Voting rights groups have had a spree of wins in cases brought in the lead-up to next week’s election; but their opponents are also intent on reversing those rulings, by appealing them to higher courts.
The ACLU and the other civil rights groups secured an order from a federal judge ending Georgia election officials’ practice of rejecting absentee ballots and ballot applications for alleged signature mismatch. Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), who’s also running for governor, has indicated that he will appeal that order.
Kemp is also facing a lawsuit challenging the state’s “exact match” law, which has frozen tens of thousands of voter registrations because of minor discrepancies between the forms and the state’s records on the voters. A hearing in that case is scheduled Monday, but it’s worth noting that those with pending registrations will be able to vote if they show up at their polling place and present the required voter ID.
The Tennessee Black Voter Project turned to a state court judge to address issues the group had with how Shelby County, which contains Memphis, was handling thousand of voter registrations the group had submitted that the county election commission had deemed invalid. The judge ruled in the group’s favor, and ordered the county to let voters whose registrations were deemed invalid due to missing information vote with regular ballots on Election Day, once they have corrected the deficient information. The election officials, who say they will appeal the ruling, claimed that doing so would make the county vulnerable to voter fraud and argued that those voters would have to vote provisionally, instead.
The NAACP-LDF sued Texas’ Waller County, where the historically black college Prairie View A&M is located, for limited early voting opportunities near the college, while the less populous white areas of the county got more early voting sites and early voting hours. The county has since announced that it is opening more early voting near the campus, but the lawsuit is ongoing.
Meanwhile, in Dallas County Texas, reports of voter intimidation are on the rise, according to a ProPublica report Friday.
In Florida, next week, voters will vote on a ballot initiative to restore felons’ voting rights in the state, where the governor currently grants the franchise back to felons on a case-by-case basis through a completely arbitrary process. A Palm Beach Post analysis of Gov. Rick Scott’s record of restoring felons’ voting rights found that the Republican, who’s currently running for the Senate, restored the rights of a lower percentage of black felons than his predecessors, while giving the franchise back to the largest percentage Republican felons in the last 50 years.
The Justice Department is doing everything it can to try to delay the trial scheduled next Monday in the Census citizenship case as it asks the Supreme Court to block depositions and other discovery in the case. It’s already asked that both a federal judge and an appeals court to delay the trial; the request was denied both times. Now we are awaiting a petition it’s expected to file with the Supreme Court seeking to block certain depositions and additional discovery; we’ll see if a delay is sought then too.
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