Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Constitutional Law
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The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on proposed Initiatives #67 (2021-2022), #115 (2021-2022) and #128 (2021-2022), and whether they violated the single-subject requirement of the Colorado Constitution. Each indicative included provisions that would allow food retailers already licensed to sell beer to also sell wine, and provisions that would authorize third-party delivery services to deliver all alcoholic beverages sold from licensed retailers to consumers at their homes. After review, the Supreme Court determined the Initiatives violated the single-subject requirement, and the Title Board lacked jurisdiction to set titles for them. Accordingly, the Board’s actions were reversed. View "Fine v. Ward" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the trial court dismissing the claims brought by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) and the claim brought by a group of plaintiffs referred to as the Gutierrez Plaintiffs that the recently enacted laws reapportioning Texas's legislative districts violate Tex. Const. art. III, 26, holding that the trial court erred in part.MALC and the Gutierrez Plaintiffs sued Defendants - various State officials - claiming that the laws at issue violated Article III, Sections 26 and 28. Defendants filed pleas to the jurisdiction, which the trial court largely denied. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded the case to the trial court, holding (1) MALC lacked associational standing to pursue its claims; (2) at least one of the Gutierrez Plaintiffs had standing to pursue each claim a proper defendant, but not the State; (3) the Gutierrez Plaintiffs' section 26 was not barred by sovereign immunity, but the section 28 claim was; and (4) the Gutierrez Plaintiffs should have the opportunity to replead their section 26 claim against a proper defendant. View "Abbott v. Mexican American Legislative Caucus" on Justia Law

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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 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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The Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10101(a)(2)(B), prohibits any “person acting under color of law [from] deny[ing] the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission … if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such voter is qualified … to vote in such election.” In Pennsylvania, an error or omission is material to a voter’s qualifications to vote if it is pertinent to either the voter’s age, citizenship, residency, or felony status or the timeliness of the ballot. The Lehigh County Board of Elections (LCBE) held an election on November 2, 2021, to fill local vacancies. LCBE set aside 257 out of approximately 22,000 mail-in or absentee ballots that lacked a handwritten date next to the voter declaration signature and ballots with the date in the wrong location on the outer envelope. LCBE convened a public hearing and voted to count the undated and misdated ballots.The Third Circuit held that private plaintiffs have a private right of action to enforce section 10101 under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and that the dating provisions contained in 25 Pa. Cons. Stat. 3146.6(a) and 3150.16 are immaterial to a voter’s qualifications and eligibility under section 10101(a)(2)(B). The court directed that the undated ballots be counted. View "Migliori v. Lehigh County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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Two groups of petitioners challenged the ballot title that the Oregon Attorney General certified for Initiative Petition 41 (2022) (IP 41). IP 41 would add a new section 16 to Article IX of the Oregon Constitution, which would specify that a “public body may not assess a toll” on any part of an Oregon “highway” unless approved by the voters of nearby counties. After review, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded that petitioners identified two ways in which the ballot title failed to substantially comply with the statutory requirements. Accordingly, the Court referred the ballot title to the Attorney General for modification. View "Salsgiver/Iannarone v. Rosenblum" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the General Assembly-district plan adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on May 5, 2022 was invalid in its entirety and ordered the commission to draft and adopt an entirely new General Assembly-district plan that meets the requirements of the Ohio Constitution, including Article XI, Sections 6(A) and 6(B).On May 5, the Commission readopted the plan at issue, purportedly only for use in the 2022 election. The Supreme Court had earlier held the plan to be unconstitutional. Petitioners filed objections to the adoption of the plan. The Supreme Court sustained the objections, holding that the plan at issue was invalid in its entirety. View "League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Ohio Redistricting Commission" on Justia Law