Right-Wing Groups Appeal Maryland Election Administration Decision to 4th Circuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A radical challenge to Maryland’s election administration will now go before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after right-wing groups appealed the dismissal of their case. 

On May 8, just in time for the state’s May 14 primary election, a federal judge dismissed a longshot case seeking to upend election administration in Maryland. Filed on behalf of Maryland Election Integrity and United Sovereign Americans — a right-wing group that identifies itself as trying to “get answers to clear questions about election fraud” — the case challenges the state’s voter roll maintenance policies and use of voting machines. 

The lawsuit goes as far as requesting that the court prevent the Maryland Board of Elections from certifying any election until the groups’ claims of irregularities and other perceived violations were remedied. The district court declined that request, so now the right-wing plaintiffs are asking the 4th Circuit to consider their case. 

In the dismissal of the far-flung challenge, the district court judge found that the plaintiffs lacked the ability to bring their lawsuit and failed to show that the groups would be harmed by the state’s election procedures. “Here, the mere hypothetical possibility of a past, speculative injury,” the judge wrote of the groups’ claims, “does not give rise to a certainly impending injury.” 

The decision dismissing the case marked the first failure for the United Sovereign Americans, an emerging right-wing group that has vowed to pursue an aggressive litigation strategy ahead of the 2024 elections. 

In a profile of United Sovereign Americans, Sarah D. Wire and Mackenzie Mays of the Los Angeles Times described the group as “part of a cottage industry of far-right election deniers that has sown disinformation since Trump lost his reelection bid.” The group is “prepared” to file similar lawsuits in nine states and “preparing evidence” in 13 others, according to its website.

As the right continues to ramp up its attacks on election administration, Democracy Docket is currently tracking 18 active anti-voting cases that challenge state’s voter roll maintenance policies or the use of electronic voting machines. Just this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a fringe case out of Oregon seeking to upend the state’s mail-in voting system and end the use of voting machines in the state. 

Read the notice of appeal here. 

Learn more about the case here.