OH Judge: 'I Don't Want to See Democracy Die in the Darkness'
In Ohio, Secretary of State Jon Husted's 11th hour directive that could cause legitimate provisional ballots to be thrown out is being challenged in a federal court by voting rights advocates. On Election Day, provisional ballots were cast by voters whose registration or identification was called into question for some reason when they went to the polls. Aftermultiplecourtsensured that early voting would remain intact in Ohio, despite Husted's efforts to restrict it, at 7pm on the Friday before voting began, Husted issued a directive that shifted the burden of correctly filling in a provisional ballot from the poll workers to the voters, and instructed officials to throw out any ballots with incorrect information.
On Wednesday, the day after Election Day, Husted sent his lawyers to US District Judge Algenon Marbley's court room once again. Arnold Epstein represented the state of Ohio, and was responsible for defending Husted's directive. The transcript shows that Judge Marbley challenged Epstein again and again over the directive:
THE COURT: It only became the voter's burden after the secretary declared it was the voter's burden and sent you in here to defend it. You haven't been able to show me any law that would justify that, nor have you shown me any facts that would require him to change it.
THE COURT: Show me where it's meant. Show me the legislative history. Show me the facts that the secretary used to make the decision to change this directive at seven o'clock on a Friday night on the eve of an election. I want to see it, and I want to see it now. Show it to me.
MR. EPSTEIN: Your Honor, I have no legislative history to present to the Court.
A ruling in this case is expected later today. Provisional ballots will be counted on November 17th in Ohio. Although the outcome of this election has already been decided, Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic argues that this court case matters in terms of having accurate data on the final popular vote count in Ohio for the 2012 election and it matters in terms of setting a legal precedent for future elections.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 08/13/12, 09/10/12, 10/08/12, 10/17/12, 11/07/12; Think Progress 11/03/12, The Atlantic 11/04/12, 11/08/12; Court Document 11/07/12
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .