Monday, February 20, 2017

Ravel resigns.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017


ted talk on how to get british young people to vote.


chart of partisanship in house and senate over time, by randall munroe.

“N.J. Dems want to push future presidents to do what Trump wouldn’t: Release tax returns”

 This proposal is probably unconstitutional. In Chandler Walker v Miller, the Supreme Court held that requiring a candidate to submit to a drug test violates the 4th Amendment. I think it would be the same here.

It might have a better chance if it were adopted as a party rule.

Monday, February 13, 2017


luther strange

Sunday, February 12, 2017


randy barnett on constitutional construction.

posted here because it's germane to the running dispute at the fec on what the appropriate role of the commissioners is. ann ravel v don mcghan, that i've blogged about before here.

to oversimplify, ravel's position is that the commission should ignore the constitution right up until a court orders them to stop. mcghan's posiution is that commission shoul refrain from violating the first amendment, as each commissioner understands it. barnett's post supports the gop side of that debate.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


16,000 Texans used the affidavit to vote, of 9 million voters. That's a significant data point if the case gos to the supreme court.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Voter ID law may be more expensive than budget allows

I was in st louis on the 8th but didn't get the newspaper so I'm just seeing this now.


27 people counts as massive. at least they are the right 27 people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Bopp in Texas. King Street Patriots case.  I have been surprised not to hear Bopp's name at least discussed for the Trump Administration. King Street is connected to True the Vote
I have not read the file on these cases so I express no opinion on the merits or likelihood of success.


the gipper turns 106 today

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Gorsuch is considered a reliable scalia replacement. but that won't be 100%.

one area where they likely differ is anonymity. scalia hated it.
in cases such as mcintyre, doe v reed, citizens united, he railed against it.
no reason to think goresuch shares this bias. we also don't know much about kagan or sotomayor's stance.
so a case that took on 'stand by your ad', for example, might have promise, but i lack the objectivity to make this assessment well. more generally, i think the court will now be more willing to protect against compelled speech.

I don't think Goresuch has had cases directly on point.
update: found one.

In a case about anonymity and the free expression rights of registered sex offenders and kidnappers,
Judge Gorsuch followed the distinctions of Victoria Buckley v ACLF (1999). In that case, which involved Coloradans petitioning for marijuana legalization, the court allowed disclosure (under Buckley v Valeo) but found a disclaimer - a mandatory nametag to be worn by petitioners - to be unconstitutional under McIntyre. Even Justice Scalia agreed.
Similarly Gorsuch's panel narrowed the statute to allow disclosure but not disclaimer.

Right now I'm having trouble sorting out how Scalia voted in ACLF.  https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/97-930.ZO.html,
It may not be as I remember it.
If I have it right, he joined the majority opinion and neither the cuncurrences or dissents, so he's the only one? who didnt write seperately (except kennedy?)

note to self: wikipedia doesnt have much on aclf.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Yesterday I walked into the bank and realized I didnt have my driver's license. I had it the day before.
Maybe somehow I left it at my mom's.

If it doesn't turn up, I'll be back in the hell of you can't get an ID without an ID. I should have made some backup plans while I still had it.

I will update this saga over time. Maybe it will turn up, maybe I have enough backup documents to replace it, but the for the moment I'm undocumented. I have about $150 in cash, and I'm worried about not being able to access the cash I have in the bank.

I've been though this before, including most of 2005, which is what caused me to become active fighting voter ID. Last May, I was prevented from voting for or against Trump in the primary because I won't show ID. I'm fairly confident that was an actionable violation of my civil rights, although I'm not sure I'll be able to find counsel to take the case.

i checked my records and i don't even have a photocopy of my driver's license.

Trump strikes a blow for civil liberties - in Germany.

[Eugene Volokh] ‘Germany will abolish law against insulting foreign heads of state’

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spicer: White House May Want a National Voter ID Law


Trump’s pick to defend civil rights has record of defending GOP voting laws

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article128528219.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, January 23, 2017

trump cuts funding for planned parenthood 100 million. good. but what i'm wondering is how this fits with AID v Open Society Institute (2013). What makes this an election law related post is that the AID case supports disclaimer statutes being unconstitutional.



i'm confident hasen covered this 6 or 7 hours ago. i've been in meetings or traffic all day and i'm just catching up.

oh! hasen's coverage is more interesting, discusses the chief's entry suggesting later review once he has 5 votes lined up. a case to watch, if one is patient. http://electionlawblog.org/?p=90590
so the case is far from over.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump sworn in, and maybe sworn at. Hasen headline: "It begins."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

There are now 9 amici briefs in support of the Independence Institute case, which was relisted again this week.
I think chances of this case getting heard are growing.
I still don't see where the 5th vote comes from.
I guess the assumption is that the new Trump justice will participate.
That might depend on whether the first Trump nominee gets confirmed, how long that takes, and such factors. Trump gets sworn in tomorrow, and is expected to name someone within a few weeks.
He won't necessarily go with someone from his short list.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017


No voter ID, no sex, urges Kenyan MP

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


pro voter ID student editoial.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2015 Lewis Black, Dick Gregory, etc. celebrating the Bill of Rights.
My cousin Tom cast his first vote for Dick Gregory, which I think was in 1972.


Martin Luther King III proposes making passport cards free so that Americans can get voter ID.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fraudulent fraud squad:


“First New Yorker prosecuted for voter fraud since 1873 exonerated in 20-year legal battle”

I don't know if the article is right that there have only been two voter fraud prosecutions in New York since 1873. But both of those were bogus.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

what's going on with frank v walker, the WI voter ID case?
the 7th circuit has canceled oral argument. wonder why.

Another section 2 case on at-large voting for city council, this one in Michigan.
At large voting best accommodates minority interests, as long as it is structured as one person one vote. Voting by district is the first-past the post system which tends to be majoritarian.
Segregated housing patterns can lead to African-American representation in districts where they are the majority, or leading plurality, but a town that is 20% black, or latino, or whatever voting bloc, has a better chance of electing one member at large. The focus of these lawsuits should not be to change to districts, but to make sure the at-large voting is properly structured, and does not use a "one person five votes" type  system which lets a majority voting bloc exclude other viewpoints.

Update January 12: 
I have now read a just-filed amicus by some law professors, Eric Jaffe as counsel for folks like Nadine Strossen and Juan Non-Volokh.
It's a well-written brief that points out, this is an appeal from a 3 judge court, not a petition for cert.
That enhances the chances it will get heard. It focuses on the importance of anonymity, and cites twice from Easterbrook's dubitante opinion in my case, Majors v Abell.

I now have a better view of II's litigation strategy. They have been spending time and money to lose this case, and similar cases, in the court below, in order to tee up a situation like this, where there is a decent chance the court will take it. II is a big-picture kind of institute; they have expertise, for example, in constitutional conventions, and their work has been cited on some rather obscure clauses of the constitution.  

 They got lucky, perhaps, with the biggest enemy of anonymous speech, Justice Scalia, no longer on the court. I remain unsure if a new Trump justice would be likely to participate; that seems unlikely.
A 4-4 split would not help them because they lost below. One should not assume we know where Sotomayor or Kagan stand on these issues, but I'm still not seeing where a 5th vote comes from, even if they could pick up both Kennedy and Roberts.

So this could end being a landmark case that overthrows Buckley v Valeo, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. What it might do is clarify, or further muddle, some of the issues with anonymity which are currently indeterminate as a result of Citizens United. I do not think it is the best case for doing so.

I'd rather have seen a disclaimer case, not a disclosure case, raise these issues. But what we might get is a tightening of the Valeo standard, which is unduly permissive. Perhaps, for example, the court will prefer something like the Anderson test, which used to be a ballot access standard, until Crawford applied it more generally to election cases.

It is possible the court will treat this as another opportunity to discuss the express v implied advocacy standard created by Valeo. I would not be surprised to see an amicus from James Bopp. That approach lost in McConnell and Citizens United, but might do ok here. I'm not a fan of the distinction; if any speech demands full First Amendment as core speech, it's express advocacy.

A likely outcome, if the case gets heard, will be no clear majority opinion, but a bunch of partial concurrences and dissents, as in Buckley v ACLF.

Is cert likely in Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission?\
I mean is the court like to fully hear the appeal, rather than summarily affirm.
The case documents are collected http://www.campaignfreedom.org/litigation/current-litigation/independence-institute-v-fec/.

I am a fellow traveler of I I in most of its projects. The place I used to stay in Denver across the street from them is now closed, condemned by the local zoning authorities, but I am still familiar with their location and agenda. I was offered a chance to work on this project as an intern, but wasn't interested. I didn't see any likely path to victory for them in their campaign finance cases.  They seem to want to overturn the parts of Valeo that authorized disclosure. I don't see even 4 votes for that at the moment. I will assume a fifth vote from whoever Trump eventually gets confirmed. But it's not clear the case would be argued with the 5th member. 

I don't think the groundwork has been laid. 

I will want to take a look at the new amicus brief in the case, which I have not yet read, and will plan to expand on these remarks later. There is lower hanging fruit that I I could be going after, such as Colorado's disclaimer regulations. They seem to be spending time and money and effort to get a case to the supreme court that is most likely to lose. Granted, I am not always right about what the court will do in such cases, and if they win that could be big, if they get a majority opinion to agree to reverse Valeo. That might happen in my lifetime, but I don't see this case doing it.


The Philanthropy brief focuses on the chilling effects to charitable giving if donors must be disclosed,

and the remoteness to state interests in regulating electoral advocacy, since 501c3's are prohibited from electioneering. 

Friday, December 30, 2016


more election fraud in texas

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A 27-year-old Grand Haven man was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and 18 months probation for election fraud he committed while trying to help a local attorney get his name on the ballot for a 2012 election. Brandon Michael Hall expressed his apologies before sentencing, and then was taken directly to a holding cell to be transferred to the Ottawa County Jail.

Disclaimer: I may or may not in the future be representing Hall in another matter.

note to self: he probably won't have email for 30 days so i should write to him on paper.
Inmate Name
Ottawa County Jail
12130 Fillmore St.
West Olive, MI 49460


this post is an update to http://ballots.blogspot.com/2016/12/httpwww_4.html

Wednesday, December 28, 2016



                                               sir eric pickles, voter ID proponent.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Sunday, December 25, 2016

The recent election was a case of a former senator, Clinton, and a sitting senator, Kaine, running against a non-politician and a sitting governor. Senators like to run for president but rarely win.
Obama-Biden was a notable exception. JFK-LBJ is another, Nixon.
Senators who have lost include McCain, Dole, McGovern, Humphrey.


Friday, December 23, 2016


Detailed article on N Carolina shenanigans.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


California as a bunch of new statutes including some on elections.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I find myself unable to find any results for new york that list the working families, women's equality, conservative, and independent parties. they cross-nominated hillary, trump, and gary johnson respectively.

ah here it is http://nyenr.elections.state.ny.us/

Hillary Clinton / Tim KaineDEM.55.63 %3,986,948.57.89 %4,149,500WOR.1.82 %130,245   WEP0.45 %32,307   Donald J. Trump / Michael R. PenceREP.33.04 %2,368,033.36.83 %2,639,994CON.3.79 %271,961   Jill Stein / Ajamu BarakaGRE.1.40 %100,110.1.40 %100,110Gary Johnson / Bill WeldIND.1.53 %109,965.1.53 %109,965Gary Johnson / Bill WeldLBT0.73 %52,3080.73 %52,308Blank0.67 %48,0980.67 %48,098Void0.09 %6,3240.09 %6,324Write-in0.85 %61,2410.85 %61,241Total Votes7,167,540

I don't seem to be able to fix the formating easily.

Hillary Clinton / Tim Kaine DEM . 55.63 % 3,986,948 . 57.89 % 4,149,500 WOR . 1.82 % 130,245
WEP 0.45 % 32,307
Donald J. Trump / Michael R. Pence REP . 33.04 % 2,368,033 . 36.83 % 2,639,994 CON . 3.79 % 271,961
Jill Stein / Ajamu Baraka GRE . 1.40 % 100,110 . 1.40 % 100,110 Gary Johnson / Bill Weld IND . 1.53 % 109,965 . 1.53 % 109,965 Gary Johnson / Bill Weld LBT 0.73 % 52,308 0.73 % 52,308 Blank 0.67 % 48,098 0.67 % 48,098 Void 0.09 % 6,324 0.09 % 6,324 Write-in 0.85 % 61,241 0.85 % 61,241 Total Votes 7,167,540

So Trump got 272,000 votes as the Conservative party candidate. 3.8% of new york voters.
That puts him somewhere with Rocky Fuentes nationally.

Gary Johnson did twice as well on the Independence Party line as the Libertarian line.
Votes for president don't count for ballot access; the LP needs 50,000 votes for governor to put the LP on the ballot for all offices in New York State, which would next come up in 2018.

Minnesota elector Muhammad Abdurrahman also attempted to back Sanders but he was quickly replaced under a similar Minnesota law with an elector who voted for Clinton.
In Colorado, elector Micheal Baca — a leader of the anti-Trump Electoral College effort — was removed as he attempted to cast a vote for Kasich. He says he intends to fight his removal and cast the vote as he intended.
Monday marked the first time any state laws that bind electors have been enforced. Though many have been on the books for decades, electors have nearly unanimously backed their party’s candidate throughout history — when there have been single stray votes in recent history, they’ve typically gone unchallenged and unenforced.

Monday, December 19, 2016


trump wins electoral college. clinton 2d, then 3 votes for colin powell, 1 for a  native american woman, Faith Spotted Eagle. 1 for ron paul. there was one vote for bernie but they called a revote and it went to clinton on the 2nd ballot. I don't know if that's a live controversy or is moot, although I don't expect it will be pursued.

I have now read two more electors tried to be faithless but were prevented, one in Colorado.
No details yet.

itory (Yankton Sioux) in Southeastern South Dakota. She is a fluent speaker of the Dakota Language and a member of the Ihanktonwan, although she descends from the Sicangu, Hunpati, Hunkpapa and Mdewakantonwan and has French/Irish blood through her grandmother Julia Deloria and John McBride. She has two children. Kip Spotted Eagle is a Dakota Language Instructor and Brook Spotted Eagle is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Washington in Cultural Anthropology. Her new grandson is Tokana Ikpanajin Spotted Eagle.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


senate map for 2018.

Friday, December 16, 2016

obama on between two ferns

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


gary johnson's lawyer. i heard she wrote a book on election law.

Just Pursuits: How to Run for Office Without Getting Sued, Prosecuted, Audited, Fined, Or Taken Off the Ballot



it doesn't seem to be on amazon or any of the usual places.


Michigan's voter ID bill, which passed the house, dies in senate. yay.

Trump approval ratings have risen to 50%. He's been acting presidential, with fewer scandals per week than we expected.


4th circuit upholds virginia voter ID.


Trump and constitutional federalism.

   Liberal Democrats, and even some conservative Republicans, are worried about civil liberties under a Trump administration. The GOP controls the house and senate, and is more polarized than it used to be. Senator Sessions will head the Justice Department. Trump will soon nominate a 5th supreme court judge to the Roberts majority. That's an oversimplification, but a useful one. Over 4 years, Trump will fill numerous vacancies on lower courts.  So it's not going to be a receptive time in federal courts for much of the liberal agenda. What to do?

I am reminded of Justice Brennan's response to Reagan and the Rehnquist court. He wrote a strongly influential article on state constitutions as an alternate path for civil liberties decisions. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1340334

There are several factors that come into play which can lead to different results on state claims than on federal claims. These include text, staffing, and case law, at least.

Text: State constitutions often set out rights with no direct or exact federal analog. For example, the Missouri constitution, like most states, has a right to free and open elections. In Weinshenck, the Missouri Supreme Court, dominated by Republicans, found that voter ID would violate that right.

Staffing: Following Mn GOP v White, we've seen more outside money spent on partisan ideological state supreme court races. None the less, the judicial branches are less republican that state legislatures, and a bit more isolated from political pressures. While the US Supreme Court is going to have a 5 vote Roberts-led majority on many issues, some states will offer a friendlier forum.

Case law: New York has fusion, a form of multi-party democracy, because of an old case which has been treated as Stare Decisis. Indiana gives cars some of the same protection as houses, under its search and seizure clause, even though the text of section 11 is the same as the 4th Amendment.
Election lawyers should get to know their state's case law, and look for opportunities to apply those to current issues.

Under dual federalism, part of the system of checks and balances, state constitutions offer a second bite of the apple. An issue, say partisan gerrymandering, may have been litigated and lost in federal courts. The issue could still be litigated in state courts under state clauses, cases, and judges. Usually state courts will be persuaded by federal decisions, but not always.

Gerrymandering, voter ID, election contests, campaign finance, and election speech cases are a few of the topics that could be addressed at the state constitutional level. One approach is to go right for a knockout; take on the most important issues as quickly as possible. Another approach is to gradually build a body of precedent, by identifying winnable cases, bringing them under state constitutions, well briefed and well-argued.

Thurgood Marshall for the NAACP built up a body of precedent over time, involving voting rights for blacks. So did Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in cases about equal treatment for the sexes.

Right now there are dozens or thousands of skilled lawyers who suddenly find themselves not employed in a Clinton administration. Perhaps a few of them could look into planning, funding,and beginning a campaign of litigating voting rights issues under state constitutions.

volokh's academic legal writing text. i have misplaced my copy somewhere.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Libertarian Party of New Hampshire loses ballot access suit at First Circuit. Seems to be a rational basis review, which strikes me as wrong, but I have not yet read it. I got interested in election law many years ago as a result of being interested in LP ballot access cases, and thought I'd be involved with them, but I haven't been.

I have now (a few hours later) read the case. It relies mostly on Jenness v Fortson,  but also discusses Anderson v Celebrezze, so it is not clearly in error. It treats the case as a facial challenge which under Salerno, Washington State Grange and Crawford is a high hurdle. The party should have gone with an as-applied challenge.

I will see what Richard Winger has to say.

Monday, December 12, 2016

biden comments on the election season. just fluff, nothing substantive or election law related,
but i'm tracking biden more closely now.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

“Eighteen thousand people voted through signing an affidavit this election according to the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State said there was no fraud,” Singh said. “Republicans wanted to make it harder for more people to vote. They want to disenfranchise those 18,000 citizens, who are mostly senior citizens or those living in poverty.”

$10 million price tag for useless Michigan voter ID bills, not counting costs of lawsuits.

How will McGahn view his new role? Service as White House counsel is not a quest to unearth clever legal loopholes. It requires viewing public office as a public trust, where officeholders aspire to the highest ethical standards, regardless of what they think they might get away with.

In this Washpo advertorial, FEC Commissioner Weintraub explains why McGahn is an excellent choice for White House counsel, and she herself is unfit to hold public office. Here's the key:

It is the role of commissioners to enforce laws adopted by Congress, unless and until they are struck down by the courts. But McGahn substituted his own view of the Constitution. As he once boasted, “I’m not enforcing the law as Congress passed it. I plead guilty as charged.”

This is an admission of dereliction of duty by Weintraub. Every government employee, every lawyer and soldier, swears to uphold the constitution.
Nothing in that oath says to wait years or centuries until the courts have acted.
Courts only take the cases brought to them, and even then cases take a long time to resolve, but government censorship of political speech, of the sort Weintraub excels at, does immediate and irreparable harm to First Amendment interests.
She's not just asleep at the wheel, she's proud of it.

Under the separation of powers, courts have in important role in resolving legitimate disagreements about what the constitution requires. But courts cannot possibly hope to do the job of defending the constitution if congress and millions of bureaucrats like Weintraub ignore their promise to respect and follow the constitution. The FEC is a quasi-independent agency, and Trump cannot simply replace her. But the Democratic leadership can and should, or show theemselves to be as moraally bankrupt as she is. Three cheers for Don MacGhan. Trump is well served to have him as counsel.  Frankly, during his campaign, I regarded Mr. Trump as  a clown. But his choices of staff so far suggest he may be a genuine constitutional conservative, of the sort we haven't seen since Reagan. Reagan had contradictions of his own, and his actions didn't always match the rhetoric. trump worries me on many levels, but at this point I view him with guarded optimism.

Friday, December 09, 2016


Politifact Rates as “False” Claim 300,000 Voters Turned Away in Wisconsin for Lacking ID

I don't have time right now to do a full column on this issue. I am on the road somewhere in Kansas trying to get to Indiana by tomorrow night's bert kreischer show. But this situation has been bugging me for a few days.

No one is claiming 300,000 Wisconsin voters literally went to the polling places and were physically turned away. The claim, for anyone at all familiar with the facts, is that Wisconsin's ID rules worked as intended, to place an obstacle between voters and the voting booths, for a large number of Wisconsinites.

The 300,000 number is somewhat overstated. There are, no doubt, a few voters who do not have driver's licenses, but do have passports. Some of the excluded have taken advantage of new rules imposed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court so that they could now get IDs without fees.
At least dozens have taken advantage of new Wisconsin rules for getting a temporary voter ID as a result of the Frank v Walker rulings,and the administrative response.

Nonetheless, voter ID in Wisconsin is still an obstacle for many. We do not have an exact count. While some of the 300,000 may now have ID, 300,000 could have been an undercount of the problem to begin with.

The number of Wisconsin residents who did go, tried to vote, but had their provisional ballots not counted, is only a few hundred. I will have to look up whether it was 599 or some other number; I blogged about it at the time. But this does not count the non-zero numbers of people who went to vote, had no ID or chose not show ID, and were turned away. That Wisconsin keeps no count of these incidents is a problem, is a threat to the integrity of the election process. 
  A much larger number is those people who would have wanted to vote, but wisely chose to stay home, knowing it would be futile to try to vote if they did not have ID or would not show ID.
There are many practical or principled reasons to not show ID, which for some people outweigh the importance of voting.
A still larger number is people in Wisconsin who didn't vote and wouldn't have voted anyway. But one thing the Trump election has shown is that we can't always predict who will and won't vote.
Trumps' margin of victory was the unlikely voters, many of them rural whites who hadn't voted in years.
Voter ID infringes on the rights of millions of people, in multiple ways. Most of them don't care, many won't even notice. Others grumble but put up with it.  Critics of voter ID as correct to say that voter ID posed an obstacle for many.  

So the claim that 300,000 people were turned away is approximately true, but only if correctly understood as a figurative claim, rather than hyper-technically interpreted as a literal claim.
In the same way, President-to-be Trump made a number of claims on the campaign trail that are best understood as figurative rather than literal.

I am a person who has been literally turned away from the polls for declining to show ID. This happened to me twice in the early voting line at Indianapolis City Hall at the general election in 2016, and twice at my local precinct at the 2016 primary. http://www.youtube.com/arbivark. Most of the people in Indiana who go to try to vote without ID get turned away, and no record is kept, and election officials go to great lengths to pretend this doesn't happen. My guess is that this also happens in Wisconsin.   

Sunday, December 04, 2016


meanwhile he's not sentenced yet, up to 5 years. not first offense high profile case. His sentencing hearing will take place on December 27th.

I found more information on the Michigan disclaimer conviction I've been looking for.

Roughly 500 postcards were sent out prior to the city’s election last week, which called out Grand Haven City Council candidates Mike Cramer and John Hierholzer, and supported candidate Josh Brugger.
Brugger, one of the two winners of last week’s election, is trying to make sure residents know he didn’t support the mailings. He’s filed a complaint with the state regarding the postcards.
The mailers, sent by Brandon Hall’s Save the Grand Haven Cross and Nativity Political Action Committee, featured messages that gave reasons why people shouldn’t vote for incumbent candidate Hierholzer and challenger Cramer.... Brugger alleges that that the postcards did not include the required disclaimer that states they weren’t “authorized by any candidate committee," as required by section 47, subsection 1, of the state act. The cards also failed to include the required statement, "with regulated funds," as required by section 47, subsection 4, of the act, he noted.

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Brugger_v_Save_the_Grand_Haven_Cross_and_Nativity_PAC_516037_7.pdf  Letter from the state to Hall.

The Michigan Secretary of State also found last month [march 2016] that Hall violated campaign finance laws by neglecting to include required disclaimers on postcards mailed during the Grand Haven city council election last year, according to the news site. Mlive. http://eagnews.org/school-board-member-convicted-of-stealing-from-cancer-fundraiser-to-run-for-state-office/

11/28/2015Brugger v Save the Grand Haven Cross and Nativity PAC47Yes
SOS web site only shows the allegation, not how it was resolved.Oh wait there's more, it has the complaint and maybe reolution, checking now.

Disposition: They sent a warning letter and closed the case. That was earlier this year, so within statute of limitations for civil rights action.

It turns out there are many more examples of the Secretary of State sending threatening letters to people whio engage in political speech.

I had thought one of the article said Brandon Hall had been convicted on the disclaimer issue. He merely received a warning letter. So I'll want to review whether that was my mistake or their mistake.
in his criminal case, it went to the michigan supreme court on the issue of whether it was a misdeameanor of felony, they said felony.

His attorney, Anna White,... http://hannpersinger.com/attorneys/anna-c-white/

http://www.grandhaventribune.com/frontpage/2015/01/10/Petition-targets-city-councilman-over-Dewey-Hill-vote.html?ci=content&lp=13&p=1 filed a recall petition against somebody who voted the wrong way on his issue. the guy's a bit nuts, but i like him.

Andy Horning got 4.6%, 13,600 votes, in his race for 8th disrict congress in Indiana.

Friday, December 02, 2016


Strict Voter ID headed to Michigan.

I think the bill as written, if the article correctly summarizes the bill, has a constitutional problem.
A person who would have to pay a fee or has a religious objection to being photographed can vote provisionally via affidavit, but they have to go to the county clerk's office to do the affidavit, amking an extra trip to vote. That's administratively more convenient for the county, because they don't have to stock the affidavits at each precinct and train staff. But generally, administrative convenience isn't enough justification for such a burden on fundamental voting rights.

Harman v Forssenius finds that under the 24th Amendment, it's not just that the state can't impose poll taxes, it's also that the state can't erect barriers to voting by adding unneeded layers of paperwork.

In Frank v Walker, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found that requiring voters to buy documents, such a birth certificate, would raise poll tax issues and be unconstitutional, so they construed the statute to avoid that. Here, Michigan would be making some people make two trips to vote instead of one.
Indiana lets the voter fill out the affidavit at the polling place.
(The affidavit option does not cover my case; I'm not claiming to be religious or indigent, I'm just unwilling to show ID.)
It seems to me Michigan would be creating a barrier that raises a 24th Amendment claim.

Similarly there are First Amendment and equal protection problems. Assuming the Anderson test is used, a court would have to balance the burden of the extra trip against the convenience to the state.
Courts in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, at least, have been skeptical of such arrangments. I am unclear on the current status of Applewhite, the PA case.

My prediction is that the litigation costs for Michigan to go this route could be better spent on combating voter fraud via traditional police work - warrants, probable cause, rewards, informants,and that sort of thing. Unless the goal is just voter supression.

To do: It occurs to me I need to send  the Indiana Election Division a copy of the county's response to my tort claim about their refusal to issue provisional ballots in the primary.
Because the county isn't following state law,and the state may have converns about that.

Paul Jacob on freedom to lobby. http://townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/2016/10/02/showme-human-rights-n2226594. I first heard of Paul Jacob in 1980, and he's continued to be an effective voice for liberty. My mother was a citizen-lobbyist like Calzone, the guy in this case, but she chose to register as a lobbyist, although she wouldn't have had to.

Oral arument transcript in Independence Istitute v FEC,
via Bob Bauer.
Some of the older case documents are here, http://www.campaignfreedom.org/litigation/current-litigation/independence-institute-v-fec/, if that's the same case, but I havent found the november 3 decision yet.
https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/3181490/independence-institute-v-fec/ is the March opinion.
http://www.fec.gov/pages/fecrecord/2016/december/indinstvfecdct.shtml Here is the FEC's summary of the decision.

I interviewed with I I a year ago spring, and am generally sympathetic with their policy choices, but I don't understand their litigation strategy in these disclosure cases. I think they've lost 3 of them now.
Maybe they are playing some really long game, trying to tee up one of these cases before the Supreme Court, and get it to rethink the whole Buckley v. Valeo framework of disclosure. Maybe they are simply confused between what they wish was the law, and what courts are actually going to agree with under current precedents.

The procedural issue back in March was whether, for a case this flimsy, there is a right to a 3 judge court. The DC circuit said there was. So now they got their day in court and lost on the merits, in an opinion I havent yet found online.

Justice Scalia was the foremost fan of disclosure on the court, and his absense will be reflected as cases of this sort get litigated. It remains to be seen who will replace him. Perhaps Mr. Trump will choose a movement conservative, as advised by his counsel McGahan, off his federalist society list, or perhaps he will choose a crony more willing to insulate elected officals from criticism. Too soon to tell.


In 2015, the Michigan Secretary of State ruled that Hall violated campaign finance law during a Grand Haven City Council election by omitting required disclaimers from a postcard mailing.

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