Difference between revisions of "Ballot Law Update: 2011 Year in Review"

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   |title=&nbsp;Doe v. Reed injunction ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Doe v. Reed injunction ruling
 
   |On November 21, 2011, after receiving a temporary injunction in October, proponents of [[Washington Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities, Referendum 71 (2009)|Washington Referendum 71 (2009)]] were denied a permanent injunction blocking the release of R-71 petition signatures. The plaintiffs, petition signers backed by Protect Marriage Washington, have been engaged in a protracted legal battle to keep the names on the petition private. After an earlier defeat, the state of Washington began releasing the signatures only to be stopped by the temporary injunction.
 
   |On November 21, 2011, after receiving a temporary injunction in October, proponents of [[Washington Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities, Referendum 71 (2009)|Washington Referendum 71 (2009)]] were denied a permanent injunction blocking the release of R-71 petition signatures. The plaintiffs, petition signers backed by Protect Marriage Washington, have been engaged in a protracted legal battle to keep the names on the petition private. After an earlier defeat, the state of Washington began releasing the signatures only to be stopped by the temporary injunction.
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   |title=&nbsp;California Prop 8 intervenor ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;California Prop 8 intervenor ruling
 
   |On November 17, the [[Judgepedia:California Supreme Court|California Supreme Court]] ruled that proponents of [[California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008)|Proposition 8]] can intervene in defense of the same-sex marriage ban. Proponents of the ban decided to intervene after state officials refused to defend the law. The court ultimately found that:
 
   |On November 17, the [[Judgepedia:California Supreme Court|California Supreme Court]] ruled that proponents of [[California Proposition 8, the "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry" Initiative (2008)|Proposition 8]] can intervene in defense of the same-sex marriage ban. Proponents of the ban decided to intervene after state officials refused to defend the law. The court ultimately found that:
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   |title=&nbsp;Washington traffic cam initiatives
 
   |title=&nbsp;Washington traffic cam initiatives
 
   |Initiatives to block red-light cameras in [[Bellingham City Red Light Camera Question (November 2011)|Bellingham]], [[Longview City Red Light Camera Advisory Question (November 2011)|Longview]], and [[Monroe City Traffic Light Camera Question (November 2011)|Monroe]] were all resoundingly affirmed by voters on November 8, passing with 65%, 59%, and 68%, respectively. However, each of the proposed laws was ultimately relegated to advisory status by the courts. Proponents will have to wait to see whether local leaders will take action on the measures.<ref>[http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Nov11/112111/112111-02.shtml ''Landline Magazine,'' "Washington cities say ‘nay’ to ticket cameras," November 21, 2011]</ref>}}<br/><br/>
 
   |Initiatives to block red-light cameras in [[Bellingham City Red Light Camera Question (November 2011)|Bellingham]], [[Longview City Red Light Camera Advisory Question (November 2011)|Longview]], and [[Monroe City Traffic Light Camera Question (November 2011)|Monroe]] were all resoundingly affirmed by voters on November 8, passing with 65%, 59%, and 68%, respectively. However, each of the proposed laws was ultimately relegated to advisory status by the courts. Proponents will have to wait to see whether local leaders will take action on the measures.<ref>[http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Nov11/112111/112111-02.shtml ''Landline Magazine,'' "Washington cities say ‘nay’ to ticket cameras," November 21, 2011]</ref>}}<br/><br/>
  
 
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   |title=&nbsp;Ohio redistricting referendum ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Ohio redistricting referendum ruling
 
   |On October 14, The [[Judgepedia:Ohio Supreme Court|Ohio Supreme Court]] issued a unanimous decision allowing the [[Ohio Redistricting Map Veto Referendum (2012)|referendum]] against [[Redistricting in Ohio|Ohio's congressional redistricting]] maps to proceed. Despite the GOP's 6-1 advantage on the court, defenders of the Republican-drawn congressional map could not sway the justices. The [[Article II, Ohio Constitution#Section 1c|Ohio Constitution]] prohibits referendums against "appropriations for the current expenses of the state government." However, the court found that the redistricting legislation's $2.75 million appropriation, designated for local election officials to implement the new map, does not fund current expenses and, thus, does not exempt the bill from referendum. If the referendum gathers enough signatures, the new redistricting plan will be suspended until voters weigh in. This would create significant confusion as courts and lawmakers struggle to choose a new plan as the elections approach.<ref>[http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111015/NEWS01/110160322&Ref=AR ''Cincinnati.com,'' "Court ruling throws 2012 elections into chaos," October 16, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/10/16/ohio-faces-another-referendum-on-election-law/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ohio Faces Another Referendum on Election Law," October 16, 2011]</ref>
 
   |On October 14, The [[Judgepedia:Ohio Supreme Court|Ohio Supreme Court]] issued a unanimous decision allowing the [[Ohio Redistricting Map Veto Referendum (2012)|referendum]] against [[Redistricting in Ohio|Ohio's congressional redistricting]] maps to proceed. Despite the GOP's 6-1 advantage on the court, defenders of the Republican-drawn congressional map could not sway the justices. The [[Article II, Ohio Constitution#Section 1c|Ohio Constitution]] prohibits referendums against "appropriations for the current expenses of the state government." However, the court found that the redistricting legislation's $2.75 million appropriation, designated for local election officials to implement the new map, does not fund current expenses and, thus, does not exempt the bill from referendum. If the referendum gathers enough signatures, the new redistricting plan will be suspended until voters weigh in. This would create significant confusion as courts and lawmakers struggle to choose a new plan as the elections approach.<ref>[http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111015/NEWS01/110160322&Ref=AR ''Cincinnati.com,'' "Court ruling throws 2012 elections into chaos," October 16, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/10/16/ohio-faces-another-referendum-on-election-law/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ohio Faces Another Referendum on Election Law," October 16, 2011]</ref>
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   |title=&nbsp;Florida Amendment 6 ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Florida Amendment 6 ruling
 
   |On September 9, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro rejected a lawsuit filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart against [[Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)|Amendment 6]]. Publically, Brown and Diaz-Balart have argued that it would hinder the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. During oral arguments last week, their attornies argued that the fair redistricting amendment unconstitutionally curtails the [[Florida State Legislature|Legislature's]] authority under the [[wikipedia:Article One of the United States Constitution#Section 4: Congressional elections|Elections Clause]] and attempts to dictate election outcomes.<ref>[http://www.flcourier.com/flnation/6288-path-not-taken-for-redistricting-suits-voting-rights ''Florida Courier,'' "Path not taken for redistricting suits, voting rights," September 12, 2011]</ref> However, in her [http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/2011-09-09-ACLUFairDistrictsOrder.pdf 22-page opinion], Judge Ungaro ultimately found that the amendment was a "valid regulation of the legislative process under the Elections Clause." An appeal has been promised.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/09/09/u-s-district-court-upholds-florida-initiative-telling-legislature-that-redistricting-must-be-non-partisan/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "U.S. District Court Upholds Florida Initiative Telling Legislature that Redistricting Must be Non-Partisan," September 9, 2011]</ref> [[Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)|Amendment 6]] has been tied up in legal challenges since voters approved it on November 3, 2010. The Amendment established new guidelines for [[Redistricting in Florida|congressional redistricting]] in order to ensure fair districts that are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries.
 
   |On September 9, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro rejected a lawsuit filed by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart against [[Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)|Amendment 6]]. Publically, Brown and Diaz-Balart have argued that it would hinder the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice. During oral arguments last week, their attornies argued that the fair redistricting amendment unconstitutionally curtails the [[Florida State Legislature|Legislature's]] authority under the [[wikipedia:Article One of the United States Constitution#Section 4: Congressional elections|Elections Clause]] and attempts to dictate election outcomes.<ref>[http://www.flcourier.com/flnation/6288-path-not-taken-for-redistricting-suits-voting-rights ''Florida Courier,'' "Path not taken for redistricting suits, voting rights," September 12, 2011]</ref> However, in her [http://www.aclufl.org/pdfs/2011-09-09-ACLUFairDistrictsOrder.pdf 22-page opinion], Judge Ungaro ultimately found that the amendment was a "valid regulation of the legislative process under the Elections Clause." An appeal has been promised.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/09/09/u-s-district-court-upholds-florida-initiative-telling-legislature-that-redistricting-must-be-non-partisan/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "U.S. District Court Upholds Florida Initiative Telling Legislature that Redistricting Must be Non-Partisan," September 9, 2011]</ref> [[Florida Congressional District Boundaries, Amendment 6 (2010)|Amendment 6]] has been tied up in legal challenges since voters approved it on November 3, 2010. The Amendment established new guidelines for [[Redistricting in Florida|congressional redistricting]] in order to ensure fair districts that are "as equal in population as feasible" and use "city, county and geographical boundaries.
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   |title=&nbsp;California solicitation ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;California solicitation ruling
 
   |On September 16, the [[United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals]] has ruled that solicitation for "employment, business, or contributions" on public sidewalks and directed at motorists may not be the subject of a blanket ban.  In '' Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach'', the court ruled that the city’s ban was grounded in a legitimate interest in preventing traffic disruptions (e.g., motorists pulling over to transact business on a busy street), but technically prohibited many other forms of non-disruptive speech (e.g., fundraising car washes). The ruling could enhance protections for petitioners and others involved in political speech.  See also: ''[[Initiative & Referendum Institute v. United States Postal Service]]'' <ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/09/17/ninth-circuit-upholds-solicitation-on-public-sidewalks/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ninth Circuit Upholds Solicitation on Public Sidewalks," September 17, 2011]</ref>
 
   |On September 16, the [[United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals]] has ruled that solicitation for "employment, business, or contributions" on public sidewalks and directed at motorists may not be the subject of a blanket ban.  In '' Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach'', the court ruled that the city’s ban was grounded in a legitimate interest in preventing traffic disruptions (e.g., motorists pulling over to transact business on a busy street), but technically prohibited many other forms of non-disruptive speech (e.g., fundraising car washes). The ruling could enhance protections for petitioners and others involved in political speech.  See also: ''[[Initiative & Referendum Institute v. United States Postal Service]]'' <ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/09/17/ninth-circuit-upholds-solicitation-on-public-sidewalks/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ninth Circuit Upholds Solicitation on Public Sidewalks," September 17, 2011]</ref>
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   |title=&nbsp;Citizens in Charge v. Gale
 
   |title=&nbsp;Citizens in Charge v. Gale
 
   |On August 31, the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the District of Nebraska|US District Court for the District of Nebraska]] overturned Nebraska's [[residency requirement]]. Like several other states, Nebraska requires petition circulators to be registered voters and, thus, residents of the state. The law was passed in 2008 as [[Nebraska Legislative Bill 39 (2008)|Nebraska Legislative Bill 39]]. Plaintiffs argued that the rule, "reduces the pool of circulators" and places a severe burden on "new parties, candidates and issue campaigns."<ref name = cic2>[http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/2010-5-27-CitizensinChargevGale-Complaint.pdf ACLU Nebraska, Verified Complaint in Intervention, ''Citizens in Charge v. Gale'', December 16, 2009]</ref> In its decision, the court found:
 
   |On August 31, the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the District of Nebraska|US District Court for the District of Nebraska]] overturned Nebraska's [[residency requirement]]. Like several other states, Nebraska requires petition circulators to be registered voters and, thus, residents of the state. The law was passed in 2008 as [[Nebraska Legislative Bill 39 (2008)|Nebraska Legislative Bill 39]]. Plaintiffs argued that the rule, "reduces the pool of circulators" and places a severe burden on "new parties, candidates and issue campaigns."<ref name = cic2>[http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/2010-5-27-CitizensinChargevGale-Complaint.pdf ACLU Nebraska, Verified Complaint in Intervention, ''Citizens in Charge v. Gale'', December 16, 2009]</ref> In its decision, the court found:
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   |title=&nbsp;Bernbeck v. Gale
 
   |title=&nbsp;Bernbeck v. Gale
 
   |On August 31, the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the District of Nebraska|US District Court for the District of Nebraska]] also overturned Nebraska's [[residency requirement]] for local initiative sponsors, which requires that the cheif sponsors of any local measure reside in the municipality where the law is being proposed.  In explaining its decision, the court cited ''Lux v. Judd'', which in turn cites the ''[[Meyer v. Grant]]''.<ref name = memorandum>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/Bernbeck-Memorandum-and-Order.pdf United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, ''Bernbeck v. Gale'', Memorandum and Order, August 30, 2011]</ref> In ''Meyer,'' the [[judgepedia:United States Supreme Court|US Supreme Court]] found that:
 
   |On August 31, the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the District of Nebraska|US District Court for the District of Nebraska]] also overturned Nebraska's [[residency requirement]] for local initiative sponsors, which requires that the cheif sponsors of any local measure reside in the municipality where the law is being proposed.  In explaining its decision, the court cited ''Lux v. Judd'', which in turn cites the ''[[Meyer v. Grant]]''.<ref name = memorandum>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/Bernbeck-Memorandum-and-Order.pdf United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, ''Bernbeck v. Gale'', Memorandum and Order, August 30, 2011]</ref> In ''Meyer,'' the [[judgepedia:United States Supreme Court|US Supreme Court]] found that:
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   |title=&nbsp;Ohio Health Care Amd. signature ruling   
 
   |title=&nbsp;Ohio Health Care Amd. signature ruling   
 
   |On August 12, proponents of [[Ohio Health Care Amendment, Issue 3 (2011)|Ohio Issue 3]] won a significant legal battle in the [[judgepedia:Ohio Supreme Court|Ohio Supreme Court]]. The lawsuit, ''Rothenberg v Husted,'' challenged the validity of signatures for the measure based on disclosure requirements for paid petition circulators. The complaint argued that certain signatures gathered in favor of Issue 3 should not be counted since some paid circulators misidentified their employer (listing the initiative campaign rather than contracting company for which they work). In addition, opponents argued other signatures were invalid since some of the circulators failed to file a compensation statement. Ultimately, the court rejected these arguments, contending that circulator oversight did not invalidate the signatures and that only supervisors were required to file compensation statements. In addition, the court argued that the plaintiffs had failed to produce sufficient evidence that an insufficient number of signatures had been collected. In its [http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2011/2011-ohio-4003.pdf ruling on the case], the court noted, "this result is consistent with our duty to liberally construe the citizens’ right of initiative in favor of their exercise of this important right."<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/08/12/ohio-supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-statewide-initiative-petition/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Statewide Initiative Petition," August 12th, 2011]</ref>
 
   |On August 12, proponents of [[Ohio Health Care Amendment, Issue 3 (2011)|Ohio Issue 3]] won a significant legal battle in the [[judgepedia:Ohio Supreme Court|Ohio Supreme Court]]. The lawsuit, ''Rothenberg v Husted,'' challenged the validity of signatures for the measure based on disclosure requirements for paid petition circulators. The complaint argued that certain signatures gathered in favor of Issue 3 should not be counted since some paid circulators misidentified their employer (listing the initiative campaign rather than contracting company for which they work). In addition, opponents argued other signatures were invalid since some of the circulators failed to file a compensation statement. Ultimately, the court rejected these arguments, contending that circulator oversight did not invalidate the signatures and that only supervisors were required to file compensation statements. In addition, the court argued that the plaintiffs had failed to produce sufficient evidence that an insufficient number of signatures had been collected. In its [http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2011/2011-ohio-4003.pdf ruling on the case], the court noted, "this result is consistent with our duty to liberally construe the citizens’ right of initiative in favor of their exercise of this important right."<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/08/12/ohio-supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-statewide-initiative-petition/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Statewide Initiative Petition," August 12th, 2011]</ref>
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   |title=&nbsp;Washington recall ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Washington recall ruling
 
   |On July 15, a [[Judgepedia:Robert Bryan|US District Court in Washington]] overturned the state's cap on contributions to recall campaigns. The case began after two lawyers donated $20,000 in legal work to the campaign to recall the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, Dale Washam. In ''Farris v Seabrook'', opponents of the $800 cap argue that contributions to recall campaigns have more in common with contributions to initiatives than contributions to candidates.<ref name="PI"/><br>Under Washington law, contributions to ballot measure campaigns are not capped since ballot measures cannot become corrupt or trade special favors for contributions. Similarly, argued opponents, recall campaigns cannot corrupt an officeholder because they can only remove an existing official from office. Proponents of the cap argue that wealthy individuals could employ the threat of recall to improperly influence elected officials. Given a high signature requirement and mandatory judicial review of proposed recall campaigns, the judge sided with opponents, arguing that the restriction on political speech was not "closely drawn to match" a compelling state interest. Walsham appealed the case to the [[Washington Supreme Court|State Supreme Court]], but the ruling was upheld.<ref name="PI">[http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Judge-blocks-Wash-limit-on-recall-contributions-1468108.php ''Seattle PI,'' "Judge blocks Wash. limit on recall contributions," July 15, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/07/17/1747860/a-key-victory-for-washingtonians.html ''The News Tribune,'' "A key victory for Washingtonians' right to recall," July 17, 2011]</ref>  
 
   |On July 15, a [[Judgepedia:Robert Bryan|US District Court in Washington]] overturned the state's cap on contributions to recall campaigns. The case began after two lawyers donated $20,000 in legal work to the campaign to recall the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, Dale Washam. In ''Farris v Seabrook'', opponents of the $800 cap argue that contributions to recall campaigns have more in common with contributions to initiatives than contributions to candidates.<ref name="PI"/><br>Under Washington law, contributions to ballot measure campaigns are not capped since ballot measures cannot become corrupt or trade special favors for contributions. Similarly, argued opponents, recall campaigns cannot corrupt an officeholder because they can only remove an existing official from office. Proponents of the cap argue that wealthy individuals could employ the threat of recall to improperly influence elected officials. Given a high signature requirement and mandatory judicial review of proposed recall campaigns, the judge sided with opponents, arguing that the restriction on political speech was not "closely drawn to match" a compelling state interest. Walsham appealed the case to the [[Washington Supreme Court|State Supreme Court]], but the ruling was upheld.<ref name="PI">[http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Judge-blocks-Wash-limit-on-recall-contributions-1468108.php ''Seattle PI,'' "Judge blocks Wash. limit on recall contributions," July 15, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/07/17/1747860/a-key-victory-for-washingtonians.html ''The News Tribune,'' "A key victory for Washingtonians' right to recall," July 17, 2011]</ref>  
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   |title=&nbsp;California e-signature ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;California e-signature ruling
 
   |After hearing arguments in May, the [[Judgepedia:California First District Court of Appeal|California First District Court of Appeals]] issued a ruling on June 30 in ''Ni v Slocum'' which prohibits electronic signature collection in California. [http://verafirma.com/ Verafirma] founder Michael Ni filed the suit, challenging San Mateo County's rejection of an electronic signature in favor of [[California Proposition 19 (2010)|Proposition 19]]. However, in its decision, the court ruled that the term "affix," as used in California law, implies a physical signature.<ref>[http://www.metnews.com/articles/2011/nixx070511.htm ''Metropolitan News-Enterprise,'' "C.A. Rejects Bid to Count Online Signature on Initiative Petition," July 5, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/07/01/california-state-court-of-appeals-construes-election-code-to-bar-electronic-signatures-on-petitions/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "California State Court of Appeals Construes Election Code to Bar Electronic Signatures on Petitions," July 1, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/05/10/electronic-signatures-on-petitions-case-argued-in-california-state-court-of-appeals/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Electronic Signatures on Petitions Case Argued in California State Court of Appeals," May 10, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.mercurynews.com/internal-affairs/ci_18016761?source=rss&nclick_check=1 ''Mercury News,'' "Attention, voters. You better start practicing your e-signature," May 7, 2010]</ref>  
 
   |After hearing arguments in May, the [[Judgepedia:California First District Court of Appeal|California First District Court of Appeals]] issued a ruling on June 30 in ''Ni v Slocum'' which prohibits electronic signature collection in California. [http://verafirma.com/ Verafirma] founder Michael Ni filed the suit, challenging San Mateo County's rejection of an electronic signature in favor of [[California Proposition 19 (2010)|Proposition 19]]. However, in its decision, the court ruled that the term "affix," as used in California law, implies a physical signature.<ref>[http://www.metnews.com/articles/2011/nixx070511.htm ''Metropolitan News-Enterprise,'' "C.A. Rejects Bid to Count Online Signature on Initiative Petition," July 5, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/07/01/california-state-court-of-appeals-construes-election-code-to-bar-electronic-signatures-on-petitions/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "California State Court of Appeals Construes Election Code to Bar Electronic Signatures on Petitions," July 1, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/05/10/electronic-signatures-on-petitions-case-argued-in-california-state-court-of-appeals/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Electronic Signatures on Petitions Case Argued in California State Court of Appeals," May 10, 2011]</ref><ref>[http://www.mercurynews.com/internal-affairs/ci_18016761?source=rss&nclick_check=1 ''Mercury News,'' "Attention, voters. You better start practicing your e-signature," May 7, 2010]</ref>  
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   |title=&nbsp;California residency requirement ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;California residency requirement ruling
 
   |On February 4, a federal judge for the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the Central District of California|US District Court for the Central District of California]] declined to strike down California's [[Residency requirements for petition circulators|petition circulator residency requirement]]. While both parties agree that the law is unconstitutional, the court found that the plaintiffs did not have standing since the Secretary of State assured the court that the law will not be enforced.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/02/04/u-s-district-court-judge-refuses-to-strike-down-california-residency-requirement-for-circulators-on-standing-grounds/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "U.S. District Court Judge Refuses to Strike Down California Residency Requirement for Circulators, on Standing Grounds," February 4, 2011]</ref>  
 
   |On February 4, a federal judge for the [[judgepedia:United States District Court for the Central District of California|US District Court for the Central District of California]] declined to strike down California's [[Residency requirements for petition circulators|petition circulator residency requirement]]. While both parties agree that the law is unconstitutional, the court found that the plaintiffs did not have standing since the Secretary of State assured the court that the law will not be enforced.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/02/04/u-s-district-court-judge-refuses-to-strike-down-california-residency-requirement-for-circulators-on-standing-grounds/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "U.S. District Court Judge Refuses to Strike Down California Residency Requirement for Circulators, on Standing Grounds," February 4, 2011]</ref>  
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   |title=&nbsp;Washington public disclosure ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Washington public disclosure ruling
 
   |On February 22, 2011, the [[judgepedia:Supreme Court of the United States|US Supreme Court]] declined to review the case, upholding [[Washington|Washington State's]] requirement that organizations disclose donations of $25 or more given for or against a ballot proposition. The lawsuit against the state was brought by a pro-life organization seeking to overturn the state's assisted suicide initiative.<ref>[http://blogs.sos.wa.gov/FromOurCorner/index.php/2011/02/high-court-rejects-challenge-of-campaign-reporting-law/ ''Washington Office of the Secretary of State, Blog,'' "High court rejects challenge of campaign reporting law," February 22, 2011]</ref>}}<br/><br/>
 
   |On February 22, 2011, the [[judgepedia:Supreme Court of the United States|US Supreme Court]] declined to review the case, upholding [[Washington|Washington State's]] requirement that organizations disclose donations of $25 or more given for or against a ballot proposition. The lawsuit against the state was brought by a pro-life organization seeking to overturn the state's assisted suicide initiative.<ref>[http://blogs.sos.wa.gov/FromOurCorner/index.php/2011/02/high-court-rejects-challenge-of-campaign-reporting-law/ ''Washington Office of the Secretary of State, Blog,'' "High court rejects challenge of campaign reporting law," February 22, 2011]</ref>}}<br/><br/>
  
 
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   |title=&nbsp;Maryland signature ruling
 
   |title=&nbsp;Maryland signature ruling
 
   |The [[judgepedia:Maryland Court of Appeals|Maryland Court of Appeals]], the state's [[judgepedia:State Supreme Courts|supreme court]], ruled 5-2 on March 22 that illegible signatures can be valid. If the voter's printed name and address match his or her voter registration, then only the ''appearance'' of the voter's signature must match voter registration records.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/03/22/maryland-court-of-appeals-says-signatures-can-be-valid-even-when-signature-is-illegible/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Court rules signatures can be valid, even if illegible," March 22, 2011]</ref>  
 
   |The [[judgepedia:Maryland Court of Appeals|Maryland Court of Appeals]], the state's [[judgepedia:State Supreme Courts|supreme court]], ruled 5-2 on March 22 that illegible signatures can be valid. If the voter's printed name and address match his or her voter registration, then only the ''appearance'' of the voter's signature must match voter registration records.<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2011/03/22/maryland-court-of-appeals-says-signatures-can-be-valid-even-when-signature-is-illegible/ ''Ballot Access News,'' "Court rules signatures can be valid, even if illegible," March 22, 2011]</ref>  

Revision as of 17:42, 20 June 2012

December 28, 2011

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures

By Tyler Millhouse

In 2011, 254 laws were proposed in 41 states affecting the initiative and referendum process, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. For comparison, a total of 258 law were proposed in 40 states during 2010.[1]

The Citizens in Charge Foundation (CICF), a non-profit that promotes initiative and referendum rights, identifies proposed laws which either ease or tighten restrictions on ballot initiatives. In 2011, CICF identified 61 laws that make getting a measure on the ballot more difficult. Of these 61, seven passed. CICF also identified 44 laws that make the process easier. Of these 44, four passed.[2]

Overall, 2011 proved to be an exciting year for ballot measure law with many significant legal developments and proposed laws. Notably, lawmakers proposed 37 laws in 16 states to institute processes for recalling government officials. In 2010, only 27 proposals in 11 states were forwarded. In addition, lawmakers proposed 35 laws in 13 states to establish an initiative and referendum process--almost equal to 2010 levels. Of this year's many proposals to expand I&R rights, some have been carried over to 2012, but none were approved. 24 states currently allow residents to place measures on the ballot via initiative petition. For specific details on major legal developments this year, see our 2011 Year in Review below.

The Ballot Law Update is released on the last Wednesday of each month. The first update for 2012 will be released on January 25, 2012. Stay tuned to the Tuesday Count for weekly ballot law news.

Recent news

  • California Prop. 13 lawsuit: California Proposition 13 (1978) amended the state constitution to, among other things, require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature in order to increase revenues via a change in state taxes. This requirement has shaped California politics ever since, attracting both high praise and sharp criticism. Now, over 30 years after taking effect, a lawsuit challenging the lawsuit has been filed, arguing that the measure constitutes a revision to the state constitution rather than an amendment. The former only requires approval by a majority of voters, while the latter must first be referred to voters by a 2/3 vote of both legislative chambers. In Livermore v. Waite, the California Supreme Court defined a constitutional revision as a "change in the basic plan of California government." The lawsuit was filed by Charles Young, a former chancellor of UCLA represented by retired 9th Circuit Judge William A. Norris. The case will be heard by the California Supreme Court.[3]
  • Perry's complaint in the case can be found here.

Ballot Law Update: 2011 Year in Review

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Major legal decisions in 2011

See also: All legal news and court actions covered in 2011




























Major legal changes in 2011

See also: All approved and defeated bills in 2011

New laws

  • Utah Senate Bill 165 (2011): SB 165 changed the basis of Utah's signature requirements from the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election to the number of votes cast in the last presidential election. This will raise the number of signatures required. In addition, the bill bans electronic signatures for ballot initiatives.[29] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.
  • Arizona House Bill 2304: HB 2304 altered the state's requirements for petition circulators, eased third-party primary access, and clarified laws regarding wearing political apparel at polling places. With respect to initiatives, the law repealed the state's unconstitutional circulator residency requirement. However, it replaced this requirement with a requirement that out-of-state circulators register with the state.[30] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.
  • Florida House Bill 1355: HB 1355 contained extensive modifications to Florida's election laws. With respect to initiative and referendum, the bill cut the signature gathering period from 4 to 2 years. It also shortened the window for challenging legislatively-referred ballot questions.[31] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.

Notable vetoes

  • California Senate Bill 168 (2011): Vetoed (8/1/11)[32] SB 168 would have banned pay-per-signature in the State of California. Violation of the law would have constituted a misdemeanor offense. Current law does not prohibit the practice, but it does require that petition forms include a notice indicating that the circulator may or may not be a volunteer.[33]Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.
  • California Senate Bill 448: Vetoed (9/6/2011) SB 448 would have required paid petition circulators to wear a badge indicating that they are a paid employee. (Volunteer workers are not required to wear a badge.) Prior to an Assembly amendment, the bill also required volunteer petitioners to wear badges indicating their volunteer status. In addition, the earlier version required the badges to identify where in California the circulator is registered to vote. While the earlier version did not require the circulator to be registered, unregistered circulators would have been identified as "NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE." The bill's sponsor was Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D).[34] [35] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Reduces initiative rights.

See also

References

  1. NCSLnet, "Initiative & Referendum Legislation," accessed December 28, 2011
  2. This information is based on the final edition (September 14, 2011) of the CICF "Afternoon I&R Legislation Update"
  3. LA Times, "Newton: Could Prop. 13 fall?," December 26, 2011
  4. Ballot Access News, "Rick Perry Sues Virginia Over Circulator Residency Requirement," December 27, 2011
  5. Ballot Access News, "Rick Perry’s Virginia Petition Doesn’t Have Enough Valid Signatures," December 23, 2011
  6. Seattle Post Intelligencer, "9th Circuit says R-71 petitions can be released," November 17, 2011
  7. Talking Points Memo, "Anti-Gay Marriage Groups Lose Another Battle To Keep Supporters Secret," November 29, 2011
  8. Landline Magazine, "Washington cities say ‘nay’ to ticket cameras," November 21, 2011
  9. Cincinnati.com, "Court ruling throws 2012 elections into chaos," October 16, 2011
  10. Ballot Access News, "Ohio Faces Another Referendum on Election Law," October 16, 2011
  11. Florida Courier, "Path not taken for redistricting suits, voting rights," September 12, 2011
  12. Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Upholds Florida Initiative Telling Legislature that Redistricting Must be Non-Partisan," September 9, 2011
  13. Ballot Access News, "Ninth Circuit Upholds Solicitation on Public Sidewalks," September 17, 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 ACLU Nebraska, Verified Complaint in Intervention, Citizens in Charge v. Gale, December 16, 2009
  15. 15.0 15.1 United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Citizens in Charge v. Gale, Memorandum and Order, August 30, 2011
  16. United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Nader v. Blackwell
  17. 17.0 17.1 United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Bernbeck v. Gale, Memorandum and Order, August 30, 2011
  18. U.S. Supreme Court, Meyer v. Grant, June 6, 1988
  19. Ballot Access News, "Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Statewide Initiative Petition," August 12th, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1 Seattle PI, "Judge blocks Wash. limit on recall contributions," July 15, 2011
  21. The News Tribune, "A key victory for Washingtonians' right to recall," July 17, 2011
  22. Metropolitan News-Enterprise, "C.A. Rejects Bid to Count Online Signature on Initiative Petition," July 5, 2011
  23. Ballot Access News, "California State Court of Appeals Construes Election Code to Bar Electronic Signatures on Petitions," July 1, 2011
  24. Ballot Access News, "Electronic Signatures on Petitions Case Argued in California State Court of Appeals," May 10, 2011
  25. Mercury News, "Attention, voters. You better start practicing your e-signature," May 7, 2010
  26. Ballot Access News, "U.S. District Court Judge Refuses to Strike Down California Residency Requirement for Circulators, on Standing Grounds," February 4, 2011
  27. Washington Office of the Secretary of State, Blog, "High court rejects challenge of campaign reporting law," February 22, 2011
  28. Ballot Access News, "Court rules signatures can be valid, even if illegible," March 22, 2011
  29. Utah Senate Bill 165, as enrolled
  30. Ballot Access News, "Arizona Bill, Improving Ballot Access and Making Other Changes, Passes House Judiciary Committee," February 10, 2011
  31. Tampa Bay Online, "State law limits citizens' ability to get amendments on ballot," May 24, 2011
  32. California Senate Bill 168, Bill Documents
  33. Senate Bill 168, Bill information
  34. California Assembly Bill 448, Bill History
  35. California Assembly Bill 481, Bill History