Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

When we expand access to the ballot, it’s good for our democracy. The DSCC is proud to work with our partners to take on voter suppression and increase access to the ballot for young people, communities of color, and rural voters. Through our efforts to challenge laws that restrict access to the ballot, we’ve already expanded voting rights in several states. We will continue the fight to tearing down any barriers to voting across the country, protect every American’s right to vote, and safeguard the integrity of our democracy.

DSCC Chairwoman Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Read more about the DSCC’s eight-figure investment in legal strategy here.

Arizona Signature Mismatch 

Arizona Democratic Party v. Hobbs

On behalf of the DNC, DSCC, and Arizona Democratic Party, we challenged Arizona’s failure to provide an opportunity to cure an otherwise valid mail ballot that doesn’t have a signature. The current version of Arizona’s Elections Procedures Manual treats mail in ballots differently: if a signature does not match, the voter has a cure period extending five days after the election, but if there is no signature the ballot will not be counted. We asked the state to give all vote by mail voters the same opportunity to cure a missing or mismatched signature.

Learn more about the case here.

Arizona Ballot Order

Mecinas v. Hobbs

Constitutional challenge to Arizona’s ballot order statute, which requires that candidates affiliated with the same political party as the gubernatorial candidate who won the most votes in a particular county are listed first on that county’s ballots. In practice, the statute has consistently favored Republicans, and in 2020 a full 82% of Arizonans will vote on ballots that list Republican candidates first for every partisan race. Expert analysis shows that first-listed candidates in Arizona received, on average, between a 2.2 and 4.4 percentage point average gain due to their ballot position. We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Florida Ballot Order

Jacobson v. Lee

Constitutional challenge to Florida’s ballot order statute, which requires that candidates of the political party of the Governor be listed first on the ballot in all elections. Expert analysis shows that the first listed candidate on the ballot receives a certain percentage of additional votes solely due to position, and in Florida, Republican Party candidates receive a 5.35 percentage point average advantage in elections in the State. We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Georgia Ballot Order

S.P.S. ex rel Short v. Raffensperger

Constitutional challenge to Georgia’s ballot order statute, which requires that candidates of the political party of the Governor be listed first on the ballot in all elections. Expert analysis shows that the first listed candidate on the ballot receives a certain percentage of additional votes solely due to their ballot position. We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Kansas Election Reform Bill

Kansas Democratic Party v. Schwab

In 2019, Kansas passed an election reform bill that, among other things, permits out of precinct voting and creates a cure process for signature mismatch. However, this good law for voting rights was stalled when the Republican Secretary of State announced that the law will not be implemented in time for 2020.

Read the press release here.

Learn more about the case here.

Maine Ballot Order

DSCC v. Dunlap

We are planning to sue Maine, in state court, challenging their alphabetical who regime. Maine’s ballot name order scheme requires every ballot in the state to be “arranged alphabetically with the last name first, under the proper office designation.” We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Minnesota Ballot Order

Pavek v. Simon

Federal court challenge to Minnesota’s ballot order rules, which mandate that major partisan candidates are listed in reverse order of their average vote in the last election. Expert analysis shows that the first listed candidate on the ballot receives a certain percentage of additional votes solely due to their ballot position. We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Minnesota Voter Assistance/Ballot Collection

DSCC v. Simon

Challenging a Minnesota law that makes it a crime to help too many people vote. Regardless of the language barriers or disabilities faced by a voter being assisted, Minnesota limits the number of voters an individual may help (1) complete their in-person or absentee ballot and (2) submit their absentee ballots.  Specifically, a person may help no more than three voters mark their ballots. Similarly, a person may help no more than three voters return their absentee ballots. These laws especially impact Minnesota’s sizable language minority communities, including Hmong and Somali Americans, as well as Minnesotans with disabilities. The penalty for helping too many Minnesotans vote is steep: anyone who helps a single additional person could face felony charges. By criminalizing efforts to assist voters in completing and submitting ballots, the Voter Assistance Bans inhibit constitutionally protected political activity and hinder the ability of Minnesotans to participate in the political process.

Read the press release here.

Learn more about the case here.

North Carolina Early Vote Location

North Carolina Democratic Party v. North Carolina

State constitutional challenge to SB 325 (“Uniform & Expanded Early Voting Act), which eliminated the only mandatory weekend day of Early Voting (the last Saturday before Election Day), and imposed uniformity requirements among early voting locations in each county that ultimately led to a reduction in early voting hours and locations in many of North Carolina’s counties during the 2018 general election.

Learn more about the case here.

Texas Straight Ticket Voting

Bruni v. Hughs

Challenging the State’s elimination of straight ticket voting that will go into effect in 2020 for the first time. Straight ticket voting is widely used by voters in Texas—a state that often employs long ballots—as in the 2018 election, two-thirds of voters cast a straight ticket vote. The elimination of straight ticket voting will likely lead to longer lines and wait times for all voters, which would likely deter voting. In addition, the elimination of straight ticket voting would likely lead to voter confusion and increased difficulty in casting a ballot.

Read the press release here.

Learn more about the case here.

Texas Wet Signature

Texas Democratic Party v. Hughs

Challenging the State of Texas over its announced prohibition against accepting electronically signed voter registration applications. In 2018, a mere five days before the voter registration deadline, the Texas Secretary of State instructed county registrars to reject over 2,400 voter registration applications that were collected and submitted by a third-party organization in connection with its efforts to expand voter participation and increase turnout in Texas.  The Secretary claimed that the applications were incomplete because they lacked an original, wet signature.  As a result, thousands of Texas voters were left scrambling to register to vote before the midterm elections, and many were unable to do so. The wet signature rule imposes an arbitrary requirement that limits access to the franchise and forces organizations like Plaintiffs to expend additional resources in order to assist potential registrants in complying with antiquated, bureaucratic rules that serve no legitimate State interest.

Read the press release here.

Learn more about the case here.

Texas Ballot Order

Miller. v. Hughs

Constitutional challenge to Texas’s ballot order statute, which requires that candidates of the political party of the Governor be listed first on the ballot in all elections. Expert analysis shows that the first listed candidate on the ballot receives a certain percentage of additional votes solely due to their ballot position. We contend that the statute unduly burdens the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and treats similarly situated candidates differently without sufficient justification, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Texas Mobile Polling Locations

Gilby v. Hughs

Constitutional challenge to a recent change in Texas law that limits the discretion of county election administrators in providing temporary early voting locations. These locations, which opened for limited hours and days during the two-week early voting period, were used to provide early voting opportunities for groups with limited access to transportation, including students. We contend that this law imposes an unconstitutional burden on the voting rights of students in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and also violates the Equal Protection Clause and Twenty-Sixth Amendment.

Learn more about the case here.

Texas DMV Voter Registration

Stringer v. Hughes

Intervening in the district court case started by the Texas Civil Rights Project to pursue Equal Protection claims against the state. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires that a state allow for simultaneous application for voter registration along with motor vehicle transactions, including license renewals and change of address. For online transactions, Texas currently has a box people check that states “yes, I would like to register to vote,” but that does not actually register you. It instead merely provides you a hyperlink to the Secretary of State’s website, where you have to fill out an entirely new registration form. Plaintiffs brought an Equal Protection claim because in-person and mail change of address and renewal forms in Texas currently serve as simultaneous voter registration applications, unlike online transactions. The district court found that the state has provided no interest at all to justify this law and struck it down as unconstitutional, but the victory was reversed after the plaintiffs updated their registration. Our intervention will use the entire evidentiary record already before the district court to reinstate this victory.

Learn more about the case here.