Elections

In Idaho to get a citizen’s initiative on the ballot, petitioners must obtain signatures from six percent of electors by April 30. Reclaim Idaho asked to be temporarily allowed to gather signatures online due to COVID-19. It sued after state government officials informed it that Idaho statutes don’t allow electronic signatures for petitions and the governor didn’t intend to take executive action.

As the Supreme Court explained, “[t]he District Court in...

In Chiafalo v. Washington, the Supreme Court upheld Washington state’s law fining “faithless” electors that do not vote for the candidate that won the state’s popular vote. Likewise, the Court reversed the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Baca v. Colorado Dept. of State, which held that removing a “faithless” elector was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan wrote the opinion...

In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court stayed a federal district court order requiring absentee election managers (AEMs) to not enforce a number of absentee ballot requirements in three counties in Alabama and lifting a prohibition against curbside voting in the state.

In response to COVID-19, Alabama Governor Ivey moved the runoff primary election from March 31 to July 14. Alabama’s Secretary of State Merrill promulgated an emergency regulation...

The Supreme Court turned down a request by the Texas Democratic Party to reinstate a federal district court preliminary injunction ordering Texas to permit all voters to “apply for, receive, and cast an absentee ballot in upcoming elections during the pendency of pandemic circumstances.”

The Fifth Circuit stayed the injunction and the...

CSG Midwest
In the weeks leading up to Nov. 3, Illinois will be preparing for a general election expected to be like none other in the state’s history. That date will be a state holiday, in part to help secure alternative polling sites as some locations become unavailable due to pandemic-related health concerns. On Election Day, individuals as young as age 16 will be poll workers, and election officials will have the authority to administer curbside voting.
And perhaps most noteworthy of all, the state is likely to have a huge jump in the number of people who vote by mail. Every person who has voted over the past two years will receive a mailing to make them aware of this option, and then will receive an absentee-ballot application.
All of those changes are the result of SB 1863, legislation passed earlier this year to help authorities in Illinois conduct an election in the midst of a public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. “The law is for one year only, and that gave people more comfort in knowing that it was a one-time change,” says Illinois Sen. Julie Morrison, who helped lead legislative efforts on SB 1863.
Across the Midwest, big changes already have occurred in 2020, the result of primaries being held when people were being told to socially distance, avoid crowds and stay home whenever possible.

Wisconsin’s election today is both a presidential primary and an election of numerous judgeships, over 500 school board seats, and several thousand other positions. Per the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in person voting will go on. Per the United States Supreme Court, only absentee ballots received or postmarked today will be counted.

Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued an executive order suspending in-person...

CSG Midwest
Illinois schools must now grant a two-hour excused absence for students seeking to cast a ballot. Signed into law in January, SB 1970 is for “any student entitled to vote” in a primary or general election (either on Election Day or during the state’s early-voting period). The school can specify the hours that it will allow a student to be absent.

Presidential electors from Colorado and Washington State refused to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 even though she won the popular vote in their states. The question in Colorado Department of State v. Baca and Chiafalo v. Washington and is whether state law can make them. 

Colorado, Washington, and 46 other states and the District...

CSG Midwest
A new Ohio law is taking aim at what state election officials and legislators say is a growing threat — cyber attacks. Under SB 52, signed into law in October, an Ohio Cyber Reserve will be created as a division of the state National Guard. It will consist of cyber-security experts who can help deter and mitigate attacks. This force will work with local governments and businesses.

The state of Washington launched a new and modernized voter registration system this summer to enable citizens to register to vote, update their voter profile and review customized election information in a centralized system, while also supporting the needs of Washington’s local election officials. The system, known as VoteWA, is a one-stop-shop for all things election-related.

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