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Court Case Tracker

Voting Rights Litigation 2020

Recent months have seen a flood of voting rights litigation, much of it related to Covid-19’s impact on elections.

Last Updated: October 14, 2020
Published: July 28, 2020

The information below focuses on significant voting cases in both state and federal courts that remain pending or pertain to voters’ ability to cast their ballots in 2020 — whether through vote-by-mail, early in-person voting, or election day voting at the polls. This list does not include cases pertaining to candidacy issues, ballot initiatives, or redistricting.

More information on the Brennan Center’s litigation to protect Amendment 4 in Florida is available here. Updates on our case to prevent improper purges in Indiana can be found here. Additional details about our challenge to Texas’s strict photo ID law are here. And information on our FOIA lawsuit regarding the President’s now-defunct “Election Integrity” commission can be found here.

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Alabama

Greater Birmingham Ministries v. State of Alabama, No. 2:15-cv-2193 (N.D. Ala.); No. 18-10151 (11th Cir.)

Re: Photo ID Requirement (In-Person and Vote-by-Mail)

Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, and three registered voters of color sued the State of Alabama, the Governor of Alabama, the Attorney General and others, challenging a state law that restricts in-person and absentee voting to Alabamans who produce one of seven forms of “valid” photo ID and are “positively identif[ied] by two election officials. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Sections 2 and 201 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the challenged law operates or was intentionally enacted to deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, and in fact deprives would-be voters’ right to vote free from racial discrimination, disproportionately impacts would-be voters of color, and that the “positive identification” provision constitutes a prohibited “test or device” as a prerequisite to voting. 

Status: The district court denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, then granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, which decision was affirmed on appeal July 21, 2020


League of Women Voters of Alabama v. Merrill03-cv-2020-900702.00 (Ala. Cir. Ct., Montgomery Cty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse, Witness & ID Requirements, Receipt Deadline; In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

The LWV of Alabama and individual registered voters sued Alabama’s secretary of state and others, challenging an executive order and state laws that, variously, (1) restrict the ability to vote absentee to voters who swear or affirm that they satisfy one of the statutorily enumerated excuses; (2) require absentee ballot applications to be accompanied by “proper identification”; (3) require that absentee ballots be notarized or witnessed by two adults; (4) fail to extend deadlines to apply for and return absentee ballots; and (5) fail to adopt safety measures for in-person voting, including early voting. The complaint alleges state constitutional claims, including violations of Art. I, § 33 and Art. VIII, § 177 of the Alabama Constitution, in that the laws and executive order infringe on the right to vote and to “exercise the franchise free of undue influence from tumult.”

Status: Complaint filed May 28, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted August 5, 2020


People First of Alabama v. Merrill, No. 2:20-cv-619 (N.D. Ala); Nos. 20-12184 & 20-13695-B (11th Cir.); No. 19A1063 (S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Notary/Witness & Photo ID Requirements; Curbside Voting (Covid-19)

People First of Alabama, individual registered voters, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and others sued Alabama’s secretary of state, governor, and others, challenging state laws that (1) require that absentee ballot affidavits be notarized or witnessed by two adults; (2) require that copies of photo IDs accompany all absentee ballot applications and some absentee ballots; and (3) prohibit curbside voting. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and §§ 2, 3, and 201 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the challenged provisions abridge the fundamental right to vote, fail to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, impose a prohibited test or device as a prerequisite for voting, and impose a prohibited poll tax.

Status: Preliminary injunction granted in part; Emergency motion for stay pending appeal denied by 11th Circuit; Emergency application for stay granted by SCOTUS July 2, 2020; Amended complaint filed July 6, 2020; Consent orders entered on behalf of Jefferson County and Montgomery County defendants August 21, 2020; Motions to dismiss and for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part September 8, 2020; Motions for judgment as a matter of law and judgment on partial findings filed September 15, 2020 denied as moot; Settled as to some defendants September 22, 2020; Final judgment and injunction issued September 30, 2020, enjoining (1) the notary and witness requirement “for any qualified voters who provide a written statement that they have an underlying medical condition that puts them at heightened risk from COVID-19,” (2) the requirement that absentee voters provide a copy of their photo identification with absentee ballot applications if they are over 65 or “cannot safely obtain a copy of their photo ID during the COVID-19 pandemic due to an underlying medical condition that makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19 complications,” and (3) any prohibition on the establishment of curbside voting procedures “that otherwise comply with state and federal election law;” Notice of appeal filed September 30, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal denied October 6, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal granted as to the witness and photo ID requirements and denied as to the curbside voting ban by 11th Circuit October 13, 2020


Thompson v. Merrill, No. 2:16-cv-783 (M.D. Ala.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Greater Birmingham Ministries and individual Alabama residents on behalf of a class sued the State of Alabama, its secretary of state, and others, challenging state laws and procedures regarding Felony disenfranchisement. The original class action complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the challenged laws and policies intentionally discriminate on the basis of race, discriminate on non-racial bases, unconstitutionally burden the right to vote, deprive citizens of due process, are void for vagueness, arbitrarily disenfranchise citizens, retroactively punish in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause, disenfranchise as cruel and unusual punishment, disenfranchise on the basis of inability to pay fines, and deny or abridge the right of U.S. citizens to vote on account of race or color or membership in a language minority group. The supplemental class action complaint adds additional plaintiffs and alleges unlawful deprivation of state-created right to vote and unlawful retroactive deprivation of the right to vote in violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and failure to specify eligibility requirements in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

Status: Order denying defendants’ renewed motion to dismiss, and granting in part and denying in part their motion to dismiss the supplemental complaint, in effect, dismissing claims of two of the plaintiffs and dismissing the State of Alabama as a defendant. Motion for class certification deniedMotion for preliminary injunction denied June 29, 2020; State defendants’ motion for summary judgment and plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment filed September 2, 2020

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Alaska

Arctic Village Council v. Meyer, No. 3AN-20-7858CI (Super. Ct. Alaska, 3rd Jud. Dist. Anchorage); No. S-17902 (Sup. Ct. Alaska)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness/Notary Requirement (Covid-19)

The Arctic Village Council, the League of Women Voters of Alaska, and two individual voters who live alone and are immunocompromised sued the Alaska lieutenant governor, Alaska Division of Elections, and its director, challenging a state law requiring that absentee ballot certifications be notarized or signed by an adult witness, if a notary is not available. The complaint alleges violations of the Alaska Constitution, in that, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the witness/notary requirement substantially and impermissibly burdens the fundamental right to vote, by forcing plaintiffs to choose between their health and the right to vote, and “unequally allocates these burdens to eligible voters who are unable to feasibly secure a witness signature because they live alone, must self-isolate to avoid exposure to COVID-19 or both.”  

Status: Complaint filed September 8, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted October 5, 2020, holding that, during the pandemic, the witness requirement "impermissibly burdens the right to vote" and enjoining the witness requirement for the 2020 general election; Order affirming preliminary injunction issued by Supreme Court of Alaska October 12, 2020


Disability Law Center of Alaska v. Meyer, No. 3AN-20-7060CI (Alaska Sup. Ct. 3d Dist.); No. 3:20-cv-173 (D. Alaska); No. 20-35778 (9th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

The Disability Law Center of Alaska, Native Peoples Action Community Fund, Alaska Public Interest Research Group and individual voters sued the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska and the State’s Division of Elections, challenging the Lieutenant Governor’s decision to automatically mail absentee ballot applications only to Alaskan registered voters aged 65 and older, while failing to do the same for registered voters under the age of 65. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; Article 1, Sections 1 and 3, Article 2, Section 19 and Article 5, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution; and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the Lieutenant Governor’s decision discriminates on the basis of age, infringes on the fundamental right to vote, denies the rights of due process and equal protection, denies civil rights on the basis of race and/or color, denies the right to vote on a geographic basis, and discriminates on the basis of disability.

Status: Complaint filed July 17, 2020; Removed to federal court July 20, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 3, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 4, 2020; Appellants’ emergency motion for injunctive relief pending appeal denied by 9th Circuit September 22, 2020

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Arizona

Arizona Democratic Party v. Hobbs, No. 2:20-cv-1143 (D. Ariz.), No. 20-16795 (9th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The Arizona Democratic Party, DNC, and DSCC sued Arizona’s secretary of state and others, challenging a state procedure that fails to afford voters an opportunity to cure the omission of a signature from an otherwise-valid mail-in ballot. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law places an undue burden on the right to vote and denies voters’ right to procedural due process.

Status: Motions to intervene by State of Arizona and Arizona Republican Party, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., and RNC granted June 19 and June 26, 2020; Motion for preliminary & permanent injunction granted September 10, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 10, 2020; Emergency motion to stay denied September 18, 2020; Emergency motion for stay pending appeal granted by 9th Circuit October 6, 2020


Arizona Public Integrity Alliance v. Fontes, No. LC2020-252 (Ariz. Super. Ct., Maricopa Cnty.), 1 CA-CV 20-458 (Ariz. Ct. App.), T-20-3-CV, CV-20-253-AP/EL (Ariz. Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Instructions (Covid-19)

The Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, Inc. and an individual voter sued the Maricopa County Recorder, the Clerk of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and others, challenging the defendants’ plan to include an instruction on early ballots that allows voters who wish to correct a mistaken vote to cross out the erroneous vote and fill in the oval next to the correct candidate. The opening brief alleges violations of state law, in that the new instruction is unsupported by statute and deviates from the elections procedure manual promulgated by the secretary of state.

Status: Complaint filed August 25, 2020; Motions for preliminary injunction and to dismiss denied September 4, 2020;   by Arizona Supreme Court September 10, 2020


Feldman v. Arizona Secretary of State, No. 2:16-cv-1065 (D. Ariz.); DNC v. Hobbs, No. 18-15845 (9th Cir.); Arizona Republican Party v. DNC, No. 19-1258 (S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Assistance Ban; Out of Precinct (Provisional Ballots); Polling Place Allocation

Individual voters, the DNC, the DSCC, and others sued the Arizona secretary of state’s office, the secretary of state, and others, challenging two state laws that imposed criminal penalties for assisting with ballot collection and rejected ballots cast in the wrong precinct. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, deny equal protection by disparately treating voters in different counties, unjustifiably burden the right to vote, and deny the freedom of association.

Status: Consolidated with Brnovich v. DNC, No. 19-1257 (S. Ct.); District court ruled in favor of defendants; The Ninth Circuit reversed and remandedPetition for writ of certiorari granted by the Supreme Court of the United States October 2, 2020


Fontes v. State of Arizona, No. _______ (Ariz. Super. Ct., Maricopa Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access, Voter Assistance (Covid-19)

The Maricopa county recorder sued the State of Arizona and the secretary of state, seeking a declaration validating the county recorder’s policy of allowing special election boards to provide absentee ballot assistance via video to voters who are confined due to disabilities. The complaint alleges that the policy is consistent with laws that protect the voting rights of the disabled, including Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and state statutes, including one that created special election boards “for the purpose of making it possible for qualified electors who are ill or have a disability to vote.”

Status: Complaint filed September 25, 2020


Hoffard v. Cochise County, No. 4:20-cv-243 (D. Ariz.)

Re: Curbside Voting (Covid-19)

An individual voter sued Cochise County, Arizona and the director of the Cochise County Elections Department, challenging a county policy prohibiting curbside voting. The amended complaint alleges violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and § 41-1421(B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes in that the challenged policy discriminates on the basis of disability.

Status: Amended complaint filed August 27, 2020; Motion to dismiss amended complaint filed September 21, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed October 5, 2020


Mecinas v. Hobbs, No. 19-cv-5547 (D. Arizona); No. 20-16301 (9th Cir.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

The DNC, DSCC, Priorities USA, and 3 Arizona residents sued the Arizona secretary of state, challenging a state law that gives ballot order preference to candidates of the same party as the gubernatorial candidate who received the most votes in that county in the preceding election. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law places an undue burden on the right to vote and treats similarly situated persons disparately, in violation of the right to equal protection.

Status: Dismissed by lower court; Notice of appeal filed by Plaintiffs. & Emergency motion for injunction pending appeal denied July 10, 2020


Mi Familia Vota v. Hobbs, 2:20-cv-1903 (D. Ariz.); No. 20-16932 (9th Cir.)

Re: Voter Registration Deadline (Covid-19)

Mi Familia Vota, the Arizona Coalition for Change and an individual voter and voter registration worker sued the Arizona secretary of state, seeking a declaratory judgment extending the state's October 5, 2020, voter registration deadline in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the existing voter registration deadline severely burdens plaintiff's right to register voters during the pandemic, thus denying due process and abridging core speech and political rights. 

Status: Complaint and request for temporary restraining order filed September 30, 2020; Motion to intervene by National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee granted October 5, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted as modified October 5, 2020, extending the voter registration deadline from October 5 to October 23 and dismissing case; Notice of appeal filed October 5, 2020; Plaintiffs’ appellate motion to dismiss intervenors’ appeal filed October 6, 2020; Emergency motions for administrative stay pending appeal denied by 9th Circuit October 7, 2020;  Order staying extension of registration deadline, while allowing voters who already registered past the deadline to remain registered issued by 9th Circuit October 13, 2020


State of Arizona ex rel. Brnovich v. Fontes, No. CV2020-3477 (Super. Ct. of Ariz., Cnty of Maricopa)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

The State of Arizona sued the Maricopa County Recorder and Runbeck Election Services, Inc., four days before the state’s March 17 presidential preference election, challenging the county recorder’s decision to affirmatively mail absentee ballots to all registered voters in the county due to fears surrounding the coronavirus. The complaint alleges violations of a state law that purportedly “only authorizes ballots to be mailed to electors who ‘make a verbal or signed request to the county recorder’” by 5:00 p.m. on the 11th day preceding the election.

Status: Temporary restraining order issued March 13, 2020, enjoining defendants from mailing early ballots to voters who had not made verbal or signed requests therefore


Voto Latino v. Hobbs, No. 2:19-cv-05685-DWL (D. Arizona)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Election Day Receipt Deadline

Voto Latino Foundation and Priorities USA sued the Arizona secretary of state, challenging a state law that requires that ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day be discarded. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the law places an undue burden on the right to vote, denies voters’ right to procedural due process, and denies or abridges the right to vote.

Status: Settlement reached June 18, 2020, providing that the secretary will prominently educate voters about the election day reciept deadline and the availability of drop boxes and other mail-ballot drop-off options, and to allocate a portion of Coronavirus Aid Relief ("CARES") funding to expand early voting opportunities in Hispanic and Latino, Native American, and rural communities, including mobile early voting units, temporary staff hires, increased numbers of ballot drop boxes in rural, Hispanic and Latino, and tribal communities.


Yazzie v. Hobbs, No. 3:20-cv-8222 (D. Ariz.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Tribal members of the Navajo Nation sued the Arizona secretary of state challenging Arizona’s law requiring rejection of any ballots received after 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, irrespective of when they were postmarked. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and of the Arizona constitution, in that the election day receipt deadline deprives plaintiffs of equal protection and denies or abridges their right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.

Status: Complaint filed August 26, 2020; Emergency motion for preliminary injunction filed September 2, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others September 3, 2020; Motion to intervene by filed by Arizona Advocacy Network September 11, 2020; Motions to intervene denied without prejudice September 16, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed September 16, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 25, 2020; Appeal filed September 28, 2020

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Arkansas

Baker v. Thurston, 60CV-20-3565 (Cir. Ct. Pulaski Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Individual voters sued the Arkansas Secretary of State, challenging a state law that restricts the availability of absentee voting to voters who qualify for one or more enumerated “excuses.” The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that “Arkansas law…allows voters to use any and all reasons or excuses to receive and vote by absentee ballot,” or, in the alternative, that fear of contracting Covid-19 is, itself, a valid excuse for receiving an absentee ballot and voting absentee and alleges violations of the Arkansas Constitution, in that the challenged laws infringe on the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Dismissed on motion July 21, 2020


League of Women Voters of Arkansas v. Thurston, No. 5:20-cv-5174 (W.D. Ark.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching; Notice/Opportunity to Cure Missing & Mismatched Signatures & Ballot Defects (Covid-19)

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas and two individual voters sued the Arkansas secretary of state and members of the State Board of Election Commissioners, challenging state laws requiring that lay election workers conduct signature matching and requiring rejection of absentee ballots if there is any missing or mismatched information when compared with the voter’s absentee application, including missing or mismatched signatures, without providing the voter with notice and an opportunity to cure such defects after election day. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions deny voters procedural due process and unduly burden the fundamental right to vote.   

Status: Amended complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed September 28, 2020


Mays v. Thurston, No. 4:20-cv-341 (E.D. Ark.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Individual voters and the Christian Ministerial Alliance sued the Arkansas governor and secretary of state, challenging the defendants’ failure to extend the ballot receipt deadline beyond 7:30 p.m. on election day, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the election day receipt deadline burdens the fundamental right to vote and deprives voters of the right of due process, and a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that Black voters have less of an opportunity than white voters to participate in the political process because of the election day receipt deadline.

Status: Emergency motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction denied March 30, 2020; Voluntarily dismissed March 31, 2020

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California

California Republican Party v. Newsom, No. 34-2020-00277751 (Cal. Super. Ct., Sacramento)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Ballot Collectors (Covid-19)

The California Republican Party sued California’s governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, challenging the governor’s “stay-at-home” executive order and its interplay with California’s election code. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that ballot collecting is an “essential” activity under the Executive Order.

Status: Declaratory relief denied; Request for voluntary dismissal entered May 22, 2020


Election Integrity Project California v. Lunn, No. 56-2020-549781-CU-MC-VTA (Cal. Super. Ct., Ventura Cnty.)

Re: In-Person Voting Poll Watcher Restrictions

The Election Integrity Project, California and an individual voter sued the Ventura County registrar of voters, challenging the defendant’s “fail[ure] to allow members of the public to observe the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes and vote by mail ballots for the March 3, 2020 primary election.” The complaint alleges violations of the California Elections Code and seeks an order “[a]llow[ing] the processing of vote by mail ballot return envelopes and the processing and counting of vote by mail ballots to be open to the public, both before and after the elections [and] [a]llow[ing] persons wishing to observe the processing of vote by mail ballots sufficiently close access to enable them to observe the vote by mail ballot return envelopes and the signatures thereon and challenge whether those individuals handling vote by mail ballots are following established procedures.”

Status: Complaint filed March 4, 2020; Motion for temporary restraining order denied March 6, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 15, 2020


Fugazi v. Padilla, No. 2:20-cv-970 (E.D. Cal.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure, Disability Access (Covid-19)

Individual voters, on behalf of a class, sued the California secretary of state, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters and others, challenging San Joaquin County’s certification of the March 3, 2020, California Presidential Primary results prior to the deadline for curing signature defects, and seeking prospective relief requiring defendants to establish reasonable, disability accessible, and constitutionally sufficient voting procedures for the November 3, 2020, general election. The first amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and Title 2 of the Americans with Disability Act, in that the defendants’ actions deny equal protection, arbitrarily discriminating against voters with disabilities, deny and abridge the fundamental right to vote on account of race, membership in a language minority, age, and disability, deny procedural and substantive due process, and fail to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.   

Status: Motion for TRO denied without prejudice May 22, 2020; Motion to dismiss and Motion to Strike filed July 21, 2020; hearing scheduled September 25, 2020


Gallagher v. Newsom, No. CVCS20-912 (Cal. Super. Ct., Sutter Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

Two state legislators sued the California governor, challenging Executive Order N-67-20, which provides directives related to the November 3 general election, “which directives significantly change the choices voters have with regard to voting and the places and manner of casting votes.” The complaint alleges violations of various state election laws, in that the directives usurp legislative authority.

Status: TRO granted as to Executive Order N-67-20; TRO vacated by Court of Appeal July 10, 2020; Trial scheduled October 21, 2020


Issa et al. v. Newsom, No. 2:20-cv-1044 (E.D. Ca.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

California residents, backed by Judicial Watch, sued California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, challenging Executive Order N-64-20, which was issued in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic and mandates that vote-by-mail ballots for the November election be sent to “every Californian who is eligible to vote.” The complaint alleges violations of the Elections Clause and the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and substantive due process claims under the 14th Amendment.

Status: Voluntarily dismissed July 9, 2020


Republican National Committee v. Newsom, No. 2:20-cv-1055 (E.D. Ca.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

The RNC, NRCC, and California Republican Party sued the California governor and secretary of state, challenging Executive Order N-64-20, which was issued in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic and mandates that vote-by-mail ballots for the November election be sent to “every Californian who is eligible to vote.” The complaint alleges violations of the Elections Clause and the Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and substantive due process claims under the 14th Amendment.

Status: Voluntarily dismissed July 9, 2020

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Connecticut

Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP v. Merrill, No. 3:20-cv-909 (D. Conn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

The Connecticut League of Women Voters, Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP, and an individual voter sued the Connecticut secretary of state in connection with the secretary of state’s failure to extend the policy of allowing all registered voters to vote by mail beyond the August primary and through the November general election. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the existing absentee voting statute, as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, violates the fundamental right to vote and denies and abridges the right to vote on account of race or color.

Status: Complaint filed July 2, 2020; Notice of voluntary dismissal filed September 25, 2020


Fay v. Merrill, No. SC20477 (Conn. S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Four U.S. Congressional candidates sued the Connecticut secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s preparation and issuance of the absentee ballot application for the August 11, 2020, primary election, which specifies that voters may use Covid-19 “as a valid reason for requesting [an absentee] ballot.” The complaint alleges violations of Connecticut General Statutes § 9-135, Executive Order No. 7QQ, and Article 6th, Section 7 of the Connecticut Constitution, in that the secretary’s preparation and issuance of the absentee ballot application exceeds her legal authority, and denies plaintiffs’ right to a fair and honest election and to have votes counted equally and not be diluted by votes that are unlawfully cast. 

Status: Complaint filed July 1, 2020; Motion to dismiss granted July 20, 2020


Fay v. Merrill, No. HHD-CV20-6130532 (Conn. Super. Ct., Hartford), No. SC200027 (Conn. S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Four U.S. Congressional candidates sued the Connecticut secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s preparation and issuance of the absentee ballot application for the August 11, 2020, primary election, which specifies that voters may use Covid-19 “as a valid reason for requesting [an absentee] ballot.” The complaint alleges violations of Connecticut General Statutes § 9-135, Executive Order No. 7QQ, and Article 6th, Section 7 of the Connecticut Constitution, in that the secretary’s preparation and issuance of the absentee ballot application exceeds her legal authority, and denies plaintiffs’ right to a fair and honest election and to have votes counted equally and not be diluted by votes that are unlawfully cast. 

Status: Complaint filed July 20, 2020; Motion to dismiss granted July 22, 2020; Affirmed on appeal August 6, 2020


Rapini v. Merrill, No. HHB-CV20-6060234-S (Conn. Super. Ct., New Britain)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Two individual voters who are potential and/or former political candidates, and two state legislators who are running for re-election sued the Connecticut secretary of the state challenging the secretary’s May 6, 2020, memorandum of opinion, which, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, expanded the definition of “illness” for the purposes of clarifying which voters are permitted to vote by absentee ballot. The petition alleges violations of Article 6, § 7 of the Connecticut Constitution, in that the secretary of the state exceeded her authority in “erroneously and improperly interpret[ing]” the constitution’s meaning of “illness” for purposes of absentee voting. 

Status: Voluntarily dismissed August 10, 2020

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Delaware

League of Women Voters of Delaware v. State of Delaware Department of Elections, C.A. No. 2020- 0761 (Del. Ct. Chancery)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

The League of Women Voters of Delaware and an individual voter sued the state Department of Elections and the state election commissioner, challenging a state law requiring that absentee and vote-by-mail ballots be received by 8:00 p.m. on election day in order to be counted. The complaint alleges violations of the Delaware Constitution’s Elections Clause and the Right to Vote Clause, in that the challenged law will deprive plaintiffs of the right to vote, discriminate against the aged and disabled, and thus preclude the election from being “free and equal.”

Status: Complaint filed September 3, 2020


Republican State Committee of Delaware v. State of Delaware, C.A. No. 20-685-SG (Del. Ct. of Chancery)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement & Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

The Republican State Committee of Delaware and two individual voters sued the state Department of Elections and the state election commissioner, challenging a newly-enacted state law, HB 346, which suspends the state constitution’s limitation on the categories of voters permitted to vote by mail in the upcoming November general election, instead allowing any qualified voter to do so without providing an excuse, and further provides that absentee ballot request forms be mailed to all registered voters for the November election. The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against enforcement of HB 346 and a declaration that, in enacting HB 346, the legislature exceeded its constitutional authority, that it “impermissibly used Del. Const. Art. XVII § 1 as a work around of the constraints on absentee voting requirements,” and that HB 346 is not “necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations” under the Delaware constitution

Status: Complaint filed August 19, 2020

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District of Columbia

League of Women Voters v. Newby, No. 1:16-cv-236 (D.D.C.); Nos. 16-5196, 19-7027 (D.C. Cir.)

Re: Proof of Citizenship Requirement

The League of Women Voters of the United States, Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas, the Georgia NAACP and others sued the Acting Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), challenging the defendant’s decision to permit Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas to require applicants using the federal voter registration form to provide documentary proof of citizenship. The complaint alleges violations of Section 208 of the Help America Vote Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and EAC’s internal policies and procedures, and the National Voter Registration Act, in that the defendant’s actions were arbitrary and capricious, undertaken without the requisite approval of 3 EAC members, exceeded his delegated authority, failed to provide adequate notice and opportunity to comment, and ran afoul of the NVRA’s specification of the requisite content of the federal voter registration form.

The district court decision denying the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction was reversed by the D.C. Circuit on September 9, 2016. The case was remanded to the district court, which, on February 24, 2017, remanded the decision to the EAC with instructions to determine whether the defendant had authority to allow the three states to require proof of citizenship on the federal form.  

Status: On June 1, 2017, the EAC announced that they were split along partisan lines in response to the question posed by the district court, leaving the circuit court’s preliminary injunction in place; Denial of Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund’s motion to intervene reversed and remanded by D.C. Circuit June 26, 2020; Intervention permitted August 31, 2020


NAACP v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 1:20-cv-2295 (D.D.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery (Covid-19)

The NAACP sued the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) and the Postmaster General, challenging recent changes to USPS’s nationwide postal services, which have resulted in delays in mail delivery and changes to the treatment of election mail. The complaint asserts a “non-statutory right of action to enjoin and declare unlawful official action that is ultra vires and unlawful,” “arbitrary, capricious and not in accordance with statutory requirements,” and alleges violations of 39 U.S.C. §§ 3661 101(e), which, respectively, require the USPS to seek an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission in order to afford members of the public with notice and an opportunity to comment on changes “that will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis,” and require USPS to provide “highest consideration to the delivery of important letter mail.”  

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 1, 2020


Richardson v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-2262 (D.D.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery, Conspiracy (Covid-19)

Individual voters sued the U.S. President, the Postmaster General and the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”), challenging “false statements about widespread mail-in voter fraud when such fraud is virtually non-existent,” and defendants’ actions “significantly slowing down mail delivery of flat mail like absentee and mail-in ballots…in an effort to suppress the vote during the pandemic, undermine faith in the election process and its results and lay the groundwork for Trump to challenge the results of the presidential election should he lose.” The amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, in that defendants’ actions “were intended to and did deprive Plaintiff[s] and thousands of other Americans of their fundamental right to vote, constituted a civil conspiracy to violate plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected right to vote, and are arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.

Status: Amended complaint filed September 11, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part October 8, 2020, enjoining defendants from enforcing the “late/extra trips policy,” requiring defendants to authorize all overtime necessary to ensure the timely delivery of election mail, and preemptively denying any request to stay pending appeal


Robinson v. Board of Elections1:20-cv-1364 (D.C. Superior Court)

Re: Polling Place Availability (Covid-19); Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery

Two individual voters sued the District of Columbia Board of Elections, challenging the Board’s policy of closing the majority of Ward 8 polling places in an effort to promote absentee voting. The complaint for emergency injunctive relief alleges violations of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the policy ensures that members of a protected class have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political processes and elect representatives of their choice.

Status: TRO denied; Dismissed on consent June 30, 2020


State of New York v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-2340 (D.D.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery

The states of New York, Hawaii, New Jersey and others sued the U.S. President, the Postmaster General and others, challenging the USPS’s “abrupt policy changes,” which “interfere with states’ constitutional duty to administer their own elections.” The complaint alleges violations of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the Postal Reorganization Act, and the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in that the USPS acted ultra vires in failing to submit a proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission prior to making changes which would “generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis,” and ignoring its obligation to give the highest consideration to the convenience and efficiency of processing, transporting, and delivering important letter mail, eliminated ready access to postal services to certain populations, and that defendants’ actions “will hinder the delivery of mail ballots and ballot applications, and thereby undermine the States’ constitutionally-delegated role to regulate congressional elections.”

Status: Complaint filed August 25, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 27, 2020, enjoining defendants from enforcing postal policy changes and preemptively denying any request to stay pending appeal


Vote Forward v. DeJoy, No. 1:20-cv-2405 (D.D.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery (Covid-19)

Vote Forward, individual voters, Voces Unidas de las Montañas and others sued the postmaster general and the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”), challenging USPS policy changes implemented by the postmaster general, including a ban on late and extra delivery trips and the decommissioning of hundreds of mail sorting machines, as well as the postmaster general’s failure to reverse other policies that negatively impact the delivery of election mail. The amended complaint alleges violations of federal Administrative Procedure Act and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants acted ultra vires in failing to request an advisory opinion prior to implementing policy changes that affect postal services nationwide, and that the challenged policies unreasonably and severely burden “the right to vote by causing delays that effectively disenfranchise voters.”

Status: Amended complaint filed September 8, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 28, 2020 and any request to stay the order pending appeal for preemptively denied

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Florida

Grimes v. Florida Department of State, 2020-CA-908 (Fla. Cir. Ct., Leon Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Prepaid Postage (Covid-19)

Individual Florida residents sued the Florida Department of State, Florida Division of Elections, secretary of state, and others, challenging a state law that provides that a voter may request a vote-by-mail ballot in person or in writing. The second amended complaint seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, including that the court order the State to automatically send mail-in ballots to all voters with postage prepaid.

Status: Dismissed August 13, 2020


Gruver v. Barton, No. 1:19-cv-121 (N.D. Fla.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement (“Pay to Vote”)

The Florida NAACP, League of Women Voters of Florida, individual Florida residents, and others sued the Florida secretary of state and the supervisors for elections of various Florida counties, challenging a state law that prohibits restoration of voting rights to persons with felony convictions until they have paid all court-imposed restitution, fees, and fines. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, 15th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law violates the guarantees of substantive and procedural due process, discriminates between voters (thus denying equal protection), unduly burdens the right to vote, imposes an illegal poll tax, is impermissibly vague, burdens core political speech and associational rights, constitutes retroactive punishment in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause, and intentionally discriminates on the basis of race.

Status: See Jones v. DeSantis, below


Jacobson v. Lee (formerly Lee v. Dentzner), No. 4:18-cv-262 (N.D. Fla), No. 19-14552 (11th Cir.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

Individual voters, Priorities USA, DNC, and others sued the Florida secretary of state and others, challenging a state law that requires that candidates of the same political party as the current Florida governor be listed first on all election ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law creates an undue burden on the right to vote and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification. The lower court found the ballot order scheme to be unconstitutional. On appeal, the 11th Circuit reversed, finding that the plaintiffs had lacked standing.

Status: Petition for rehearing en banc filed September 24, 2020


Jones v. DeSantis, No. 4:19-cv-300 (N.D. Fla.); No. 20-12003 (11th Cir.); Raysor v. DeSantis, No. 20-12003 (S. Ct.)

Consolidated with Gruver v. Barton, No. 1:19-cv-000302; Mendez v. DeSantis, No. 4:19-cv-00272; Raysor v. Lee, No. 4:19-cv-00301; McCoy v. DeSantis, No. 4:19-cv-00304 (N.D. Fla)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement (“Pay to Vote”)

An individual Florida resident sued the Florida governor, the supervisor of elections of Hillsborough County, the Florida secretary of state, and the State of Florida, challenging a state statute that prohibits restoration of voting rights to persons with felony convictions until they have paid all court-imposed restitution, fees, and fines. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and mandamus, alleging state and federal constitutional and statutory claims, including violations of the 14th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Art. VI, § 4 of the Florida Constitution, in that the statute denies the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, imposes an illegal poll tax, denies the right to vote and discriminates on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, and prescribes qualifications for the restoration of voting rights to persons convicted of felonies beyond those prescribed by the Florida Constitution.

Several individuals and organizations, including the Florida State Conference of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Florida, intervened and moved for a preliminary injunction, while the defendants moved for dismissal. The district court entered a final order granting declaratory and injunctive relief on May 24, 2020.

Status: Notice of appeal filed by defendants. Motion for stay pending appeal denied by district court. Notice of cross-appeal filed by two plaintiffs; Defendant-Appellants’ petition for initial hearing en banc and motion to stay preliminary injunction granted by 11th Circuit; plaintiffs’ emergency application to vacate 11th Circuit stay denied by SCOTUSOrder vacating and reversing lower court ruling issued September 11, 2020


Mendez v. DeSantis, No. 4:19-cv-272 (N.D. Fla.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement (“Pay to Vote”)

An individual Florida resident sued the Florida governor, the Supervisor of Elections of Hillsborough County, the Florida secretary of state, and the State of Florida, challenging a state law that prohibits restoration of voting rights to persons with felony convictions until they have paid all court-imposed restitution, fees, and fines. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and mandamus, alleging violations of the 14th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and Art. VI, § 4 of the Florida Constitution, in that the statute denies the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, imposes an illegal poll tax, denies the right to vote and discriminates on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, and prescribes qualifications for the restoration of voting rights to persons convicted of felonies beyond those prescribed by the Florida Constitution.

Status: See Jones v. DeSantis, above


Nielsen v. DeSantis, No. 4:20-cv-236 (N.D. Fla.)

Consolidated with Williams v. DeSantis

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Prepaid Postage, Ballot Collectors (Covid-19)

Florida voters, Alianza for Progress, Inc., and others sued the Florida governor, the secretary of state, and others, challenging various state laws and practices, including the State’s failure to provide prepaid postage on mail-in ballots, the requirement that ballots not received by 7 p.m. on Election Day be discarded, and prohibition on the use of paid organizers to assist voters with collecting ballots. The third amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, §§ 2 and 203 of the Voting Rights Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, in that the laws and practices unduly burden the right to vote, deny due process, abridge or deny the right to vote on account of race, discriminate against and fail to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities, and fail to provide Spanish-language voting materials and assistance.

Status: Preliminary injunction denied in part and then fully deniedNielsen plaintiffs’ and Dream Defender plaintiffs’ claims voluntarily dismissed pursuant to settlement; Settled July 20, 2020


Raysor v. Lee, No. 4:19-cv-301 (N.D. Fla)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement (“Pay to Vote”)

Individual Florida residents with prior felony convictions, individually and on behalf of a class, sued the Florida secretary of state, challenging a state law that prohibits restoration of voting rights to persons with felony convictions until they have paid all court-imposed restitution, fees, and fines. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law discriminates and disenfranchises on the basis of wealth, constitutes an illegal poll tax, is unconstitutionally vague, and denies the right of due process.

Status: See Jones v. DeSantis, above


Williams v. DeSantis, No. 1:20-cv-67 (N.D. Fla.)

Consolidated with Nielsen v. DeSantis

Re: Vote-by-Mail Restrictions; Early Voting Dates; Curbside Voting (Covid-19)

Florida voters and organizations sued the Florida governor, secretary of state, and the Florida Election Canvassing Commission, challenging a host of alleged failures by the State to make necessary voting accommodations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, §§ 2 and 203 of the Voting Rights Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, in that the law places an undue burden on the right to vote, abridges the right to vote on account of race, fails to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, fails to provide Spanish-language voting materials and assistance, and denies procedural due process.

Status: Consolidated with Nielsen v. DeSantisSettled by original plaintiffs July 20, 2020 and by intervening plaintiffs August 5, 2020

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Georgia

Anderson v. Raffensperger, No. 1:20-cv-3263 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: In-Person Polling Place Availability & Resources (Covid-19)

Three individual voters, the DSCC, and the Democratic Party of Georgia sued the Georgia secretary of state, the chair and members of the Georgia State Election Board and members of various county boards of elections, challenging the defendants’ failure to provide a sufficient number and equitable distribution of election day polling places, to implement adequately functioning voting systems, and to hire sufficient numbers of and adequately train poll workers, resulting in exceedingly long wait times to vote. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants’ actions and inaction unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, result in circumstances that are fundamentally unfair, arbitrarily and disparately denying equal protection to voters in certain counties.

Status: Complaint filed August 6, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 1, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted and preliminary injunction denied October 13, 2020


Black Voters Matter Fund v. RaffenspergerNo. 1:20-cv-1489 (N.D. Ga.); No. 20-13414 (11th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Prepaid Postage (Covid-19)

Black Voters Matter Fund and individual registered voters, on behalf of a class, sued Georgia’s secretary of state, the Dekalb County Board of Registration & Elections, and others, challenging the State’s policy of requiring voters to provide their own postage when mailing absentee ballots and ballot applications. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the policy imposes an illegal poll tax, denies equal protection, and unjustifiably burdens the right to vote.

Status: TRO denied May 15, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied; Motion to dismiss granted in part  and denied in part August 11, 2020; Final judgment entered in favor of defendants August 28, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 9, 2020


Coalition for Good Governance v. Raffensperger, No. 1:20-cv-1677 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Availability & Accessibility; In-Person Voting Safety, Curbside/Mobile Voting (Covid-19)

The Coalition for Good Governance and individual voters sued the Georgia secretary of state and members of the State Board of Elections, challenging the State’s failure to take appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of voters and election workers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including postponing the primary election, making absentee voting more accessible, using paper ballots rather than touchscreens, and permitting early and curbside voting. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the State’s failure to make appropriate modifications and accommodations denies the fundamental right to vote and the guarantees of due process and equal protection.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted and motion for reconsideration denied by district court; Appeal to 11th Circuit voluntarily dismissed August 17, 2020


Curling v. Raffensperger, No. 1:17-cv-2989 (N.D. Ga.); No. 20-13730 (11th Cir.)

Re: Electronic Voting Machine Security

Individual voters and the Coalition for Good Governance sued the Georgia secretary of state, the Georgia State Election Board, its members and others, challenging the state’s voting system, which relies primarily on the use of electronic voting machines that plaintiffs contend are inaccurate and vulnerable to security breaches.  The third amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and state law and state constitutional ballot secrecy guarantees, in that the use of the electronic machines denies voters’ rights to due process and equal protection, and infringes upon the fundamental right to vote, and denies the right to vote “in absolute secrecy.”

Status: Preliminary injunction denied without prejudice August 7, 2020; Emergency motion for expedited discovery granted in part August 11, 2020; Motions for preliminary injunctions filed August 19, 21 and 24, 2020; Coalition plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted on paper pollbook backups September 28, 2020, directing defendants to “provide at least a modicum of the voting backup plan tools essential to protecting voters’ constitutionally protected ability and right to cast a ballot that is counted and given the same weight as any other this coming November 3 general election day and thereafter;” Notice of appeal filed by defendants October 2, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal filed October 6, 2020; Order issued October 11, 2020, denying Curling Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction and granting in part and denying in part Coalition Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, while finding major security vulnerabilities; Amended order concerning paper pollbook backup issued October 12, 2020


Fair Fight Action v. Raffensperger (aka Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta v. Raffensperger), No. 1:18-cv-5391 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Voter List Purges, In-Person Voting, Polling Place Closures, Voting Machine Security, Vote-by-Mail

Fair Fight Action, Care in Action, Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, and others sued the Georgia secretary of state, the State Election Board, and members of the board, challenging the State’s elections laws, policies and practices, and its administration of the 2018 general election in particular, which plaintiffs allege resulted in voter suppression and discrimination “reminiscent of the Jim Crow era.” The challenged laws and practices include closing and relocating polling places, failing to provide a sufficient number of ballots and other resources to polling places, using inaccurate voting machines, illegally purging thousands of voters from voter rolls, improperly rejecting voter registration forms, failing to provide sufficient provisional ballots, failing to properly train election workers, impeding absentee voting, and leaving the State’s voting infrastructure vulnerable to hacking. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”), in that the challenged laws and practices deny substantive and procedural due process, including the fundamental right to vote, discriminate on the basis of race, deprive voters of equal protection, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, and fail to comply with various provisions of HAVA by employing voting machines that produce no paper record when votes are cast and thus cannot be audited.

Status: Motion for summary judgment filed June 29, 2020


Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, Inc. v. Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections, No. 1:20-cv-1587 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: English-Only Election Materials (Covid-19)

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and others sued the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections, members of the Board of Registration and Elections, and the Georgia secretary of state, challenging the State’s practice of sending only English-language election materials, including absentee ballot applications, to Georgia’s voters. The second amended complaint alleges violations of §§ 203 and 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, in that the law fails to provide bilingual voting materials and conditions the right to vote on voters’ degree of fluency in English, when voters were educated in an American-flag school where English was not the language of instruction.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied; Second amended complaint filed June 8, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted October 5, 2020


Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda v. Raffensperger, No. 1:18-cv-4727 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Voter Registration

The Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, and others sued the Georgia secretary of state, challenging the State’s “exact match” law and related protocols, which reject voter registration applications if a single letter or number on the application does not perfectly match information contained in the Georgia Department of Driver Services and Social Security Administration databases. The third amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and § 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), in that the challenged law and protocols unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, disproportionately impact racial minority voters, discriminate based on citizenship classification and national origin, and fail to ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election “so long as that applicant [timely] submits a valid voter registration form,” as required by the NVRA.

Status: Motion for emergency preliminary injunction granted as to the November 2018 general election; Third amended complaint filed July 24, 2020; Discovery deadline December 8, 2020


Georgia State Conference of the NAACP v. Dekalb County Board of Registration and Elections, No. 1:20-cv-879 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Voter List Purges

The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda sued the Dekalb County Board of Registration and Elections and its members and director, challenging the removal of voters from rolls pursuant to the state’s challenge procedures without affording notice, an opportunity to respond, and the two-election cycle waiting period required under federal law. The complaint alleges violations of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) on the basis that (1) Defendants are immediately purging voters without voters’ written confirmation and without sending a notice and waiting two federal election cycles , (2) Defendants’ letters to voters do not qualify as “confirmation notices” as required by the NVRA, and (3) Defendants’ removals are nonuniform and discriminatory. In addition, Plaintiffs allege violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution on the basis that the county purge procedures deny and severely burden DeKalb County citizens’ fundamental right to vote.

Status: Motion to dismiss denied September 2, 2020


Griggs v. Raffensperger, No. 1:20-cv-3272 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Fraud

An individual voter and ten anonymous individuals sued the Georgia secretary of state, the Chatham County Georgia Board of Elections and others, seeking to void the June 9, 2020, primary election due to alleged fraud and mismanagement. The complaint alleges violations of  the Voting Rights Act, the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants “deprived voters and candidates of the right to vote and select candidates,” by engaging in misconduct, “breach[ed their] duty” and were negligent, denied voters equal protection by “having different standards for administering elections or for counting ballots in different counties,” and “perpetrated fraud upon the voters and candidates during the June 9, 2020 Primary Election.”   

Status: Complaint filed August 7, 2020


Gwinnett County NAACP v. Gwinnett County Board of Registration & Elections, No. 1:20-cv-912 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: In-Person Early Voting, Satellite Voting Locations

The Gwinnett County NAACP, the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, and the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda sued the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections, its members, and the Gwinnett County Commissioners, challenging the defendants’ decision to eliminate the first week of early voting at satellite locations for the March 2020 presidential primary election. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the elimination of early voting opportunities would severely burden the fundamental right to vote, discriminate against Black voters and voters of a lower socioeconomic status.

Status: Emergency motion for TRO and preliminary injunction denied March 3, 2020; Voluntarily dismissed March 9, 2020


New Georgia Project v. Raffensperger, No. 1:20-cv-1986 (N.D. Ga.), No. 20-13360 (11th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Prepaid Postage, Voter Assistance Ban, Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

The New Georgia Project and individual voters sued the secretary of state, State Board of Elections members, and others, challenging five state laws that require that ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day be discarded, prohibit voter assistance, fail to provide standards for notifying voters who have submitted incomplete absentee ballot applications, restrict the ability to submit a single application to vote by mail for an entire election cycle based on age, and require voters to provide their own postage on absentee ballots, and alleging that the effects of these rules have been exacerbated by Covid-19. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, 24th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and § 208 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws unduly burden the right to vote, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of age, impose a poll tax, deny procedural due process, arbitrarily impose disparate treatment, infringe on speech and association rights, and are preempted by federal law.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part August 31, 2020, requiring that “otherwise valid absentee ballots from qualified voters” must be counted if postmarked by election day and received by 7:00 p.m. within three business days thereafter. Notice of appeal and filed September 4, 2020; Motion to expedite briefing granted September 10, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal denied September 16, 2020; Appellate motion to stay injunction granted October 2, 2020


Palast v. Kemp, 1:18-cv-4809 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Voter Registration Records

An investigative journalist and the executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda sued the Georgia secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s failure to disclose documents pertaining to voter list maintenance which had been requested by plaintiffs pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”). The complaint alleges violations of the public disclosure provisions of the NVRA, in that the defendant failed to fully respond to plaintiffs’ request for public disclosure after being given 90 days’ notice.

Status: Defendant’s motion for summary judgment denied February 4, 2020; Consent motion to stay pending settlement filed August 28, 2020


Schmitz v. Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, No. 2020CV339337 (Super. Ct., Fulton Cnty.)

Re: Voter List Purges

Two individual voters sued the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, its director and chief, seeking to compel defendants to purge the county’s voter registration list. The verified petition for a writ of mandamus alleges violations of state statute, in that the defendants have failed to hold a hearing in response to written notices filed by the plaintiff, challenging the qualifications of multiple registered voters.

Status: Complaint filed August 13, 2020; Emergency motion to intervene by the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda September 23, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by the New Georgia Project September 28, 2020; Motion to dismiss granted September 29, 2020


S.P.S. ex rel Short v. Raffensperger, No. 1:19-cv-4960 (N.D. Ga.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

Individual Georgia residents, the DNC, DSCC, and others sued the Georgia secretary of state, the vice chair of the Georgia Board of Elections, and others, challenging a state law that mandates that candidates be listed on the ballot in descending order of the number of votes received by “candidates of the political parties for Governor at the last gubernatorial election.” The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and treats voters disparately in violation of equal protection.

Status: Supplemental brief filed by plaintiffs June 12, 2020, addressing the impact of the 11th Circuit’s decision in Jacobson v. Florida; Motions for preliminary injunction and dismissal denied August 13, 2020

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Hawaii

Griffin v. State of Hawaii, No. 1:20-cv-298 (D. Haw.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Voter Assistance, In-Person Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

 A nonpartisan candidate for political office sued the State of Hawaii challenging the state’s vote-by-mail program, which the plaintiff believes will undermine voters’ confidence in the voting process, present challenges for disabled and visually impaired voters, and reduce the number of in-person polling places. The complaint does not set forth a cause of action and seeks a preliminary injunction requiring that “only official ballots [be] used,” that voters be required to sign any ballot sent via USPS to verify identity, and “public comparison of aggregated totals with component parts.”

Status: Motion for emergency injunction denied and motion to dismiss granted September 28, 2020


Reeves v. Nago, No. 1:20-cv-433 (D. Haw.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (Covid-19)

Individual voters and Equally American sued the chief election officer for the Hawaii Office of Elections, the United States of America, and others, challenging the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (“UOCAVA”), Hawaii statutes, and administrative rules implementing their requirements, which permit former Hawaii residents to continue voting by absentee ballot in presidential and congressional elections if they reside in the Northern Mariana Islands, certain other insular territories, or in a foreign country, while failing to afford that right to residents of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, or Puerto Rico. The complaint alleges violations of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions and polices violate the guarantees of equal protection and due process by treating differently former state residents depending on where they now reside outside of the United States.

Status: Complaint filed October 8, 2020

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Illinois

Cook County Republican Party v. Pritzker, No. 1:20-cv-4676 (N.D. Ill.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution, Request Deadline, Voter Assistance, Signature Matching; Notice/Opportunity to Cure Provisional Ballots (Covid-19)

The Cook County Republican Party sued the Illinois governor, members of the Illinois State Board of Elections and others, challenging a newly enacted law that requires that vote-by-mail ballot applications be sent to most registered voters, requires acceptance of mail-in ballots returned with insufficient or no postage, does not prohibit 3rd party voter assistance, does not provide a tracking system for mail-in ballots, allows mail-in ballots to be requested 3 days before the election, gives government employees a paid day off on election day, presumes that signatures on mail-in ballots are authentic, allows 16-year-olds to serve as election judges, and affords voters of 14 days to cure a defective provisional ballot. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Article 3, Section 4 of the Illinois Constitution, in that the challenged law “will lead to fraudulent votes being counted, thus diluting lawful votes for candidates of the Republican Party,” “will lead to ballots being collected by paid, partisan political operatives and never returned to the election authority, thus directly disenfranchising voters for candidates of the Republican Party,” and violates the secrecy of voters wishing to vote by mail.

Status: Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed August 10, 2020; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee permitted to intervene August 28, 2020


Harrington v. DeJoy, No. 1:20-cv-5303 (N.D. Ill.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Practices (Covid-19)

An individual voter, on behalf of a class, sued the postmaster general, the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, and the “United States Parcel Service,” challenging the removal from or dismantling of Delivery Bar Code Sorting Machines in the Chicago area and around the nation. The complaint alleges violations of federal statute, in that defendants’ actions constitute a “consolidation” of a post office, were undertaken without first providing adequate notice and without considering the effect of the closing or consolidation on the community served by those post offices, and have cause plaintiffs’ voting rights to be placed at risk and infringed.

Status: Complaint filed September 8, 2020

 

 

 

Iowa

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee v. Pate, No. 5771 CVCV060641 (Iowa Dist. Ct., Polk Cnty.); No. 20-1281 (Iowa Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Distribution (Covid-19)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Iowa Democratic Party sued the Iowa secretary of state and the Iowa Legislative Counsel, challenging the July 17, 2020 Emergency Election Directive, which ordered county auditors to distribute to voters “only the blank Official State of Iowa Absentee Request Form,” for the November general election. The petition for judicial review of agency action alleges violations of the Iowa Administrative Code and the Iowa Constitution, in that the secretary failed to invoke his emergency powers prior to issuing the challenged directive, which was based on an erroneous interpretation of Iowa law and unconstitutionally intrudes on counties’ home rule authority.

Status: Petition for judicial review of agency action filed August 31, 2020; Motion for temporary injunctive relief granted October 5, 2020; Stay granted by Iowa Supreme Court October 6, 2020


Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee v. Pate, No. 5571 060642 (Iowa Dist. Ct., Polk Cnty.); No. 20-1281 (Iowa Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Distribution (Covid-19)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign CommitteeDemocratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Iowa Democratic Party sued the Iowa secretary of state and the Iowa Legislative Counsel, challenging the July 17, 2020 Emergency Election Directive, which ordered county auditors to distribute to voters “only the blank Official State of Iowa Absentee Request Form,” for the November general election. The petition at law alleges violations of the Iowa Constitution, in that the challenged order exceeds defendants’ statutory authority, threatens to deprive voters and plaintiffs of a protected liberty interest without providing due process, and results in similarly situated voters being treated differently based on whether they receive blank or pre-addressed absentee ballot request forms.

Status: Petition at law filed August 31, 2020; Emergency motion to stay agency action granted October 5, 2020; Stay granted by Iowa Supreme Court October 6, 2020


League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa v. Pate, No. 06521 CVCV081901 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Johnson Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Contents (Covid-19)

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward sued the Iowa secretary of state seeking to prevent the implementation of a newly enacted law HF 2643, which prohibits elections officials from using information contained in the voter registration database for the purpose of filling in any information that is missing from a voter’s absentee ballot application. The complaint alleges violations of Article 1, Sections 6, 7, and 9 and Article 2, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution, in that the law unjustifiably and unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote and denies voters’ right to substantive and procedural due process and equal protection. Plaintiffs seek an order declaring that Section 124 of HF 2643 violates the Iowa Constitution and enjoining the secretary from implementing the challenged provision.

Status: Motion to intervene filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and Republican Party of Iowa July 24, 2020; Motion for temporary injunction denied September 25, 2020


League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa v. Pate, No. _____________ (Iowa Dist. Ct. Polk Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Box Restrictions (Covid-19)

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward sued the Iowa secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s official guidance that ballot drop boxes may only be deployed at county auditors’ offices or on county property immediately surrounding those offices. The petition for judicial review of agency action alleges violations of state law and the Iowa constitution, in that the secretary’s guidance is based on an erroneous interpretation of Iowa law, was issued in a procedurally deficient manner, and unconstitutionally intrudes on the counties’ home rule authority.

Status: Complaint filed September 14, 2020


League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa v. Pate, No. 06521 CVCV081901 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Polk Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Box Restrictions (Covid-19)

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa and Majority Forward sued the Iowa secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s official guidance that ballot drop boxes may only be deployed at county auditors’ offices or on county property immediately surrounding those offices. The petition at law and equity alleges violations of the Iowa Constitution, in that the secretary’s guidance infringes on counties’ home rule authority to conduct their elections in a manner not inconsistent with state law, and substantially burdens the fundamental right to vote without being justified by a compelling government interest.

Status: Complaint filed September 14, 2020


Republican National Committee v. Gill, No. 03971 EQCV 193154 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Woodbury Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Contents (Covid-19)

The Republican National Committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others sued the Auditor of Woodbury County, Iowa, challenging the defendant’s decision to send absentee ballot request forms pre-populated with voter information, rather than following the secretary of state’s directive to send only blank ballots. The complaint seeks to enjoin the defendant to obey the secretary’s directives, reject any pre-populated request forms returned to him, and notify the relevant voters that they must submit a second request using the non-pre-populated version of the form prescribed by the secretary. 

Status: Motion for temporary injunction granted August 28, 2020; Interlocutory appeal denied September 16, 2020


Republican National Committee v. Miller, No. 06571 EQCV095986 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Linn Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Contents (Covid-19)

The Republican National Committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others sued the Auditor of Linn County, Iowa, challenging the defendant’s decision to send absentee ballot request forms pre-populated with voter information, rather than following the secretary of state’s directive to send only blank ballots. The complaint seeks to enjoin the defendant to obey the secretary’s directives, reject any pre-populated request forms returned to him, and notify the relevant voters that they must submit a second request using the non-pre-populated version of the form prescribed by the secretary. 

Status: Motion for temporary injunction granted August 27, 2020


Republican National Committee v. Weipert, No. 06521 CVCV081957 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Johnson Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Contents (Covid-19)

The Republican National Committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others sued the Auditor of Johnson County, Iowa, challenging the defendant’s decision to send absentee ballot request forms pre-populated with voter information, rather than following the secretary of state’s directive to send only blank ballots. The complaint seeks to enjoin the defendant to obey the secretary’s directives, reject any pre-populated request forms returned to him, and notify the relevant voters that they must submit a second request using the non-pre-populated version of the form prescribed by the secretary.  

Status: Motion for temporary injunction granted September 12, 2020

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Indiana

Buroff v. Gladieux (aka Barnhart v. Gladieux), No. 1:17-cv-124 (N.D. Ind.)

Re: Inmate Disenfranchisement

An Indiana resident, on behalf of a class, sued the Allen County sheriff in connection with the county’s failure to provide absentee ballots or other access to the polls to inmates in the Allen County Jail who were eligible to vote. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the county’s practices deny or abridge the right to vote, in violation of equal protection and without due process of law.

Status: Motion for partial summary judgment granted; Legal notice of class certification approved September 19, 2019


Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, 1:20-cv-2007 (S.D. Ind.); No. 20-2911 (7th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Common Cause Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP sued the Indiana secretary of state and members of the Indiana Election Commission, challenging a state law that requires rejection of any voted mail-in ballots that are not received by noon on election day. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law, “particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic,” unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Complaint filed July 30, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 29, 2020; Notice of appeal filed October 2, 2020; Motion for stay granted October 13, 2020


Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, 1:20-cv-1825 (S.D. Ind.); No. 20-2877 (7th Cir.)

Re: In-Person Voting Hours (Covid-19)

Common Cause Indiana sued the Indiana secretary of state, members of the Indiana Election Commission, and others, on behalf of a class, challenging two amendments to the election code that prohibit voters from petitioning state courts to extend voting hours and restrict state courts’ authority to extend voting hours due to, e.g., long lines or voting machine malfunctions. The complaint alleges violations of Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution and the 1st and 14th Amendments, in that the challenged amendments unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, deny procedural due process, and run afoul of the Supremacy Clause.

Status: Motion to dismiss denied September 22, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 22, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 29, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal denied October 9, 2020


Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, No. 1:17-cv-3936 (S.D. Ind.); No. 18-2491 (7th Cir.) Consolidated on appeal with Indiana State Conference of the NAACP v. Lawson, No. 18-2942 (7th Cir.)

Re: Voter List Purges

Common Cause Indiana sued the Indiana secretary of state and the co-directors of the Indiana Election Division, challenging amendments to the Indiana Code that allow voters to be removed from the voter registration rolls without providing the requisite notice, response opportunity, and waiting period. The complaint alleges violations of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, in that the Indiana law permits removal of voter records without notifying voters and without voters’ written authorization, permits the removal of voter records based on unreliable second-hand information, and permits counties to operate list-maintenance programs that are discriminatory and non-uniform. 

Status: Preliminary injunction granted June 8, 2018, and upheld on August 27, 2019, by the 7th Circuit, remanding for further proceedings; Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment granted and permanent injunction issued August 24, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 21, 2020


Frederick v. Lawson, No. 1:19-cv-1959 (S.D. Ind.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure

Individual voters and Common Cause Indiana, on behalf of a class, sued the Indiana secretary of state, the St. Joseph County Election Board and others, challenging state laws that require rejection of ballots with perceived signature mismatch issues without affording voters notice and an opportunity to cure. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged laws infringe upon the fundamental right to vote without affording voters due process and deny equal protection by allowing arbitrary and inconsistent rejection of ballots.

Status: Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment granted and defendant’s motion for summary judgment deniedPermanent injunction issued August 20, 2020, precluding the rejection “of any mail-in absentee ballot on the basis of a signature mismatch absent adequate notice and cure procedures to the affected voter.”


Indiana State Conference of the NAACP v. Lawson, No. 1:17-cv-2897 (S.D. Ind.); No. 18-2492 (7th Cir.) Consolidated on appeal with Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, No. 18-2491 (7th Cir.)

Re: Voter List Purges

The Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Indiana sued the Indiana secretary of state and the co-directors of the Indiana Election Division, challenging the state’s then-recently enacted amendments to the Indiana Code which remove voters from voter registration rolls without providing the requisite notice, response opportunity and waiting period, and utilize the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (“IVRC”) in a non-uniform and discriminatory manner. The complaint alleges violations of the National Voter Registration Act, in that the challenged law fails to afford voters the notice, response opportunity and waiting period required by the NVRA and runs afoul of the NVRA’s prohibition against arbitrary, unreasonable and discriminatory removals of voters from registration rolls.

Status:  Preliminary injunction granted June 8, 2018 and upheld on August 27, 2019, by the 7th Circuit, remanding for further proceedings; Motion to dismiss denied and motion summary judgment granted August 20, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 21, 2020


Tully v. Okeson, No. 1:20-cv-1271 (S.D. Ind.); No. 20-2605 (7th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Individual Indiana residents and Indiana Vote By Mail sued members of the Indiana Election Commission and the Indiana secretary of state, challenging a state law that restricts the ability to vote by mail to certain statutorily enumerated categories of voters, including voters aged 65 and older, and the State’s failure to deem Covid-19 concerns a valid excuse. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Art. I, § 23, and Art. II, § 1 of the Indiana Constitution, in that the law violates the fundamental right to vote, arbitrarily discriminates between categories of qualified voters (thus denying the right of equal protection), denies the right to vote by mail on account of age, and further violates and denies the guarantees of equal privileges and immunities and “free and equal” elections.

Status: Motion for class certification pending; Stipulation of dismissal as to certain plaintiffs filed July 17, 2020; Motion to consolidate with Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson (No. 1:20-cv-2007) denied August 20, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied August 21, 2020; Notice of appeal filed August 24, 2020; Denial of preliminary injunction affirmed by 7th Circuit October 6, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas

Fish v. Schwab (f/k/a Fish v. Kobach), No. 2:16-cv-2105 (D. Kan); No. 18-3133 (10th Cir.)

Consolidated with Keener/Bednasek v. Kobach, No. 2:15-cv-9300 (D. Kan); No. 18-3134 (10th Cir.)

Re: Proof-of-Citizenship Requirement, Voter List Purges

Individual Kansas voters sued the Kansas secretary of state, challenging a state law and a state regulation which, respectively, require that Kansans who attempt to register in conjunction with a driver’s license application submit documentary proof of citizenship, and purge voters who have properly registered but failed to submit documentary proof of citizenship within 90 days. The complaint alleges violations of §§ 5, 8, and 10 of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) and of Art. I § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions are preempted by the Elections Clause, fail to provide a simultaneous voter registration application with driver’s license applications and renewals, violate the State’s duty to ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election when registering in conjunction with a driver’s license application, unlawfully require the purging of voter registrants for the purported failure to provide documentary proof of citizenship, and that the secretary of state has failed to fulfill his duty to coordinate the State’s responsibilities under the NVRA.

The District Court struck down the law in 2018, finding that it violated the National Voter Registration Act, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on April 29, 2020.

Status: Kansas announced that it would seek SCOTUS review June 2, 2020


Kansas Democratic Party v. Schwab, No. 2020-CV-000127 (Dist. Court Shawnee County, Kansas)

Re: “Vote Anywhere” Law

The Kansas Democratic Party, DNC, and others sued the Kansas secretary of state, challenging the state’s failure to implement Kansas’s newly passed “Vote Anywhere” law, which, among other things, allows out-of-precinct voting. The Petition for a Writ of Mandamus alleges violations of §§ 1-3 of the Kansas Bill of Rights, in that the secretary of state has failed to comply with his statutory duty to “establish rules and regulations” in order to implement the law in time for the 2020 election.

Status: Hearing held on motions to dismiss and for summary judgment July 1,  2020


Keener v. Kobach, No. 2:15-cv-9300 (D. Kan.); No. 18-3134 (10th Cir.)

Consolidated with Fish v. Schwab (f/k/a Fish v. Kobach), No. 2:16-cv-2105 (D. Kan); No. 18-3133 (10th Cir.); Schwab v. Wayne, No. 20-109 (S. Ct.)

Re: Proof of Citizenship Requirement; Voter List Purges

Three individual voters, on behalf of a class, sued the Kansas secretary of state and the Douglas County, Kansas, clerk, challenging a state law and a state regulation which, respectively, require that Kansans who attempt to register in conjunction with a driver’s license application submit documentary proof of citizenship, and purge voters who have properly registered but failed to submit documentary proof of citizenship within 90 days. The third amended complaint alleges violations of the National Voter Registration Act and Article 4 of and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions are overbroad, infringe on the right of citizens to vote, fail to satisfy the State’s duty to ensure that any eligible applicant is registered to vote in an election when registering in conjunction with a driver’s,  license application, unlawfully require the purging of voter registrants for the purported failure to provide documentary proof of citizenship, remove voters from voter rolls after the 90-day cutoff as set forth in the NVRA, and discriminates against Kansas residents born or married outside the State of Kansas who have moved to Kansas from out of state.

Status: The District Court struck down the law in 2018, finding that it violated the National Voter Registration Act, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on April 29, 2020; Petition for writ of certiorari filed July 28, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

Kentucky

Collins v. Adams, No. 3:20-cv-375 (W.D. Ky.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Photo ID Requirements (In-Person and Vote-by-Mail) (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, the Louisville Urban League, and others sued the Kentucky secretary of state, governor, and others, challenging state laws that require voters to provide an excuse in order to vote by mail and provide a photo ID in order to vote in-person or absentee, and further challenging the defendants’ failure to extend modified voting rules, enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, beyond the June 23, 2020 primary through the November 3, 2020 general election. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the laws unreasonably burden Kentuckians’ right to vote.

Status: Dismissal and preliminary injunction motions filed, respectively, June 19 and July 10, 2020; Amended complaint filed August 19, 2020; Joint stipulation of dismissal filed August 27, 2020; Order of dismissal issued September 1, 2020


Lostutter v. Kentucky, No. 6:18-cv-277 (E.D. Ky.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Individual aspiring voters sued the Governor of Kentucky, challenging state laws and constitutional provisions that criminally prohibit persons convicted of felonies from voting unless and until they successfully petition the governor for restoration of such rights. The fourth amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions deny the right of political association and political expression and vest the Governor with unfettered discretion to grant or deny such rights.

Status: Motions to dismiss granted as to certain plaintiffs on August 30, 2019 and March 13, 2020; Fourth amended complaint dismissed, cross-motions for summary judgment denied as moot August 14, 2020


Nemes v. Bensinger, No. 3:20-cv-407 (W.D. Ky.)

Re: In-Person Voting, Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

Kentucky State Representative Jason Nemes and individual Kentucky residents, on behalf of a class, sued state and county elections officials, county sheriffs, and others, challenging the counties’ curtailment of in-person voting options for the June 23, 2020 primary, including the use of a single polling location for an entire county, and the failure to make in-person voting accessible to persons with disabilities.

The class action complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the counties’ in-person voting restrictions violate the fundamental right to vote and suppress, deny, and/or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color.

Status: Preliminary injunction deniedVoluntarily withdrawn July 17, 2020, based on the secretary of state’s public representations that he will not permit single polling locations in the state’s largest counties in the November 2020 general election.


Sterne v. Adams, No. 20-CI-538 (Ky. Cir. Ct. Franklin Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Photo ID Requirements (In-Person and Vote-by-Mail) (Covid-19)

Individual voters with medical conditions rendering them particularly susceptible to Covid-19 sued the Kentucky secretary of state, governor, and others, challenging state laws that require voters to provide a photo ID when voting in person or applying for a mail-in ballot, and restrict absentee voting to those who qualify for one or more enumerated excuse categories. The complaint alleges violations of Section 6 of the Kentucky Constitution, in that, as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, the laws — and the defendants’ failure to extend “no excuse” absentee voting beyond the June 2020 primary through the November general election — deny Kentuckians’ right to a “free and equal election.”

Status: Complaint filed July 7, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

Clark v. EdwardsNo. 3:20-cv-308 (M.D. La.) Consolidated with Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (3:20-cv-283)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Witness Requirements; Notice/Opportunity to Cure Defects (Covid-19)

Individual voters, Crescent City Media Group, and the League of Women Voters of Louisiana sued the Louisiana governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and others, challenging state laws that restrict the right to vote by mail, require that mail-in ballots be witnessed, and fail to afford voters notice and an opportunity to cure mistakes on ballots (including perceived signature mismatch issues), and the defendants’ failure to sufficiently expand voter protections beyond the primary elections. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws deny the fundamental right to vote, place an unconstitutional condition on the right to vote compelling forfeiture of the right to bodily integrity, abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, and deny due process.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted with prejudice on standing grounds June 22, 2020


Harding v. Edwards, No. 3:20-cv-495 (M.D. La.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement; Early In-Person Voting (Covid-19)

Three individual voters, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice sued the Louisiana governor and secretary of state, challenging state laws that restrict absentee voting to those who qualify for a one of limited number of excuses, require that absentee ballots be signed by a witness, and limit the duration of early voting to seven days. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that enforcement of the laws during the Covid-19 pandemic unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, impose a discriminatory burden on Black Louisianans, and impose or apply eligibility criteria that screen out individuals with disabilities from fully and equally participating in elections and fail to make reasonable modifications to voting policies and practices in order to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability.  

Status: Unopposed motion to intervene by State of Louisiana granted August 25, 2020; Motion to dismiss granted as to ADA claims and dismissed in all other respects September 7, 2020; Motion for expedited hearing and preliminary injunction , expanding the available excuses to include voters at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 “because of serious medical conditions, those subject to a ‘medically necessary quarantine or isolation order,’ those advised by a health provider to self-quarantine, those experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis, and those caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine order and has been advised to self-quarantine,” and requiring that the duration of early voting be increased from seven days to ten days for the November and December elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maine

Alliance for Retired Americans v. Dunlap, (Kennebec Superior Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Online Application, Photo ID Requirement, Prepaid Postage, Paid Ballot Collectors, Notice/Opportunity to Cure Defects (Covid-19)

The Alliance for Retired Americans, Vote.org, and individual voters sued the Maine secretary of state and attorney general, challenging six state laws and practices that restrict the ability to vote by mail, including requiring “paper and pen” vote-by-mail applications, requiring that first-time vote-by-mail registrants submit a photocopy of a photo ID, requiring that voters provide their own postage on mail-in ballots, disregarding any ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, failing to provide voters with notice and an opportunity to cure perceived signature mismatch issues, and imposing criminal penalties for compensated ballot collection. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; Art. I, § 4, Art. I, § 6-A, and Art. II, § 1 of the Maine Constitution, and Title 14, § 5951 and Title 5, § 8058 of the Maine Revised Statutes, in that the challenged laws and practices unduly burden the right to vote, deny due process, treat voters disparately, infringe on the rights of speech and association, impose an illegal poll tax, and conflict with state law.

Status: Complaint filed June 24, 2020


Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  v. Dunlap, No. 2020-CV-2029 (Kennebec Superior Ct.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sued the Maine secretary of state, challenging a state law that requires that candidates be listed in alphabetical order on election ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 6-A of the Maine Constitution, and Title 5, § 4682 of the Maine Revised Statutes, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote, treats similarly situated candidates differently, denies or abridges the right to vote, and violates equal protection.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied June 2020


Hagopian v. Dunlap, No. 1:20-cv-257 (D. Me.)

Re: Ranked Choice Voting

Four registered Republicans sued the secretary of state, attorney general and governor of Maine, challenging a state law permitting voters to “rank as many candidates as they wish in order of choice,” but “exhausts” ballots that fail to mark enough candidates. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged law unduly burdens the right to vote, conditions a government benefit on engaging in unwanted expressive conduct, denies voters procedural due process and equal protection, and abridges the right to vote based on age for voters over age 65.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied August 14, 2020; Voluntarily dismissed August 19, 2020


Merrill v. Dunlap, 1:20-cv-248 (D. Me.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Four individual voters who are blind sued the Maine secretary of state, the Maine Department of the Secretary of State, and others, challenging the state’s absentee voting program, which requires voters to fill out a paper ballot and return the ballot by U.S. mail or hand delivery. The complaint alleges violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and of the Maine Human Rights Act, in that the program fails to make reasonable modifications in order to avoid discriminating on the basis of disability, receives federal funding and discriminates on the basis of disability, and denies persons with disabilities the right to vote and equal access to places of public accommodation without discrimination because of a disability. They seek a preliminary and permanent injunction and the implementation of a remote accessible vote-by-mail system.

Status: Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed July 15, 2020; Case stayed until September 14, 2020


Payne v. Dunlap, No. Ken-20-169 (Law Ct.); Payne v. Dunlap, No. AUGSC-cv-2020-50 (Kennebec Sup. Ct.)

Re: Ranked Choice Voting

 Individual voters and the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting sued the Maine secretary of state, challenging the pending People’s Veto Initiative, which seeks to suspend a newly enacted ranked choice voting law (“the 2019 RCV law”), until a referendum vote is taken. The complaint alleges that the Maine Constitution bars the use of the People’s Veto provision to suspend a law that is already in effect, as is the case with the 2019 RCV law, and further that the proposed veto is prohibited by state statute (14 M.R.S.A. § 901 and 21-A M.R.S.A. § 901) because the application for the veto referendum was not filed within the prescribed time limits.

Status: Case referred from Superior Court to Law CourtOrder establishing course of appeal issued by Law Court June 17, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland

National Urban League v. DeJoy, No. 1:20-cv-2391 (D. Md.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Delivery (Covid-19)

The National Urban League, Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters of the United States sued the Postmaster General and the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), challenging recent changes to the USPS’s policies and procedures, which have slowed the delivery of mail, including election materials. The complaint alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution and federal statute, in that the defendants’ “transformative actions” unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, effectuate content and viewpoint discrimination, were taken without following statutorily mandated procedures, and exceed the scope of defendants’ constitutional and statutory authority.

Status: Complaint filed August 18, 2020

Massachusetts

Bertin v. Galvin, No. SJ-2020-520 (Mass. Sup. Jud. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution (Covid-19)

Individual voters sued the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth, challenging the secretary’s refusal to comply with a newly-passed law that requires sending vote-by-mail ballot applications to every registered voter for the 2020 primary and general elections. The complaint for mandamus seeks to compel the secretary to immediately comply with the law and to use CARES Act funding to accomplish its mandate. 

Status: Complaint filed July 13, 2020; Voluntarily dismissed July 22, 2020


Grossman v. GalvinNo. SJC-2020-584 (Mass. Sup. Jud. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Individual voters, a candidate for political office, and Becky Grossman for Congress, on behalf of a class, sued the Massachusetts secretary of the commonwealth, challenging a state law requiring that vote-by-mail ballots be received on or before primary election day, irrespective of when the ballots are postmarked. The complaint alleges violations of the Massachusetts Constitution, in that the law severely burdens the fundamental right to vote, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Status: Emergency petition for relief filed August 19, 2020; Petition denied August 26, 2020

 

 

 

 

Michigan

Black v. Benson, No. 20-000096-MZ (Mich. Ct. Claims)
Cooper-Keel v. Benson, No. 20-000091-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims)
Davis v. BensonNo. 20-000009-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims) , No. 354622 (Mich. Ct. App.), No. 162007 (Mich. Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

Three individual Michigan residents sued the Michigan secretary of state in three separate lawsuits, now consolidated, challenging the secretary of state’s decision to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the August 2020 primary and November 2020 general election. The various complaints (BlackCooper-Keel, and Davis), allege violations of the Michigan Election Law Act 116 and the Michigan Constitution, in that, among other things, the secretary of state lacks the authority to proactively distribute absentee ballot applications which have not been specifically requested by voters, Michigan law does not specifically provide for “direct involvement” by the secretary of state with absentee ballot application distribution, and that the secretary of state’s actions exceed the scope of the recent constitutional amendment concerning automatic voter registration and violate the Purity of Elections Clause of the Michigan Constitution.

Status: Preliminary injunction denied June 18, 2020; Dismissed August 25, 2020; Appeal filed by Plaintiff Davis August 25, 2020; Order expediting appeal issued August 27, 2020; Motion to stay pending appeal denied September 2, 2020; Motion to intervene by Plaintiff Black denied September 11, 2020; Order affirming dismissal issued September 16, 2020; Application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court filed September 17, 2020


Daunt v. Benson, No. 1:20-cv-522 (W.D. Mich.)

Re: Voter List Purges

An individual voter and director of the Michigan Freedom Fund sued the Michigan secretary of state, the director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, and others, challenging the State’s voter roll maintenance practices. The complaint alleges violations of § 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, in that the defendants “have failed to make reasonable efforts to conduct voter list-maintenance.”

Status: Complaint filed June 9, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by A. Philip Randolph Institute- Detroit/Downriver and Rise, Inc. September 11,  2020; Motion to intervene filed by League of Women Voters of Michigan and others September 14, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed September 14, 2020; Stipulation that county defendants are not necessary parties to the litigation filed September 15, 2020; Motions to intervene granted September 28, 2020; Amended complaint filed September 30, 2020


Davis v. Benson, No. 1:20-cv-768 (S.D. Mich.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution (Covid-19)

An individual voter sued the Michigan secretary of state and the Detroit city clerk challenging the legality of sending of unsolicited absentee voter applications to all registered voters. The complaint alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Michigan Constitution, and the state law governing absentee ballot applications, in that the defendants’ actions denied the plaintiff’s procedural and substantive due process rights and were arbitrary and capricious.

Status: Complaint filed August 14, 2020


Election Integrity Fund v. Benson, No. 20-000169-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Online Ballot Application Availability (Covid-19)

The Election Integrity Fund and an individual voter sued the Michigan secretary of state, challenging the implementation of an online absentee ballot request tool that does not require submission of actual signatures when requesting absentee ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the Michigan constitution and a state law requiring that absentee ballot applications be signed, in that the online absentee ballot request tool violates the purity of elections.

Status: Complaint filed August 24, 2020


Johnson v. Benson, No. 1:20-cv-948 (W.D. Mich.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Three individual voters sued the Michigan secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s failure to appeal the preliminary injunction issued in Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans v. Benson, below, which extended the deadline for receipt of timely-postmarked absentee ballots until fourteen days after the election. The complaint alleges violations of Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes, in that the secretary exceeded her authority by “acceding to a policy” that changes the manner and timing of a presidential election and by permitting Michiganders to vote for president after election day.

Status: Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed September 29, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and others granted October 6, 2020


League of Women Voters of Michigan v. Benson, No. 353654 (Mich. Ct. Appeals)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Availability, Prepaid Postage, Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

The LWV of Michigan and individual voters sued the Michigan secretary of state, challenging the State’s absentee voting laws and practices of rejecting any absentee ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, refusing to provide voters with absentee ballots in a timely fashion, and requiring that voters provide their own postage on ballots and ballot applications, thus running afoul of Michigan’s newly-passed constitutional amendment affording every voter the right to submit an absentee ballot — by mail or in person — in the 40 days leading up to the election. The complaint for mandamus alleges violations of Art. I, §§ 2, 3, & 5 and Art. II, §§ 4(1)(g), 4(1)(a), and 4(2) of the Michigan Constitution and §168.761(1) of the Michigan Consolidated Laws, in that the laws have not been updated to comport with the Absentee Voting Clause, conflict with the Free Speech & Assembly Clauses, deny voters equal protection, and deny voters’ unconditional right to vote, as well as the right to do so without being required to pay any costs.

Status: Writ of mandamus denied July 14, 2020


Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans v. Benson, No. 2020-000108-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Prepaid Postage, Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

The Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, the Detroit Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and individual voters sued the Michigan secretary of state and attorney general, challenging state laws that impose various restrictions on Michiganders’ right to vote by mail. The complaint alleges violations of Arts. 1 and 2 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and violations of § 208 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the challenged laws unduly burden the constitutional right to vote absentee, unduly burden the right to vote in general, deny voters’ rights to due process and free speech, and are preempted by the Voting Rights Act.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part September 18, 2020, requiring that otherwise valid ballots postmarked by the day before election day and received within 14 days of election day be counted, and permitting voters to receive assistance with casting absentee ballots from any person of their choosing between 5:01 p.m. on the Friday before election day and the close of polls on election day; Renewed motion to intervene filed by Republican lawmakers September 22, 2020; Order expediting consideration of request to intervene issued by Michigan Supreme Court September 25, 2020


Priorities USA v. Benson, No. 19-000191-MZ (Mich. Ct. Claims)

Consolidated with Promote the Vote v. Benson, No. 20-000002-MZ (Mich. Ct. Claims)

Re: Proof-of-Residency Requirement & Automatic Registration Limitations

Priorities USA and Rise, Inc., sued Michigan secretary of state, challenging a state law and policy that, respectively, restrict acceptable forms of “proof of residency” for individuals registering to vote within 14 days of an election, and exclude individuals under the age of 17.5 from being automatically registered to vote when they obtain a driver’s license or state identification card. The amended complaint alleges violations of Arts. 1 and 2 of the Michigan Constitution, in that the laws place an undue burden on the right to vote and deny equal protection.

Status: Amended complaint filed January 21, 2020


Priorities USA v. Nessel, No. 4:19-cv-13341 (E.D. Mich.)

Re: Voter Assistance Restrictions

Priorities USA, Rise, Inc., and the Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute sued the Michigan secretary of state, challenging two state laws, one of which makes it a crime to “hire a motor vehicle or other conveyance or cause the same to be done, for conveying voters, other than voters physically unable to walk, to an election.” The other challenged law prohibits assisting a voter with an absentee ballot application unless specifically solicited by the voter and prohibits assisting a voter in returning their application unless the assisting individual is a registered voter in Michigan or a member of the voter’s immediate family or household. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 208 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws are unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, violate speech and associational rights, and are preempted by federal law.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part May 22, 2020; Michigan Senate and House of Representatives permitted to intervene May 22, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part September 17, 2020, upholding absentee ballot assistance restriction and invalidating voter transportation restrictions; Notice of appeal filed September 25, 2020; Emergency motion for stay pending appeal filed by the Michigan Senate and the Michigan House of Representatives denied October 6, 2020


Reed-Pratt v. Winfrey, 3:20-cv-12129 (E.D. Mich.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution (Covid-19)

An individual voter sued the Detroit city clerk, the Detroit Department of Elections, and the Detroit Election Commission, challenging the legality of sending of unsolicited absentee voter applications to all registered voters. The amended complaint alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution and the state law governing absentee ballot applications, in that the defendants’ actions denied the plaintiff’s procedural and substantive due process rights and were arbitrary and capricious.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied in part August 11, 2020; Plaintiff’s ex parte order to show cause denied along with an order directing plantiff to show cause why the case should not be dismissed or stayed; Amended complaint filed August 14, 2020; Order issued September 9, 2020 dismissing without prejudice plaintiff’s state claims and staying plaintiff’s federal claim; Notice of appeal filed September 10, 2020


Republican National Committee v. Secretary of State, No. 20-000191-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Voter Assistance (Covid-19)

The Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party sued the Michigan secretary of state and attorney general, seeking a declaration that the state’s laws prohibiting third parties from assisting voters with absentee ballot return and requiring rejection of any mailed absentee ballots not received by 8:00 p.m. on election day are valid and enforceable. The complaint acknowledges that both laws were enjoined by the court in Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans v. Benson, No. 2020-000108-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims), above, and assert that a declaration of enforceability is needed to prevent fraud, ballot tampering and voter intimidation.  

Status: Complaint filed September 24, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota

Carson v. Simon, No. 0:20-cv-2030 (D. Minn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Two Republican presidential elector nominees sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s agreement—as part of a consent decree entered in the state court case of LaRose v. Simon, No. 62-CV-20-3190 (Minn. 2d Judicial Cir., Ramsey Cnty.), below—to accept otherwise valid absentee ballots that are postmarked by election day and received within 5 business days thereof.  The complaint alleges violations of Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution and federal statute, in that the extension of the absentee ballot receipt deadline changes the timing of a presidential election, which change may only be effectuated by Congress and the state legislature.

Status: Complaint filed September 22, 2020; Motion to intervene by LaRose v. Simon plaintiffs granted September 28, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied October 11, 2020; Notice of appeal filed October 12, 2020


Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. Simon, No. 62-CV-20-585 (Minn. Dist. Court.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Voter Assistance Restrictions

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee  and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging provisions of state law that prohibit an individual from helping more than three voters who require assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write, in marking their ballots and that prohibit an individual from helping more than three voters in returning or mailing their absentee ballot The complaint alleges violations of § 208 of the Voting Rights Act, Arts. 1 and 7 of the Minnesota Constitution, and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws are preempted by the Voting Rights Act, unconstitutionally burden the right to vote, and infringe on speech and association rights.

Status: Temporary injunction granted by district court July 28, 2020, enjoining Secretary of State from enforcing either provision of state law; Temporary injunction affirmed by Minnesota Supreme Court with respect to the ballot-marking provision, vacated with respect to the ballot-return provision


LaRose v. SimonNo. 62-CV-20-3149, (Minnesota District Court, Ramsey County)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement & Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

Individual voters and the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging two state laws that require absentee ballots to be witnessed by a registered Minnesota voter, notary, or other person authorized to administer oaths, and to be received by 3 p.m. (if hand-delivered) or 8 p.m. (if delivered by mail) on Election Day. The complaint alleges violations of Arts. 1 and 7 of the Minnesota Constitution and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws unduly burden the right to vote and deprive Minnesotans of due process.

Status: Stipulation and partial consent decree entered June 16, 2020; Order issued August 3, 2020, (1) permitting intervention by the Republican Party of Minnesota, the RNC and the NRCC, (2) Denying the RNC and RNCC’s request to vacate the primary election consent decree, and (3) granting the Plaintiffs’ and defendant’s request to enter the General Election Consent Decree; August 18, 2020


League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund v. Simon, No. 0:20-cv-1205 (D. Minn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Notary/Witness Requirement (Covid-19)

The LWV of Minnesota Education Fund and individual voters sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging a state law that requires absentee ballots be witnessed by a notary, a registered Minnesota voter, or other person authorized to administer oaths, and that the witness must complete a certificate. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law, as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, unduly burdens the right to vote and denies equal protection on account of citizenship status with respect to witness qualifications.

Status: Proposed consent decree rejected by court; Motions to intervene granted June 23, 2020; Settlement conference scheduled for March 18, 2021


Minnesota Voters Alliance v. City of Minneapolis, No. 0:20-cv-2049 (D. Minn.)

Re: Election Funding (Covid-19)

The Minnesota Voters Alliance and four individual voters sued the City of Minneapolis, challenging the city’s acceptance of a $3 million grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) to help the city administer the November election. The complaint alleges violations of the Elections and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, of the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”), the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), and state statute, in that Minneapolis acted “without legal authority to form a public-private partnership for federal election administration with CTCL,” that their actions are preempted by HAVA, the NVRA and Minnesota law and constitute acceptance of a bribe.

Status: Complaint filed September 24, 2020; motion for temporary restraining order filed September 29, 2020


Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Walz, 0:20-cv-1688 (D. Minn.); No. 20-3072 (8th Cir.)

Re: Polling Place Mask Requirement (Covid-19)

The Minnesota Voters Alliance and 5 individual voters sued the Minnesota governor and secretary of state, the Hennepin County Auditor, and others, challenging Executive Order 20-81, which requires that “Minnesotans…wear a face covering in indoor businesses and indoor public settings” and imposes criminal penalties for failure to do so.  The complaint alleges, among other things, violations of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 3 of the Minnesota Constitution, in that the executive order restricts and chills core political speech, is overbroad, denies plaintiffs’ expressive associational rights, and conflicts with legislatively-enacted law that criminally prohibits wearing a mask in public in order to conceal one’s identity.

Status: Motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction denied October 2, 2020; Notice of appeal filed October 2, 2020; Motion for injunction pending appeal granted in part and denied in part by district court October 13, 2020, staying action but denying injunction pending appeal


NAACP of Minnesota v. Simon, No. 62-CV-20-3625 (Minn. Dist. Ct., Ramsey Cnty.)
Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement & Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

The NAACP of Minnesota and two individual voters sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging a state law which requires that absentee ballots must be witnessed by a notary, a registered Minnesota voter, or other person authorized to administer oaths, and that the witness must complete a certificate. The complaint alleges violations of Arts. 1 and 7 of the Minnesota Constitution, in that the law unduly and unnecessarily burdens the right to vote and violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

Status: Order issued August 3, 2020 (1) denying the intervention motion of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican Party of Minnesota and others, (2) granting the permissive intervention motion of the RNC and NRCC, (3) granting the plaintiffs’ and defendant’s request to enter the General Election Consent Decree, and (4) denying the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction; Appeal voluntarily dismissed August 18, 2020


Pavek v. Simon, No. 0:19-cv-3000 (D. Minn.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

Individual voters, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging a state law which requires that major party candidates be listed in reverse order, based on the average number of votes members of their party received in the preceding election. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and imposes disparate treatment in violation of the right to equal protection.

Status: Motion to dismiss denied; preliminary injunction grantedCase stayed July 16, 2020, until the conclusion of the 2021 regular session of the Minnesota legislature “or until legislation that moots or otherwise resolves this case is enacted, whichever occurs first.” Preliminary injunction order will govern candidate order on ballot for 2020 general election; Voluntarily dismissed August 26, 2020


Schroeder v. Simon, No. 62-cv-19-7440 (Minn. Dist .Ct., Ramsey Cnty.); No. A20-272 (Minn. Ct. App.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Individual aspiring voters sued the Minnesota secretary of state, challenging a state law that prohibits persons convicted of felonies from voting until they have fully discharged their sentences, including parole and probation. The complaint alleges violations of Article 7, Section 1 and Article 1, Section 2 of the Minnesota Constitution, in that the law denies the fundamental right to vote, and the rights of equal protection and due process, treating similarly situated individuals differently with respect to a fundamental right and disproportionately impacting people of color and indigenous people.

Status: Intervention denied by lower court; Oral arguments heard by the Court of Appeals July 23, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

Harness v. Hosemann, No. 3:17-cv-791 (S.D. Miss.); No. 19-60632 (5th Cir.)

Consolidated with Hopkins v. Hosemann, No. 3:18-cv-188 (S.D. Miss.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Three individual aspiring voters sued the Mississippi secretary of state, challenging a provision of the state constitutional provision permanently barring persons convicted of certain enumerated felonies from voting. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the state constitutional provision violates the guarantee of equal protection because they were enacted with discriminatory intent and have a discriminatory impact based on race.

Status: Plaintiffs appealed district court’s order dismissing case; Oral argument rescheduled June 26, 2020, to an as-yet-undetermined later date


Hopkins v. Hosemann, No. 3:18-cv-188 (S.D. Miss.); Nos. 19-60678, 19-60662 (5th Cir.)

Consolidated with Harness v. Hosemann, No. 3:17-cv-791 (S.D. Miss.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Six individual aspiring voters, on behalf of a class, sued the Mississippi secretary of state, challenging two provisions of the state constitutional that permanently bar persons convicted of certain felonies from voting and require a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature to restore the voting rights of such individuals. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the lifetime voting ban subjects the plaintiffs and class members to cruel and unusual punishment, denies them equal protection, is impermissibly arbitrary, infringes on the right to political expression and political association, intentionally discriminates based on race, and disproportionately impacts Black Mississippians.    

Status: Plaintiffs appealed district court’s order granting partial summary judgment to defendants; Oral argument heard December 3, 2019


O’Neill v. Hosemann, No. 3:18-cv-815 (S.D. Miss.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse, Notarization Requirements, Ballot Application Online Availability, Ballot Receipt Deadline

Individual voters and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP sued the Mississippi secretary of state, the assistant secretary of state and others, challenging state laws and practices that limit the availability of absentee voting to those who qualify for an enumerated excuse, require both absentee applications and voted ballots to be notarized, fail to make absentee ballot application forms available online and require that voted absentee ballots be received before election day. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged laws and practices infringe on the fundamental right to vote and deny equal protection.

Status: Motion for temporary restraining order denied November 27, 2018; Case stayed on June 1, 2020 until further order of the court


Oppenheim v. Watson, No. 25CH1:20-cv-961 (Chancery Ct. Hinds Cnty.); Watson v. Oppenheim, No. 2020-CA-983-SCT (Sup. Ct. Miss.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Six individual voters sued the Mississippi secretary of state and the circuit clerks of Hinds and Rankin Counties in connection with a state law that strictly limits the availability of mail-in voting to those who satisfy one or more statutorily-enumerated excuses, including having a “physical disability [and] whose attendance at the voting place could reasonably cause danger to himself, herself or others.” For the 2020 election, that provision applies to “any qualified elector who is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 …or is caring for a dependent who is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19,” but it does not  define “physician-imposed quarantine” nor “dependent.” The complaint seeks judicial declarations that the existing statute permits mail-in voting by any voters “with pre-existing conditions that cause COVID-19 to present a greater risk of severe illness or death,” and those who “wish[ ] to avoid voting in-person…due to guidance from the MDH, the CDC, or other physicians or public health authorities to avoid unnecessary public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic or if he or she is caring for or supporting such a voter,” as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction requiring the secretary of state to so instruct local elections officials and so educate the public.

Status: Complaint filed August 11, 2020; Order declaring that Mississippi law “permits any voter with pre-existing conditions that cause COVID-19 to present a greater risk of severe illness or death to vote by absentee ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic” and allowing anyone to vote absentee “if he or she or any dependent has consulted with a physician who recommends, because of that individual’s physical disability or that of their dependent, not attending any public gathering because of the possibility of contracting COVID-19” and denying all other requested relief issued September 2, 2020; Order and opinion reversing lower court’s expansion of absentee voting availability and affirming its denial of other requested relief issued by Supreme Court of Mississippi September 18, 2020


Parham v. Watson, No. 3:20-cv-572 (N.D. Miss.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Notary Requirements, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the League of Women Voters of Mississippi, and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP sued the Mississippi secretary of state and attorney general, challenging: (1) the defendants’ failure to advise voters that Mississippi law allows absentee voting if voters reasonably fear that voting in person will expose themselves or others to the coronavirus (2) a state law requiring notarization or official attestation to apply for and vote absentee, and (3) the lack of notice and opportunity to cure ballots rejected due to “faulty signature match procedures.” The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that (1) the defendants’ failure to advise the public of the availability of absentee voting due to Covid-19 concerns, or in the alternative, the law’s failure to allow absentee voting on the basis of  fear of contracting or spreading Covid-19 significantly burdens the fundamental right to vote, (2) the excuse requirement is unconstitutionally vague, (3) as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, the notarization requirement unjustifiably burdens the fundamental right to vote, and (4) the cure prohibition denies the right to due process and significantly burdens the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Complaint filed August 27, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 17, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed October 8, 2020; Order staying discovery pending resolution of motion to dismiss issued October 9, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction withdrawn October 13, 2020

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Missouri

American Women v. State of Missouri, No. 20AC-CC00333 (Mo. Cir. Ct., Cole Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Notary Requirement, Signature Matching, Receipt Deadline, Voter Assistance Ban, Mail-Return Mandate (Covid-19)

American Women and individual voters sued the State of Missouri and the Missouri secretary of state, challenging state laws that impose varying notarization requirements for mail-in ballots on different categories of voters, require rejection of any absentee ballots received after 7p.m. on Election Day, irrespective of the postmark, prohibit third parties from assisting voters with returning voted mail-in ballots, impose “inconsistent and indiscriminate evaluation criteria to determine whether a ballot is valid,” and require that “ballots voted by certain types of voters but not others are only returnable by U.S. Mail and may not be returned in person.” The complaint alleges violations of the Missouri Constitution, in that the challenged provisions interfere with the free exercise of the right of suffrage, deny voters equal protection and due process, unduly burden the right to vote, and infringe on the right to free speech.

Status: Complaint filed August 20, 2020


Missouri State Conference of the NAACP v. State of Missouri, No. 20AC-CC00169 (Mo. Cir. Ct., Cole Cnty.); No. SC98536 (Mo. Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

The Missouri NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Missouri, and three individual voters sued the State of Missouri, Secretary of State John Ashcroft, and others, challenging a state law that restricts absentee voting to voters who provide one of six enumerated reasons, including “incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability.” The complaint alleges violations of the right to vote and of equal protection under the Missouri Constitution, and seeks a declaration that the existing Missouri law must be interpreted to encompass Missourians who fear contracting or spreading Covid-19. The lower court dismissed the case on defendants’ motion on May 15, 2020, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Status: Missouri Supreme Court reversed and remanded June 23, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied July 10, 2020; Writ of mandate denied July 15, 2020; Judgment entered against plaintiffs and in favor of defendants on all counts September 24, 2020


Organization for Black Struggle v. Ashcroft, No. 2:20-cv-418 (D. Mo.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Electronic Application Submission, Mail-Return Mandate, Notice & Opportunity to Cure Ballot Defects (Covid-19)

The Organization for Black Struggle, the St. Louis A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Greater Kansas City A. Philip Randolph Institute, and others sued the Missouri secretary of state, the Greene County Clerk’s Office, the Jackson County Election Board, and others, challenging state laws that prohibit voters from requesting mail-in ballots via email (while permitting absentee ballot requests to be made by that method), prohibit the return of voted mail-in ballots by any means other than mail (while permitting in-person return of voted absentee ballots), and allow rejection of both absentee and mail-in ballots due to immaterial defects without affording voters with notice and an opportunity to cure such defects. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in that the challenged laws unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, allow disqualification of votes “because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration or other act requisite to voting [when] such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified…to vote in such election,” and deny voters a constitutionally protected liberty interest without due process.

Status: Complaint filed September 17, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed October 2, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part October 9, 2020, permitting “mail-in” ballots to be returned in person (or by a relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity), while declining to require that mail-in ballot requests may be made via email, and further declining to require that voters be afforded with notice and opportunity to cure immaterial ballot defects; Notice of appeal filed October 9, 2020; Motion for administrative stay pending appeal granted October 10, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montana

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Bullock, No. 6:20-cv-66 (D. Mont.) Consolidated with Lamm v. Bullock, No. 6:20-cv-67 (D. Mont.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution; In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and others sued the Montana governor and secretary of state, challenging the governor’s August 6, 2020, directive, which allows counties the option of conducting the upcoming November general election primarily by mail and specifies timeframes for early in-person absentee voting and for the mailing of absentee ballots to voters.  The complaint alleges violations of the Elections and Electors Clauses and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the governor’s directive changes the time, place and manner in which Montanans will participate and appoint electors in the November congressional and presidential election, thus usurping state legislative authority, and “makes voter fraud and other ineligible voting inevitable,” thus “dilut[ing ] honest votes.”

Status: Complaint and motion for preliminary injunction filed September 2, 2020; Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Montana Democratic Party, and legislative majority leaders permitted to intervene September 8, 2020; Motion to intervene by the League of Women Voters denied September 14, 2020; Consolidated hearing on motion for preliminary injunction and trial on the merits scheduled for September 22, 2020; Intervenor-defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion to dismiss filed September 17, 2020


Driscoll v. Stapleton, No. DV 20-408 (Mont. Dist. Ct., Yellowstone Cnty.); Stapleton v. 13th Jud. Dist. Ct., No. OP20-0293, DA20-0295 (Mont. S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Receipt Deadline, Notice/Opportunity to Cure Ballot Defects, Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

The chair of the Montana Democratic Party, the Montana Democratic Party, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sued the Montana secretary of state, challenging state laws that prohibit anyone from collecting another person’s ballot unless the person providing assistance falls into at least one of six categories of exemption, prohibit an exempted person from collecting more than six ballots in an election (i.e., the Ballot Interference Prevention Act”), and reject any ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, irrespective of the postmark. The complaint alleges violations of Art. II of the Montana Constitution, in that the laws unduly burden the right to suffrage, infringe on the right of free speech and expression, deny voters due process, and are unconstitutionally vague.

Status: Preliminary injunction granted, then stayed by the Montana Supreme Court May 27,  2020; Motion to intervene granted June 18, 2020; Motion to intervene by state legislators denied August 11, 2020; Injunction granted for the November 3, 2020 general election September 25, 2020, requiring acceptance of all otherwise-valid absentee ballots received 7 days after election day, extending the deadline to cure ballot defects until 9 days after election day, and preliminary injunction granted against enforcement of the Ballot Interference Prevention Act; On September 29, 2020, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s injunction against enforcement of the Ballot Interference Prevention Act, while vacating the ballot receipt deadline injunction.


Lamm v. Bullock, No. 6:20-cv-67 (D. Mont.)

Consolidated with Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Bullock, No. 6:20-cv-66 (D. Mont.); No. 20-35847 (9th Cir.); No. 20A61 (Sup. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

Individual voters and the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee sued the Montana governor and secretary of state, challenging the governor’s August 6, 2020 directive, which allows counties the option of conducting the upcoming November general election primarily by mail. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments and Article 1, Section 4 of U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged directive usurps voters’ “right to have, and vote in, a federal election where the ‘manner’ of election is ‘prescribed by the Legislature,’” directly disenfranchises voters because “requested ballots [will] never arrive or arrive too late and filled-out ballots [will] get lost or [will be] delayed in the return process,” and deprives voters of equal protection by “favoring” voters in one county “to the disadvantage of voters in other counties” by giving voters in “mail ballot” counties “greater voting power than other-county voters.”

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 9, 2020; Consolidated with Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., v. Bullock, above; Order denying all requests by plaintiffs and entering judgment in defendants’ favor issued September 30, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 30, 2020; Emergency motion for injunctive relief pending appeal denied by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals October 6, 2020; Emergency application for writ of injunction denied by U.S. Supreme Court October 8, 2020


Western Native Voice v. Stapleton, No. DV-2020-377 (Mont. Dist. Ct., Yellowstone Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail; Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

Western Native Voice, Montana Native Vote, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, and others sued Montana’s secretary of state, attorney general, and others, challenging a state law that prohibits anyone from collecting someone else’s ballot unless the person providing assistance falls into at least one of six categories of exemption, and further prohibits an exempted person from collecting more than six ballots in an election. The complaint alleges violations of §§ 6, 7, 13, and 17 of Art. II of the Montana Constitution, in that the law infringes upon the fundamental right to vote (particularly in the case of Native Americans), the right of free speech, the right of association, and the right to due process. 

Status: Motion for TRO granted; Preliminary injunction granted July 7, 2020; Permanent injunction granted September 25, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada

Corona v. Cegavske, No. 20-OC-64-1B (Nev. Dist. Ct., Carson City)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Voter Assistance Ban, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure; In-Person Polling Place Voting Availability (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the Nevada State Democratic Party, the DNC Services Corporation and others sued the Nevada secretary of state, the Registrar of Voters for Clark County, and others, challenging state laws that criminally prohibit third parties from assisting voters with returning voted absentee and mail ballots, allow the arbitrary rejection of mail ballots and lack  sufficient safeguards, and fail to provide voters sufficient opportunity to cure ballot defects. The amended complaint alleges violations of several provisions of the Nevada Constitution and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged laws unduly burden the right to vote, deny voters the right of free speech by prohibiting core political expression, deprive voters of the right to assembly, and disenfranchise voters who require assistance returning their ballots, including elderly voters, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Status: Voluntarily dismissed August 4, 2020


Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., v. Cegavske, No. 2:20-cv-1445 (D. Nev.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Ballot Receipt Deadline, In-Person Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party sued the Nevada secretary of state, challenging newly enacted election laws that require acceptance of mailed ballots without a postmark if they are received by 5:00 p.m. on the 3rd day after election day, determine the number of in-person polling places for early and day-of-election voting in a county based on the county’s population, and fail to prescribe uniform standards for the processing and counting of ballots. The amended complaint alleges violations of 3 U.S.C § 1, 2 U.S.C. §§1 and 7, as well as the Elections, Electors, and Supremacy Clauses of and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws permit the acceptance of ballots that might have been mailed after election day, inhibit rural voters’ ability to vote in person and authorize disparate treatment of rural voters, fail to provide “minimal procedural safeguards to protect against unequal evaluation of mail ballots” and “specific rules to ensure uniform treatment,” and “dilute Nevadans’ honest votes.”    

Status: Amended complaint filed August 20, 2020; Motion to intervene by DNC Services Corp., Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Nevada State Democratic Party granted August 21, 2020; Motions to dismiss amended complaint granted September 21, 2020


Election Integrity Project of Nevada v. State of Nevada, A-20-820510-C (Dist. Ct. Clark Cnty., Nevada); No. 81847 (Sup. Ct. Nev.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Signature Matching, Ballot Verification Procedures, Voter Assistance, Ballot Receipt Deadline, Timely Postmark Presumption, Canvassing Period; In-Person Polling Place & Vote Center Availability; Same-Day Voter Registration; Voter List Purges (Covid-19)

The Election Integrity Project of Nevada and an individual voter and former state legislator sued the State of Nevada and its secretary of state, challenging newly enacted legislation (“AB4”), which plaintiffs allege ((2) requires that absentee ballots be mailed to all active registered voters, require acceptance of otherwise valid mailed ballots lacking a postmark if they are received by 5:00 p.m. on the 3rd day after election day; (3) determines the number of in-person polling places for early and day-of-election voting based on a county’s population; (4) allows counting of mailed ballots to commence 15 days before election day; (5) fails to prescribe strict standards for the processing and counting of mail ballots, including signature matching; and (6) allows voters with disabilities to avail themselves of assistance in completing and delivering their ballots. The complaint alleges violations of state statutes and the Nevada Constitution, in that AB4 contains unfunded mandates and deprives voters of equal protection.

Status: Complaint filed September 1, 2020; Application for emergency preliminary injunction and request for expedited hearing filed September 3, 2020; Application for emergency temporary restraining order filed September 4, 2020; Motion to intervene as defendants by Institute for a Progressive Nevada and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada granted; Preliminary injunction denied September 29, 2020; Order denying petition for writ of mandamus issued by Nevada Supreme Court October 7, 2020


Paher v. Cegavske, No. 3:20-cv-243 (D. Nev.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Voter Assistance, In-Person Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

Individual voters and Nevada Right to Life sued the Nevada secretary of state and the registrars of voters for Washoe and Clark Counties, challenging the state’s plan to conduct the June primary as an “all-mail” election and to automatically send absentee ballots to all active registered voters. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments and Art. I, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, in that the state’s plan infringes upon the fundamental right to vote via direct disenfranchisement and vote-dilution disenfranchisement, violates the right of equal protection, and violates voters’ right to vote in a federal election in the manner prescribed by the legislature.

Status: Motion to intervene granted; Motion for preliminary injunction denied April 30, 2020; Complaint dismissed and motions to dismiss denied as moot July 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hampshire

American Federation of Teachers v. Gardner, No. 216-2020-CV-570 (N.H. Super. Ct. Hillsborough Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Application Process, Witness & ID Requirements, Pre-Paid Postage, Ballot Receipt Deadline, Voter Assistance, Voter Registration, Drop Box Availability (Covid-19)

The American Federation of Teachers sued the New Hampshire secretary of state and attorney general, challenging the state’s absentee application process and state laws that require that voters provide proof of identity and domicile with absentee ballot applications, require that such applications be signed by a witness, fail to provide pre-paid postage for returning voted absentee ballots, reject absentee ballots received after 5:00 p.m. on Election Day, prohibit third parties from assisting voters by collecting and delivering sealed absentee ballots, impose cumbersome voter registration requirements, restrict the availability of ballot drop boxes and require that all such boxes be “staffed by a properly trained election official throughout the course of [their] use.” The amended complaint alleges violations of the New Hampshire Constitution, in that the challenged process and laws, variously, unduly burden the right to vote, impose a prohibited poll tax, deny voters procedural due process, violate voters’ free speech and associational rights, and treat similarly situated citizens in a disparate manner, thus denying equal protection.

Status: Motion to intervene by Donald J. Trump for President and the Republican National Committee granted September 4, 2020; Amended complaint filed August 31, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part, and defendants’ motion for a stay granted in part and denied in part October 2, 2020, requiring the secretary of state to comply with existing law “by developing a method to forward an absentee voter registration form directly” to any applicant who is domiciled in city or town and qualified to vote therein except for the fact that their name does not appear on the checklist to be used at the election, and who is temporarily absent therefrom or unable to “attend the meeting of the supervisors of the checklist” due to disability, and denying all other requested injunctive relief.


Frye v. Gardner, No. 1:20-cv-751 (D.N.H)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Three registered voters, the National Federation of the Blind of New Hampshire, and Granite State Independent Living sued the New Hampshire secretary of state and Department of State, challenging the State’s failure to make registering to vote and requesting and casting absentee ballots accessible to persons who have sight and/or print disabilities. The complaint alleges violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, in that the absentee voting program discriminates against persons with disabilities and fails to offer reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction withdrawn pursuant to settlement providing that defendants will take certain steps to make New Hampshire’s absentee voting program accessible to persons who are blind or have other print disabilities August 30, 2020; Case will remain open for enforcement purposes throughout 2020 election cycle; Motion to dismiss case as moot filed September 22, 2020; Amended complaint filed October 6, 2020


League of Women Voters of New Hampshire v. Gardner, No. 226-2017-CV-433 (N.H. Sup. Ct., Hillsborough Cnty,); Nos. 2019-242, 2020-252 (N.H. S. Ct.)

Re: Voter Registration

The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire and three individual voters sued the New Hampshire secretary of state and attorney general, challenging laws that require all people seeking to register to vote to present documentary evidence to prove that they intend to remain domiciled in New Hampshire and impose criminal penalties for, among other things, registering on election day and failing to subsequently produce the required proof of domicile by a specified deadline. The complaint alleges violations of Part 1, Articles 1, 2, 10, 11, 12 and 14 of the New Hampshire Constitution and of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged laws deny New Hampshire residents the right to participate in free and equal elections, unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, conflict with the domicile qualifications set forth in the constitution, deny equal protection, are void for vagueness, deny equal protection, and deny or abridge the right to vote on account of age.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted, then stayed on appeal; Final order striking down the challenged provision as unconstitutional issued April 8, 2020; Notice of appeal filed by defendants May 8, 2020

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New Jersey

Donald J. Trump for President v. Murphy, No. 3:20-cv-10753 (D.N.J.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Receipt Deadline, In-Person Voting by Provisional Ballot (Covid-19)

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, and the New Jersey Republican State Committee sued the New Jersey governor and secretary of state, challenging Executive Order 177 and the legislatively codified version thereof—A4475—which provides that vote-by-mail ballots shall be sent to all active registered voters for the November 2020 general election, extends the receipt deadline to November 10 for vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked on or before election day, treats ballots lacking a postmark as having been timely cast if received within 48 hours of the closing of the polls, and requires voters who appear in person to vote without a voted mail-in ballot to cast a provisional ballot, and allows canvassing of mail-in ballots ten days before election day.  The amended complaint alleges violations of federal statutes and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that A4475 permits vote to be counted before Election Day, permits vote to be cast after Election Day, and deprives voters of the right to vote and of equal protection because the expansion of the mail voting system “facilitates fraud and other illegitimate voting practices,” and will “force[ ]” county officials to adopt “arbitrary and varying procedures” to process provisional ballots.

Status: Complaint filed August 18, 2020; Atlantic County Democratic Committee’s motion to intervene denied and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s motion to intervene granted September 1, 2020; Amended complaint filed September 11, 2020; Motion to show cause why the amended complaint should not be dismissed filed October 2, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied October 6, 2020


League of Women Voters of New Jersey v. Way, No. 3:20-cv-5990 (D.N.J.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The LWV of New Jersey, the NAACP New Jersey Conference, and three individuals sued the New Jersey secretary of state, challenging a state law and practice of rejecting absentee and provisional ballots with perceived signature mismatches without first providing voters notice and an opportunity to cure any such issues. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law and practice deny the fundamental right to vote, the right of due process, and the right to equal protection.

Status: Stipulation reached June 16, 2020, as to July 7 primary only


Gusciora v. McGreevey, No. L-2691-04 (N.J. Sup. Ct., Mercer Cnty.)

Re: Online Voting

New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Guscioria, The Coalition for Peace Action, and others sued the New Jersey governor and secretary of state, seeking to enforce a 2010 order which prohibits the use of internet voting in New Jersey, in light of public and private representations made by the offices of the New Jersey secretary of state and attorney general that internet-based voting would be used in the May 2020 primary. The letter brief in support of the motion asserts that the court unequivocally possesses the authority to enforce its own order, and alleges state constitutional claims, including violations of the New Jersey Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, in that the use of internet voting would be limited to disabled persons only, thus endangering their right to vote securely and constituting unequal treatment. The state retracted its decision to use online voting on May 18, 2020.

Status: Settled June 19, 2020

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New York

Andrew Goodman Foundation v. Dutchess County Board of ElectionsNo. 2020-527337 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Dutchess Cnty.)

Re: In-Person Polling Place Availability, Safety & Accessibility (Covid-19)

The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Election@Bard, and three individual voters and college students sued the Dutchess County Board of Elections and its commissioners, challenging the use of a church as a polling place for the 5th Legislative District in Dutchess County. The verified petition alleges violations of the New York State Constitution and New York election laws, in that the existing polling place is inaccessible to persons with disabilities, is not accessible from public transportation, that its use burdens Petitioners with “onerous requirements, thus constructively denying them the right to vote,”  and that the site has not been subjected to an access survey to verify substantial compliance with accessibility standards.

Status: Petition filed September 4, 2020


Gallagher v. N.Y. State Board of ElectionsNo. 1:20-cv-5504 (S.D.N.Y.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Pre-Paid Postage, Postmark Requirement, Postal Service Delivery (Covid-19)

Individual voters and political candidates, on behalf of a class, sued the New York State Board of Elections, commissioners and co-chairs of the NYS BOE, co-executive directors of the BOE, and the governor, challenging a state law requiring that ballots be postmarked, and an executive order, providing that ballot postage be pre-paid, in connection with the U.S. Postal Service’s practice of not stamping mail with pre-paid postage, resulting in thousands of ballots being delivered without a postmark. The amended complaint alleges violations of Article 2 of the New York State Constitution and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the vote-by-mail regime severely and unduly burdens the right to vote and denies the rights of due process and equal protection to absentee voters.

Status: Motions for preliminary injunction granted August 3, 2020; Emergency motion to compel denied August 7, 2020; Amended complaint filed September 11, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 18, 2020


Harley v. Kosinski, No. 1:20-cv-4664 (E.D.N.Y.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Electronic Ballot Transmission (Covid-19)

Individual voters who reside abroad, on behalf of a class, sued election officials in seven states, challenging defendants’ failure to accept and count ballots returned via electronic means. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants’ inaction, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, unduly burdens the right to vote and denies equal protection to voters who reside outside of the United States.

Status: Complaint filed September 30, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied October 13, 2020; Notice of voluntary dismissal filed October 13, 2020


Hernandez v. N.Y. State Board of Elections, No. 1:20-cv-4003 (S.D.N.Y.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Individual voters, Disability Rights New York, the National Federation of the Blind of New York, and others sued the New York State Board of Elections, its chair and commissioner, and others, challenging the state’s absentee voting program, which requires voters to fill out and sign a paper ballot with a pen or marker and return by mail, providing no alternatives to accommodate voters with print disabilities who vote from home. The complaint alleges violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the program denies individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits of a service, program, or activity provided by a public entity, and of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in that the program denies “a qualified handicapped person the opportunity accorded others to participate in program … receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction withdrawn in connection with settlement as to the June 23, 2020 elections; Second motion for preliminary injunction denied August 14, 2020, with an order that defendants must “submit a proposed injunction consistent with Defendants’ written and oral representations regarding implementation of an accessible absentee voting system for the November 3 election.”  


Jones v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 1:20-cv-6516 (S.D.N.Y.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery (Covid-19)

Individual political candidates and voters, on behalf of a class, sued the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), the Postmaster General of the USPS, and the United States president, challenging USPS cutbacks, slowdowns, policy changes, and failure to make aggressive efforts to deliver vote-by-mail ballots. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants’ actions and omissions unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, violate the principle of “one person, one vote,” deny equal protection to voters who are particularly susceptible to Covid-19 exposure, reside abroad, or otherwise rely on the delivery of absentee ballots in order to vote.    

Status: Complaint filed August 17, 2020; Motion to expedite granted August 20, 2020; Amended complaint filed September 9, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part September 21, 2020, providing, among other things, that the USPS “shall, to the extent that excess capacity permits, treat all Election Mail as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express [and] shall pre-approve all overtime…through November 6, 2020.” Settled September 25, 2020


League of Women Voters USA v. Kosinski, 1:20-cv-5238 (S.D.N.Y.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The LWV of U.S.A., the LWV of New York, and an individual voter sued the commissioners and executive directors of the New York State Board of Elections in connection with the State’s practice of rejecting absentee ballots without affording voters notice and an opportunity to cure any perceived signature mismatch issues or other defects. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged practices deny voters’ right to due process, unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, and violate the right to equal protection.

Status: Stipulated consent order filed September 17, 2020, providing for post-election day notice and cure procedures

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North Carolina

Advance North Carolina v. North Carolina, No. 20CV-2965 (Wake Cnty. Super. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

Advance North Carolina sued the State of North Carolina, the State Board of Elections, and others, challenging a state law that “prohibits the vast majority of individuals and organizations from assisting voters in completing absentee ballot applications and from submitting absentee ballot applications on a voter’s behalf.” The complaint alleges violations of Art. I, § 10 (Free Elections Clause), § 14 (freedom of speech), § 12 (freedom of assembly), and § 19 (equal protection) of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the law unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote and infringes on associational and speech rights.

Status: Complaint filed March 4, 2020


Arnett v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, No. 20-CV-570 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Super. Ct. Div., Duplin Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Challenge Process (Covid-19)

The chairman of the Duplin County Republican Party and the North Carolina Republican Party sued the State Board of Elections, its chair and others, seeking a judicial decree that would enable plaintiffs to lodge challenges to approvals or disapprovals of absentee ballots, stop the counting process while challenges are being adjudicated, and permit appeals of the adjudication of challenges. The complaint alleges violations of the North Carolina Constitution and the North Carolina Public Records Act, in that the defendants have refused to permit plaintiffs to “inspect and examine” absentee ballot envelopes, which are public records, and that the existing pre-election day absentee ballot processing procedures “create an unconstitutionally unequal status among voters who vote absentee by mail versus voters who vote in-person,” thus depriving voters of equal protection.

Status: Complaint filed October 5, 2020; Motions to intervene and to stay proceedings filed by North Carolina Democratic Party October 12, 2020


Chambers v. North Carolina, No. 20 CVS 500124 (Wake Cnty. Super. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement (Covid-19)

Four individual voters sued the State of North Carolina, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and others challenging the requirement that absentee ballots be witnessed by another adult and restricts who can serve as a witness, notably excluding “an owner, manager, director, employee of the hospital, clinic, nursing home, or rest home in which the voter is a patient or resident.” The complaint alleges violations of Article 1, §§10, 12, 14 and 19 of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the regime infringes on the right to participate in a free and fair election, unduly burdens the right to vote, and violates the guarantee of equal protection.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 3, 2020


Community Success Initiative v. Moore, No. 19-cv-15941 (Wake Cnty. Super. Ct.)

Re: Felony Disenfranchisement

Community Success Initiatives, Justice Served NC, and the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP sued the North Carolina secretary of state, the president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and others, challenging state laws that prohibit persons convicted of felonies from voting until they have fully discharged their sentences, including parole and probation, and further condition restoration of voting rights on full payment of all court fines, fees and restitution. The complaint alleges violations of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the laws deny the state constitutional guarantees of “substantially equal voting power,” and to participate in free and fair elections.

Status: Motion for summary judgment or in the alternative for a preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part September 4, 2020, permitting individuals who have been released from supervision but who still owe legal financial obligations to register and vote.


Democracy North Carolina v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, No. 1:20-cv-457 (M.D.N.C.)

Re: Voter Registration Deadline; Vote-by-Mail Assistance Restrictions, ID & Witness/Notary Requirements; Dropboxes; Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure; In-Person & Early Voting (Covid-19)

Democracy North Carolina, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, and individual voters sued the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the board’s chair, and others, challenging state laws, policies, and practices that impose various restrictions on voter registration, mail-in absentee ballots, in-person early voting, and Election Day administration. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, § 208 of the Voting Rights Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, in that the laws and practices, variously, unduly burden the right to vote, condition the right to vote on compelling forfeiture of bodily integrity, violate the rights of free speech and association, deny the right to procedural due process, and fail to provide reasonable accommodations for and disparately impact persons with disabilities.

Status: Notice of appeal of denial of motion to intervene by RNC, NRCC, NRSC, and North Carolina Republican Party pending; Motions to dismiss and for leave to file third amended complaint filed July 30, 2020; Amended motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part August 4, 2020; Appeal held in abeyance August 26, 2020; Motions for reconsideration denied September 30, 2020; Plaintiffs’ motion to enforce order granting in part preliminary injunction granted as to expedited consideration and denied in all other respects October 2, 2020; Oral argument scheduled October 7, 2020


Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee v. North Carolina State Board of ElectionsNo. 20CV09947 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Super. Ct. Division, Wake Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement, Notice/Opportunity to Cure Missing Witness Signature (Covid-19)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the North Carolina Democratic Party sued the North Carolina State Board of Elections, its chair and its executive director, challenging defendants’ failure to provide all voters with an adequate opportunity to cure ballot defects related to the witness requirement. The complaint alleges violations of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the lack of a notice and cure opportunity deprives voters of procedural due process, equal protection, and the right to participate in free and fair elections, and burdens the fundamental right to vote without being justified by a sufficiently important state interest.

Status: Complaint filed September 8, 2020


Holmes v. Moore, 18 CVS 15292 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Sup. Ct. Division, Wake Cnty.); No. COA19-762 (N.C. Ct. App.)

Re: Photo ID Requirement (In-Person and Vote-by-Mail)

Individual voters sued the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate and others, challenging a 2018 law (SB 824) that requires that in-person and absentee voters, with narrow exceptions, present one of eight forms of photo ID. The complaint alleges violations of Article 1, §§10, 12, 14 and 19 of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the law intentionally discriminates and disparately impacts African-American and American Indian voters; unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote; unjustifiably creates separate classes of voters who are treated differently, thus denying the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection; imposes a financial cost and a property requirement as a condition of voting, in violation of the Free Elections and Property Qualifications Clauses; and impedes voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by voting, in violation of the right of assembly and petition and freedom of speech.

Status: Lower court denied plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction and granted defendants’ motions to dismiss as to all but one claim (discriminatory intent). The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, directing the lower court to grant the requested preliminary injunction. Legislative Defendants’ motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction filed July 9, 2020


Moore v. Circosta, No. 4:20-cv-182, 5:20-cv-507 (E.D.N.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Postmark Requirement, Witness Requirement, Voter Assistance, Notice/Opportunity to Cure Ballot Defects (Covid-19)

The speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate and individual voters sued the chair of the North Carolina State Board of Elections (“NCSBE”), challenging the consent judgment entered in North Carolina Alliance of Retired Americans v. State of North Carolina, No. 20-CVS-8881 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Super. Ct. Div., Wake Cnty.), above, and related memos issued by the NCBSE, which extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline, provide voters with notice and an opportunity to cure ballot defects after election day, allow voted absentee ballots to be dropped off at one-stop early voting locations and county board offices, and do not reject ballots that are dropped off by third parties. The complaint alleges violations of the Elections Clause and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged judgment and memos change the time, place and manner of holding federal elections and deny equal protection to voters who had already cast ballots before the judgment and memos were issued.

Status: Motion to intervene filed by North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans and individual voters September 30, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Democracy North Carolina, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and individual voters October 1, 2020; Emergency motion for temporary restraining order granted October 3, 2020, temporarily enjoining defendants from enforcing the September 2020-19 Memo, and Numbered Memos 2020-22 and 2020-23 until October 16, 2020 and transferring case to Hon. William L. Osteen


North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans v. State of North CarolinaNo. 20-CVS-8881 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Super. Ct. Div., Wake Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement, Pre-Paid Postage, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure, Voter Assistance Ban; In-Person Polling Place Safety & Disability Access (Covid-19)

The North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans and individual voters sued the State of North Carolina, the State Board of Elections, and its chair, challenging state laws and procedures that (1) limit the number of days and hours of early voting that counties are permitted to offer, (2) require that all absentee ballot envelopes be signed by a witness, (3) fail to provide pre-paid postage for absentee ballots and request forms, (4) require rejection of any absentee ballots received more than three days after the election, even when postmarked by election day, (5) allow counties to reject ballots for signature defects without providing sufficient advance notice and opportunity to cure, (6) prohibit voters from receiving assistance from most individuals and organizations in completing or submitting absentee ballot request forms, and (7) “severely restrict[ ] voters’ ability to obtain assistance in delivering their marked and sealed absentee ballots to county boards, and impos[e] criminal penalties for providing such assistance.” The complaint alleges violations of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the challenged laws and practices unconstitutionally burden the right to vote, deprive voters of equal protection, and deny North Carolinians’ right to free and fair elections.

Status: Complaint filed August 10, 2020; Joint motion for entry of consent judgment filed September 22, 2020, stipulating that, for the 2020 elections, (1) an absentee ballot shall be counted as timely if it is either received by 5:00 p.m. on election day or postmarked by election day and received by November 12, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.; (2) defendants shall institute a process to notify voters of ballot deficiencies that may be cured by certification, which certification must be received by 5:00 p.m. on November 12; (3) voted absentee ballots may be dropped off at one-stop early voting locations and county board offices; (4) defendants shall take additional reasonable steps to inform the public of the changes; (5) plaintiffs shall withdraw their motion for preliminary injunction; and (5) all remaining claims against the Executive Defendants related to the conduct of the 2020 elections shall be dismissed with prejudice; Findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting order granting joint motion for entry of consent judgment issued October 5, 2020


North Carolina Democratic Party v. North CarolinaNo. 19-CV-14688 (Gen. Ct. of Justice, Super Ct. Div., Wake Cnty.)

Re: Early Voting

The North Carolina Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  sued the State of North Carolina, the State Board of Elections, and the chair of the BOE challenging state laws that restrict early voting opportunities. The amended complaint alleges violations of Art. I, § 10 (Free Elections Clause), § 14 (freedom of speech), § 12 (freedom of assembly), and § 19 (equal protection) of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the challenged provisions unduly burden the right to vote.

Status: Amended complaint filed December 20, 2019


North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. Cooper, No. 1:18-cv-1034 (M.D.N.C.); North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. Raymond, Nos. 19-1091, 19-1094, 19-2273 & 20-1092 (4th Cir.)

Re: Photo ID Requirement (Vote-by-Mail & In-Person Voting); Poll Watchers

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Chapel Hill-Carboro NAACP, Greensboro NAACP, and others sued the governor of North Carolina, the chair of the North Carolina State Board of Elections and others, challenging a state law that requires that voters present one of a limited number of photo IDs (excluding public assistance IDs) in order to cast a ballot and expanded the number of permitted poll watchers and bases for challenging ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the law was motivated by impermissibly racially discriminatory intent, discriminates on the basis of race, and denies or abridges the right to vote on account of race or color.

The district court granted in part and denied in part plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, prohibiting defendants from implementing the law’s voter ID requirements and ballot-challenge provisions for any election, pending further court order.

Status: Appeal filed January 24, 2020; Denial of motion to intervene vacated by 4th Circuit August 14, 2020; Petition for rehearing en banc filed and stay of mandate issued by 4th Circuit September 11, 2020


North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, 20-CVS-5035 (N.C. Super. Ct., Wake Cnty.)

Re: In-Person Voting Machines (Covid-19)

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and 4 individual voters sued the North Carolina State Board of Elections and various county boards of elections, challenging the counties’ use of ExpressVote electronic ballot-marking devices, which, plaintiffs allege, “suffer from security vulnerabilities, are inaccurate, tabulate votes based on a bar code that cannot be read by the voter, and cannot be sufficiently audited.” The complaint alleges violations of Article 1, § § 10 and 19 of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the use of the machines severely burdens plaintiffs’ right to participate in free and fair elections that “accurately ascertain the will of the people,” and denies equal protection to voters in counties which employ the machines.

Status: Complaint filed April 15, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied August 19, 2020


Stringer v. North Carolina, No. 20-CVS-5615 (N.C. Super. Ct., Wake Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Notary/Witness Requirement, Prepaid Postage, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

Individual North Carolina voters sued the State of North Carolina, the State Board of Elections, and others, challenging state laws that (1) require that each absentee ballot be witnessed and certified by a notary or two qualified individuals; (2) require most voters to pay for postage when applying for an absentee ballot; (3) reject ballots received more than three days past the election, even if postmarked on or before Election Day; (4) fail to prescribe uniform standards for signature verification; and (5) fail to provide notice and an opportunity to cure to voters whose signatures are perceived to be inconsistent. The complaint alleges violations of Art. I, § 10 (Free Elections clause), § 14 (freedom of speech), § 12 (freedom of assembly), and § 19 (equal protection) of the North Carolina Constitution, in that the laws infringe on the right to participate in free and fair elections, and unconstitutionally burden the right to vote.

Status: Amended complaint filed July 8, 2020


Taliaferro v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, No. 5:20-cv-411 (E.D.N.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Four individual voters, the North Carolina Council of the Blind, the Governor Morehead School Alumni Association, and others sued the North Carolina State Board of Elections, its director, chair, and others, challenging the state’s absentee voting program, which requires voters to complete a paper ballot using an ink marking device and physically return the voted ballot to the County Board of Elections, and is thus inaccessible to blind voters who wish to vote independently. The complaint alleges violations of Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in that the absentee voting program denies individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits of the program, fails to provide reasonable modifications to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, excludes individuals with disabilities from participation in the program, and discriminates on the basis of disability.

Status: Motions for preliminary injunction granted September 24, 2020


Wise v. North Carolina State Board of Elections, 5:20-cv-505 (E.D.N.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Receipt Deadline, Postmark Requirement, Witness Requirement, Voter Assistance, Notice/Opportunity to Cure Ballot Defects (Covid-19)

Individual voters, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Republican National Committee and others sued the State Board of Elections, its chair and others, challenging the consent judgment entered in North Carolina Alliance of Retired Americans v. State of North Carolina, No. 20-CVS-8881 (Gen. Ct. Justice, Super. Ct. Div., Wake Cnty.), above, and related memos issued by the Board, which extend the absentee ballot receipt deadline, provide voters with notice and an opportunity to cure ballot defects after election day, allow voted absentee ballots to be dropped off at one-stop early voting locations and county board offices, and do not reject ballots that are dropped off by third parties. The complaint alleges violations of Article I, Section 4, Article 2, Section 1 of and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged judgment purportedly changes the time, place and manner of elections for senators, representatives and presidential electors, dilute the fundamental right to vote by allowing fraudulent or illegal votes, and denies equal protection to those who had already voted prior to issuance of the judgment and memos.

Status: Emergency motion for temporary restraining order granted October 3, 2020, temporarily enjoining defendants from enforcing the September 2020-19 Memo, and Numbered Memos 2020-22 and 2020-23 until October 16, 2020 and transferring case to Hon. William L. Osteen

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North Dakota

Self Advocacy Solutions North Dakota v. Jaeger, No. 3:20-cv-71 (D.N.D.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Signature Matching (Covid-19)

Self Advocacy Solutions N.D., the League of Women Voters of North Dakota, and a North Dakota resident sued the North Dakota secretary of state and the county auditor of Grand Forks County, challenging a state law that rejects any ballot with perceived signature mismatch issues without providing the voter an opportunity to cure. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law denies due process and the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Permanent injunction granted August 28, 2020

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Ohio

A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio v. LaRoseNo. 1:20-cv-1908 (N.D. Ohio)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Dropbox Availability (Covid-19)

The A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP, and individual voters sued the Ohio secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s directive prohibiting county boards of elections from providing more than one ballot drop box per county, which drop box must be located directly outside of each county board of elections’ office. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the secretary’s directive substantially burdens the fundamental right to vote and deprives voters of equal protection by arbitrarily valuing the votes of residents of counties with smaller populations over those who reside in more heavily populated counties.

Status: Complaint filed August 26, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 4, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., the Ohio Republican Party, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee granted September 15, 2020; Order issued September 25, 2020, holding that plaintiffs have standing, holding the motion for preliminary injunction in abeyance “to see if the conclusion of the state litigation [in Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRose, No. 20 CV 5634 (Ohio Ct. Common Pleas, Franklin Cnty.), below] moots this case,” and directing the secretary to file, by. September 30, a report on efforts to “work closely with the Cuyahoga County board of elections to develop and implement a plan to alleviate the looming crisis for voters who plan to personally deliver their ballots for the November 3 election;” Order dismissing the case without prejudice issued October 6, 2020; Motion for reconsideration and motion for preliminary injunction granted October 8, 2020, enjoining the secretary of state from (1) enforcing the portion of the directive that prohibits counties from installing multiple drop boxes and (2) prohibiting county boards of election from deploying its staff for off-site ballot delivery, and declining to issue a stay; Notice of appeal filed October 8, 2020; Order staying lower court order issued by 6th Circuit October 9, 2020


League of Women Voters of Ohio v. LaRose, 2:20-cv-3843 (S.D. Ohio)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The League of Women Voters of Ohio, the A. Philip Randolph Institute of Ohio, and two individual voters sued the Ohio secretary of state, challenging state laws and practices that require elections officials to compare voters’ signatures on absentee ballots and voter registration records without providing statewide standards therefor, and further reject any ballots with perceived signature mismatch issues without providing the voter with an opportunity to cure. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the state’s inconsistent signature matching procedures deny voters the freedom of association and the right to equal protection and unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, and that the failure to provide voters with adequate notice and sufficient opportunity to cure signature mismatch issues denies the right of procedural due process.

Status: Motion to intervene filed by Donald J. Trump for President, the Ohio Republican Party, the RNC, and NRCC granted September 4, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 27, 2020


Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRoseNo. 20CV4997 (Ohio Ct. Common Pleas, Franklin Cnty.); 20AP000421 (Ct. of App. of Ohio, 10th Appellate Dist.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Electronic Transmission of Ballot Application (Covid-19)

The Ohio Democratic Party and an individual voter sued the Ohio secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s refusal to permit voters to apply for absentee ballots by emailing images of their absentee ballot applications to their respective county boards of elections. The amended complaint alleges violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Ohio Constitution and seeks a declaration that existing state law (Ohio Revised Code 3509.03) does not prohibit qualified electors from submitting ballot applications via electronic mail, and further that the law affords qualified electors have a right to do so.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction and expedited schedule filed July 31, 2020; Amended complaint filed August 4, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed August 11, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. August 17, 2020; Preliminary injunction granted September 11, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 11, 2020; Secretary of state’s motion to stay filed September 11, 2020; Intervenor defendants’ motion to dismiss filed September 14, 2020; Preliminary injunction stayed by Court of Appeals of Ohio September 11, 2020; Preliminary injunction reversed by the Court of Appeals of Ohio September 29, 2020


Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRose, No. 20 CV 5634 (Ohio Ct. Common Pleas, Franklin Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Dropbox Availability (Covid-19)

The Ohio Democratic Party and an individual voter sued the Ohio secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s directive prohibiting county boards of elections from providing more than one ballot drop box per county, which drop box must be located directly outside of each county board of elections’ office. The complaint seeks a declaration that the relevant state statute does not limit the number and locations of secure drop boxes that county boards may provide to the voters of their respective counties.

Status: Complaint filed August 25, 2020; Order issued September 15, 2020, declaring that Ohio law permits county boards of election to obtain and use ballot drop boxes and that the secretary’s prohibition on the use of more than one drop box per county or placing drop boxes at locations separate from board offices is “arbitrary and unreasonable”; Order to show cause for contempt filed by plaintiffs September 16, 2020; Order granting preliminary injunction and stay pending appeal issued September 16, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 16, 2020; Order issued by Court of Appeals of Ohio October 2, 2020, affirming in part and reversing in part, holding that the Ohio law “neither prescribes nor prohibits ballot drop boxes at locations other than the boards of elections,” while reversing the lower court’s preliminary injunction, as the secretary “was not statutorily required to…allow for additional drop boxes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. Ziriax, No. 4:20-cv-211 (N.D. Okla.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Receipt Deadline, Voter Assistance Restrictions, Notary/Witness & Photo ID Requirements, Prepaid Postage (Covid-19)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Oklahoma Democratic Party sued the secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board and other OSEB members, challenging state laws that (1) reject absentee ballots unaccompanied by a notarized affidavit, subject to limited exceptions; (2) require all other voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot to send copy of an approved photo ID with the ballot; (3) require postage to be provided by anyone who wishes to cast an absentee ballot via mail; (4) reject any ballots received after 7 p.m. on Election Day, irrespective of the postmark; (5) impose criminal penalties for helping a voter obtain an absentee ballot; (6) prohibit anyone from helping a voter mail an absentee ballot; and (7) make it a felony offense to assist more than 10 voters in returning sealed absentee ballots. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws unduly burden the right to vote, impose a poll tax, deny due process, and abridge free speech and associational rights.

Status: Motion to dismiss improper parties and dismiss or transfer venue denied August 4, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 17, 2020

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Pennsylvania

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. DeJoy, No. 2:20-cv-4096 (E.D. Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Practices (Covid-19)

The Commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, the States of California, Delaware, Maine, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia sued the postmaster general, the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, and the U.S. Postal Service, challenging several of the USPS’s recent operational and policy changes, including prohibiting late or extra trips by postal workers, requiring carriers to rigidly adhere to start and stop timelines regardless of whether all mail for their route has arrived or been delivered, and limiting the use of overtime, all of which impact delivery of election mail.  The complaint alleges violations of the Postal Reorganization Act and of the Elections Clause, Electors Clause, and the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in that the changes impact service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis but were made without first submitting a proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission, without giving “the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation and delivery of important letter mail,” have interfered with how plaintiffs have exercised their constitutional authority to set the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” and to appoint presidential electors, and are intended to interfere with plaintiffs’ “ability to count votes cast by mail and to make voters in Plaintiff states, especially senior citizens, less willing to vote by mail.”

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 28, 2020; Order granting, in part, defendants’ motion to clarify issued October 9, 2020


Crossey v. Boockvar, No. 108-MM-2020; (S. Ct. Pa.); 266-MD-2020 (Commonwealth Ct. of Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Prepaid Postage, Ballot Receipt Deadline, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure, Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

Individual voters and the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans sued the Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth and the director of the Bureau of Election Services and Notaries, challenging state laws and practices which require that voters provide their own postage on mail-in ballots, reject any mailed ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, fail to afford voters with notice and an opportunity to cure any perceived signature mismatch issues, and, with limited exceptions, prohibit third parties from helping voters to return ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Free and Equal Elections and Equal Protection Clauses and violations of due process, in that the challenged laws and practices fail to implement adequate safeguards to protect the right to vote, in person and by mail, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, substantially burden the right to vote, and disproportionately burden the right of certain groups to vote, including but not limited to, voters who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19 infection, minority voters, rural voters, and voters with limited financial means.

Status: Complaint transferred June 17, 2020; Amended petition filed July 13, 2020; Opinion and order issued September 17, 2020, dismissing postage claim as moot (in light of the secretary’s announcement that the state will provide funding to county boards for pre-paid postage), denying the voter assistance claim, and dismissing as moot the challenge to the election day receipt deadline, in light of the Court’s decision in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, below.


Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar, No. 2:20-cv-966 (W.D. Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Dropbox Availability, Temporary/Mobile Ballot Return Locations, “Naked Ballots,” Ballot Verification & Signature Matching Procedures, Double Voting, Voter Assistance; Poll Watcher Residency Requirement; Potential for Fraud (Covid-19)

The Trump campaign, individual voters, the RNC, and others sued the Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth and the Board of Election for each Pennsylvania county, challenging the counties’ regulations and implementation of the Commonwealth’s new “vote-by-mail” law and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, among other things, prohibiting the return of absentee ballots to “unmanned” drop boxes, mandating uniform ballot verification and signature matching, permitting poll watchers to be present in all locations where votes are cast or counted, and prohibiting voters from voting in person if they have already cast an absentee ballot. The second amended complaint alleges violations of Art. I, § 4 and Art. II, § 1 and of the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Equal Protection and Free and Equal Elections Clauses, in that the challenged practices infringe upon the right to vote through invalid enactment of regulations of the time, place, and manner of election, deny equal protection by disparately treating non-disabled absentee/mail-in voters among different counties, and infringe upon the right to vote through failure to sufficiently safeguard against dilution of vote by fraud or tampering, and infringe on the right to vote through “improper voting at polling places.”

Status: Motions to intervene granted August 3, 2020; Motions to compel granted August 13, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted in part and case stayed August 23, 2020; Motion to modify stay order and for limited preliminary injunction denied September 8, 2020; Stay lifted September 17, 2020, in light of decision in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, below; Orders setting forth the scope of remaining claims issued September 23, 2020; Second amended complaint filed September 23, 2020; Motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiffs October 1, 2020; Motion for summary judgment filed by Washington County Board of Elections October 2, 2020; Motions for summary judgment filed by Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future/Sierra ClubAllegheny County Board of Electionsand others October 3, 2020; Order granting defendants and intervenors’ motions for summary judgment, denying plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and dismissing the case issued October 10, 2020


Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., v. Philadelphia County Board of Elections, No. 02035 (Ct. Common Pleas, Philadelphia Cnty.)

Re: Poll Watchers (Covid-19)

The Trump campaign sued the Philadelphia County Board of Elections, Commissioner Lisa M. Deeley, and others, seeking an order requiring defendants to “permit representatives of the Campaign to enter and remain in the satellite election offices to serve as [poll] watchers.”

Status: Petition for emergency election relief denied October 9, 2020


Drenth v. Boockvar, No. 1:20-cv-829 (M.D. Penn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Disability Access (Covid-19)

The National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania and its first vice president sued the secretary and the Department of State, challenging the Commonwealth’s absentee and mail-in ballot process and laws, which require that all such ballots cast by civilians who live in the Commonwealth be filled out by hand and returned by mail. Members of the military have the option of applying for and receiving their mail-in ballots online, an option that plaintiffs urge should also be made available to blind voters. The complaint alleges violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in that the laws and practices deny qualified individuals an equal opportunity to access the benefits, programs, or activities of a public entity.

Status: Preliminary injunction granted May 27, 2020; Defendant’s motion for summary judgment granted August 18, 2020 following agreement that a remote ballot marking system will be implemented for the November 2020 general election


Johnakin v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 2:20-cv-4055 (E.D. Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery, Ballot Receipt Deadline (Covid-19)

An individual voter and independent Congressional candidate sued the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”), the Postmaster General, and the President, in connection with a state law that rejects absentee ballots that are not received by 8:00 p.m. on election day, and challenging defendants’ actions, which have disrupted mail delivery and created obstacles to the timely return and receipt of Pennsylvanians’ absentee ballots in the upcoming November general election.  The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that defendants actions infringe upon plaintiff’s right to vote and deprive him of equal protection and seeks a declaratory judgment requiring that absentee ballots be counted if received within seven days of election day, as well as temporary and permanent injunctions enjoining defendants from engaging in further conduct that will delay the delivery of election mail.

Status: Complaint filed August 19, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed September 18, 2020


Judicial Watch v. Pennsylvania, No. 1:20-cv-708 (M.D. Pa.)

Re: Voter List Maintenance

Judicial Watch, Inc., sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the secretary of the commonwealth, and others, challenging several counties’ relatively low rate of voter purges. The complaint alleges violations of the National Voter Registration Act, in that the defendants have failed to make reasonable efforts to cancel the voter registrations of registrants who are ineligible to vote in Pennsylvania’s federal elections and have failed to make requested records available to plaintiff.

Status: Motion to intervene filed May 11, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed July 10, 2020; Order staying discovery until after the November 3 election issued August 3, 2020


League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, No. 2:20-cv-3850 (E.D. Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching; Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and two individual voters sued the Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth, the Director of the Bureau of Election Services and Notaries and others, challenging the state’s signature verification process and its failure to provide voters with notice and an opportunity to cure missing or mismatched signatures on voted ballots. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the state’s failures unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, and deprive mail-in voters of equal protection and the fundamental right to vote without providing due process.

Status: Complaint filed August 7, 2020; Republican Committees’ motion to intervene filed September 1, 2020; Notice of voluntary dismissal filed September 14, 2020 in response to guidance issued by the Secretary of the Commonwealth stating that “The Pennsylvania Election Code does not authorize the county board of elections to set aside returned absentee or mail-in ballots based solely on signature analysis by the county board of elections.”


NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference v. Boockvar, No. 364-MD-2020 (Commonwealth Ct. Pa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request & Receipt Deadlines, Ballot Distribution; In-Person Polling Place Availability, Voting Safety Measures (Covid-19)

The NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference sued the Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth and the director of the Bureau of Election Services and Notaries, challenging the Commonwealth’s failures to take appropriate steps to protect voters from the Covid-19 pandemic, and policies that prevent voters from casting ballots, such as reducing the number of polling places without providing adequate notice to voters, employing touchscreen voting machines, failing to timely provide requested absentee and mail-in ballots, rejecting ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day, and failing to allow for early voting. The petition alleges violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Free and Equal Elections Clause, in that the challenged laws and practices severely burden the right to vote during the pandemic and severely and disproportionately burden racial minorities’ right to vote during the pandemic.

Status: Petition filed June 18, 2020; Dismissed September 11, 2020


National Election Defense Coalition v. Boockvar, No. 674 MD 2019 (Commonwealth Ct. Pa.)

Re: In-Person Voting: Electronic Voting Machines

The National Election Defense Coalition, Citizens for Better Elections and individual voters sued the Pennsylvania secretary of the commonwealth, challenging the secretary’s certification of the “ExpressVote XL” electronic voting machine, which plaintiffs contend is insecure, unreliable, and inaccessible to users with disabilities. The amended complaint alleges violations of multiple sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code and Article 1, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, in that the machines fail to “[p]rovide acceptable ballot security procedures and impoundment of ballots to prevent tampering with or substitution of any ballots or ballot cards,” fail to routinely and consistently “record[ ] correctly and compute[ ] and tabulate[] accurately every valid vote registered, are not “suitably designed and equipped to be capable of absolute accuracy,” fail to ensure “voting in absolute secrecy,” are inaccessible to persons with disabilities, fail to adhere to the Election Code’s ballot formatting requirements, and deny voters’ right to participate in free and equal elections and their right to the free exercise of suffrage, and discriminate against the civil right to vote.

Status: Amended complaint filed February 4, 2020


Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, No. 407 MD 2020 (Commonwealth Ct. Pa.); No. 133 MM 2020 (Pa. Sup. Ct.); Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, Scarnati v. Boockvar, No. ____ (S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Notice/Opportunity to Cure Ballot Defects, Receipt Deadline, Dropbox Availability; Poll Watchers (Covid-19)

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party and individual Democratic political candidates and incumbents sued the secretary of the commonwealth and 67 county boards of election challenging the commonwealth’s vote-by-mail regime, which as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, results in large numbers of vote-by-mail ballots being rejected due, among other things, to minor defects, lack of secrecy envelopes, and receipt after 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment and injunction and alleges violations of Article 1, §§ 5 and 28 and Article 7, § 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Pennsylvania Election Code in that the regime, as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, denies voters the right to participate in a free and fair election and to equal protection. The complaint also seeks a declaratory judgment that the poll watcher residency requirement (currently being challenged in Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar, above) does not violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Status: Order and opinion issued September 17, 2020: (1) holding that Pennsylvania law “permits county boards of election to collect hand-delivered mail-in ballots at locations other than their office addresses, including drop-boxes”; (2) ruling that otherwise valid mailed ballots postmarked by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day must be counted if received by 5:00 p.m. on November 6, and ballots with missing or illegible postmarks shall be treated as having been timely mailed if received by November 6, “unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that [they were] mailed after Election Day”; (3) finding the poll watcher residency requirement is constitutional; (4) denying the request to establish a notice and cure process for mail ballot defects; and (5) ruling that mail ballots lacking an inner secrecy envelope are invalid under the state election code; Application for stay by intervenor legislator respondents denied September 24, 2020; Emergency applications for stay of extension of ballot receipt deadline filed in SCOTUS September 28, 2020


Pennsylvania Voters Alliance v. Centre County, No. 4:20-cv-1761 (M.D. Pa.)

Re: Election Funding (Covid-19)

The Pennsylvania Voters Alliance and 14 individual voters “who oppose the election of progressive candidates” sued Centre County, Delaware County and the City of Philadelphia, challenging the defendants’ acceptance of more than $14 million in grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) to help the city administer the November election. The complaint alleges violations of the Elections and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, of the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”), and the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), in that these jurisdictions acted “without legal authority, to form a public-private partnership for federal election administration with CTCL,” and that their actions are preempted by HAVA and the NVRA.

Status: Complaint filed September 25, 2020; Motion for temporary restraining order filed September 28, 2020

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Puerto Rico

Ocasio v. Comisión Estatal de Elecciones, No. 3:20-cv-1432 (D.P.R.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail & Early Voting Excuse Requirements (Covid-19)

Individual voters sued the Comisión Estatal de Elecciones and its president, challenging Puerto Rico’s laws limiting the availability of absentee and early in-person voting to those who qualify for certain enumerated excuses, which do not include allowances for senior citizens, or those who suffer from pre-existing health conditions that render them particularly vulnerable to exposure to Covid-19, or are temporarily living or working outside of Puerto Rico on election day. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged restrictions unduly burden the right to vote.

Status: Amended motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order granted in part and denied in part on September 14, 2020, granting the right to vote early by mail to all voters aged 60 and over and extending the deadline to request absentee ballots for those voters, while denying plaintiffs’ request to direct defendants to provide a list identifying voters over sixty years of age; Order issued September 23, 2020, converting preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction

 

 

Rhode Island

Common Cause Rhode Island v. Gorbea, No. 1:20-cv-318 (D.R.I.); No. 20-1753 (1st Cir.); No. 20A28 (S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Notary/Witness Requirement (Covid-19)

Common Cause Rhode Island, the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, and 3 individual voters sued the Rhode Island secretary of state and members of the Rhode Island Board of Elections, challenging a state law requiring that mail-in ballots be signed by a notary or two witnesses. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that, as applied during the Covid-19 pandemic, the notary/witness requirement unduly burdens the right to vote, and that the defendants have failed to make reasonable modifications to the notary/witness requirement to avoid discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Status: Republican National Committee’s motion to intervene denied, then reversed in part by 1st Circuit August 10, 2020; Consent decree entered July 30, 2020, providing that the witness/notary requirement will be suspended for the September 8, 2020, primary election and the November 3, 2020, general election; RNC’s motions to stay the consent decree denied by 1st Circuit August 10, 2020, and by SCOTUS August 13, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina

League of Women Voters of South Carolina v. Andino, No. _________ (D.S.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina, the Family Unit, Inc., and an individual voter sued the South Carolina secretary of state, the Director of Voter Services of the South Carolina State Election Commission, and others, challenging a state law requiring rejection of absentee ballots that are missing the voter’s signature on the outside of the ballot envelope, and reported state practice of conducting signature comparison, despite not being required by law, in both cases, failing to afford voters with notice and an opportunity to cure defects prior to rejection.  The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions deny voters the right to vote by absentee ballot without affording due process, and unduly burden the right to vote.

Status: Complaint filed October 2, 2020


Middleton v. Andino, No. 3:20-cv-1730 (D.S.C.); No. 20-2022 (4th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Witness Requirements, Prepaid Postage, Ballot Receipt Deadline, Voter Assistance Restrictions (Covid-19)

Individual South Carolina voters, the South Carolina Democratic Party, the DNC, and others sued the executive director, the chair, and various other members of the South Carolina State Election Commission, challenging state laws that, variously, restrict who can vote by absentee ballot by age (unless a statutorily enumerated excuse is provided), require a witness signature on such ballot envelopes, require paid postage to cast a ballot, restrict who can assist a voter with returning a ballot, and reject any ballot received after 7 p.m. on Election Day. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, 24th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and §§ 2 and 208 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws impose a poll tax, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of age, unduly burden the right to vote, violate equal protection, have the effect of discriminating on the basis of race or color, infringe upon the right of free speech, and are preempted by the Voting Rights Act.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part; Settled re: pre-paid postage July 8, 2020; Motion for judgment on the pleadings denied July 24, 2020; South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker and South Carolina Senate President permitted to intervene August 21, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part September 18, 2020, enjoining enforcement of the witness requirement for the November 2020 election only, and denying all other requested injunctive relief; Motion to stay injunction pending appeal denied by 4th Circuit September 30, 2020; Injunction stayed by the United States Supreme Court October 5, 2020, reimposing the witness requirement except as to ballots previously cast and received within two days of the order


Thomas v. Andino, No. 3:20-cv-1552 (D.S.C.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse & Witness Requirements (Covid-19)

Individual South Carolina residents and The Family Unit, Inc., sued the executive director, chair, and various other members of the South Carolina State Election Commission, challenging state laws restricting who can vote by absentee ballot and requiring a witness signature on such ballots. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, §§ 2, 3, and 201 of the Voting Rights Act, and Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the laws unduly and unreasonably burden, deny, and/or abridge the right to vote, have an adverse and disparate impact on African Americans, condition the right to vote on a prohibited “test or device”(here, the witness signature requirement), and discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part and denied in part May 25, 2020; Motions to intervene granted August 24, 2020; Stipulation to dismiss excuse claims as moot filed September 18, 2020, following enactment of law eliminating excuse requirement for November 2020 election; Order staying case issued September 18, 2020; Motion to consolidate cases filed September 21, 2020; Motion for reconsideration of order staying case filed by defendants September 22, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

Demster v. Hargett, No. 20-0435-III (Tenn. Chancery Ct., Davidson Cnty.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement, Ballot Distribution (Covid-19)

Individual Tennessee voters sued the coordinator of elections for the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee secretary of state, and governor of Tennessee, challenging state laws that strictly limit eligibility to vote absentee and do not recognize Covid-19 concerns as a valid excuse. The complaint alleges violations of Art. IV, § 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, in that the laws infringe on the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Temporary injunction vacated and the case remanded by Supreme Court of Tennessee August 5, 2020, holding that persons with underlying medical or health conditions that make them particularly susceptible to contracting Covid-19 or who are at greater risk should they contract it, and their caretakers, are eligible to vote absentee by mail for the November 3 election; Plaintiffs’ motion to enforce supreme court order granted September 25, 2020


Lay v. Goins, No. 20-0453-III (Ch. Ct. of Tenn., 20th Jud. Dist., Davidson Cnty.); No. M2020-00832-SC-RDM-CV (Sup. Ct. Tenn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Individual Tennessee voters sued the coordinator of elections for Tennessee, the Tennessee secretary of state, and governor of Tennessee, challenging a state law that strictly limits eligibility to vote absentee to persons who meet certain enumerated criteria and does not recognize Covid-19 as a valid excuse. The complaint alleges violations of Art. IV, § 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, in that the law — in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic — infringes upon the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Temporary injunction vacated by Supreme Court of Tennessee August 5, 2020; Voluntarily dismissed September 18, 2020


League of Women Voters v. Hargett, No. 3:19-cv-385 (M.D. Tenn.)

Consolidated with Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP v. Hargett, below

Re: Voter Registration Assistance

The League of Women Voters of Tennessee, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee Education Fund, the American Muslim Advisory Council and others sued the Tennessee secretary of state, the Coordinator of Elections for the State of Tennessee and others, challenging state laws that restrict the ability of community-based organizations to provide voter registration assistance, imposing both civil and criminal penalties for failure to strictly comply with the requirements. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws directly restrict plaintiffs’ core political speech, expressive conduct, and association in connection with the fundamental right to vote, compel government speech by unjustifiably requiring the use of specific disclaimers, and are unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.

Status: Motion to dismiss deniedMotion for preliminary injunction granted September 12, 2019


Lichtenstein v. Hargett, No. 3:20-cv-736 (M.D. Tenn.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

An individual voter, the Memphis and West Tennessee AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, and others sued the Tennessee secretary of state, the coordinator of elections for the State of Tennessee and the district attorney general for Shelby County, challenging a state law that makes it a felony for anyone other election officials to give an absentee ballot application to another person, even if the voter requests the application, and notwithstanding that the application form is available online. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law abridges the freedom of speech by restricting core political speech and expressive conduct.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied September 23. 2020


Memphis A. Phillip Randolph Institute v. Hargett, No. 3:20-cv-374 (M.D. Tenn.), 20-6046 (6th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure, Voter Assistance Ban (Covid-19)

The Memphis A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Equity Alliance, Free Hearts, and others sued the Tennessee secretary of state, coordinator of elections for Tennessee, and the district attorney general for Shelley County, Tennessee, challenging state laws that strictly limit eligibility to vote absentee to persons who meet certain enumerated criteria and do not recognize Covid-19 concerns as a valid excuse; impose criminal penalties for helping voters to obtain absentee ballot requests; and reject any ballot with perceived signature mismatch issues without providing the voter notice and an opportunity to cure. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws infringe on the fundamental right to vote, the rights of free speech and association, and deny procedural due process.

Status: Motion to dismiss  granted in part August 11, 2020; Motion for reconsideration denied August 21, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction denied as to August primary election July 21, 2020, and denied as to signature verification procedures for the November 2020 general election August 28, 2020;  Preliminary injunction granted as to first-time voter restriction September 9, 2020; Motion to stay filed by defendants September 10, 2020; Notice of appeal of August 28 order filed by plaintiffs September 11, 2020; Defendants’ motion for reconsideration of September 9 order denied September 28; Motion to voluntarily dismiss first claim for relief and one plaintiff granted September 29, 2020; Notice of appeal & emergency motion to stay pending appeal denied October 8, 2020


Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP v. Hargett, No. 3:19-cv-365 (M.D. Tenn.)

Consolidated with League of Women Voters v. Hargett, above

Re: Voter Registration Assistance

The Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, Democracy Nashville-Democratic Communities, the Equity Alliance, and others sued the Tennessee secretary of state, the coordinator of elections for the state, and others, challenging state laws that restrict the ability of community-based organizations to provide voter registration assistance, imposing both civil and criminal penalties for failure to strictly comply with the requirements. The amended complaint alleges violations of National Voter Registration Act and of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged laws violate due process due to vagueness, infringe on expressive, speech, and associative rights, unduly burden political speech and the fundamental right to vote, illegally differentiate between paid and unpaid voter registration workers, and fail to provide the requisite notice to registration applicants.

Status: Motion to dismiss denied September 9, 2019; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 13, 2019; Trial scheduled April 27, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas

Allen v. Waller County, No. 4:18-cv-3985 (S.D. Tex.)

Re: Early Voting

Individual voters and the Panther Party sued Waller County, Texas, the Waller County Commissioners Court and others, challenging the county’s refusal to provide the plaintiffs with early voting opportunities equal to those provided to non-Black, non-student voters. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 14th, 15th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the county’s actions and inactions intentionally and actually deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color and disparately or arbitrarily burden the right to vote with the intent to harm plaintiffs based on age.

Status: Defendants’ motion for summary judgment denied July 15, 2020


Anti-Defamation League Austin v. Abbott, No. D-1-GN-20-005550 (Dist. Ct., Travis Cnty., Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Drop-Off Location Availability (Covid-19)

The Anti-Defamation League of Austin, Southwest, and Texoma Regions, Common Cause Texas and an individual voter sued the Texas governor, challenging the governor’s order requiring prohibiting the use of more than a single ballot drop off location per county, irrespective of the county’s population, thus requiring counties to close hundreds of drop off locations that had already been established. The complaint alleges violations of the Article 1, Section 3 of the Texas Constitution and state statute, in that the governor’s order was issued without legal authority and impermissibly interferes with the authority of early voting clerks, unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote, and arbitrarily disenfranchises voters in certain counties, thus depriving them of equal protection.

Status: Complaint, application for emergency temporary restraining order, and application for preliminary injunction filed October 5, 2020


Blodgett v. Hughs, No. 1:19-cv-1154 (W.D. Tex.)

Consolidated with Gilby v. Hughs, No. 1:19-cv-010063 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Early Voting, Temporary/Mobile Polling Place Restrictions

An individual voter, the Texas Young Democrats, and the Texas College Democrats sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging a recently passed state law that restricts county elections officials’ ability to open early voting locations with flexible hours. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote, violates the rights of due process and equal protection, abridges the right to vote on account of age, and discriminates against those with disabilities.  

Status: Secretary of state’s motion to dismiss granted in part (as to the ADA claim) and denied in part August 11, 2020


Bruni v. Hughs, No. 5:20-cv-35 (S.D. Tex)

Re: Straight-Ticket Voting

The chair of the Webb County Democratic Party, the Texas Democratic Party, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and others sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging a state law that eliminates the option of straight-ticket voting from ballots as of September 1, 2020. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and the right to associate, constitutes viewpoint discrimination based on partisan affiliation or voting, intentionally discriminates on the basis of race, and has the purpose or result of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted June 24, 2020


Gilby v. Hughs (a/k/a Texas Democratic Party v. Hughs), No. 1:19-cv-01063 (W.D. Tex.)

Consolidated with Blodgett v. Hughs, No. 1:19-cv-1154 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Early Voting, Temporary/Mobile Polling Place Restrictions

An individual registered voter, the Texas Democratic Party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging a recently passed state law that restricts county elections officials’ ability to open early voting locations with flexible hours. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote, denies voters the right to equal protection, disparately treats similarly situated voters, and denies or abridges the right to vote on account of age.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed August 10, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted (as to Plaintiff Blodgett’s ADA claim only) and denied in all other respects in August 11, 2020; Notice of interlocutory appeal filed August 14, 2020


Gloria v. Hughs, No. 5:20-cv-00527 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

Individual Texas residents sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging a state law that strictly limits eligibility to vote by mail to those who qualify for one or more statutorily enumerated categories of exemptions, including voters aged 65 or older. The complaint alleges violations of the 26th Amendment, in that the law denies or abridges the right to vote on account of age.

Status: Case stayed pending 5th Circuit decision in Texas v. Abbott, below. Motion for reconsideration filed June 15, 2020; Notice of voluntary dismissal filed September 23, 2020


In Re Hotze, No. 20-0671 (Sup. Ct. Texas)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution (Covid-19)

An individual voter, a Republican judicial candidate, and the Harris County Republican Party sued the Harris County Clerk, challenging the defendant’s decision to affirmatively mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in Harris County. The amended petition for a writ of mandamus violations of the Texas Election Code, in that sending ballot applications without requiring voters to specifically request the forms will “create widespread confusion and opportunities for voter fraud,” creates opportunities for ballot harvesting, and that “[b]ecause the application can be tracked, and since it is uniquely designed, the applications could easily be identified and secured.”

Status: Stay order issued September 2, 2020 pending the outcome of State of Texas v. Hollins, below; Amended petition for writ of mandamus filed September 9, 2020


In Re Hotze, No. 20-0739 (Sup. Ct. Texas)

Re: Vote-by-Mail In-Person Ballot Return; In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the Republican Party of Texas, its chair and others sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s enforcement of the governor’s proclamation extending early voting and allowing voters to drop off voted absentee ballots in person to the early voting clerk’s office prior to and including election day.  The petition alleges violations of the Texas Election Code and the Texas Constitution, in that the governor’s order suspending certain sections of the Texas Election Code was constitutionally and statutorily invalid, as it deprives plaintiffs of their constitutionally protected rights without due course of law, constitutes an improper delegation of legislative authority, and violates the separation of powers doctrine, and the secretary should thus be precluded from enforcing it.

Status: Emergency motion for temporary relief filed September 25, 2020; Petition for writ of mandamus denied October 7, 2020


In re Hotze, No. 20-751 (Sup. Ct. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail In-Person Ballot Return; In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the Harris County Republican Party, its chair, and Republican political nominees sued the Harris County Clerk, challenging the clerk’s enforcement of the governor’s proclamation moving the start of early voting from October 19 to October 13 and allowing voters to deliver marked absentee ballots in person to the early voting clerk’s office beginning on September 28, as well as the clerk’s decision to allow voters to deliver marked absentee ballots to eleven county clerk annexes throughout the county. The petition for a writ of mandamus alleges violations of the Texas Election Code and the Texas Constitution, in that the governor lacks constitutional authority to suspend the election code, the clerk lacks authority to enforce an unconstitutional order, and the clerk’s actions are promoting ballot harvesting.    

Status: Petition and motion to stay filed September 28, 2020; Petition and motion to stay denied October 7, 2020


Hotze v. Hughs, No. _____ (Dist. Ct., Travis Cnty., Texas)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Ballot Return, and In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

Individual voters and Republican political candidates sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging the governor’s July 27, 2020 executive order, which advances the first day for in-person early voting for the November election by four days (from October 13 to October 17, 2020), and allows voters to deliver marked absentee ballots in person to the early voting clerk’s office up to and including election day.  The complaint alleges violations of the Texas Constitution and chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code (“the Disaster Act”), in that the executive order unconstitutionally and unilaterally suspends the laws of Texas, deprives plaintiffs of the right to due process, and violates the separation of powers doctrine, and that the Disaster Act itself is unconstitutional on its face and as applied, because it improperly delegates legislative authority to the executive branch.

Status: Petition filed August 20, 2020


Lewis v. Hughs, No. 5:20-cv-577 (W.D. Tex.); No. 20-50654 (5th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement, Ballot Receipt Deadline, Prepaid Postage, Voter Assistance Ban, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure (Covid-19)

Individual Texas residents, Voto Latino, the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, and others sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging state laws that (1) strictly limit eligibility to vote by mail to those who qualify for one or more statutorily enumerated categories of exemptions; (2) require voters to provide postage on mail-in ballots; (3) reject any ballots not received by 5 p.m. the day after the election and any ballots postmarked after 7 p.m. the day before the election; (4) fail to prescribe uniform standards for signature verification; (5) fail to provide notice and an opportunity to cure perceived signature mismatch issues; and (6) impose criminal penalties for helping voters to mail their absentee ballots, except in narrow circumstances. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the laws unduly burden the right to vote, violate guarantees of equal protection and procedural due process, and impose a prohibited poll tax.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed June 22, 2020; District court’s denial of motion to dismiss upheld by 5th Circuit September 4, 2020


In re McCarty, No. 20-760 (Sup. Ct. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail In-Person Ballot Return; In-Person Early Voting (Covid-19)

The president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party sued the Tarrant County Clerk, challenging the clerk’s enforcement of the governor’s proclamation moving the start of early voting from October 19 to October 13 and allowing voters to deliver marked absentee ballots in person to the early voting clerk’s office beginning on September 28. The petition for a writ of mandamus alleges violations of the Texas Election Code and the Texas Constitution, in that the governor lacks constitutional authority to suspend the election code, the clerk lacks authority to enforce an unconstitutional order, and the clerk’s actions are promoting ballot harvesting.   

Status: Petition filed September 28, 2020; Petition denied October 7, 2020


Mi Familia Vota v. Abbott, No. 5:20-cv-830 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: In-Person & Early Voting, ID Requirement, Electronic Voting Machines, Curbside Voting; Polling Place Availability (Covid-19)

Mi Familia Vota, the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, and two individual voters sued the Texas governor and secretary of state, challenging state laws and practices which limit early voting hours and locations, require physical touching and exchange of identification documents and repetitive touching of electronic voting machines, prohibit the use of paper ballots, limit the availability of curbside voting to those who are physically incapable of entering the polling place without assistance or likelihood of injury to health, reduce the number of polling places, and fail to hire sufficient numbers of poll workers. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the laws and practices — in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic — unduly burden the right to vote, deny equal protection, and discriminate and infringe upon the right to vote on the basis of race or color.

Status: Complaint filed July 16, 2020; Motions to dismiss granted September 7, 2020; Notice of appeal filed September 11, 2020


Miller v. HughsNo. 1:19-cv-1071 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Candidate Order on Ballot

An individual voter, the Texas Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, and others sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging a state law that requires that candidates of the same party as the last-elected governor be listed first on the ballot. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and effectuates disparate treatment of candidates based on party affiliation in violation of the right to equal protection.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted July 10, 2020; Motion for reconsideration denied August 19, 2020


In re Pichardo and the Republican Party of Texas, No. 14-20-697-CV (14th Ct. App., Houston)

Re: Curbside Voting (Covid-19)

An individual voter and the Republican Party of Texas sued the Harris County Clerk, challenging the clerk’s decision to offer curbside voting to all registered voters during early voting and on election day. The petition for a writ of mandamus alleges violations of the Texas Election Code, which permits curbside voting if (i) a voter is sick, (ii) a voter has a physical condition requiring personal assistance, or (iii) voting inside the polling location would create a likelihood of injuring the voter’s health.

Status: Petition for writ of mandamus filed October 12, 2020; Case dismissed for lack of standing October 14, 2020


Richardson v. Texas Secretary of State, No. 5:19-cv-963 (W.D. Tex.), No. 20-50774 (5th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Signature Matching, Notice/Opportunity to Cure

Individual voters, the Austin Justice Coalition, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and others sued the Texas secretary of state, the Brazos County elections administrator and the secretary of the City of McAllen, challenging the state’s signature matching laws and procedures, which fail to establish uniform standards or guidelines for determining whether the signature on a voter’s early voting ballot matches their signature on voter registration records, and which reject ballots with finality without providing voters with notice and an opportunity to cure. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the challenged laws and practices deprive voters of due process to protect their fundamental right to vote, unduly burden the fundamental right to vote, deny equal protection, and discriminate against persons with disabilities.     

Status: Motions to dismiss deniedMotions for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part, requiring that the secretary of state either issue an advisory to all local election officials that mail-in ballots may not be rejected based on perceived signature mismatch issues, or provide voters whose ballots have been rejected due to perceived signature mismatches with notice and an opportunity to challenge the rejection; Notice of appeal filed September 9, 2020; Motion for stay pending appeal denied by district court September 10, 2020; Temporary stay ordered by 5th Circuit September 11, 2020


Semien v. Hughs, No. 1:20-cv-789 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Three individual voters, the National Federation of the Blind of Texas and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging the state’s absentee voting program, which requires voters to complete a paper ballot using an ink marking device, and is thus inaccessible to voters who are blind or have other disabilities that prevent them from marking a paper ballot independently. The complaint alleges violations of Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in that the absentee voting program denies individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits of the program, fails to provide reasonable modifications to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, excludes individuals with disabilities from participation in the program, and discriminates on the basis of disability.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed July 29, 2020


In Re State of TexasNo. 20-0394 (S. Ct. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

The State of Texas sued five county clerks and election administrators in connection with a state law that strictly limits the availability of vote-by-mail to those who qualify for one of five enumerated excuses, including having a “disability.” The petition for writ of mandamus seeks to prohibit the respondents from promulgating the notion that a voters’ lack of immunity to and/or concern about contracting Covid-19 constitutes a “disability” in accordance with the statutory definition.

Status: The Court opined that “lack of immunity to COVID-19 is not itself ‘a physical condition’ that renders a voter eligible to vote by mail,” while nonetheless denying the writ of mandamus May 27, 2020


State of Texas v. Hollins, No. 2020-52383 (Dist. Ct. Harris. Cnty, Texas); No. 14-20-627-CV (14th Ct. App. Tex); No. 20-729 (Sup. Ct. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Distribution (Covid-19)

The State of Texas sued the Harris County Clerk, seeking to enjoin him from proactively sending mail ballot applications to every registered voter in the county. The petition alleges that the clerk’s proposed action “will create confusion, facilitate fraud, and is an illegal ultra vires act because it exceeds his statutory authority.”

Status: Petition filed August 31, 2020; Temporary injunction denied September 11, 2020; Notice of interlocutory appeal filed September 11, 2020; Order affirming trial court’s denial of temporary injunction issued by 14th Court of Appeals September 18, 2020; Opinion issued by the Texas Supreme Court on October 7, 2020, reversing the Court of Appeals’ judgment and remanding to the trial court for issuance of a temporary injunction


Straty v. Abbott, No. 1:20-cv-1015 (W.D. Tex.); No. 20-50867 (5th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Drop-Off Location Availability (Covid-19)

An individual voter, the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, and Bigtent Creative sued the Texas governor and secretary of state, challenging the governor’s order requiring prohibiting the use of more than a single ballot drop off location per county, irrespective of the county’s population, thus requiring counties to close hundreds of drop off locations that had already been established. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and of the Ku Klux Klan Act, in that the governor’s order unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote, deprives voters of equal protection, as some voters will have to travel long distances in order to cast their ballots, and constitutes a prohibited conspiracy that has the purpose of “depriving…any person or class of equal protection of the laws” or one that “prevent[s] by force, intimidation or threat” any lawful voter from supporting or advocating for any candidate in a presidential or congressional election.”

Status: Complaint filed October 2, 2020; Motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed October 5, 2020; Consolidated with Texas League of United Latin American Citizens v. Abbott, No. 1:20-cv-1006, below, October 6, 2020; Motions to dismiss filed October 7, 2020; Order dismissing claims against governor, denying secretary of state’s motion to dismiss, and granting preliminary injunction issued October 9, 2020, enjoining enforcement of the Governor’s prohibition on multiple ballot drop-off locations per county; Notice of appeal filed October 10, 2020; Emergency stay pending appeal issued by 5th Circuit October 12, 2020


Stringer v. Hughs5:20-cv-46 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Automatic Voter Registration

Individual voters, Move Texas Civil Fund, and the League of Women Voters of Texas sued the Texas secretary of state and the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, challenging the State’s failure to implement a provision of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) requiring that each time an eligible Texas resident obtains, renews, or updates their driver’s license, the license application must simultaneously serve as a voter registration application. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the NVRA, and the Texas election code, in that the State’s failure to implement the law arbitrarily and unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote and directly conflicts with the NVRA and Texas election code.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction granted in part January 30, 2020, and granted as to remaining issues August 28, 2020; Defendants “ordered to immediately take all remaining steps necessary to come into compliance with the NVRA and the U.S. Constitution and establish a [ ] system that treats each driver’s license renewal or change-of-address application as a simultaneous application for voter registration” no later than September 23, 2020


Texas Alliance for Retired Americans v. Hughs, No. 5:20-cv-128 (S.D. Tex.), No. 20-40643 (5th Circuit)

Re: Straight-Ticket Voting (Covid-19)

The Texas Alliance for Retired Americans, the Chair of the Webb County Democratic Party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sued the Texas secretary of state, challenging the state’s effort to end straight-ticket voting. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the elimination of straight-ticket voting would unduly and severely burden the fundamental right to vote, disproportionately burden African American and Hispanic voters, unduly burden the right to associate, deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, intentionally discriminate on the basis of race, and impose viewpoint discrimination based on partisan affiliation.

Status: Motion to dismiss granted in part & denied in part, and motion for preliminary injunction granted September 25, 2020, enjoining defendant from enforcing law that would eliminate straight ticket voting; Notice of appeal and motion to stay preliminary injunction filed September 26, 2020; Motion to stay preliminary injunction granted by 5th Circuit September 30, 2020


Texas Democratic Party v. Abbott, No. 5:20-cv-438-FB (W.D. Tex.); 2020-50407 (5th Cir.); No. 19A1055 (S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

The Texas Democratic Party, its chair, and individual voters sued the Texas governor, secretary of state, and others, challenging a state law that strictly limits eligibility to vote by mail to those who qualify for one or more statutorily enumerated categories of exemptions, including voters aged 65 or older and voters who have “a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on Election Day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter's health.” The complaint alleges violations of § 2 of the Voting Rights Act and of the 14th, 15th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the law denies equal protection, abridges the right to register and vote on account of age, race, language, and ethnic origin, and unduly burdens the right to vote.

Status: Preliminary injunction granted, then stayed on appeal. Application to vacate stay denied by SCOTUS June 26, 2020; Preliminary injunction vacated and the case remanded September 10, 2020


Texas Democratic Party v. DeBeauvoir/Hughs, No. D-1-GN-20-001610 (Travis Cnty. Dist. Ct.), No. 14-20-00358-CV (14th Ct. App.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Excuse Requirement (Covid-19)

The Texas Democratic Party, its chair, and individual voters sued the Texas secretary of state in connection with a state law that permits a person to vote by mail “if the voter has a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on Election Day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter's health.” The original and intervening complaints seek a declaratory judgment, temporary injunction, and permanent injunction that the aforementioned provision of the Texas election code permits any eligible voter, irrespective of age or physical condition, to vote by mail if they believe they should practice social distancing in order to slow the spread of a virus or disease.

Status: Temporary restraining orders granted and upheld and enforced by the 14th Court of Appeals; Voluntarily dismissed June 9, 2020


Texas League of United Latin American Citizens v. Abbott, No. 1:20-cv-1006 (W.D. Tex.); No. 20-50867 (5th Cir.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Drop-Off Location Availability (Covid-19)

The Texas and National Leagues of United Latin American Citizens, the League of Women Voters of Texas and two individual voters sued the Texas governor and secretary of state and others, challenging the governor’s order requiring prohibiting the use of more than a single ballot drop off location per county, irrespective of the county’s population, thus requiring counties to close hundreds of drop off locations that had already been established. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the governor’s order unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote, causes arbitrary disenfranchisement, thus depriving voters of equal protection, and denies the right to vote on account of race and language minority status.

Status: Complaint filed October 1, 2020; Motion for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction filed October 2, 2020; Emergency motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed October 5, 2020; Consolidated with Straty v. Abbott, 1:20-cv-1015, above, October 6, 2020; Motions to dismiss filed October 7, 2020; Order dismissing claims against governor, denying secretary of state’s motion to dismiss, and granting preliminary injunction issued October 9, 2020, enjoining enforcement of the Governor’s prohibition on multiple ballot drop-off locations per county; Notice of appeal filed October 10, 2020; Emergency stay pending appeal issued by 5th Circuit October 12, 2020


Texas Organizing Project v. Callanen, No. 2020CI19387 (Tex. Dist. Ct., Bexar Cnty.); No. 5:20-cv-1189 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: In-Person Polling Place Availability; Voter Registration Assistance (Covid-19)

The Texas Organizing Project, Move Texas Civil Fund, and an individual voter sued the Bexar County elections administrator, a Bexar county judge, and others, challenging the county’s decision to close election day polling places and operate fewer locations than it did in 2012, 2014, 2016, or 2018, as well as restricting the appointment process for volunteer deputy registrars (“VDRs”) and failing to post the required notice of polling places online. The petition and application for a temporary injunction alleges violations of the Texas Election Code, and seeks orders requiring defendants to appoint any eligible VDR applicant who requests appointment pursuant to the election code, post a complete list of election day polling places on the county election department’s website, and operate a minimum of 311 election day polling places.

Status: Complaint and notice of removal to federal court filed October 6, 2020


Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches v. Abbott, No. 1:20-cv-1024 (W.D. Tex.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Drop Off Location Availability (Covid-19)

The Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches sued the Texas governor and secretary of state, challenging the governor’s order requiring prohibiting the use of more than a single ballot drop off location per county, irrespective of the county’s population, thus requiring counties to close hundreds of drop off locations that had already been established. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the governor’s order substantially burdens the fundamental right to vote, deprives Texas voters of equal protection by arbitrarily valuing one person’s vote over another’s based on a county’s population size and density, and will disproportionately impact NAACP members and other Black voters living in densely-populated counties.

Status: Complaint filed October 6, 2020; Motion for temporary restraining order filed October 7, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont

Martel v. Condos, No. 5:20-cv-131 (D. Vt.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution, Counting Procedures, Voter Assistance Restrictions; In-Person Polling Place Changes (Covid-19)

Five individual voters sued the Vermont secretary of state, challenging the secretary’s July 20, 2020 “First Statewide Elections Directive,” which permits the processing of mail ballots in the presence of election officials of only one party, permits polling places to be changed up to 15 days before the election, requires that mail ballots be sent from a centralized location to all active registered voters, “implicitly legaliz[es] ballot harvesting,” and purports to override any provisions of law to the contrary.  The complaint alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Vermont Constitution, and federal and state law, in that the defendant’s actions “creat[e] arbitrary differences in the ease with which Vermont voters can vote in the November general election,” creates “myriad opportunities for [ ] votes to be diluted by illegally submitted ballots,” constitutes ultra vires use of legislative power, was promulgated outside the conditions imposed by state law, and usurps legislative authority to set the time, place and manner of elections.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction denied and motion to dismiss granted September 16, 2020

 

 

Virginia

Gary v. Virginia Department of ElectionsNo. 1:20-cv-860 (E.D. Va.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Disability Access (Covid-19)

Individual voters, the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia, and the American Council of the Blind of Virginia sued the Virginia Department of Elections, its commissioner, and others, challenging the state’s absentee voting program, which fails to provide accessible vote-by-mail options in order to enable voters who are blind, have low vision, or whose manual dexterity is impaired, to independently vote absentee. The complaint alleges violations of Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Article 2, Section 3 of the Virginia Constitution, and Section 51.5-43 of the Virginia Code, in that the absentee voting program denies voters with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits of the program, fails to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services in order to protect the privacy and independence of such voters, discriminates against such voters, denies voters’ constitutional right to a secret ballot, and denies the opportunity to vote because of a disability.

Status: Motion for preliminary injunction filed August 10, 2020; Joint motion for entry of partial consent judgment granted August 28, 2020, providing, among other things, that defendants “will make available to all localities a tool that will allow print disabled voters to electronically and accessibly receive and mark absentee ballots using screen reader assistive technology”


League of Women Voters of Virginia v. Virginia State Board of ElectionsNo. 6:20-cv-24 (W.D. Va.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement (Covid-19)

The LWV of Virginia and individual voters sued the Virginia State Board of Elections, challenging a state law that requires that an absentee voter open and complete their ballot in the presence of a witness, who must also sign the return envelope. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the witness requirement infringes on the fundamental right to vote and denies or abridges the right to vote on account of race or color.

Status: Settled for June elections; Consent decree approved August 21, 2020, providing that witness requirement will not be enforced for any election occurring on November 3, 2020; Motion for an order to show cause why defendants should not be held in contempt filed by intervenor Republican Party of Virginia September 25, 2020


New Virginia Majority Education Fund v. Virginia Department of Elections, No. 3:20-cv-801 (E.D. Va.)

Re: Voter Registration (Covid-19)

The New Virginia Majority Education Fund, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, and the League of Women Voters of Virginia sued the Virginia Department of Elections, the  State Board of Elections, and others, challenging defendants’ failure to extend the voter registration deadline after the online voter registration system crashed on the final day of voter registration. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the defendants’ inaction unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote.

Status: Complaint for temporary restraining order and emergency injunctive relief filed October 13, 2020; Consent motion for a temporary restraining order granted October 14, 2020, extending voter registration deadline to October 15 and dismissing the matter with prejudice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington

State of Washington v. TrumpNo. 1:20-cv-3127 (E.D. Wa.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail Postal Service Delivery (Covid-19)

Fourteen states sued the United States President, the Postmaster General, and the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), challenging recently instituted changes, which have created widespread mail delays and which impact how election mail is classified and charged. The complaint alleges violations of federal statutory law and of the U.S. Constitution, in that the USPS has violated its duty to seek an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission prior to implementing the contested changes, which violate the States’ rights to prescribe “the Time, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” interfere with the manner in which States appoint presidential electors, deprive States of their constitutional rights to regulate state elections, burden the fundamental right to vote, interfere with voters’ ability to timely receive and return voter registration forms and ballots and have their votes counted, arbitrarily impose disparate treatment on similarly situated voters, and discriminate against individuals with disabilities.

Status: Motion to expedite granted August 24, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction granted September 17, 2020, enjoining defendants from, among other things, “continued implementation or enforcement of policy changes announced in July 2020 that have slowed mail delivery…deviating from the USPS’s long-standing policy of treating election mail in accordance with First Class Mail standards, regardless of paid class”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin

Andrew Goodman Foundation v. BostelmannNo. 3:19-cv-955 (W.D. Wis.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail and In-Person Voting Photo ID Requirements

The Andrew Goodman Foundation and an individual voter sued Wisconsin elections commissioners, challenging a state law which requires that voters present photo IDs in order to vote, while restricting the use of student IDs for that purpose. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and 52 U.S.C. § 10101, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and denies the right to vote because of immaterial errors or omissions.

Status: Dismissed on consent August 24, 2020


Common Cause v. Thompsen, No. 3:19-cv-323 (W.D. Wis.)

Re: Photo ID Requirements (Vote-by-Mail & In-Person)

Common Cause, Common Cause Wisconsin, and an individual voter sued Wisconsin elections commissioners, challenging a state law which requires that voters present photo IDs in order to vote, while restricting the use of student IDs for that purpose. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and 52 U.S.C. § 10101, in that the law unduly burdens the right to vote and denies the right to vote because of immaterial errors or omissions.

Status: Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings denied August 20, 2020; Amended complaint filed August 21, 2020; Cross motions for summary judgment filed September 18, 2020; Order suspending the motions until after the November 3 election & canceling oral argument issued September 23, 2020


Debraska v. Oneida Business Committee, No. 1:20-cv-1321 (E.D. Wis.)

Re: Cancellation of Primary Election (Covid-19)

Ten individual voters who are members of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin sued the Oneida Business Committee, the Oneida Election Board, and the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, challenging the cancellation of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin 2020 Primary Election, which had been scheduled to occur May 23, 2020. The complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that defendants actions unduly burden and deny the right to vote, and deprive plaintiffs of equal protection and procedural due process.

Status: Emergency ex-parte motion for temporary restraining order denied August 27, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed September 24, 2020


Democratic National Committee v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-249 (W.D. Wis.), No. 20-1538, 20-1539, 20-1545, 20-1546, 20-2835 (7th Cir.); Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee, No. 19A1016 (S. Ct.)
Consolidated with Lewis v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-284; Gear v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-278

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Request & Receipt Deadlines, Photo ID & Witness Requirements; Voter Registration Deadline (Covid-19)

The Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and Democratic Party of Wisconsin sued Wisconsin elections commissioners, challenging various state laws restricting voter registration and absentee voting. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions unduly burden the right to vote, deny procedural due process, and violate the right of equal protection. The district court granted in part the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order, extending the deadline for online voter registration from March 18 to March 30, 2020, and granted a motion for a preliminary injunction as to the absentee ballot deadline and witness requirements. The Seventh Circuit stayed this order as to the witness requirement only. SCOTUS then modified the district court’s order only as to the deadline for submission of ballots. The Seventh Circuit dismissed the pending appeals as moot.

Status: Opinion and order issued September 21, 2020, denying Wisconsin legislature’s motion to dismiss the Gear complaint, granting in part and denying in part motion to dismiss Edwards complaint, denying WEC Commissioners and Administrator’s motion to dismiss the Edwards complaint, denying Wisconsin Legislature’s motion to dismiss the Swenson complaint, granting in part and denying in part DNC and Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s motion for preliminary injunction, granting in part and denying in part Gear plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, granting in part and denying in part Edwards plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, and granting in part and denying in part Swenson plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction. Preliminary injunction issued September 21, 2020 (1) extending the deadline for online and mail-in registration to October 21, 2020; (2) enjoining the Wisconsin elections commissioners to explain that “the indefinitely confined option exception ‘does not require permanent or total inability to travel outside of the residence,’” (3) extending the absentee ballot receipt deadline to November 9, 2020 for all ballots mailed and postmarked by election day; (4) allowing online access to replacement absentee ballots or emailing replacement ballots, for the period from October 22 to 29, 2020, provided that the voter timely requested but did not receive the absentee ballot; (5) permitting individuals to serve as election officials outside their municipality of residence during the November 3, 2020 election; (6) staying the preliminary injunction for seven days to provide an opportunity for appeal; Notice of appeal filed September 23, 2020; Preliminary injunction upheld and stay vacated by the 7th Circuit September 29, 2020; Additionally, the appellate court directed appellants to show cause within one week why the appeals should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; Order issued October 2, 2020, requesting the Supreme Court of Wisconsin to decide whether, under state law, the Wisconsin legislature has the authority to represent the state’s interest in the validity of challenged state laws and denying legislature’s motion for an administrative stay of the district court’s decision; Opinion answering certified question in the affirmative issued by Wisconsin Supreme Court October 6, 2020; Order granting motion for reconsideration and staying preliminary injunction issued by 7th Circuit October 8, 2020; Emergency applications to vacate stay filed by Gear and Swenson plaintiffs October 13, 2020


Edwards v. Vos, No. 3:20-cv-340 (W.D. Wis.)

Consolidated with DNC v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-249, Gear v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-278, Lewis v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-284, Swenson v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-459

Re: Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution; In-Person Polling Place Safety and Disability Access; Damages from Failure to Postpone Primary (Covid-19)

Re: Vote-by-Mail and In-Person Voting Safety and Accessibility (Covid-19)

Individual Wisconsin residents, on behalf of a class, sued the speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, the majority leader of the Wisconsin State Senate, and others, challenging state legislators’ actions and inaction in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its implications for past and future elections. The amended complaint seeks damages and prospective injunctive and declaratory relief, alleging violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the legislators’ refusal to postpone the April 7 primary election and failure to take precautions to allow voting to occur and to protect voters’ physical safety deprives voters and would-be voters — especially persons with disabilities and racial minorities — the fundamental right to vote, the right to equal protection, and the right to due process.

Status: Motions to dismiss pending; RNC and Republican Party of Wisconsin permitted to intervene June 23, 2020; Motion for preliminary injunction filed July 8, 2020; Hearing on motion for preliminary injunction held August 7, 2020


Gear v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-278 (W.D. Wis.)

Consolidated with DNC v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-294, Edwards v. Vos, No. 3:20-cv-340, Lewis v. KnudsonNo. 3:20-cv-249 (W.D. Wis.), Swenson v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-459

Re: Vote-by-Mail Witness Requirement (Covid-19)

Individual Wisconsin residents, the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sued members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, challenging a state law that requires that absentee ballots be signed and witnessed by another adult U.S. citizen, and further challenging the State’s failure to prepare and deliver mail-in ballots and to provide safe and reliable alternative means of voting for those who do not receive their absentee ballots in the mail. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the law and practices deny and/or unduly burden the right to vote, place an unconstitutional condition on the right to vote by compelling forfeiture of the right to bodily integrity, and fail to provide reasonable modifications necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability.

Status: See Democratic National Committee v. Bostelmann, above; Emergency application to vacate stay filed in U.S. Supreme Court October 13, 2020


Jefferson v. Dane County, No. 2020AP557-OA (Wis. S. Ct.)

Re: Vote-by-Mail, Photo ID Requirements (Covid-19)

The Republican Party of Wisconsin and its executive director sued Dane County, Wisconsin, and its county clerk, challenging respondents’ statements and directives made in connection with the State’s “Safer at Home” executive order, advising voters that they may obtain absentee ballots without providing photo identification by indicating that they are “indefinitely confined,” among other reasons, due to Covid-19. The initial brief alleges violations of state election laws, in that the respondents lack authority to issue the aforementioned statements, and that the “Safer at Home” Executive Order does and cannot authorize all voters to vote absentee without providing photo ID unless the statutory definition of “indefinite confinement” is met.

Status: Temporary injunction granted by Wisconsin Supreme Court March 31, 2020; Motion to intervene by Disability Rights Wisconsin granted August 20, 2020


Judge v. Board of Canvassers for the City of Madison, No. 2020CV002029 (Cir. Ct., Dane Cnty, Wis.)

Re: Absentee Ballots

Five individual voters sued the Board of Canvassers for the City of Madison, seeking judicial confirmation absentee ballots returned at the city’s “Democracy in the Park” events “are not per se invalid simply because they were returned” at one of the events. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, in that Wisconsin law allows entry of an order declaring the legal rights of plaintiffs even before a harm has taken place, and that the Wisconsin Elections Commission issued guidance interpreting state law to permit the use of ballot drop boxes to effectuate personal delivery of absentee ballots, only to send a letter to the event organizers threatening to sue to invalidate any ballots deposited at the event.

Status: Complaint filed September 30, 2020


Lewis v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-284 (W.D. Wis.)

Consolidated with DNC v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-294, Edwards v. Vos, No. 3:20-cv-340, Gear v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-278, Swenson v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-459

Re: Vote-by-Mail ID Requirement, Ballot Receipt Deadline; Postpone Primary; Extend Registration & Ballot Counting Deadlines (Covid-19)

An individual voter, Souls to the Polls, Voces de la Frontera and others sued the members of the Wisconsin Election Commission and its administrator, challenging state laws that require voters to submit a copy of photo ID with registration and absentee ballot applications, reject any absentee ballots not received by 8:00 p.m. on election day, and further challenging defendants’ failure to postpone the April 7, 2020, primary election and to extend the deadline by which municipal clerks must have counted all returned mail ballots for that election. The complaint alleges violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 1st and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, in that the challenged provisions would, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, deprive plaintiffs of equal protection and due process, disproportionately burden African-American and Latino voters.

Status: See D.N.C. v. Bostelmann, above; Voluntarily dismissed June 17, 2020


Luft v. Evers, No. 2:11-cv-1128 (E.D. Wis.); Frank v. Walker, Nos. 14-2058, 16-3003, 16-3052 (7th Cir.)

Consolidated with One Wisconsin Institute, No. 3:15-cv-324 (E.D. Wis.) August 20, 2020; Wisconsin Legislature’s motion to intervene denied August 20, 2020

Re: Photo ID Requirement (In-Person and Vote-by-Mail)

Individual voters, on behalf of several classes, sued the Wisconsin governor, the Chair of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and others, challenging a state law that requires voters to present one of a limited number of forms of photo identification in order to vote in person or absentee. The complaint alleges violations of the 14th and 24th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, in that the challenged law severely and unduly burden the right to vote, denying equal protection and due process to would-be voters who cannot meet the photo ID requirement, imposes an unconstitutional poll tax, lacks a rational basis, subject certain would-be voters to arbitrary and disparate treatment, and disparately impact minority voters, denies the right to vote and on account of race or color, and dilutes African Americans’ and Latinos’ votes on account of race or color.  

Status: Permanent injunction granted, then reversed on appeal; District court’s order in plaintiffs’ favor on remand stayed by 7th Circuit August 10, 2016;  Opinion affirming in part, reversing in part, vacating in part and remanding for further proceedings issued by 7th Circuit June 29, 2020; Consolidated with One Wisconsin Institute, Inc., v. Thompsen, No. 3:15-cv-324 August 20, 2020


One Wisconsin Institute, Inc. v. Nichol, No. 3:15-cv-324 (W.D. Wis.); One Wisconsin Institute, Inc. v. ThomsenNo. 16-3091 (7th Cir.)

Re: Voter ID Requirement; Voter Registration Restrictions; Early Voting; Poll-Monitoring; Straight-Ticket Voting; Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution

One Wisconsin Institute, Inc., Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, and individual voters sued members of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the administrator of the Department of Motor Vehicles, challenging state laws which, among other things, require that voters present one of a limited number of forms of photo ID in order to have their ballots counted, limit early voting locations, reduce the duration of early voting, tighten voter registration restrictions, facilitate allegedly invasive poll monitoring, eliminate straight-ticket voting, restrict opportunities to acquire absentee ballots, and prohibit municipal clerks from affording voters the opportunity to correct ballot mistakes. The second amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st, 14th, 15th, and 26th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and § 2 of the Voting Rights Act (“VRA”), in that the challenged provisions deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color and age, unduly burden the right to vote, disparately treat voters without a rational basis, and disproportionately burden voters who are likely to vote for Democratic candidates. The district court issued a permanent injunctiongranting 4 out of the 5 counts of the complaint, on August 1, 2016, then stayed one aspect of its injunction concerning the voter ID requirement pending appeal. Cross-appeals were filed. The Seventh Circuit (1) reversed the district court’s findings that reductions to the days and hours permitted for early voting, the durational residence requirement, and the prohibition on sending absentee ballots by fax or mail are unconstitutional and/or violate the VRA; (2) vacated and dismissed as moot the orders related to the “one location rule”; (3) vacated the order concerning the ID petition process and remanded for further proceedings; (4) affirmed the judgments invalidating the student ID and regarding “citizenship on educational institution’s dorm lists; and (5) reversed the injunction requiring the State to implement an affidavit option.

Status: Remanded for further proceedings before a single judge June 29, 2020; Motion to intervene filed by Wisconsin Legislature denied August 20, 2020. Consolidated with Luft v. Evers, No. 2:11-cv-1128 (E.D. Wis.) August 20, 2020; Renewed motion to intervene by the Wisconsin Legislature denied September 21, 2020; Defendants’ motion for summary judgment denied and One Wisconsin and Luft plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary injunction granted September 28, 2020, directing defendants to make “modest changes to their policy on distributing new and replacement temporary IDs and to provide targeted outreach to potential voters who are most likely to need” the IDs in order to vote, while “defer[ing] decisions on more fundamental reforms…until after the general election is certified.”


Swenson v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-459 (W.D. Wis.) Consolidated with DNC v. Bostelmann, No. 3:20-cv-249, Edwards v. Vos, No. 3:20-cv-340; Gear v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-278, Lewis v. Knudson, No. 3:20-cv-284

Re: Online Registration; Vote-by-Mail Ballot Distribution & Witness Requirement; In-Person Polling Place Safety (Covid-19)

Individual Wisconsin voters, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, and Disability Rights Wisconsin sued members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and WEC’s administrator, challenging state laws and WEC practices. The amended complaint alleges violations of the 1st and 14th Amendments, § 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that the WEC’s (1) failure to manage online registration and absentee ballot problems, (2) failure to ensure distribution of requested absentee ballots, (3) failure to make adequate provisions for voters to return absentee ballots, (4) enforcement of the witness requirement, and (5) failure to safeguard the availability and safety of in-person voting in the April 7 primary election disenfranchised voters, particularly burdened disabled voters and those residing in certain jurisdictions, and that the disenfranchisement would likely recur in the absence of judicial intervention.

Status: See Democratic National Committee v. Bostelmann, above; Emergency application to vacate stay filed in U.S. Supreme Court October 13, 2020


Wisconsin Voters Alliance v. City of Racine, No. 20-cv (E.D. Wis.)

Re: Election Funding (Covid-19)

The Wisconsin Voters Alliance and seven individual voters sued the cities of Racine, Kenosha, Green Bay and Madison, challenging the defendants’ acceptance of $6.3 million in grants from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) to help the city administer the November election. The complaint alleges violations of the Elections and Supremacy Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, of the Help America Vote Act (“HAVA”), the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”), and state statute, in that defendants acted “without legal authority, to form a public-private partnership for federal election administration with CTCL,” and that their actions are preempted by HAVA and the NVRA and run afoul of the statutory prohibition on election bribery.

Status: Complaint and motion for temporary restraining order filed September 25, 2020; Motion to dismiss filed October 9, 2020


Zignego v. Wisconsin Election Commission, No. 2019CV449 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Ozaukee Cnty.); Nos. 2019AP2397 and 2020AP000112 (Wis. S. Ct.)

Re: Voter List Purges

Individual Wisconsin voters sued members of the Wisconsin Election Commission (“WEC”) challenging WEC’s decision to employ a relaxed enforcement timeline of a state law that prescribes procedures for purging the State’s voter rolls. To wit, WEC sends written notices to voters who are suspected of having moved from the address listed on their voter registration. If a voter does not respond and affirm their address within 30 days of the date the notice is mailed, the law prescribes that WEC change the voter’s registration status to “ineligible.” The plaintiffs take issue with the commissioners’ decision to wait 12­–24 months from the notice’s mailing date before deeming a voter “ineligible.” The complaint alleges violations of Wisconsin Statute §§ 6.50(3), 227.10(2), and 5.06, in that WEC was prohibited — as a state “agency” — from “promulgat[ing] a rule which conflicts with state law.” The lower court granted a writ of mandamus, and later found WEC and three of its commissioners to be in contempt for failing to comply with the writ. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded both the writ and the contempt order on February 28, 2020.

Status: Review granted by Wisconsin Supreme Court; Arguments expected to be heard in late September