States are free to use federal grant money intended to improve how elections are run in order to pay for criminal investigations of potential voter fraud, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has ruled…
The commission started operating again in January… the members agreed in an Aug. 13 advisory that Iowa’s use of the money was “allowable, allocable and reasonable.” The Help America Vote Act requires states to ensure that voter registration records are accurate and leaves to them “the specific choices on the methods of complying,” the advisory said.
A state lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s voter identification law is on hold while a judge decides whether the suit is now moot. Earlier this year, the legislature amended the law to allow voters without qualifying photo ID to cast ballots by signing a declaration of reasonable impediment.
“There is no question that the General Assembly in what they enacted answered the questions of unconstitutionality that the plaintiffs have raised,” Special Deputy Attorney General Alec Peters told Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan in a Raleigh courtroom. Peters said the lawsuit is moot and should be dismissed.
Morgan didn’t rule immediately on the state’s request, nor on motions by the voting rights groups and voters challenging the law. They want to delay the voter ID implementation until after the presidential primary election, likely in March. Otherwise, the photo ID requirement begins in early 2016. Morgan said he would issue his rulings in about three weeks.
Another case challenging the state’s voter ID law is pending in federal court.
The federal legal challenge to North Carolina’s Voter ID law could be settled, according to court documents filed Monday…
U.S. Judge Thomas Schroeder had ruled that the legal challenge on the photo ID requirement would be continued. Schroeder’s decision came after state Republicans made changes softening the photo ID requirement less than a month before the trial started.
The law now allows voters in 2016 who don’t have a photo ID to sign a “reasonable impediment declaration” and also enables voters to present certain photo ID that may have expired as long as it’s not more than four years. Attorneys representing the state and Gov. Pat McCrory argue that the changes make the legal challenge to the photo ID requirement moot.
The state is seeking dismissal. Plaintiffs, meanwhile, are angling for “negotiations” to address “continuing concerns,” though it’s hard to see why the state would enter into a consent decree at this point, as the photo ID requirement reasonably accommodates all eligible voters.
The interstate cross-check program has uncovered more potential voter fraud, helping investigators nab another alleged North Carolina “serial double-voter.”
Jason Wilton Wetzel has been charged with double-voting multiple times in both North Carolina and Georgia, in the 2012 primary and general elections and in 2014.
So far, the State Board of Elections has referred ten cases of potential “serial double-voters” to North Carolina prosecutors, with additional criminal referrals expected.
The editors at NRO advise Congress to leave the Voting Rights Act as is – as solid as ever:
The bedrock of the Voting Rights Act — that no American may be prevented from voting because of his race — remains as solid as ever… The difference is that without Section 5 operational, discrimination or disparate impact must be proved in a court of law, just like complaints under any other civil-rights statute, whereas before the suspect jurisdictions would have been obliged to prove that their changes were acceptable before the fact. The previously encumbered states are no longer considered guilty until proven innocent, and Democrats want to reverse that…
The Democrats’ drive to “restore” the unconstitutional provisions of the Voting Rights Act would require a number of mainly Republican jurisdictions to go begging to the Justice Department every time they want to update their election practices…
The end of the preclearance regime is in harmony with the progress we have made. With the current majorities in Congress, Republicans are empowered to do nothing in this matter, and to see to it that nothing is done. The Voting Rights Act is fine as it is.
“If advocates want the Voting Rights Act to remain popular among all Americans, they better start supporting using the Voting Rights Act to protect all Americans, not just some.”
My contribution at the National Constitution Center anniversary blog.
The 5th Circuit has affirmed the district court’s findings that Texas Voter ID violated federal law. A couple of quick initial thoughts reading the opinion:
1. The ruling deals a blow to the Justice Department’s theories on intent. The opinion says that there must be the specific intention to discriminate, not just that discrimination might occur. This is a serious blow to those who would offer a legal theory that shows intent everywhere.
2. Shelby is cited for the idea that discrimination must be contemporaneous. So much for the DOJ-fueled experts who reflexively talk about reconstruction.
3. This won’t sit well with the plaintiff’s braintrust: “In turn, the relevance of this evidence rests upon the unsupported premise that a legislator concerned about border security or opposed to the entry into Texas of undocumented immigrants is also necessarily in favor of suppressing voting by American citizens of color.”
4. There is now a wider circuit split on what Section 2 results test would look like.
5. That the opinion was written by a George W. appointee only demonstrates further the “strength” of the trial defense.
6. Texas could have fixed this law in January but didn’t? Why not? There was a prevailing narrative pushed by some interests that the Fifth Circuit would reverse and uphold the law. That didn’t happen.
“The Justice Department has the authority to enforce the requirement. But with this “Justice” Department, some issues of justice are created more equal than others. . . . But never mind enforcing the voter laws we have on the books and making sure that American elections operate without corrupt rolls. For the Justice Department, it’s far more important to police elections for hosting the World Cup.”
“These three coordinated national attacks on election integrity were filed because partisan interests realize process rules can change election outcomes,” Adams said. “Some political candidates prefer elections with dirty rolls and unverified individuals casting ballots at the same time they register to vote. But most Americans do not.”
The motions filed by the group seek to “prevent treasured civil rights statutes such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from being turned into partisan weapons to leverage federal power over state elections merely to advantage one political party and disadvantage another.”