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Author Topic: Inks.LWC v. the Mideast Region (Mideast Superior Court)  (Read 1588 times)
Lowly Griff
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2013, 02:34:00 am »
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Governor TJ
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2013, 09:34:34 am »
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I don't understand what's going on.  I am suing the government of the Mideast Region.  The head of that Government is Governor ZuWo.  He is the only party in this case.

If anyone else is represented by an attorney, that party is an amicus curiae.  No governor would recertify the results without a court order, but this court can only order ZuWo to recertify the results; it cannot order Tmthforu to recertify them, because Tmthforu no longer has any power to do anything on behalf of the Mideast government.

This has nothing to do with standing... nobody has brought that up.

But I am confused over who is representing who, and who exactly the court is trying to treat as a party to this case.  This whole case has been a jumbled unclear mess, and I think we should get straight who is a party, and who is not before we're having people filing briefs.

I misunderstood you. I thought you were arguing that only Governor ZuWo has the standing to defend Governor Tmthforu, so anyone he has not appointed should not be able to defend the Mideast Region. Governor ZuWo expressed that he agreed with you on the way the vote should be counted, so I thought that meant he wasn't going to defend the region and I recognized Siren to defend it in his stead.

But that's not what you're arguing, is it? Are you saying Governor ZuWo should appoint someone else anyway and the Court should recognize Siren as amicus curiae?

Now, Governor ZuWo has agreed to let Siren represent the region.

Before continuing, are there any more issues?
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2013, 09:35:55 am »
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No eating in my courtroom!! If you continue to do so, you will be removed from the premises.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2013, 04:02:31 pm »
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BaconKing, who are you representing?

I will be submitting an amicus brief on behalf of my client drj.
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BK without all the crazy drugs just wouldn't be BK.
Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2013, 04:33:47 pm »
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I'm saying that only Governor ZuWo has the authority to appoint someone to represent the Mideast Region, because I am suing (now) Governor ZuWo in his official capacity as head of the executive branch of the region.  It has nothing to do with standing; it has to do with who (or rather what) I am suing, which is the Executive of the Mideast Region (or rather, the region itself).

Now that he's appointed Siren to represent the region, I think we're all set.

What is the deadline for my brief?
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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2013, 11:17:57 pm »
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I would like to have your brief by Saturday at 2:00 PM, Inks. Let me know if this deadline poses a problem.
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Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2013, 11:46:52 pm »
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Brief from Plaintiff Inks.LWC

Statement of Facts
In the race for Governor, drj101 cast her vote as follows:
Quote
[обе эти кандидаты] Клинтон1996/сирена
[довольно скучно, но не плохие люди] цубо/Консервативная католическая
[1] товарищ котенка/товарищ котенка
[1]

Using Google translate to detect the language used, the language is Russian and translates to the following:
Quote
[both candidates] Klinton1996/sirena
[pretty boring, but not bad people] tsubo / Conservative Catholic
[1] companion cat / kitten friend
[2]

According to a survey 48.5% of people in a public poll indicated that a candidate being "boring" would have some effect on whether or not they would vote for that candidate, with 9.1% saying they would be more likely to vote for the person and 39.4% saying they would be less likely to vote for the person.[3]

Question Presented
Does labeling candidates "pretty boring" in a vote cast in an official voting booth constitute campaigning in the voting booth?

Argument
As counsel for the defendant has already pointed out in his brief, campaigning in the voting booth is an ongoing problem in Atlasia.  While I disagree with counsel's opinions in sections 1c and 1d of his brief, his analysis is spot on in sections 1a and 1b.  It seems as if counsel for the defendant is arguing that because I have not raised a suit in every other election where campaigning has occurred in the voting booth, that I should not do so here.  I admire the fact that counsel believes me to be this ever-vigilant guardian of Atlasia's voting booths, but the truth is that I do not read every vote cast in every election.  I happened to notice campaigning in this instance and thought that it should be addressed.  Whether or not I did or did not sue on similar instances in the past should have no bearing on this case.

The Mideast Campaigning in Voting Booths Statute states that campaigning is defined as "Any statement that encourages voters to cast a vote for a particular candidate or option, except in the case of a voter casting their vote."[4]  That clause means that other that merely marking an "X" or preferencing a candidate (the only two valid methods of casting a vote) should not be considered to be campaigning.  For instance, even though how the head of a party votes may influence other voters (who then follow his vote), this is not campaigning.  Here, drj101 was not casting any vote; she was giving commentary that was completely superfluous to casting her actual vote.  By calling ZuWo and Cathcon "boring", drj101 was encouraging voters to cast their votes for someone other than ZuWo/Cathcon.  As pointed out in the poll above, voters are less likely to vote for "boring" candidates.

Furthermore, as both ZuWo and Cathcon are voters in the Mideast, the clause that defines campaigning as "Any statement that has the intent of insulting another voter" would also apply.

The vote cast by drj101 also violates Art. III, §1, cl. 2, which says, "Campaigning may not occur in the place where voting occurs. Any person who campaigns in such a place will have their vote counted as void".[5]

Even if the court finds that drj101's vote did not violate Mideast law (because it advocated against, rather than explicitly for, a candidate), it clearly violates the federal constitution, which prohibits all types of campaigning.

Defendant's counsel also brings up the issue of the Supremacy Clause in his brief.  This is merely a red herring.  Simply because the SOFE has not been upholding the law does not mean that the Mideast Region cannot.  The Supremacy Clause means that regional laws cannot supersede federal laws or the federal Constitution.  This is not the case here.  The regional law merely supplements the federal Constitution by further defining what "campaigning" is.  The Supremacy Clause has nothing to do with the fact that the SOFE has, in the past, ignored the rules on campaigning in the voting booth.

The facts are clear: drj101 campaigned against ZuWo and Cathcon in the voting booth, and for that, her vote should not have been counted.  The allowance of campaigning must be stopped, not used an excuse for it to continue.

Request for Relief
Plaintiff requests that the Court direct the Governor to recertify the May 2013 election results with drj101's entire ballot being considered invalid.
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Siren
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2013, 12:39:57 am »
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Quick point of information:  Defense counsel is a woman.  ( Smiley )
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Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2013, 12:47:03 am »
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I was unaware that we had two women now on this forum. Tongue  My apologies to the defense counsel.
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Siren
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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2013, 12:54:38 am »
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Apologies accepted plaintiff.  Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2013, 05:18:29 pm »
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I'd like to take a minute to respond to the plaintiff's brief.

The defense still stands behind the argument in her brief that Governor Tmthforu94 and the Mideast region acted based on longstanding historical precedent in both regional and federal elections.

However, even taking the plaintiff's argument into account and the use of the Mideast Campaigning in Voting Booths Statute that was passed in 2005, there is no evidence to suggest that drj101 "campaigned in the voting booth."

drj101 does not direct voters to a campaigning location, nor does she question the vote of another citizen, eliminating both 2(2) and 2(4) of the statute's definition.

According to 2(1) of the statute, "Any statement that encourages voters to cast a vote for a particular candidate or option, except in the case of a voter casting their vote" counts as campaigning.

According to the plaintiff, "that clause means that other that merely marking an "X" or preferencing a candidate (the only two valid methods of casting a vote) should not be considered to be campaigning."

I respectfully disagree with the plaintiff's logic and see no reason why we should attribute extra meaning to the text that does not exist.  There is nothing in the text to suggest that only two forms of expression count as "not campaigning."  This is a very strict interpretation that could lead to the invalidation of all of the ballots I cited and maybe even more.  If the only valid way to mark a ballot is with an "X" or a numbered preference, this would exclude any means of expression, potentially including colors, bold, italic, or underlined font, or exclamations.  It is the defense counsel's position that Atlasia should be about including as many people as possible to encourage participation rather than discourage it with a slew of invalidated voted based on the strict interpretation of a statute that was passed eight years ago that hasn't been enforced so strictly in recent memory.

Furthermore, section 2(1) of the statute requires that the statement must encourage voters to vote for a particular candidate.  drj101's statement does not advocate for anyone to vote for a particular candidate, she merely expresses a harmless opinion like others have done in the past in a variety of ways.

As far as section 2(3) is concerned "any statement that has the intent of insulting another voter" would count as campaigning.  I guess a thin-skinned individual might take offense to being referred to as "pretty boring," but once again, the plaintiff fails to take drj101's full sentence into account.  She qualifies her statement by saying that the candidates are "not bad people."  This qualification indicates that drj101's feelings about the candidates were not that strong, nor were they very negative.  Considering that the statute requires intent to insult, I do not believe any evidence exists to suggest that drj101 intended to insult the candidates.  If she did so, why would she qualify her words by reassuring that they are not bad people?  "Not bad people" could also be considered the  same as "good people" or "ordinary people."  Perhaps drj101 felt the need to reconcile with the candidates for statements she made during the campaign, but it certainly does not seem like she intended to insult the candidates.  If she had, the English language (and presumably the Russian language as well!) includes a variety of far worse words she could have used.

So, even using the Mideast Campaigning in Voting Booths Statute of 2005 as a reference, drj101 remains innocent of campaigning in the voting booth.

I also object to the plaintiff's poll because it misrepresents drj101's statement.  The poll asks "If a candidate was boring, how would this affect your vote?"  Once again, this fails to take into account the fact that drj101 qualified her statement with the reassuring claim that the candidates are not bad people.  Therefore, the results of the poll are questionable and in my opinion, irrelevant to this case.  How other voters perceive drj101's comment is not at issue.  The issue is did she campaign in the voting booth or did she not and did the Governor act in accordance with the law by counting her vote as valid.  

The evidence shows that she did not campaign in the voting booth, that the Governor acted in accordance with both the law and the precedent for its enforcement, and the ballot should be allowed to stand as valid.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 05:21:29 pm by Siren »Logged
Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2013, 05:28:36 pm »
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Even if counsel for the defendant is correct in her interpretation of regional law, the regional law is more narrow than federal law, so even if the defendant's argument is valid when it comes to the regional law, drj101's vote still violated federal laws against campaigning in the voting booth.
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« Reply #37 on: June 05, 2013, 12:41:58 am »
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The only thing I see in the federal law is in Article V.  "Campaigning may not occur in the place where voting occurs."

My argument all along has been that drj101 did not campaign in the voting booth, and appealing to federal laws doesn't change that.

Just because the federal language on campaigning in the voting booth is vague, doesn't mean it includes the plaintiff's interpretation. 
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Governor TJ
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« Reply #38 on: June 05, 2013, 08:28:43 pm »
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According to Merriam-Webster, the verb campaign means:
1 a connected series of military operations forming a distinct phase of a war
2 a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result <election campaign>

The first definition is clearly irrelevant to the case and the second has the qualifier that the series of operations must be designed to bring about a particular result. Under this definition, it appears that a voter must be intentionally trying to bring about a particular vote in order to be campaigning in the booth. Does the plaintiff agree with this definition? Was drj intentionally trying to persuade voters to vote against ZuWo and Cathcon in typing that? Does the plaintiff advocate an alternate definition of the verb campaign be used to interpret the law?
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« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2013, 01:52:53 am »
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I believe that drj101 intentionally used language that she knew or reasonably should have known would cause voters to be less likely to vote for ZuWo and Cathcon.
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Governor TJ
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« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2013, 08:43:40 pm »
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Are there any other arguments from the involved parties before the Court makes its ruling?
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Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2013, 04:48:52 pm »
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I do not have any.
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Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2013, 01:21:01 am »
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So can we get a ruling here?
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Governor TJ
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« Reply #43 on: June 20, 2013, 10:34:14 pm »
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So can we get a ruling here?

I was waiting to see if Siren had any more to add, but I think I can now safely assume not.

A ruling will be issued on Monday.
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« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2013, 06:38:41 pm »
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I don't have anything more to add your honor.  I'm confident in the arguments I already made.
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« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2013, 09:41:41 pm »
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Ruling on the suit brought by Speaker Inks.LWC against the Mideast Region
1. Which questions need to be answered?
Should the ballot cast by drj101 in the May Mideast Gubernatorial election be thrown out for campaigning in the booth, and what is the appropriate interpretation of the law forbidding campaigning in the booth in general?

2. Plaintiff’s Case:
Under Article IV of the Third Constitution, which states:
Quote
2. Campaigning may not occur in the place where voting occurs. Any person who campaigns in such a place will have their vote counted as void and shall be subject to further punishment, as determined by law.

under Article IV of the Mideast Constitution, which states:
Quote
4. No person shall campaign in the thread in which voting shall occur. If a person does so they shall have their vote(s) counted as invalid and shall be subject to further trial and punishment as the law may provide. A person's username and signature are exempt from this clause.

and under the Mideast Campaigning in the Booth Statute, drj101’s vote calling Governor ZuWo and Lt. Governor Cathcon “boring” was intentionally attempting to convince voters to cast their ballots against ZuWo and Cathcon. This vote was counted as valid by the Governor at that time, Tmthforu94.

The plaintiff also argues that simply because the federal SoFE has not been upholding campaign laws does not mean those laws cannot and should not be upheld by the Mideast region.

3. The Government’s Case:
The government cites a litany of past ballots with more egregious examples of campaigning within the voting booth and argues that couting drj101’s vote as invalid would be a considerable deviation from historical precedent. Furthermore, the defense argues that the Court does not have the ability to rule in a way that differs from the current federal understanding of how campaigning in the booth is defined. The defense argues that since past booth administrators have interpreted the law differently than the position of the plaintiff, any deviation from the historical precedent would require a constitutional amendment.

4. How the Court Answers These Questions:
The Court agrees with the defense that the Governor’s decision to count drj101’s vote as valid is in line with the decisions of past booth administrators both on the regional and on the federal level. However, that does not necessarily guarantee the unchallenged decisions of previous administrators are in line with the law.

The Court recognizes the Supremacy of the Federal Government and the authority of the SoFE in conducting federal elections; however, this election was not a federal election and was thus not administered by the SoFE. The Supremacy of the Federal Government does not command that all regional elections be conducted in the same manner as those conducted by the federal government. Regions are able to enact their own elections laws as long as those laws do not conflict with federal law or the federal constitution. In this case, the text of the federal constitution recognizes the additional authority of law.

The Mideast Region has, in her wisdom, chosen to lay out specific guidelines for what does and does not constitute campaigning in a voting booth. Admittedly the law in itself includes some degree of subjectivity.  The definitions of “campaigning” in the law relevant to this case are:
Quote
1. Any statement that encourages voters to cast a vote for a particular candidate or option, except in the case of a voter casting their vote.
...
3. Any statement that has the intent of insulting another voter.

To proceed to apply this standard to drj101’s ballot, the Court must, unfortunately, attempt to discern her intent when casting the ballot. As to the latter definition, drj101 followed up calling ZuWo and Cathcon “boring” with calling them “not bad people”, so the Court cannot reasonably assume she was intending to insult them. The former definition requires that drj101 used the statement to encourage voters to vote for or against ZuWo and Cathcon. The Court accepts the plaintiff’s interpretation that this provision is meant to include encouraging voters to cast their ballots either for or against a candidate rather than simply for, since the two are clearly correlated. However, this also requires that the statement encourages to vote against ZuWo and Cathcon, and the Court cannot agree with the plaintiff’s argument that drj101’s comment actually does this. No statement her directs voters, either overtly or subtextually to vote for or against anyone.

Still, the Court must consider the possibility that drj101 may have engaged in campaigning in the booth that, while not specifically outlined in statute, is still in violation of both or either constitutional prohibition on campaigning in a voting booth. The plaintiff and the Court agree with Merriam Webster’s definition of the verb campaign, “ a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result <election campaign>” that campaigning requires intent. The Court cannot believe that drj101, intending on convincing voters not to cast their ballots for ZuWo and Cathcon, wrote in Russian that they are “pretty boring but not bad people”. If she intended to influence voters, she would have clearly written that comment in English so that most voters would actually read it. However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that in the future insults or statements clearly encouraging voters to cast their ballots in a particular way are not engaging in illegal campaigning in the voting booth simply because their write in a language other than English.

Since drj101's vote cannot be found to be in violation of either constitution or the statute, it must be counted. The Court recognizes that this decision is a subjective judgement of drj101's intent and believes that voters should be aware of future booth administrators and courts potentially counts their votes as invalid if they write extraneous marks that are deemed to be campaigning. The Court encourages, but does not have the legal authority to mandate, voters to use their ballots only for writing preferences to avoid such potential challenges in the future.

5. Ruling:
The Court finds that the governor correctly counted drj101’s vote in the original certification, but only because drj101’s vote was cast licit with the relevant sections of the federal and Mideast Constitution and the Mideast Campaigning in the Booth Statute. However, the Court orders the Mideast Governor and any other Mideast voting booth administrator to act in accordance with statute when determining whether or not a vote is valid even if past booth administrators have not done so.

Regarding the Supremacy Clause, the Mideast Superior Court has the authority to rule regional elections that are conducted in violation of federal law.
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Queen Mum Inks.LWC
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« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2013, 02:59:49 pm »
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I thank the Court for its time.
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