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Federal appeals court rejects three separate challenges to Texas election restrictions – JURIST

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The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to Texas’ new voting restrictions in three separate 2-1 decisions on Wednesday. The decisions are a continuation of what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has called “some of the strictest limitations in the nation on the right of certain citizens to receive electoral assistance.” The first case, Richardson v. Texas Secretary of State, challenged the constitutionality of the state’s system for verifying signatures on mail-in ballots. The complaint alleged that Texas Election Code (TEC) § 84.001 violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Section 84.001 assigns the Early Voting Ballot Board (EVBB) or Signature Verification Committee (SVC) the processing of mail-in ballots. Both the EVBB and the SVC can “accept or reject ballots based on signature comparisons.” signature comparisons The court found that the sovereign immunity of the Secretary of State barred this claim. The second case, Lewis v. Scott challenged regulations on mail-in ballots, specifically those that require voters to pay for postage on mail-in ballots and the criminalization of “knowingly possessing another person’s mail-in ballot.” Here, the plaintiffs contended that TEC § 86.002 “unlawfully obstructed the right to vote in violation of the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments.” of state and local officials. The court explained that “it is the local prosecutors, not the Secretary, who [is] charged with enforcing criminal prohibitions on possessing a voter’s vote-by-mail ballot,” while the statutes “refute any notion that the Clerk enforces them.” In any event, the court also found that this claim was barred by sovereign immunity. The third case, Texas Alliance for Retired Americans v. Scott challenged a provision in Texas House Bill 25 that eliminated “direct” voting. The plaintiffs claimed that eliminating direct voting, which is “casting a vote for all the candidates of a party,” would lengthen voting lines and thus overburden voting rights. This challenge noted that TEC § 31.001 describes the Secretary of State as an “election director.” However, the court determined that the “general duties” of the Secretary “do not make the Secretary the executor of specific violations of the electoral code.” The majority found that “the Secretary of State fails to enforce the law that ended direct voting” and determined that the Secretary was the improper defendant for the claim. Despite these voting restrictions, Texas Secretary of State John Scott tweeted that the 2.9 million votes cast in the state’s midterm primary were “more people and a higher percentage of voters than any primary in the state.” mid-term in the last decade”.

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US Supreme Court Adds Controversial Election Case to October 2022 Docket – JURIST

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The US Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will hear a controversial election case dealing with an emerging legal theory based on the election clause of the US Constitution. The theory claims that, under the election clause, State legislatures have unlimited power to determine electoral policy and implementation, and that state courts or state constitutions cannot control that power. map, which was previously struck down by state courts and replaced with a court-ordered map to be used for the 2022 midterm elections. The court found that the original map violated the clause in the state constitution that protects the fairness of the election by giving Republicans an unfair advantage. The court previously declined to hear the emergency case, but Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas signaled a willingness to consider the new legal theory in their dissent. Judge Alito, writing in the dissent, said: Both sides make serious arguments, but based on the report we have received, my opinion is that the petitioners’ argument is stronger. The question being presented is one of federal and not state law because the state legislature, in enacting rules for congressional elections, is acting pursuant to a constitutional mandate under the Electoral Clause. Carolyn Shapiro, a law professor and founder and co-director of the Chicago-Kent College of the US Supreme Court Law Institute, took issue with the Justice’s interpretation, saying that “legislatures are created by constitutions. Their powers are defined by the constitutions. How those powers interact with other branches of state government is defined by state constitutions. The limitations of those powers are defined by state constitutions.”

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Trump Affiliated Businessman Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Political Donation Crimes – JURIST

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The Justice Department said Wednesday that Lev Parnas, a businessman involved in the Trump-Ukraine affair, was sentenced to 20 months in prison on multiple counts related to soliciting donations from a foreign national. Parnas was convicted on charges of “conspiring to make political contributions of a foreign national in conjunction with soliciting and aiding and abetting the making thereof, conspiracy to make fictitious donations, participation in a wire fraud conspiracy, and making false statements and falsifying records. Parnas will also pay more than $2 million in restitution. The charges of making political contributions by a foreign national stem from events that occurred in March 2018. Parnas and other associates wanted to launch a business to obtain retail marijuana licenses in the US. The group turned over hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions before the 2018 election to curry favor with anyone who could help Parnas and his associates obtain these licenses. Parnas and an associate made a donation of $325,000 and falsely claimed that the donation was from Global Power Producers (GEP). Parnas also lied about the fact that he was receiving bogus donations and the contributions were not his own money. The fraud guarantee charges are from between 2012 and 2019. Parnas planned to defraud several people by convincing them to invest in his company. He said the contributions would be used solely for his business. Instead, the payments were withdrawn in cash, placed in personal bank accounts, and used for personal expenses. Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, stated: “Parnas also defrauded the American public by pumping Russian money into US elections and lying about the origin of funds for political contributions. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who put their personal and financial benefit above their country and their investors.” The office’s Public Corruption Unit is handling the Parnas case.

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Indonesian parliament passes law to create more provinces in Papua amid fears of government crackdown – JURIST

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The Indonesian People’s Representative Council on Thursday approved legislation to establish three new provinces in the Papua region. The decision was made during the 26th plenary session when all members unanimously agreed to pass three bills that established the new provinces. Currently, the easternmost region of Indonesia is divided into two regions, Papua and West Papua. However, it will now be divided into five provinces. The three new provinces have been named, South Papua Province with Merauke as its capital, Central Papua Province with Nabire as its capital, and Papua Mountains Province with Jaya wijaya as its capital. Ahmad Doli Kurnia Tandjung, Chairperson of the Council Commission, stated that: The purpose of partitioning Papua is to speed up equitable development, speed up the improvement of public services, speed up community welfare and uplift the dignity of the indigenous people of Papua. Papua. Taking into account political, administrative and legal aspects, socio-cultural unity, human resource preparation, basic infrastructure, economic capacity, future developments and aspirations of the Papuan people. Veronica Koman of Amnesty International Australia expressed concern about how the legislation would affect Papuans. She said that by “cutting and dividing Papua into smaller administrative units, [the Indonesian government] hopes to divide and conquer Papuan identity and resistance.”

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