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Ballot Measure

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Committee to Impose Term Limits on the Ohio Supreme Court and to Preclude Special Legal Status for Members and Employees of the Ohio General Assembly v. Ohio Ballot Board (James L. Graham, S.D. Ohio 2:16-cv-1030)
Proponents of a state constitutional amendment initiative filed a federal complaint alleging that the state’s breaking the two provisions of the proposed initiative into separate initiatives was impermissibly content based. The district court and the court of ap-peals held that it was content neutral.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Thompson v. DeWine (Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., S.D. Ohio 2:20-cv-2129)
A federal action sought changes to requirements for getting initiatives and referenda on the ballot during a time of social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19 during a global pandemic: acceptance of electronic signatures, a reduced signature requirement, and extended deadlines. The district judge ordered acceptance of electronic signatures and an extension of the deadline but not a reduction in the number of signatures required. The court of appeals, however, stayed the injunction, finding ballot access requirements modest even during the pandemic.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Getting on the ballot; COVID-19; intervention; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Fair Maps Nevada v. Cegavske (Miranda M. Du , 3:20-cv-271) and Fight for Nevada v. Cegavske (Richard F. Boulware II, 2:20-cv-837) (D. Nev.)
An organization collecting signatures to put a constitutional amendment on Nevada’s ballot received a court-ordered extension of the due date during a global infectious pandemic, which triggered state-ordered social distancing, on a finding of diligence in collecting signatures before social distancing went into effect. An organization seeking the recall of Nevada’s governor did not receive a deadline extension on a finding that it collected few signatures before social-distancing requirements.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot measure; COVID-19; getting on the ballot.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Schmitt v. Husted (Edmund A. Sargus., Jr., S.D. Ohio 2:18-cv-966)
As an election approached, a district judge enjoined local election board discretion to keep an initiative off the ballot without review more available than a writ of mandamus. The court of appeals, however, concluded that mandamus relief was not so insurmountable as to require federal judicial intervention.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot measure; getting on the ballot.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Hyman v. City of Salem (Thomas S. Kleeh, N.D. W. Va. 1:19-cv-75)
A district judge enjoined removal of a marijuana decriminalization initiative from a city’s ballot as content-based discretion to remove an initiative that might be in conflict with state law.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot measure; getting on the ballot.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Johnson v. Riley (Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, N.D. Ala. 7:10-cv-2067)
Voters filed a federal complaint challenging police actions against electronic bingo operations as a violation of the voting rights of the voters who approved the operations. The complaint included a claim that executive orders and police actions violated the Voting Rights Act because they had not received section 5 preclearance. The district judge denied as moot a motion for a temporary restraining order preserving a state-court injunction, because the state court had denied a motion to dissolve its order. The following year, the court accepted a voluntary dismissal.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; matters for state courts; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Padilla v. Lever (Alicemarie H. Stotler, 8:02-cv-1145), Imperial v. Castruita (R. Gary Klausner, 2:05-cv- 8940), and Chinchay v. Verjil (Audrey B. Collins, 2:06-cv-1637) (C.D. Cal.) and Madrigal v. County of Monterey (5:06-cv-1407), Melendez v. Board of Supervisors (5:06-cv-1730), Rangel v. County of Monterey (6:06-cv-2202), and Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition v. Board of Supervisors (6:06-cv- 2369) (James Ware) and Heredia v. Santa Clara County (Ronald M. Whyte, 6:06-cv-4718) (N.D. Cal.)
After nearly four years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that recall petitions do not have to be offered in multiple languages. The litigation began with a December 12, 2002, complaint challenging a petition to recall a member of Santa Ana, California’s school board in a February 4 election. Ultimately, the litigation included complaints filed in 2005 and 2006 as well.
Subject: Recall elections. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure; recusal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr (Ortrie D. Smith, W.D. Mo. 2:14-cv-4287)
A district court’s temporary restraining order blocked a proscription on forming a campaign committee fewer than 30 days before an election. After the election, the district judge determined that the case was not moot, but he later determined that it was not ripe. The court of appeals concluded that the case was ripe, and the district judge then issued a summary judgment that the proscription was unconstitutional. The court of appeals agreed, and the district judge awarded the plaintiff $158,055.80 in attorney fees and costs.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; attorney fees; recusal; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Martinez v. Monterey County (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal. 5:05-cv-2950)
A federal complaint challenged a ballot initiative as different in wording from the text circulated for ballot-access signatures and challenged the change in wording as a change in election procedures requiring preclearance pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In parallel litigation, the state’s supreme court provisionally ruled that the electorate should not be denied an opportunity to vote on the initiative unless the text discrepancies were sufficiently misleading. A three-judge federal district court declined to interfere with state proceedings because the state court also had jurisdiction over the federal question. The initiative failed and the state’s supreme court subsequently ruled that the text discrepancies were not so great as to merit an injunction against including the initiative on the ballot.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure; section 5 preclearance; matters for state courts; three-judge court; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Salazar v. Monterey County (5:03-cv-3584) and Oliverez v. California (5:03-cv-3658) (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal.); Hernandez v. Merced County (1:03-cv-6147) and Gallegos v. California (1:03-cv-6157) (Oliver W. Wanger, E.D. Cal.)
When the state set a special election on whether to recall the governor, a ballot initiative was moved from a primary election to the earlier special election. Separate federal cases alleged that the recall and the early ballot initiative could not be held because they had not been precleared pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as required for four of California’s counties. The state obtained preclearance just as a three-judge district court met to review the case. The judge presiding over two similar cases in another of the state’s districts allowed the court presiding over the cases filed earlier to decide the issues.
Subject: Recall elections. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; news media; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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