Friday, August 29, 2014

True the Vote loses

Gettysburg & Vicksburg. True the Vote & Chris McDaniel. Both suffered tremendous defeats today.  True the Vote lost in federal court today as Judge Nancy Atlas ruled that the National Voter Registration Act did not cover poll books while Chris McDaniel saw his election challenge thrown out because his legal team couldn't read a calendar.  True the Vote is a public interest organization that seeks to defend "election integrity".  True the Vote filed suit in federal court seeking access to unredacted copies of the poll books, absentee ballots, and other materials used in the recent Mississippi Senate elections.  


Judge Nancy Atlas ruled True the Vote could not use federal law to obtain access to the poll books used in the recent Republican primary Senate elections. Judge Atlas also denied the Republican Party's motion for sanctions against True the Vote. The Court ruled in favor of the Mississippi Republican Party and stated it was excused from the case (p.22).  However, Judge Atlas refused to dismiss the county defendants from the lawsuit as well as Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (p.29). 



The opinion is 90 pages.  Here is the part of the opinion (p.49) that will be the subject of interest for most readers as it concerns the examination of poll books:

Plaintiffs seek unredacted copies of poll books, contending that disclosure of these documents is required by the NVRA. Defendants contend poll books are not within the NVRA disclosure mandate and, alternatively, that poll books, if required to be disclosed under the NVRA, may be redacted to protect voters’ privacy interests in their birthdates (when accompanied with their names and current addresses). “[A] poll book is a list of those voters who are eligible to vote in a particular election who are all . . . on active status.” A separate poll book is printed for each voting precinct for each election approximately one week before an election. Poll books are generated from the electronically stored information on SEMS and contain each voter’s name, date of registration, voter registration number, current address, date of birth, and voting district.

Additionally, poll books contain “a number of blank columns for the dates of elections.” For the elections held in Mississippi in June 2014, the poll books contained columns both for the June 3rd primary and for the June 24th primary runoff elections. Inactive, pending, purged, and rejected status voters are not listed in poll books. Voters not listed in poll books may submit a paper “affidavit ballot.” Poll books thus are not precinct-specific subsets of the voter eligibility lists maintained by the State and the Counties through SEMS.

Plaintiffs’ focus for this NVRA challenge is the June 24, 2014 primary runoff election. Under Mississippi’s “open primary” system, voters do not register by party affiliation. Thus, on a primary election day, voters may vote in either party’s primary. At polling precincts, poll workers for the Republican primary and for the Democratic primary are each given an identical copy of the county poll book. If an individual votes in a particular election, a poll worker will mark “voted” in the poll book column relevant to that election. Voters do not sign poll books. If an Election Commissioner determines that a voter is “disqualified from voting, by reason of removal from the supervisor[’]s district, or other cause, that fact shall be noted on the registration book and his name shall be erased from [that precinct’s] pollbook.

The Court concludes that poll books are not subject to disclosure under the NVRA Public Disclosure Provision. Poll books do not reflect all voters eligible to vote on election day. Poll books list only active status voters, which is a subset of all registered and potentially eligible voters. Inactive and pending status voters, for example, may still vote in an election despite not being listed in a poll book. The fact that these voters voted in the election will not be recorded in a precinct’s poll book. Because poll books are only partial lists of eligible voters, they are not records that are reviewed to ensure the accuracy and currency of “official lists of eligible voters.” After an election, as in this case, poll books serve as a record of which active status voters voted in that election. Poll books are not used to update lists of eligible voters.154 Voter statuses do not change as a result of the State’s processing of poll books. Whether a voter in “active” status voted or failed to vote in a particular election does not affect that voter’s eligibility to vote in future elections.

Plaintiffs contend that poll books reflect whether an individual voted in a party’s primary and thus are necessary to ensure that certain voters do not illegally vote in the other party’s primary runoff election. Plaintiffs thus argue that even if poll books do not concern “the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters” regarding a primary or general election, poll books do concern the eligibility of voters for a primary runoff election. Plaintiffs point out that Mississippi’s open primary system permits a registered voter to vote in any party’s primary, but prohibits an individual who voted in one party’s primary from voting in the other party’s primary runoff.

The Court is unpersuaded by Plaintiffs’ argument. While poll books may be one of multiple bases to determine who is eligible to vote in a specific party’s primary runoff election, these books are not records used to ensure the accuracy and currency
of official lists of eligible voters.159 Because the NVRA Public Disclosure Provision concerns records regarding the registration and removal of voters from the Mississippi statewide voter roll (i.e., the “official list of eligible voters”), poll books do not fall within the ambit of the Public Disclosure Provision.
 The court also ruled (p.56) that absentee ballots and applications were not covered by the NVRA as well:

The NVRA Public Disclosure Provision does not encompass absentee ballot applications or absentee ballot envelopes. These documents neither concern voter registration nor are records concerning a program or activity to ensure the accuracy and currency of the voter roll. Absentee ballot applications are filled out by individuals already registered to vote in Mississippi. There is no evidence that these applications are used to update or maintain the voter roll. Similarly, an absentee ballot envelope, which contains only the voter’s affidavit, her signature, and the signature of a witness, is not used to ensure the accuracy or currency of the official voter roll. Instead, absentee ballot envelopes serve only as proof that a particular voter actually cast a ballot in an election. Because they are records of voting, not voter registration or removal, absentee ballot applications and envelopes are not within the NVRA Public Disclosure Provision


23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great day. The really really bad guys lost, twice. Congrats to all the Cochran lawyers and to Mike Wallace here for the GOP.

Anonymous said...

No surprise - but we can all thank the Almighty that Judge Atlas understands how to read the law (both federal and state) and understand that these Chris McDaniel crazies are idiots!

To try to use NRVA as an access point to find the few needles in the big haystacks, through an intermediatery (yes, Chris didn't get here except because of the several intermediateries that poured millions of dollars into his hocus-pocus) was a foolish move by the TTV crazies.

Not surprised, but glad to know that there are a few (retired) judges on the 5th Circuit that can totally see b/s when it is spread out in front of them.

Kingfish said...

Englebrecht was literally one of the most clueless people I've ever seen in a courtroom. Thats what you get for tying up with Gregg Philips.

Anonymous said...

That was one hell of an opinion she wrote.

Anonymous said...

Englebrecht being clueless???

Only earlier today there were two of his todies on your site telling us what an absolute perfect public servent Dilbert was. How he was the 'best ever'. How no one ever has been better than "dilbert' in running his office.

Time for his staff (yes, Dougie, and Drewie yall go back to your cages) - and let those that know what its really like over on George Street. Oh, oh, that's right - yall have moved to the towers. How did that work out for the staff with the new key-card entrance?

Want to put out any more statements on what the law says about voting? About affidavits? About poll workers? Come on toddies - tell us what Dilbert thinks the law is ' according to the king'.!

Anonymous said...

11:52. On target. You are going to be accused of being someone who you aren't. Dilbert - nor his toadies Dougie and Drewie - don't realize how many folks around the state understand how incompetent he or the staff at George (or new digs at Capitol Towers that have appropriate key cards) really are screwed up.

Elections division? Joke if there ever was one. How many directors since Dilbert became king? How much experience did Ms. Kim have becoming ASOS? Ever read the election code? Ever given the same opinion twice in the same day?

Saying this is a 'competent office' - much less one of the most competent - is the best joke of the day.

Anonymous said...

Wise Carter did a great job for the GOP.

Gotta Wind Down said...

What the fark will Kingfish do now? We've been inundated with this crap day and night on sixteen threads, for six months!

My guess? Kingfish will either take his contributions and head to Destin for three weeks or will take a relaxin' float trip UP the Big Black with Kangaroo.

Anonymous said...

Don't talk about Delbert's key-card access to offices. He might take away more money from those who didn't "swipe in" at 8:00 am.

Someone needs to slap him with wet noodles for doing that to people. I mean, really? These people are salaried employees.

Charles Reid said...

Double whammy for McDaniel election challenge. Special Mississippi Trial Judge throws election challenge out as untimely filed. Federal Judge rules against True the Vote getting voters' personal information including birth dates.
McDaniel's election challenge is now on life support.

Anonymous said...

I'm very disappointed that the GOP wasn't granted sanctions.

I had hoped Judge Atlas would have had the courage to discourage these sorts of frivolous law suits.

Both TTV and the Tyner/McDaniel suits were without legal merit and both judges should have plainly said so and sanctioned the attorneys!

It's past time the legal profession started policing it's own ranks rather than looking the other way.

All of you wear blinders because a frivolous suit generates hours to be billed for at least two firms .The courts allow you to drag it out as well, is to increase revenues in the profession.

That the legal profession here in MS is incestuous because too many of you know one another and socialize and are thus afraid to rock boats is a corrupting factor.

Confidence in the rule law is a casualty. Justice is a casualty. And, once all faith in the system is lost, our nation will crumble.

Too many of you have lost sight of the role of law in civilization. " First we kill all the lawyers" is the line of a character planning anarchy! Y'all are killing yourselves! No murders are needed!



Anonymous said...

To the one person who posted at 11:52, 12:11, and 6:61 - Delbert has been right about the law more times than you have picked your nose.


I've read everything Tom Freeland, John Pittman Hey, and Kingfish (the non-lawyer, no offense) have written, but Delbert doesn't seem to agree with them on the timeliness issue. It makes me wonder.


Hasn't Delbert's positions on the law been accepted by every court in every venue for every notorious case here of late?

Anonymous said...

Delbert has been right about the law more times than you have picked your nose.

That is interesting. Non-attorney RadioKingfish said on his RadioKingfish radio program that Hosemann is flat out wrong about the reversion clause for the parcel on Lakeland.

Guess some more nose pickin' may be in order.

Anonymous said...

While these sorts of personal attacks on those who hold office, like the negative comments about Delbert, have been successful in the last few decades, political researchers are seeing a growing backlash.

We certainly saw it in the personal attacks on Thad in the Senate race.

When the person is as well liked as Delbert, such attacks will only strengthen his popularity.

His positive ratings are enormously high. He's seen as bright, accomplished in the private sector and a man with a sense of humor.

Snarky has been in. It's now getting boring to the general public. Being catty is so yesterday!

If you are politically savvy, you'll keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a disgruntled Gilbert employee is posting on Kingfish. Probably on State time. Key cards, really? I hope he is making sure employees get in on time. Its about time someone made their employees accountable. Sounds like he is keeping an eye on my tax dollars. Sounds like someone else has sour grapes.

Anonymous said...

Oh look. We have a perfect person who knows EVERYTHING, posting @ 8:47 AM.

Anonymous said...

Oh look - 9:09 is proving 8:47's point about douchbags.

Anonymous said...

I hope we will have the opportunity to send Delbert to Congress bc he would be excellent as a real good former tax and corporate specialist lawyer. Ways and Means.Chairman material.

Anonymous said...

1:30 - Dilbert took his shot at that - campaigned that he "wasn't a lawyer, he was a tax attorney" - in making his case that he would be a good member of the Ways and Means Committee. I'm sure all those folks in Amite County understood what W&M's was - and recognized that tax attorney's were still "lawyers". Glad he didn't make it then - no way he will ever make it now.

Anonymous said...

Oh look - 9:09 is proving 8:47's point about douchbags.

The sad state of JJ commentary in 2014.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure how TTV gets out with no sanctions. Seems to define frivolous and the court's definition of what calls for them. I was disappointed there, but otherwise, I think the Judge was excellent and I appreciated how she went about this case and the way she worded this.

Anonymous said...

True-the-vote, the supposed champion of liberty, wanted my birth day to be aligned with my address. "they" say they don't want social security numbers--but I just don't believe them by their actions.

Anonymous said...

8/31 at 7:47:
"Oh look - 9:09 is proving 8:47's point about douchbags.

The sad state of JJ commentary in 2014."

Once again some fool comes to a site that advertises jackassery and is dismayed to find, um, er, jackassery.

Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya.

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