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  Ballot Access News is edited and published by Richard Winger, the nation's leading expert on ballot access legal issues.

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Arizona Bill to Protect Political Signs During Election Season

Published on December 20, 2014,

Arizona Representative John Allen (R-Scottsdale) has introduced HB 2002, to make it a misdemeanor for anyone to remove or deface a campaign sign between the period 45 days before a primary, and ending a week after the general election. The bill, of course, permits a candidate or his or her representative to remove his or her own sign. Here is a link to the text of the bill. This seems to be the only election law bill introduced so far in the Arizona legislature.

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North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds 2011 Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

Published on December 20, 2014,

On December 19, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the 2011 redistricting plan for both U.S. House and state legislature. See this story. The voting rights advocates who brought the case say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the State Supreme Court. A similar case is before the U.S. Supreme Court now, concerning Alabama legislative districts. Both sets of plaintiffs argue that the districts pack too many African-American voters into certain districts, which prevents them from having an impact on most other districts. There were other issues in the North Carolina case as well, concerning splitting precincts.

The North Carolina case is Dickson v Rucho, 201PA12. Here is a link to the 51-page decision. The vote was 4-2, with one justice not voting.

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North Carolina Representative Jason R. Saine Expected to Introduce Bill to Ease Number of Signatures for Ballot Access

Published on December 19, 2014,

North Carolina Representative Jason R. Saine (R-Lincolnton) is expected to introduce a bill in 2015, lowering the number of signatures for newly-qualifying parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot. Currently, North Carolina requires more signatures to get a party, or a statewide independent candidate, on the ballot than any other state. The 2016 petition requirement for both is 89,366 signatures. The petition for a party is due in May, and for an independent candidate, in June.

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California Minor Parties Ask State Appeals Court to Take Note of Low Voter Turnout in 2014

Published on December 19, 2014,

Attorneys for the Libertarian, Peace & Freedom, and Green Parties have asked the California State Court of Appeals to take judicial notice of the Secretary of State’s Statement of Votes for the November 2014 election. That document says the turnout in November 2014 was substantially lower than in any other regularly-scheduled California general election in history. The submission was made in the lawsuit Rubin v Bowen, which challenges the top-two primary on voting rights grounds. The State Court of Appeals will hear the case on January 15, 2015, in San Francisco.

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Illinois Governor Wants Legislature to Pass Bill, Authorizing Special Election for Comptroller in 2016

Published on December 19, 2014,

As note earlier, Judy Baar Topinka, who was re-elected Illinois State Comptroller, died after the election but before her new term started. Governor Pat Quinn wants a special election to fill the second half of the term. He has called the legislature into session for January 8, 2015, to pass a bill authorizing such a special election to be held in November 2016.

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Michigan Bill to Allow Out-of-State Circulators Passes Legislature

Published on December 19, 2014,

On December 18, the Michigan legislature passed SB 1167. It repeals laws that ban unregistered circulators, and out-of-state circulators, from working in Michigan. The bill had been introduced on December 4, 2014, and made rapid progress through the legislature. Here is the analysis of all the changes the bill makes. Thanks to John Anthony LaPietra for this news.

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