On March 23, the Iowa Senate passed HF 516 by 26-21. The bill makes many election law changes, and one of the changes is that the bill eliminates the straight-ticket device. The bill already passed the House once, but it must get another vote in the House because the Senate made some changes unrelated to the device.
Committees in both houses of the Tennessee legislature will hear the bills to ease ballot access on March 28, Tuesday. The Senate State and Local Government Committee will hear SB 770, and the House Local Government Subcommittee will hear HB 662. The bills are identical and lower the number of signatures for a newly-qualifying party from 33,816 signatures to 5,000.
On March 22, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 204, which provides for presidential primaries in future presidential election years. This probably means that in 2020, Utah will hold presidential primaries for one or several qualified minor parties, something that has never occurred before. Utah held presidential primaries in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but only for the Republican and Democratic Parties.
On March 24, U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee, an Obama appointee, struck down a 2013 Illinois campaign finance law that makes it illegal for any medical cannibis cultivation center or dispensary organization to make a campaign contribution to a candidate for state or local office. Ball v Madigan, n.d., 1:15cv-10441. The decision is 22 pages.
The only two plaintiffs are Claire Ball, the Libertarian nominee for state Comptroller in 2016, and Scott Schluter, the Libertarian nominee for State House, 117th district, in 2016. Schluter was not on the ballot because of Illinois severe ballot access requirements for candidates for the legislature. Thanks to Benjamin Barr for this news.
The write-in votes were counted on Friday, March 23, in the Pennsylvania special election, 197th district in Philadelphia. Democrat Emilio Vazquez received 1,970; the runner-up, Cheri Honkala, was credited with 282 write-ins. See this story.
On March 24, the Connecticut House Government Administration & Elections Committee passed HB 5434. This is the National Popular Vote bill. The vote was 9-8.