequently agreed that the answer to the first and third questions is no. With respect to the second certified question, the Texas Supreme Court answered that the statute’s definition of “solicits” is not so narrowly limited as to cover only seeking applications for violative mail-in ballots, nor is it so broad as to cover speech that merely informs listeners that they may apply. The court declined to provide a comprehensive definition of “solicits” under Election Code Section 276.016(a)(1). View "Paxton v. Longoria" on Justia Law

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Scotty Meredith ran for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi. The mayor at the time, Chuck Espy, challenged whether Meredith was qualified to run for mayor on the basis that Meredith was not a Clarksdale resident. The Clarksdale Municipal Democratic Executive Committee found that Meredith was not a resident of Clarksdale and was not qualified to run for mayor. The trial court, similarly, found that Meredith was unqualified to run for mayor. Meredith appealed the judgment of the Circuit Court of Coahoma County. Under Mississippi Code Section 23-15-300, if a candidate fails to prove in their qualifying information that they meet the two-year residency requirement, the candidate had to prove by absolute proof that they meet or will meet the residency requirement on or before the applicable deadline. Finding no error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court was affirmed. View "Meredith v. Clarksdale Democratic Executive Committee, et al." on Justia Law

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Consolidated election contests arose out of the December 9, 2019 city council elections in Wards 1 and 6 of Greenville, Mississippi. Contestant Oliver Johnson lost in Ward 1 to William Albert Brock, and Chauncy Wright lost in Ward 6 to James Wilson. Both Johnson and Wright subsequently filed petitions to contest the elections both claiming multiple voting irregularities. Brock and Wilson then filed motions for summary judgment. After taking into consideration all of the testimony, petitions, responses, and affidavits, the circuit court granted Brock’s and Wilson’s motions for summary judgment. Finding no reversible error in those judgments, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Johnson, et al. v. Brock, et al." on Justia Law