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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court validating the ballot title and summary of a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution (Amendment 10), holding that the circuit court did not err in concluding that Amendment 10 should be included on the November 2018 ballot. Plaintiffs argued that the ballot title and summary of Amendment 10 mislead voters by failing sufficiently to describe Amendment 10’s chief purpose. The circuit court granted final summary judgment in favor of Defendants, concluding that the ballot language would enable the average voter to understand the primary effect of Amendment 10. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ballot language was not misleading in any of the ways advanced by Plaintiffs. View "County of Volusia v. Detzner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court holding that the ballot title and summary of a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution (Amendment 13) were clearly and conclusively defective, vacated the injunction forbidding Amendment 13 from appearing on the November 2018 general election ballot, and ordered that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election ballot. Specifically, the Court held (1) Amendment 13’s ballot language is not clearly and conclusively defective for failing to inform voters of Amendment’s fundamental value provision; (2) the ballot language does not misstate the effect of Amendment 13; and (3) the ballot language does not mislead voters with respect to Amendment 13’s scope. View "Department of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the superior court judge’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) on Plaintiffs’ claim that Massachusetts’s ban on corporate contributions, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 55, 8, imposes an unconstitutional restraint on their rights to free speech and association and denies them their right to equal protection under the law, holding that the challenged statute is constitutional. Plaintiffs, business corporations, brought this action challenging the law limiting political spending of corporations. The superior court granted summary judgment for OCPF. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) section 8 is constitutional under the First Amendment and articles 16 and 19 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and (2) section 8 does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or Plaintiffs’ entitlement to equal protection under article 1 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. View "1A Auto, Inc. v. Director of Office of Campaign & Political Finance" on Justia Law

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In this election contest, the Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ second amended complaint against Romy Cachola, one of two Democratic Party candidates for the Office of State Representative, and Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, holding that that amended complaint failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Cachola received the highest number of votes in the Democratic Party race for the Office of State Representative, District 30. In their amended complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that during the course of the 2018 primary campaign Cachola committed election fraud and other election offenses and that Nago violated his duty under state law by failing to preclude vote tampering in an election and failing to comply with federal requirements in conducting an election. The Supreme Court denied relief, holding that Plaintiffs’ allegations of election fraud or vote tampering were not sufficient to constitute mistakes or errors that would change the results of the primary election, and therefore, the complaint was not legally sufficient. View "Jane & John Doe Voters 1-47 v. Cachola" on Justia Law

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In 2016, a recount was ordered to settle a very close Alaska Democratic Party primary election for House District 40. Dean Westlake was declared the victor by eight votes. The defeated candidate, Benjamin Nageak, brought two legal challenges to the primary results. He and four others contested the election in the superior court pursuant to AS 15.20.540. He also filed a direct appeal of the recount with the Alaska Supreme Court pursuant to AS 15.20.510. The Supreme Court stayed the direct appeal and, after a trial, the superior court granted relief on the election contest. The court found that election officials in Shungnak, who gave ballots for both the Alaska Democratic Party and Alaska Republican Party primaries to every voter, had committed malconduct that changed the outcome of the election. The court ordered the Director of the Division of Elections to certify Nageak as the winner after proportionately reducing the votes from Shungnak. The Division and Westlake appealed the superior court’s rulings against them. Nageak cross-appealed the court’s rulings against him. The Supreme Court consolidated the appeal from the superior court in the election contest with the recount appeal from the Division, and reversed the superior court’s decision and reinstated the Director’s certification of Westlake as the winner of the election. View "Nageak v. Mallott" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this expedited relations case based on laches and denied the relator’s motion for leave to supplement the evidence. Relator, Citizens for Responsible Green Government, sought a writ of mandamus to compel Respondents, the City of Green, the City’s Finance Director, and the Summit County Board of Elections, to place a referendum on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot. The finance director declared the referendum petition “facially invalid and insufficient” on June 11, 2018, and the relator filed this mandamus complaint on August 6, fifty-six days later. The Supreme Court held (1) prejudice exists for purposes of a laches analysis in election cases when the relator files the complaint so close in time to the ninety-day cut off that expediting the proceedings becomes a practical necessity; and (2) laches barred the relief requested in this case due to the committee’s failure to exercise any diligence whatsoever. View "State ex rel. Citizens for Responsible Green Government v. City of Green" on Justia Law

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Following the 2010 census, Michigan’s Republican-controlled government enacted new legislative and congressional districting plans. Plaintiffs sued in December 2017, alleging the maps violate the Equal Protection Clause by diluting the voting power of Democratic voters and the First Amendment by marginalizing votes based on party affiliation. The state sought dismissal and asked the court to stay the case pending the Supreme Court’s decision in then-pending redistricting cases, Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone. In February, while that motion was pending, eight Republican Michigan Congressional representatives moved to intervene, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) (intervention by right), and permissive intervention under Rule 24(b). They argued that they stood “to be irrevocably harmed by any redrawing of congressional districts” and asserted that none of the original parties adequately represented their interests. The court denied the motion to stay and the motion to intervene. The Sixth Circuit reversed as to permissive intervention, noting that the court did not explain how the “complex issues” would delay the case or prejudice Plaintiffs, how allowing the Congressmen to intervene would frustrate an expeditious resolution, or how the shared interests of the Congressmen and the citizens of Michigan were relevant to the delay-and-prejudice calculus. The Congressmen identify several interests they seek to protect, including “the relationship between constituent and representative.” Those interests differ from those of the Secretary of State and Michigan's citizens. View "League of Women Voters of Michigan v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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In this appeal challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s three percent signature requirement for ballot access under certain election circumstances, the Eleventh Circuit held that the case was moot. Under Alabama law, independent candidates for political office have the right to have their name listed on the election ballot by filing a petition signed by at least three percent of qualified electors. James Hall, who ran as an independent candidate in a special election to fill a vacancy in Alabama’s First United States House of Representatives District, brought this action challenging the constitutionality of the three percent requirement as applied during a special election cycle. The district court issued a declaratory judgment that Alabama’s three percent signature requirement for ballot access violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments when enforced during any off-season special election for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Alabama. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case as moot, holding that there was no expectation that Hall, the same complaining party, will again be subject to the three percent requirement as an independent candidate or voter in a special election for a U.S. House seat. View "Hall v. Secretary, State of Alabama" on Justia Law

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Washington voters referred Initiative 940 ("I-940") to the Legislature; I-940 was an initiative concerning police reform. The legislature also passed a conditional bill, ESHB 3003, purporting to prospectively amend 1-940 if it passed later-in this case, just a few minutes later. But that conditional, prospective bill violated the explicit language and allocation of legislative power contained in article II, section 1 of the Washington Constitution. A divided Washington Supreme Court majority affirmed a superior court's decision to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Washington Secretary of State to place I-940 on the ballot. View "Eyman v. Wyman" on Justia Law

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In this primary election challenge, the Supreme Court ordered that the name of David Y. Ige be placed on the ballot as the Democratic Party candidate for the Office of Governor for the 2018 general election, holding that the election objection filed by Plaintiff Richard Kim failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Kim, one of six Democratic Party candidates for the Office of Governor in the August 11, 2018 primary election, filed this complaint challenging the August 11, 2018 primary election. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Ige bribed committed election offenses and asked the Supreme Court to disqualify Ige as the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and order a new primary election without Ige’s name on the ballot. The supreme Court held (1) this Court did not have original jurisdiction to prosecute the criminal offenses alleged by Kim; and (2) Kim could prove no set of facts that would entitle him to relief. View "Kim v. Ige " on Justia Law