Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court granting Rasean Clayton's application for a temporary and permanent injunction enjoining Kanye West and his presidential electors from appearing on the general election ballot for president in 2020, holding that West did not present the Secretary of State with the requisite number of qualified electors for placement on the ballot.The Supreme Court concluded that the presidential electors had failed to file the statement of interest required by Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-341(I) and that, therefore, the nomination petition signatures submitted on their behalf were invalid, making West unable to qualify for the ballot. Given the dispositive effect of the failure of West's electors' to qualify for the ballot, the Supreme Court did not address his other arguments. View "Clayton v. West" on Justia Law

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Jim Harreld and Karl Banks ran for the position of District 4 Supervisor in Madison County, Mississippi. Banks won the November 5, 2019 election by fifty-seven votes. The Madison County Election Commission certified Banks as the winner of the election. Harreld challenged the election and asked the trial court to order a special election or to declare him the winner of the November election. The Madison County Circuit Court affirmed the election as certified. Harreld appealed. Finding no reversible error in the circuit court's order, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Harreld v. Banks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court affirming the Portland City Council's decision not to submit to voters a citizen-initiated ballot question proposing a change to the City of Portland's charter, holding that remand was required.Five Portland voters initiated the process for circulating a petition in support of placing a proposed amendment to Portland's charter on an upcoming municipal ballot. After a sufficient number of signatures for the measure were obtained a public hearing was held. The City Council voted not to put the measure to the voters as a charter amendment. The superior court affirmed the City Council's decision. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the superior court's judgment, holding (1) the Home Rule Act authorizes municipal officers to review a proposed charter modification to determine whether it constitutes a revision rather than an amendment; and (2) the City Council failed to make findings of fact to explain its decision and enable appellate review. View "Fair Elections Portland, Inc. v. City of Portland" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that an initiative petition circulated pursuant to Fla. Const. art. XI, 3 was affirmatively misleading and that the proposed initiative should not be placed on the ballot.At issue was an initiative petition sponsored by Sensible Florida, Inc. entitled "Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions." The Attorney General asked whether the proposed amendment complied with the constitutional single-subject requirement and whether the ballot title and summary complied with the clarity requirements of FLa. Stat. 101.161(1). The Supreme Court held that certain language in the ballot summary was affirmatively misleading and failed to comply with section 101.161(1) and should not be placed on the ballot. View "Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General Re: Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, & Other Restrictions" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's election contest filed under Minn. Stat. 209.021, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff was not prejudiced by the delay in providing notice of the election contest to the Chief Justice; (2) Plaintiff's claim asserting a violation of her civil rights under the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10101, was not properly asserted on appeal; and (3) the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff's election contest for failure to state a legally sufficient claim upon which relief could be granted. View "Bergstrom v. McEwen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's action arguing that a new election was required pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 293.465, holding that Appellant's challenge to the November 3, 2020 general election for Clark County Commission District C failed.Appellant ran in the general election for the Clark County Commission District C. Appellant lost by a margin of fifteen votes. In this action, Appellant argued that a new election was required because the number of irregularities in the conduct of the election exceeded the narrow margin of victory. The district court denied relief, finding that the election was not prevented within the meaning of section 293.465. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant's challenge did not warrant a new election under section 293.465 because nothing "prevented" the election from occurring or voters from casting their votes; and (2) once an election takes place and the voters have voted, any challenge to the donut of the election must proceed by way of an election contest brought under Nev. Rev. Stat. 293.407-.435. View "Anthony v. Miller" on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal is whether the leaders of the North Carolina House and Senate are entitled to intervene, on behalf of the State of North Carolina, in litigation over the constitutionality of the State's voter-ID law. North Carolina's Attorney General, appearing for the State Board of Elections, already is representing the State's interest in the validity of that law, actively defending its constitutionality in both state and federal court. Legislative Leaders moved twice to intervene so that they also can speak for the State.The en banc court affirmed the district court's denial of the Leaders' renewed request for intervention. The en banc court explained that, at this point in the proceedings, the legislative leaders may assert only one interest in support of intervention: that of the State of North Carolina in defending its voter-ID law. The en banc court further explained that it follows that they have a right to intervene under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) only if a federal court first finds that the Attorney General is inadequately representing that same interest, in dereliction of his statutory duties – a finding that would be "extraordinary." In this case, after reviewing the district court's careful evaluation of the Attorney General's litigation conduct, the en banc court is convinced that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to make that extraordinary finding here. The en banc court concluded that this is enough to preclude intervention as of right under Rule 24(a)(2). The en banc court similarly deferred to the district court's judgment denying permissive intervention under Rule 24(b). View "North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. Berger" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Petitioner, Chair of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee, compelling James C. Justice, II, Governor of West Virginia, to select Derrick Evans' replacement replacement from a list of three candidates, holding that Petitioner failed to show a clear legal right to the relief sought.This request for extraordinary relief stemmed from the resignation of Evans, a Republican, from his elected position as a member of the House of Delegates from the Nineteenth Delegate District. Petitioner sought to writ of mandamus compelling Governor Justice to select Evans' replacement from a list of candidates submitted by the executive committee members of Wayne County residing in the Nineteenth delegate district. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the county letter was the result of a process that did not comply with the provisions of W. Va. Code 3-10-5. View "State ex rel. Maynard v. Justice" on Justia Law

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In 2018, Colorado voters Amendments Y and Z to the state constitution that vested the authority to draw congressional and legislative districts with new, independent commissions made up of ordinary voters. The Amendments laid out instructions for how the commissions should draw district maps, including criteria to be considered in determining boundaries and detailed timetables that require public feedback and judicial review of the final plans. The cascading deadlines set out in Amendments Y and Z were based on an assumption that the United States Census Bureau would release its decennial census data in a timely fashion, as required by federal law. Delays caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, mean that the Census Bureau was operating months behind schedule and did not yet to release crucial redistricting data to which the redistricting commissions expected to already have access. This delay has thrown into question the feasibility of complying with the timelines established by Amendments Y and Z. To address the resulting uncertainty, the General Assembly introduced Senate Bill 21-247 (“SB 21-247”). Among other things, the bill would amend a recently enacted statutory definition of “necessary census data” to allow the commissions’ work to move forward based on preliminary census data and any other state or federal demographic data the commissions see fit to consult. The General Assembly petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and answer two interrogatories about Amendments Y and Z. The Court determined the Amendments did not require the exclusive use of final census data as the commissions and their nonpartisan staff begin their work; the commissions wer thus free to consult other reliable sources of population data, such as preliminary census data and interim data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. However, the Court determined the General Assembly did not have the power to compel the independent commissions or their nonpartisan staff to consider a particular source of population data or take any action beyond what Amendments Y and Z already required. “The Amendments were expressly intended to remove the General Assembly from the redistricting process, instead vesting all authority to draw district maps with independent commissions. Under this new scheme, the General Assembly has a discrete and limited role in appropriating funds for the commissions and nominating a limited number of applicants for consideration as commission members.” View "In re Interrogatories on Senate Bill 21-247 Submitted by the Colorado General Assembly" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Relators a writ of mandamus ordering the Trumbull County Board of Elections and its members (collectively, the Board) to remove the issue of Sandra Breymaier's recall from the June 1, 2021 special-election ballot, holding that the measure did not comply with ballot-access requirements.A group of Newton Falls electors presented to the clerk of the city council a petition to recall Breymaier, a city council member. The Mayor informed the Board that the Newton Falls city council had passed a motion to schedule a special election for June 1, 2021 on Breymaier's recall. The Board set the recall election to occur on June 1. Relators, including Breymaier, commenced this action seeking writs of prohibition and mandamus to prevent the Board from holding the recall election and ordering the Board to remove the recall measure from the June 1 ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition because the Board did not exercise quasi-judicial authority but granted a writ of mandamus because the city council had not duly passed a motion to set the recall election for June 1. View "State ex rel. Fritz v. Trumbull County Board of Elections" on Justia Law