Authorities in New York and New Jersey are working to bring displaced voters to their polling sites and direct others to cast ballots elsewhere as residents insisted the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy wouldn’t stop them from participating in Tuesday’s election. Election officials in both states were guardedly optimistic that power would be restored and most polling places would be open in all but the worst-hit areas. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Monday allowing residents to cast a so-called affidavit, or provisional ballot, at any polling place in the state for president and statewide office holders. Under a directive issued on Nov. 3 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration, displaced voters and emergency responders may submit their ballots via e-mail or fax until 8 p.m. today. The directive extends electronic voting options currently available to military and overseas residents.
Voters in three western U.S. states go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use in a move that could spur a showdown with the federal government, with polls showing legalization ahead in Washington and Colorado. If voters approve the measures, the states could become the first in the country to legalize the recreational use of pot. Each of the initiatives would see marijuana taxed and would regulate its sale in special stores to adults age 21 and older. Surveys show legalization measures ahead in Washington state, where campaign finance records say its sponsors have raised $6 million, and Colorado, where backers have pulled in nearly $2 million. But legalization was trailing in Oregon, where a grass-roots campaign was struggling to sway voters.
A federal appeals court panel on Monday sharply questioned lawyers defending an Arizona law that bans late-term abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies, which opponents say is the toughest in the United States, reports Reuters. In San Francisco, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case after it blocked the Republican-backed Arizona law from going into effect earlier this year. Three abortion providers challenged the law in court.The Arizona law bars doctors from performing abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in medical emergencies, and could send doctors who perform them to jail. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is suing to stop the law, said it was more extreme than similar laws elsewhere, because the way Arizona measures gestation means it would bar abortions two weeks earlier than in other states. Those states also set the limit at 20 weeks but have different ways to calculate gestation time. Arizona already bans abortions at the point of viability, when a fetus might survive outside the womb, generally at 23 to 24 weeks.
A federal judge on Monday threw out Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit that claimed patent abuse, a setback for the iPhone maker in its efforts to gain leverage in the smartphone patent wars, The New York Times reports. The two rivals were to square off in Federal District Court in Madison, Wis., on Monday over the library of patents that Google acquired along with Motorola for $12.5 billion in May. Apple contended that Motorola’s licensing practices were unfair. But Judge Barbara B. Crabb questioned late last week whether she had the legal authority to hear Apple’s claims, and on Monday she dismissed the case. In an earlier legal brief, Apple claimed the judge had that authority. Apple declined to comment Monday; a Google spokeswoman said it was pleased. Apple has filed lawsuits in courts around the world against Google and its partners like Samsung Electronics, which use the Android operating system. Apple contends that Android is a copy of the iOS smartphone software used in the iPhone.
Anheuser-Busch said Monday that it has asked Paramount Pictures to obscure or remove the Budweiser logo from the film “Flight.” Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, wrote in a statement to The Associated Press that the company wasn’t contacted by Paramount or the production company of director Robert Zemeckis for permission to use the beer in the film. Despite the companies’ dissatisfaction with their inclusion in the film, experts say there is little they can do about it legally. Trademark laws “don’t exist to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items,” said Daniel Nazer, a resident fellow at Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. “It is the case that often filmmakers get paid by companies to include their products. I think that’s sort of led to a culture where they expect they’ll have control. That’s not a right the trademark law gives them.”