Perhaps only in California.

“Paid signature gatherers deceived voters in trying to qualify a referendum that would overturn California’s ban on single-use plastic bags, according to a complaint environmental groups fighting to preserve the law have filed with Attorney General Kamala Harris.”

In documents filed with the Florida Supreme Court Monday, attorneys for the Legislature say groups suing the state over its congressional districts themselves submitted “politically corrupt” maps as part of the challenge.Naples Daily News.

MPB:

A report released by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office outlines a number of recommendations to change Mississippi’s election laws. The report is the end product of a series of meetings held last summer by a 52 member panel organized to review how Mississippian’s vote, and ways to improve the process… Among the committees top recommendations are online voter registration and early voting two weeks before Election Day.

House Apportionment and Elections Committee chair Bill Denny says there is bipartisan support for both proposals, but cautions that implementation details need further study.

“A recently filed lawsuit seeking to redraw Virginia House district boundaries has surprised and sparked concern among some of the Democratic African-American lawmakers elected in those districts.  Filed in December by a law firm with ties to both national and state Democrats, the suit argues that state Republicans illegally packed black voters into a dozen House districts when it drew new district lines in 2011.  But many of the African-American lawmakers who represent those districts said they weren’t consulted about the lawsuit before it was filed.”

 Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

Potential ID biometrics study in New Mexico – Link to ABC News

The push to require New Mexico voters to present some form of identification at the polls has long divided Democrats and Republicans, but one state senator is taking the debate in another direction. Senate Minority Whip William Payne introduced a proposal this week that calls for the state’s top elections officials to study the feasibility of bringing biometrics into the mix.

That could mean anything from retinal scans to the thumbprint-imaging technology used to access smartphones. After hearing the same debate year after year, the Albuquerque Republican said he wanted to find a way to take some of the “venom” out of the argument that requiring photo identification would lead to voter suppression.

“This could put to rest the criticism that voters cannot afford to produce reliable photo identification when they vote,” Payne said. “Everyone has an eyeball or thumb that could be scanned for identification. No need to produce a photo ID.” While other countries have adopted biometrics for identification purposes, the idea has yet to take off in the U.S. Oklahoma was the first state last year to propose legislation that would require future voter ID cards to include photos as well as fingerprint images, but that measure stalled in committee.

The Associated Press reports that Virginia Black lawmakers are unhappy with a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party that focuses on reducing majority minority seats designed to increase Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates. A columnist in Richmond states this is part of the the strategy of Governor McAuliffe and Democrats to retake power in Virginia.

A lawsuit seeking to redraw Virginia House district boundaries has surprised and sparked concern among some of the Democratic African-American lawmakers.  A suit filed in December by a law firm with ties to the Democratic Party argues that state Republicans illegally packed black voters into a dozen House districts when it drew new district lines in 2011.  But many of the African-American lawmakers who represent those districts said they weren’t consulted about the lawsuit before it was filed.

The Hartford Courant has the latest:

A proposal by the city council to begin the process of removing Hartford’s three registrars has raised questions over what would happen to the office.

State law says the deputy registrars would take over. But the city charter says the council has the power to fill vacancies that arise in elected positions.  Council President Shawn Wooden said he is hoping a bill that would allow the city to appoint a single, nonpartisan registrar will solve the issue… Wooden said the change would create “a clear line of accountability” in the office.

Man Bites Dog: Dallas County, Texas Edition

Here is a redistricting story that manages to break the standard narrative.  In majority Hispanic Dallas County, Texas, white plaintiffs are alleging in federal court that current county commissioner voting district lines are drawn to dilute their votes. While this may seem like the world turned upside down, it is actually evidence. It appears the debate over the validity of various groups receiving priority protection of Voting Rights Act enforcers (or whether racial priorities should exist at all in the 21st Century) has spread to the Lone Star State. Back in 2013, the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General found that during interviews with employees and management, they admitted, “while they believed that the text of the Voting Rights Act is race-neutral and applied to all races, they did not believe the Voting Section should pursue cases on behalf of White victims.” If this bias remains, it certainly could have impacted the decision making process, with the result being that private plaintiffs brought this case instead of the DOJ itself. It is still early for this lawsuit, but TTV will keep tracking and offer updates. Read the original story here.

 

Hartford, CT to See Shake-Up in Local Election Administrators

Early in the morning on November 4, 2014, True the Vote’s VoteStand app began receiving reports from the Hartford area that seemed too outlandish to be true: polling places opening late; no poll books to register presence; and some cases of voters being told to write their names on a blank sheet of paper in lieu of the poll book. After some due diligence, TTV forwarded all reports received to local authorities for further review. A lawsuit was filed by the local Democratic Party committee later in the day to extend poll hours.

This week, the Hartford Courant reported that the three registrars tasked with local administration of elections are facing removal. Their alleged actions essentially caused near-systemic failure on Election Day: “a failure of elections officials to provide the secretary of the state with information about polling place moderators; a failure to file final registry books with the town and city clerk by Oct. 29; a failure to prepare and deliver final registry books to moderators by 8 p.m. the night before the election, as required by state law; and a failure to correct discrepancies in the vote tallies reported by the head moderator … Election workers told The Courant in November that they didn't begin checking off absentee voters from registration lists until the day before the election — a job that typically is finished days earlier.” Read the full story here.

 

Introducing the TTV Legislative Working Group

This year, TTV wants to try something new to help engaged voters communicate and cooperate with each other when advocating for election reforms.  In the past we’ve had great success organizing correspondence drives between our network and lawmakers around the country. The goal is to open that process up further, here. TTV encourages you to email us when you or your organization has a bill it either supports or opposes in your state legislature so we can help get the word out. TTV will post links with instructions to contact appropriate officials so you’ll have your voice heard.

 

Check Out the Legislative Advocacy Kit

Just because it’s January and a big election is behind us does not mean that it’s all quiet on the election integrity front. All across the country, state legislatures are firing up fast with election reforms of all kinds. Whether you plan on going it alone or building a team of grassroots lobbyists, True the Vote has a variety of helpful training materials to get you started. Click here to access the TTV Legislative Advocacy Kit for 2015. You will find training videos and quick reference guides to help you get going in the right direction.

 

Get Informed, Get Involved

Now is the time to start digging through voter registries to make sure records are kept up to date. As True the Vote’s new and improved research system launches this month, we need all the help we can get to offset the costs we’re incurring. Even if research isn’t your thing, you can still help out.   

True the Vote is a nonprofit group; and in order for us to continue our mission, we need donations from those who support our work. No amount is too small to make a real difference. Please consider donating here.

How You Can Help

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