Georgia COVID-19 Election Relief
New Georgia Project v. Raffensperger
We challenged Georgia’s failure to provide prepaid postage, Election Day Receipt Deadline, voter assistance ban, and lack of standards for notifying voters with incomplete absentee ballot applications. On behalf of the New Georgia Project and individual voters, we argue that these restrictions pose an undue burden on the right to vote generally and particularly in the upcoming election as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
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.
Georgia Congressional Redistricting
Dwight v. Raffensperger, No. 1:18-cv-02869 (N.D. Ga. 2018)
Challenge to Georgia’s 2011 congressional map under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act on behalf of African American voters. The challenged congressional map cracks and displaces cohesive African American communities from the 12th congressional district (CD 12) in central-southeast Georgia—where African Americans had previously elected their preferred candidates—and submerges them in surrounding majority-white districts where they can no longer elect their candidates of choice. Plaintiffs have argued that the current plan significantly reduces the African American voting age population in CD 12, and, in conjunction with the high levels of racially polarized voting and historical legacy of discrimination in Georgia, denies African American voters in central-southeast Georgia an equal opportunity to elect their candidates of choice to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Georgia Absentee Ballot Affidavit Rejection
Georgia Dem Party v. Raffensperger
Sued and obtained settlement against Georgia’s failure to ensure that voters receive prompt notification of their rejected absentee ballots in time to cure a missing or mismatched signature, and to Gwinnett County’s deficient absentee ballot envelope design. Georgia law requires that election officials reject absentee ballots for missing or mismatched signatures on absentee ballot envelopes, but until this settlement failed to provide any uniform standards for notifying voters of the alleged signature defects. Thus, the absentee voting laws allowed election officials across the state to use differing procedures, some of which ultimately fail to provide voters sufficient notice and opportunity to cure their ballots. In addition, Gwinnett County’s absentee ballot envelope design, which included text that is barely legible and difficult to understand, invited errors and imposes an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. We obtained a favorable settlement of both claims.
Georgia Absentee Ballot-Immaterial Omission
Martin v. Crittenden
Successfully represented a congressional campaign and a voter as intervenors in a challenge to Gwinett County’s rejection of absentee ballots for missing immaterial information. The Attorney General issued several guidance letters informing election officials that dates of birth and addresses were not necessary for determining whether an individual is eligible to vote and that rejection of their ballots for omitting such information was likely unlawful under both federal and state law. On November 11, 2018, soon after the 2018 mid-term elections, we challenged Gwinett County’s policy of rejecting absentee ballots cast for missing dates of birth, addresses, and signatures in violation of the Civil Rights Act, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments, particularly given that a neighboring county did not reject such ballots outright. The court granted our request to stop the rejection of the ballots for missing or incorrect birth years, finding that it violated the Civil Rights Act, but denied the request as to other categories of missing information.