Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

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NJBA, a non-profit trade association representing 88 New Jersey banks, sought to make independent expenditures and contributions to political parties and campaigns for state and local offices. NJBA has not made these payments because of N.J. Stats. 19:34-45, which provides that, “[n]o corporation carrying on the business of a bank . . . shall pay or contribute money or thing of value in order to aid or promote the nomination or election of any person, or in order to aid or promote the interests, success or defeat of any political party.” NJBA brought a facial challenge on its own behalf and on behalf of third-party banks.The district court held that section 19:34-45’s prohibition on independent expenditures violates the First Amendment but that the ban on political contributions by certain corporations does not violate the First Amendment and passes intermediate scrutiny. The Third Circuit reversed, declining to address the First Amendment issues. The statute does not apply to trade associations of banks. NJBA is not “carrying on the business of a bank.” With respect to the facial challenge, NJBA does not satisfy the narrow exception to the general rule against third-party standing. View "New Jersey Bankers Association v. Attorney General New Jersey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a limited writ sought by Relators - Sanduskians for Sandusky and Craig McCloskey II - ordering Respondents - the City of Sandusky and city commission members - to enact an ordinance providing for submission of a proposed charter amendment to Sandusky's electors, holding that Relators were entitled to a limited writ.Relators requested a writ of mandamus ordering Respondents to certify a charter amendment petition for a vote by Sandusky's electors at the November 8, 2022 general election and further sought a writ of mandamus ordering Erie County Board of Elections to place the proposed charter amendment on the November 8, 2022 general election ballot. The Supreme Court granted a limited writ ordering the enactment of an ordinance providing for submission of the proposed amendment at a special election to take place within certain time parameters and conditioned the writ on the Erie County Board of Elections certifying that the charter-amendment petition contained sufficient valid signatures to qualify for submission to the electors, holding that Ohio Rev. Code 731.31 did not apply to Relators' petition to amend Section 25 of the Sandusky Charter. View "State ex rel. Sanduskians for Sandusky v. City of Sandusky" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a petition sought by Petitioners to vacate the determination of the State Board of Election Commissioners and the Secretary of State not to certify the ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing the adult possession and use of cannabis, holding that Petitioners were entitled to relief.After the Board declined to certify the popular name and ballot title of the proposed amendment Petitioners asked the Supreme Court to order the Secretary of State to certify the proposed amendment for inclusion on the ballot at the November 8, 2022 general election. The Secretary of State declared the proposed measure insufficient. The Supreme Court granted Petitioners' petition and ordered the Secretary of State to certify the proposed amendment for inclusion on the November 2022 general election ballot, holding that the ballot title was not insufficient or misleading. View "Armstrong v. Thurston" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's complaint challenging the certification of the House District 25 (HD 25) Republican primary race by the Crawford County Board of Election Commissioners (CBEC), holding that the circuit court erred in concluding that it lacked the authority to transfer this matter.Appellant filed a complaint challenging the CBEC's certification, claiming that the HD25 Republican primary election results were unreliable and praying that the circuit court void either the CBEC's certification of the HD25 race or void the HD25 election. The circuit court granted Appellees' motion to dismiss, finding that the complaint was not filed in the proper county, that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter, and that venue was improper. The circuit court further denied Appellant's oral motion to transfer the case to Crawford County. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the circuit court (1) properly ruled that Appellant incorrectly filed her postelection contest in Franklin County rather than in Crawford County; but (2) abused its discretion by denying Appellant's motion to transfer the case to Crawford County. View "Harris v. Crawford County Bd. of Election Commissioners" on Justia Law

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Petitioners were the proponents of Oklahoma Initiative Petition No. 434, State Question No. 820 ("SQ820"), which would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for recreational use. Petitioners asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to assume original jurisdiction and to issue a writ of mandamus that would require Respondents to print SQ820 on the ballot for the November 8, 2022 general election. Before SQ820 could be placed on the ballot, it would still need to clear several other statutorily imposed hurdles set forth in the general provisions of title 34 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Chiefly, SQ820 would still need to survive any citizen protests challenging the sufficiency of the signatures or the rewritten ballot title. Because it was not clear whether any protests would be filed or, if some were filed, whether the protests could be disposed of prior to the deadlines for printing ballots and for mailing ballots to absentee voters, the Supreme Court decided on August 29th to assume original jurisdiction and hold this matter in abeyance so that the process could play out a little further. The Secretary of State took actions on August 31st that commenced a 10-business-day period to file protests. Prior to the September 15th deadline, citizens filed four protests. The Supreme Court denied two of the protests on September 16th. Once it became clear SQ820 could not be printed on ballots in time to comply with the deadline for mailing ballots to absentee voters that set forth in 26 O.S.2021, § 14-118(A) and 52 U.S.C. § 20302(a)(8)(A), the Supreme Court denied the requested writ of mandamus. View "Nichols v. Ziriax" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the preliminary injunction entered by the district court prohibiting Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacboson from enforcing two election laws enacted during the 2021 Montana Legislative Session pending final resolution of constitutional challenges brought by Plaintiffs, holding that there was no abuse of discretion.At issue were Senate Bill 169, which prevented voters from using student identifications to establish identity at the polls without also furnishing specified additional documentation showing the voter’s name and current address, and House Bill 176, which removed the option for election day registration allowing Montanans to both register to vote and cast a ballot on election day. The district court entered an order temporarily enjoining the election laws. The Supreme Court upheld the order, holding that the evidence was sufficient to issue a preliminary injunction preserving the status quo pending a final resolution of the matter at trial. View "Democratic Party v. Jacobsen" on Justia Law

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In this expedited election case the Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus compelling Ohio Secretary of State Frank La Rose to certify Terpsehore P. Maras's name to the November 8, 2022 ballot as an independent candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, holding that Maras was entitled to the writ.On July 18, 2022, Secretary LaRose informed Maras that she had submitted a significant number of signatures and that her candidacy was certified to the November ballot. Justin Bis subsequently filed a protest against the certification of Maras's candidacy, challenging the validity of sixty-five of the petition signatures. A hearing officer sustained the protest as to eighteen signatures and recommended that Maras be decertified from the ballot. Secretary LaRose adopted most of the hearing officer's conclusions and decertified Maras from the ballot. Maras then filed this original action for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court granted relief, holding (1) the Secretary acted in clear disregard of applicable law when he refused to count certain verified signatures; and (2) because with the additional signatures the total number of petition signatures exceeded the threshold required for ballot access, the Secretary is ordered to certify Maras's name to the November 8 ballot as an independent candidate for Ohio Secretary of State. View "State ex rel. Maras v. LaRose" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court rejecting objections based on the issue of whether signatures collected by some initiative petition circulators must be disqualified because those circulators failed to strictly comply with two registration requirements, holding that this Court declines to disqualify any signatures as a result of the circulators' failure to strictly comply with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-102.01(A).At issue was a challenge to the Voters' Right to Know Act, a proposed statewide initiative for the November 8, 2022 general election ballot. Challengers filed this lawsuit challenging the legal sufficiency of certain circulator registrations. The trial court denied most of Challengers' objections. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) circulators failed to strictly comply with one statutory requirement which ordinarily would require the Secretary of State to disqualify the signatures gathered by those circulators; and (2) because the registration process prevented compliance with the statute, enforcing the statutory disqualification requirement would "unnecessarily hinder or restrict" the constitutional right to engage in the initiative process. View "Leibsohn v. Hobbs" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus ordering Trumbull County Board of Elections and its director and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (collectively, Respondents) to place Sarah Thomas Kovoor's name on the November 8, 2022 general election ballot for the office of judge of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, holding that Relators were not entitled to relief.Relators, the Trumbull County Republican Central Committee and Kovoor, sought a writ of mandamus ordering Respondents to certify Kovoor to the November 2022 general election ballot. Secretary LaRose voted against certifying Kovoor as candidate. The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus, holding that Relators did not show a clear legal right to have Kovoor's name placed on the general election ballot as a candidate for the judge of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. View "State ex rel. Trumbull County Republican Central Committee v. Trumbull County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law

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Nicholas Holliday appealed a circuit court decision, arguing the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to resolve an election contest brought by Robert Devaull concerning the 2020 Democratic Primary Runoff Election for Alderman, Ward I, in Aberdeen. Holliday relied on Devaull’s failure to comply with the statutory requirements of Mississippi Code Section 23-15-927. Additionally, Holliday argued that the trial court committed manifest error by determining that a special election was warranted. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined the trial court erred when it held that Devaull could amend his petition beyond the ten day deadline. Devaull failed to comply with the statutory requirement of filing a sworn copy of the complaint made to the Committee before the ten day deadline. The requirement of filing a sworn copy of the complaint was jurisdictional; therefore, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and without authority to order a new election. Judgment was reversed and rendered in favor of Holliday. View "In Re: Democratic Ward 1 Run-Off Election for the City of Aberdeen, Mississippi" on Justia Law