Category Archives: Courts

Three Events Mark The Most Significant Day in 2022 Election Cycle

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 10, 2021 — Three major events affecting the election process occurred Monday, making it possibly the most significant day to this point in the 2022 election cycle.


NY-22

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) conceded a tight election Monday after former US Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) was certified as the NY-22 winner by 109 votes.

From New York, and rather surprisingly, former Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) conceded the last remaining uncalled 2020 election late Monday afternoon. The move was unexpected because he had filed several appeals to State Supreme Court of Oswego County Justice Scott DelConte’s rulings concerning more than 500 ballots that were either added to the aggregate count or voided.

On Friday last week, Justice DelConte’s ordered the counties that comprise the 22nd District to send their final vote counts to the state Board of Elections for final certification. The districtwide total gave former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) a 109-vote victory margin.

Brindisi was not shy in bashing the local election officials as part of his concession, however. The election administration in seven of the district’s eight counties were often criticized as part of the almost three-month long court proceeding with Justice DelConte even going so far as saying that the officials on several occasions either ignored or outright violated New York election law in their handling, counting, and reporting of the votes.

Oneida County, the district’s largest, came under the heaviest criticism when it was discovered that 2,418 people had fully complied with the registration process, but their documents were never converted into official voter registration status. As a result, these individuals were barred from participating in the 2020 election.

Brindisi stated that, “sadly, we may never know how many legal voters were turned away at the polls or ballots not counted due to the ineptitude of the boards of election, especially in Oneida County.” He said he was conceding because the New York Upstate region needs to “move on” after such a long post-election contestation period.

It is presumed that that state Board of Elections’ commissioners will shortly certify the election and that Tenney will then be sworn into the House for the current term. Continue reading

SCOTUS: The Effect of Replacing Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg On The 35 Senate Races

By Jim Ellis

Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sept. 22, 2020 — A secondary question surrounding the replacement process for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is how will the confirmation fight over the next judicial nominee resonate in the 35 Senate races?

In the 18 campaigns that appear non-competitive (9D; 8R) – for example, in Illinois (Sen. Dick Durbin-D), Rhode Island (Sen. Jack Reed-D), Arkansas (Sen. Tom Cotton-R), and Idaho (Sen. Jim Risch-R) to name a representative quartet – the Supreme Court battle will have little influence over the Senate outcome since those situations are virtually decided.

If the individual campaigns play the issue correctly, however, the Supreme Court vacancy development could be a boon to most competitive Republican incumbents and candidates in traditionally conservative states that are moving closer to the political center.

Democratic challengers in the more conservative states could have trouble because the issue matrix likely to be discussed through the nomination and confirmation process should activate the more conservative voting base. This is likely the case in the key competitive southern domains (AL, GA, NC), and in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states, particularly in Iowa, the Kansas open seat, and for the Montana duel, in addition to the far west campaign in Alaska.

Perhaps the senator in the worst confirmation question situation, and one who can ill afford to be embroiled in such a predicament, is Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R). Already trailing in polling to state House Speaker Sara Gideon, Sen. Collins’ immediate call to postpone the process, and what will likely lead to a vote against the motion to proceed, will likely cost her conservative votes that she badly needs.

Her position to postpone has likely angered many who comprise the conservative base and gained her nothing with the Independents and soft Democrats that she desperately needs to close the gap between she and Gideon.

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Pennsylvania Voting Rules

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 21, 2020 — Pennsylvania’s Democratic controlled Supreme Court changed their state election procedures late last week in a series of rulings on a lawsuit that the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and PA Democratic Party previously filed.

Under the new process, receiving votes after the election is allowed if “no evidence exists” that the ballot was mailed after Election Day, Nov. 3. The deadline for ballot acceptance now moves from 8 pm on Election Day to 5 pm, Friday, Nov. 6. Pennsylvania becomes the 17th state to allow post-election reception for this 2020 election. The ruling increases the chances that we will not have a winner declared on election night.

Additionally, three other rulings will allow drop boxes to be used as ballot receptacles in the various counties, affirmed that poll watchers can only serve in their own county of residence, and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins’ name was removed from the ballot. The court did not grant the lawsuit motion to allow ballot harvesting, which would permit third parties to deliver ballots to the authorities or ballot drop boxes.

The drop boxes will be placed in various locations around a county and voters can deposit their ballots without using the postal service to transfer their vote to the county election authorities. Hawkins’ name was removed from the ballot because the court said he “failed to comply with the Election Code’s strict mandate” and the attempts to fix the problem “did not suffice to cure that error,” but the specifics were not addressed.

With the large number of absentee ballots expected here and in other states, the trend toward allowing post-election reception, and the laws that some states, like Pennsylvania, have to control when the mail ballots can be counted, makes it less likely that we will see a definitive presidential campaign result on Nov. 3. The same will be true for certain US Senate and House races.

Of the 17 states, now including Pennsylvania, that are allowing post-election ballot reception, seven appear competitive. The others, Alaska, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia will likely declare a clear winner relatively early in the counting period.

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Florida Supreme Court: CDs Unconstitutional

July 13, 2015 — Issuing a long-awaited decision late last week, the Florida State Supreme Court on a 5-2 vote, featuring a lengthy and powerful dissent from Associate Justice and former Congressman Charles Canady (R), declared eight congressional districts illegal under the Florida Constitution in reference to the voter-passed redistricting initiative. The 2010 citizen sponsored measure put partisan restrictions on legislative map drawers, and it is under these provisions that the court took its action.

For the short-term, it means that representatives Corrine Brown (D-FL-5), David Jolly (R-FL-13), Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), Ted Deutch (D-FL-21), Lois Frankel (D-FL-22), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) will soon have their districts reconstructed and before the 2016 election.

The ruling will force the legislature to convene in special session to redraw significant portions of the map. Though the court singled out these eight districts, the entire state map could conceivably be affected. Certainly the districts that lie adjacent to the seats in question stand a good chance of changing, particularly in the urban areas where multiple districts converge at a single point like in Orlando. By definition, if one district is altered, at least one other bordering seat must also change.
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Trump In; Sanders Scoring

June 18, 2015 — As promised, international businessman Donald Trump, claiming his personal wealth will reach $10 billion, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination before what he claimed were thousands of people at his palatial Trump Towers in New York City. The media estimated the in-room audience to be less than 1,000. The Trump spokesperson claimed others were listening throughout the building and watching the television presentation on the streets below.

Trump is not expected to be particularly competitive. Consistently, his favorability numbers are the worst of any Republican candidate by a large margin; in some polls his negatives triple his positive rating.

Trump saying that he will be “ … the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” and that he doesn’t “…need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich, I’ll show you that in a second. And by the way, I’m not even saying that in a braggadocio … that’s the kind that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country.”
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