US Supreme Court Rejects Right-Wing Attempt To Upend Oregon’s Mail-In Voting System

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied voters’ request to hear a case seeking to overturn Oregon’s mail-in voting system, officially putting an end to the lawsuit. 

Despite Oregon voters’ reliance on mail-in voting, voters, led by Republican Marc Thielman,  filed a lawsuit arguing that Oregonians “suffer from a crisis of confidence in their election system” and that election officials have violated the 14th Amendment by using electronic vote tabulation equipment. As evidence of these outlandish claims, the plaintiffs cited the debunked, right-wing propaganda movie “2000 Mules,” which they claim “shows, for everyone to see, illegal ballot trafficking” during the 2020 election.

The plaintiffs also argued that “[e]very phantom vote cast disenfranchises a legitimate vote” and requested that the court overturn the state’s mail-in voting system. Last summer, the district court dismissed the lawsuit, but the plaintiffs appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also subsequently dismissed the case last December. 

In their petition to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs asked the Court to address if they had the ability to bring the lawsuit as it was previously dismissed on standing grounds. The Court today declined to take up this question.

In 2001, Oregon became the country’s first universal mail-in voting state and has since been consistently highly ranked in terms of voter turnout. Overturning this system would be detrimental to Oregon voters who have voted by mail for decades. As former Gov. Kate Brown wrote for Democracy Docket in 2020: 

“When it comes to mail-in voting, Oregon is that friend who listened to music from bands before they became cool. We were the first state to conduct elections exclusively by mail. Since 2000, Oregon has mailed registered voters a ballot for every election. This policy change, made possible by a citizens’ ballot initiative passed in 1998, has revolutionized democratic participation in our state and helped us make elections more accessible.” 

Read the order denying cert here.

Learn more about the case here.