RNC Election Integrity Update – November 10, 2021

 

RNC Election Integrity Update

November 10, 2021

State Legislation Highlights

States Legislatures sine die: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho (Senate), Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. 

States in Regular Session throughout the year: Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania

States in Special Session: Alabama, Alaska

Michigan

Governor Whitmer vetoed three election-related bills: HB5007SB303 and SB304SB303 would have required a voter to present a photo ID in order to vote or be given a provisional ballot. SB304 would have required county election offices to provide notice if a voter needed to cure their ballot, would have allowed a voter to cure their provisional ballot within six days after the election, and would have prohibited the tabulation of the provisional ballot unless there was a valid voter registration. HB5007 would have eliminated the fees for getting or renewing an official state personal ID card.

State Litigation Highlights

Alaska

The Alaska Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the new ranked-choice election system in the state. The voting system places all candidates, regardless of party, on the same ballot, and the four winners of that primary advance to the general election, where the candidates are ranked in order of preference, with the person receiving a majority of first-choice ballots being declared the winner or, if no candidate receives a majority of first-choice ballots, the person with the fewest first-choice ballots will be eliminated, and the process will repeat until a winner is chosen. The case, which was filed by a Republican attorney representing himself, a Libertarian candidate, and the Alaskan Independence Party, argues that this system is unconstitutional under the US and Alaskan Constitutions as it restricts political parties and therefore the constitutional right of free association. A lower court upheld the voting system, and now, on appeal, the Alaska Supreme Court will determine its legality, with oral argument scheduled for January 18th.   

Arizona

A lawsuit, Mi Familia Vota et al v. Hobbs et al., was filed in AZ challenging SB1485, which removes voters from the permanent mail ballot list if a voter does not vote by mail in two straight election cycles and SB1003, which requires voters to “cure” signature-less ballots by 7PM on election day. The RNC and the NRSC have been granted intervention to defend the laws. 

Florida

The RNC and NRSC were granted intervention in all four lawsuits challenging provisions of SB90. Judge Walker entered orders granting in part and denying in part defendants’ motions to dismiss. The court dismissed some of the claims from some of the defendants; however, none of the claims were dismissed in their entirety.

Last week, Judge Walker denied the League Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint to add Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach State Attorney as a Defendant. The Plaintiffs were attempting to amend their complaint after their ballot harvesting claim had been dismissed for lack of standing because the Plaintiffs’ asserted injuries were not traceable back to any of the named Defendants in the lawsuit. The RNC and NRSC joined in with the Secretary of State and Attorney General in opposing the League Plaintiffs’ Motion.

Georgia

The RNC, NRSC, NRCC, and GA GOP were granted intervention in eight lawsuits challenging provisions of SB202, including the Department of Justice lawsuit against the state. The RNC, NRSC, and GA GOP have moved to intervene in a ninth lawsuit challenging provisions of SB202.

Iowa

The RNC, Iowa GOP, NRCC, and NRSC were granted intervention to defend against the lawsuit challenging provisions of SF413 and SF568.

Pennsylvania

The RNC filed an amicus brief in an important lawsuit filed by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (“PILF”) regarding voter registration list integrity. The case deals with potentially over 100,000 noncitizens that were registered to vote in Pennsylvania.

  • In September 2017, Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia City Commissioner, revealed that a so-called “glitch” allowed noncitizens to register to vote when applying or renewing their driver’s licenses through the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles.  
  • The Department of State has refused to disclose pertinent records regarding the so-called “glitch” that allowed noncitizens to register to vote.
  • PILF, pursuant to the public records inspection provision of the National Voter Registration Act, filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania demanding transparency and the disclosure of records regarding the so-call “glitch”.

In July, a member of the Bradford County Board of Election filed a lawsuit against the State of Pennsylvania challenging Act 77, which made sweeping changes to PA’s Election law including allowing no excuse vote by mail. The lawsuit argues that Act 77 violates the PA Constitution. In October, the DNC and multiple Republican groups were granted intervention.

Texas

Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas and the Texas Secretary of State challenging certain provisions in the recently enacted election integrity bill SB1. The DOJ is claiming that the law violates Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act.

Vermont

The RNC sued the cities of Montpelier and Winooski over their new town charters that allow noncitizens to vote in their municipal elections. The suit also raises important concerns about how the laws will be implemented and whether non-citizens will end up on the same voter registration lists used for state-level and federal elections. The RNC is joined in the suit by the Vermont Republican Party and several concerned Vermont voters.

  • In May, the town charters were approved by Vermont’s Democrat state Senate.
  • In June, Vermont’s Republican Governor vetoed the legislation.
  • That same month, the legislature overrode the Governor’s veto. 

RNC Chairwoman McDaniel wrote an op-ed about the lawsuit in Breitbart and spoke about it on Newsmax.

Virginia

The Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, Inc. seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Fairfax County Electoral Board for accepting and approving absentee and mail-in ballot applications without the statutorily required last-four of Social Security numbers in violation of the Anti-Suspension Clause of the Constitution of Virginia in the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Election. On Friday, October 29, 2021, the Court dismissed the case stating that the Virginia Institute of Public Policy lacked standing to bring the case.

The Democratic Party of Virginia filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service claiming changes to the process and delivery of election-related mail has been materially altered potentially leading to delays in processing of absentee ballot applications and ballots. After a hearing, the parties agreed and entered into a Stipulation and Consent Order that requires the USPS to continue their practice of expediting election mail while also submitting “all clear” reports to the plaintiff and the court. 

Wisconsin

Last week, a Circuit Court in Wisconsin granted a motion for a number of groups to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the use of ballot drop boxes. The suit alleges that voters may only return absentee ballots through the mail or by dropping them off in person at a municipal clerk’s office and claims that the use of drop boxes is a violation of Wisconsin’s voting statute and invites fraud. The intervening parties, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Faith Votes for Justice, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, claim that ballot drop boxes do not facilitate fraud and are legal under a broad interpretation of the Wisconsin voting statute. 

Other News

  • Federal: Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held a hearing on “Emerging Threats to Election Administration.” Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams testified at the hearing.
  • National: The RNC has contacted over 12 million voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, including 5 million in Virginia ahead of the Gubernatorial election tomorrow.
  • National: President Biden is expected to nominate Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman (R) to serve as the election security lead at the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
  • CT: Republican voters in Guilford County, CT filed a complaint with the State’s Election Enforcement Commission, claiming absentee ballot applications sent to voters were “pre-signed” which may be a violation of state election law.
  • CT: A recount was underway this weekend in the West Haven mayoral race after two dozen votes separated the Republican and Democrat candidates.
  • FL: Over the weekend, a recount was underway in Palm Beach and Broward counties after unofficial results show just a handful of votes separating the two Democrat congressional candidates.
  • IN: More counties in Indiana move towards vote centers moving away from the traditional practice of precinct-by-precinct polling places.
  • NC: Republicans in North Carolina, and throughout the country, are working tirelessly to restore voters’ confidence in the ballot box, while Democrats only offer a false narrative.
  • NJ: Passaic County Superintendent of Elections has asked for a court order to open the voting machines to retrieve the e-poll books that were placed in them due to the county not receiving the proper carrying and locking cases in time for Election Day.
  • NJ: On Election Day, the ACLU and the LWV in NJ filed a lawsuit to extend polling hours by an extra 90 minutes due to operations issues, the judge dismissed the suit and did not extend polling hours.
  • OH: As a result of number of poll e-poll books not updating prior to Election Day, the Ohio Secretary of State has placed Franklin County on administrative oversight. 
  • PA: Governor Wolf’s wife dropped off his mail ballot for him, which is a violation of PA Election Law.
  • PA: Due to equipment issues in Montgomery County polling hours were extended by an hour.
  • VA: Fairfax County was granted permission to use leftover funds from the 2020 election cycle provided by the Center for Tech and Civic Life for the 2021 election cycle.
  • In response Election Transparency Initiative Chairman and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, said local election officials should immediately disclose the money being used for the 2021 election cycle.
  • VA: With the assistance and support from the RNC, Republican poll watchers outnumbered Democrat poll watchers throughout the state of Virginia and were trained to observe the election process and to ensure it is proper.
  • WI: Last Thursday, the Racine County Sherriff’s Office presented the results of an investigation into possible election law violations in nursing homes.
  • In Response, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) called for an Emergency Special Meeting to discuss strategy, planning, and action pertaining to potential litigation and approve any statements pertaining to potential litigation the commission is likely to become involved in. Statement from the WEC can be found HERE.
  • Last year, a disability service coordinator who works with developmentally disabled adults in various assisted living facilities said every one of her clients were pressured to vote for a Democrat candidate.
  • Op-ed: Ken Cuccinelli wrote an op-ed in Fox News discussing how Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Glenn Youngkin has successfully kept the focus on the things that matter to Virginians: education, public safety, and job.
  • Op-ed: As a Guest Contributor for the Must Read Alaska, Ken Cuccinelli discussed how through H.R.4 and S.1 the federal government would have authority to “veto” state-passed election laws in Alaska and throughout the country. 

Peter M. Feaman

National Committeeman for Florida

pfeaman@feamanlaw.com