Arizona

Arizona Ballot Collection

DNC v. Hobbs

In 2016, the DNC, DSCC and others challenged two provisions of Arizona law: (1) a 2016 law that criminalized the practice of ballot collection, and (2) Arizona’s wholesale rejection of ballots cast in the wrong precinct. The Ninth Circuit held that the law was enacted with the intent to discriminate against minority voters, and struck down Arizona’s practice of entirely discarding ballots cast in the wrong precinct.

Read the opinion here.

Arizona Citizenship Document 

Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona et al.

Challenging Arizona law that required voter registration officials to reject any registration application that was not accompanied by documentary evidence of citizenship.

Read the Supreme Court opinion here..


California

California Vote by Mail Public Records 

Sharkey v. Kelley

We brought a complaint to compel the Orange County registrar to provide public records relating to vote by mail and provision ballots to assist eligible voters in curing ballot defects before the relevant deadlines. The court granted a temporary restraining order, ordering the Orange County registrar to release the relevant records.

Read the order here.


Florida

Florida Early Vote

LWVF v. Lee

Constitutional challenge to the Florida Secretary of State’s restrictive interpretation of the early voting statute to prohibit the placement of early voting sites on college campuses. We successfully obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Secretary from enforcing the statute consistent with that interpretation and affirmatively restoring to the local supervisors of election the discretion to offer early voting on campuses. The district court judge found that the Secretary’s interpretation violated not just the Equal Protection Clause, but also the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, creating important new precedent in voting rights cases that challenge elections procedures that can be shown to intentionally discriminate against young voters.

Read the amended complaint here.

Read the directive from the Florida Secretary of State here.

Florida Congressional Redistricting

LWV of Florida v. Detzner

State constitutional challenge to Florida’s congressional districts. In 2010 a Fair Districts Amendment was added to the Florida Constitution with the stated purpose of prohibiting partisan gerrymandering. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed a new congressional redistricting plan, which did exactly what the Fair Districts Amendment was designed to prevent. We filed a lawsuit seeking to enjoin the plan, based on its unconstitutional partisan intent. The trial court found the plan unconstitutional with respect to only two districts. The parties cross-appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which affirmed the trial court’s finding of unconstitutional intent but reversed its final judgment because it had not gone far enough to require the Legislature to correct the constitutional deficiencies. On remand, the trial court adopted an expansive remedial map, which was upheld on appeal.

Read the order here.

Florida Signature Match (2016)

Florida Democratic Party v. Detzner

Constitutional challenge to Florida’s vote-by-mail signature match law, which required election officials to reject a vote-by-mail ballot based a signature mismatch but failed to provide any opportunity to cure. We successfully obtained a preliminary injunction requiring the Florida Secretary of State to provide voters whose vote-by-mail ballots were rejected in the 2016 election based on an alleged signature mismatch an opportunity to cure. After this victory, the Florida Legislature amended the law to provide a statutory opportunity to cure vote-by-mail ballots.

Read the order here.

Florida Hurricane Matthew Registration Deadline Extension

Florida Democratic Party v. Scott

Successfully obtained court-ordered extension of deadlines for voter registration following Hurricane Matthew. After Hurricane Matthew slammed into Florida on October 6, 2016, causing significant destruction and power outages throughout the state, then-Governor Rick Scott refused to extend the voter registration deadline and the deadline for local election officials to designate early voting sites. We filed an emergency lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction, requiring Governor Scott to extend the voter registration and the early voting site-designation deadlines. The court granted our motion and issued our requested emergency injunction in full, which required the State to extend all relevant deadlines.

Read the order here.

Florida State Legislative Redistricting

In re Senate Joint Resolution of Legislative Apportionment 1176

State constitutional challenge to Florida’s state legislative districts. In 2012, the Florida Legislature passed Joint Resolution 1176, apportioning the state into 120 State House and 40 State Senate districts. The Attorney General was required by the Florida Constitution to file a petition in the Florida Supreme Court seeking a declaratory judgment to determine the validity of the redistricting plans. We filed an opposition on behalf of the Florida Democratic Party based on the plans’ failure to abide by the new state constitutional prohibition on partisan gerrymandering. While the Florida Supreme Court found the Florida House of Representatives plan to be constitutionally valid, it struck down the Senate plan as “rife with objective indicators of improper intent.”

Read the opinion here.

Florida Signature Mismatch (2018)

DNC v. Lee

Challenged Florida’s standard less process of rejecting mail-in and provisional ballots based on a perceived mismatch between the signature on the ballot and the signature in that voter’s registration record. After the district court granted a preliminary injunction and the Eleventh Circuit denied a stay of that injunction, Florida passed SB 7066, which, among other things, extends the deadline to cure vote-by-mail and provisional ballots to two days after the election; requires the Secretary of State to provide signature matching training to supervisors of elections and canvassing boards; and requires any signature mismatch determinations to be made by a majority of the canvassing board, subject to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. SB 7066’s enactment mooted this litigation.

Read the opinion here.


Georgia

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. I 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.

Read the settlement with the Georgia Secretary of State here.

Read the settlement with the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections here.

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.

Read the order here.


Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i 17th Amendment Challenge

Hamamoto v. Abercrombie

Defending Senator Brian Schatz against a challenge to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. The District Court granted our motion to dismiss.

Read the order here.


Indiana

Indiana Precinct Consolidation

Indiana State Conference of NAACP v. Lawson

Challenged Indiana Senate Bill 220 under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The challenged law mandated the consolidation of all precincts in Lake County, Indiana with fewer than 600 active voters, which in turn would have required the County to close most of the precincts in several majority-minority cities, including Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. The entities charged with the task of adopting a precinct consolidation plan under the law did not adopt or implement a plan by the statutory deadlines. In addition, as a result of our litigation, the state legislature passed a law providing that any precinct consolidation plan adopted pursuant to the law would not take effect until 2019, after the critical 2018 elections. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit as a result.

Read the order here.


Iowa

Iowa Voter ID

League of United Latin American Citizens v. Iowa Secretary of State 

State constitutional challenge, on behalf of LULAC of Iowa and a college-aged voter, to a 2017 Iowa law that instituted a voter identification requirement for in-person voting starting in 2019. Beginning in 2018, the law also required voters to provide an identification number to request an absentee ballot; shortened the absentee voting period; and allowed election officials to reject absentee applications and ballots based on a perceived signature mismatch. In 2018, the trial court granted our motion for temporary injunction and enjoined the enforcement of the absentee ballot-related restrictions and prevented the Secretary of State from misinforming voters about the identification requirements during the 2018 general election, and the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed on all grounds with the exception of the shortened absentee voting period, which the Court allowed to go into effect. League of United Latin American Citizens v. Iowa Secretary of State, No. 18-1276, 2018 WL 3946147 (Iowa Aug. 10, 2018). After a four-day trial in June 2019, the court ruled in our favor, prohibiting the State from rejecting absentee applications and ballots based on a purported signature mismatch and also prohibiting the State from instructing voters that they were “required” to include an identification number on absentee ballot requests. The court further ordered the State to issue all voters a free voter identification card upon request.

Read the order here.

Iowa Absentee Voter ID Rule

League of United Latin American Citizens v. Iowa Secretary of State (2019)

Related claim challenging a Secretary of State rule that implements one of the state laws at issue in the main lawsuit discussed above. The law requires voters to provide an identification number to request an absentee ballot, and the Secretary of State’s rule requires county auditors who receive absentee ballot requests without an ID number to call, email, or send a letter to the voter, but prohibits auditors from using information that is readily available in the voter registration system to verify the ballot request. Because this rule is inconsistent with state law requiring that auditors use “the best means available” to complete a voter’s application, and would burden absentee voters, we sought an injunction to prevent its enforcement. The trial court temporarily enjoined this rule in July 2018 and issued a permanent injunction in January 2019.

Read the order here.


Maine

Maine Ranked-Choice Voting

Baber v. Dunlap

Intervened as Defendants on behalf of Jared Golden in a constitutional challenge to Maine’s Ranked-Choice Voting Act. Prior to the 2018 general election, Maine voters passed ranked-choice voting for federal elections, allowing voters to rank all candidates for an election. Under this system, if no candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated and that candidate’s voters’ second-choice votes are considered, with the process repeating until a candidate wins an outright majority. Following the election, Bruce Poliquin, the incumbent Republican congressman for Maine’s Second Congressional District—who was likely to lose in the ranked-choice process—challenged the constitutionality of Maine’s Ranked-Choice Voting Act, arguing that it denied voters’ due process rights and violated the Voting Rights Act. We intervened on behalf of Jared Golden, the Democratic challenger to Poliquin. The Court issued a judgement for Defendants on the merits and Jared Golden was elected as the representative for Maine’s Second Congressional District.

Read the order here.


Michigan

Michigan Signature Matching

Priorities USA v. Benson

Constitutional challenge to Michigan’s signature match laws, which require election officials to reject absentee applications and ballots if they determine that the signature provided with the applications or ballot does not match the voter’s signature on file with election authorities. We contend that the signature matching process is unconstitutional because the State has not developed any uniform standards or procedures for reviewing signatures, thereby allowing elections officials throughout the state to use arbitrary and diverging criteria; election officials lack sufficient training and skill to accurately compare signatures; and the law does not require election officials to notify voters that their absentee applications or ballots have been rejected, nor does it provide voters with an opportunity to contest a wrongful rejection or cure an alleged mismatch.

Read the amended complaint here.

Read the motion for dismissal here.

Michigan College Student Voting

College Democrats at the Univ. of Mich. v. Johnson

Constitutional challenge to two laws in Michigan that make voting more difficult for college students. The first statute required that individuals who registered to vote for the first time by mail or third-party voter registration drive vote in-person and not by absentee ballot. The second statute, which is commonly referred to as Rogers’ Law, requires that an individual’s driver’s license address match her voter registration address, which causes great confusion among college student voters. After the case was filed, the Secretary of State issued a directive informing elections officials that the statute requiring individuals to vote in-person if they registered to vote via mail or third-party registration drive is invalid. We reached an agreement with the Secretary of State to implement a public education campaign regarding Rogers’ Law, along with a campaign to encourage college student voter registration, to help alleviate the confusion and burdens created by the law.

Read the Secretary of State agreement letter here.


Minnesota

Minnesota Redistricting

Hippert, et al. v. Ritchie, et al.

Represented Democratic voters in state redistricting proceeding in the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Supreme Court appointed a special redistricting panel to hear the case. The panel found that the population was “unconstitutionally mal-apportioned among the state’s current legislative districts.” 813 NW 2d 374 (Minn. 2012)

Read the order here.

Minnesota Governor Recount

In re 2010 Gubernatorial Election

Successfully argued in Minnesota Supreme Court case in connection with 2010 gubernatorial recount. The Republican Party’s candidate for governor filed a petition seeking to invalidate the results of the election and start a recount focused on number of voter signatures. The Supreme Court denied the Republican’s petition. N.W.2d 256 (Minn. 2010)

Read the opinion here.

Minnesota 2008 Senate Recount

In re Contest of General Election Held on Nov. 4, 2008

Obtained a unanimous decision affirming that Al Franken had received the highest number of votes legally cast in the 2008 general election for United States Senator and therefore was entitled to receive the certificate of election.  Perkins Coie also represented Franken during the election, a six-week recount involving nearly three million ballots—the largest in American history, a seven-week trial, and multiple appearances before the Minnesota Supreme Court. 767 N.W.2d 453 (Minn. 2009).

Read the opinion here.


Missouri

Missouri Voter ID

Priorities USA v. Missouri

State constitutional challenge to Missouri’s newly-enacted voter ID law. The law imposed new restrictions on voters who lacked photo ID by requiring them to execute an inaccurate and misleading affidavit, stating among other things that photo ID was required by law, in order to cast a regular ballot. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Missouri’s voter ID law’s affidavit requirement was misleading and contradictory, and unconstitutional.

Read the order here.


Montana

Montana Signature Collection

Larson v. Montana

Representing the Montana Democratic Party against the state’s decision to allow the Montana Green Party’s certification. We sought injunctive relief in a evidentiary hearing that took place over two-months. The District Court invalidated the Green Party certification, and the Montana Supreme Court affirmed that decision.

Read the opinion here.


Nevada

Nevada Redistricting

Guy, et al. v. Miller

Represented Democratic voters in redistricting lawsuit after the continued failure of the Nevada Legislature to pass legislation that the Governor would not veto. The court found the existing Congressional and Legislative Districts were “unconstitutionally malapportioned” violating the 14th amendment and the U.S. Constitution.

Read the order here.

Nevada Voter ID (Ballot Petition Challenge)

Alfaro v. Our Vote Nevada PAC

Represented voters keeping a voter ID law petition off the ballot.

Read the opinion here.

Nevada Ballot Initiative

Prevent Sanctuary Cities v Haley

Representing the nonprofit Tu Casa Latina in its assertion that a ballot initiative petition by Prevent Sanctuary Cities PAC was invalid.

Read the opinion here.

Nevada Recall Effort

Silberkraus v. Woodhouse

Representing State Senators who argued that a recall effort against them had thousands of invalid signatures.

Read the opinion here.


New Hampshire

New Hampshire Voting Rights Case

LWVNH v. Gardner

State constitutional challenge to New Hampshire’s proof of domicile requirements for new registrants enacted through Senate Bill 3 (“SB 3”). SB 3 requires all prospective registrants to submit proof of a verifiable act of domicile in order to register to vote, eliminates the option to submit an affidavit to establish domicile, and subjects those who register within 30 days of an election or on Election Day without proof of domicile to criminal penalties if those individuals fail to present appropriate documentation shortly after the election.

Read the order here.


New Jersey

New Jersey Pre-printed Vote by Mail Application

Childs v. McGettigan

Successfully challenged New Jersey Clerk’s refusal to accept vote-by-mail ballot applications where the assistor portion of the ballot request form was incomplete. We filed suit in October 2015 on behalf of a New Jersey voter and General Majority PAC, which had been providing pre-printed vote-by-mail requests that the voter could sign and submit in order to receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Based on the pre-filed voter name and address information, the clerk had been rejecting signed and completed forms that had been returned by the voters, claiming that they were invalid because the portion of the form that must be filled out when someone physically assists a voter in completing the form was left blank. The New Jersey Superior Court found in our favor, holding that the Clerk was required to accept all such requests, despite that the assistor section was incomplete.

Read the opinion here.

New Jersey Senate Stay

Forrester v. The New Jersey Democratic Party Inc., et al.

Successfully opposed emergency application for stay regarding 2002 U.S. Senate election in New Jersey.

Read the order here.

New Jersey Recall

Committee to Recall Robert Menendez from the Office of U.S. Senator v. Wells, et al.

Successfully argued a case for Senator Menendez in the New Jersey Supreme Court against the constitutionality of a recall under New Jersey’s Uniform Recall Election Law. The court found that the Federal Constitution does not allow States the power to recall U.S. Senators.

Read the opinion here.


New York

New York Redistricting

Favors, et al. v. Cuomo, et al.

Represented Democratic voters in state and federal congressional redistricting lawsuit in New York. The court ordered the implementation of a new congressional redistricting plan.

Read the order here.

New York Candidate Petition (Parker)

In the Matter of Objections to Parker

We objected to the validity of an independent candidate’s nominating petition. The New York State Board of Elections found the candidate’s petition to be invalid.

Read the determination here.

New York Candidate Petition (LaMagna)

In the Matter of Objections to LaMagna

We objected to the validity of an independent candidate’s nominating petition. The New York State Board of Elections found the candidate’s petition to be invalid.

Read the determination here.


North Carolina

North Carolina Racial Gerrymandering

Cooper v. Harris

Secured a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 22, 2017 on behalf of North Carolina voters seeking to invalidate North Carolina’s 1st and 12th Congressional Districts as racial gerrymanders in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Kagan, upheld the district court’s judgment that the North Carolina General Assembly had unlawfully used race to draw congressional districts.

Read the Supreme Court opinion here.

North Carolina Voting Rights HB 589

North Carolina State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory

Secured a major voting rights victory on behalf of North Carolina voters in which a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a unanimous ruling that the State’s Republican-led General Assembly intentionally discriminated against African Americans when it enacted several new voting restrictions in 2013. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims in North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory, 182 F. Supp. 3d 320 (M.D.N.C. 2016), finding that North Carolina’s elimination of same day registration, out-of-precinct provisional voting, preregistration, reduction of early voting, and enactment of voter-ID law were unconstitutional and in violation of the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The decision invalidated the changes to North Carolina’s voting mechanisms, meaning that same-day registration, out-of-precinct provisional voting, preregistration, and the lost early voting days were reinstated. North Carolina’s voter ID law was also enjoined.

Read the opinion here.

North Carolina Election Contest

In the matter of: Investigation of Election Irregularities Affecting Counties within the 9th Congressional District

Matter before the State Board of Elections which found that the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District corrupted the 2018 general election through “fraud, improprieties, and irregularities so pervasive that its results are tainted as the fruit of an operation manifestly unfair to the voters and corrosive to our system of representative government.” We represented the Democratic candidate for the North Carolina 9th congressional district. The Board ordered for a new election after finding absentee ballot fraud funded by the Republican candidate.

Read the order here.

North Carolina Congressional Map

Harper v. Lewis

Secured a significant victory on behalf of North Carolina voters when a North Carolina state court ruled that the state cannot proceed with House primaries under the current congressional map, which is being challenged as an improper partisan gerrymander.

Read the order here.


Ohio

Ohio Voter Registration Regulations

Project Vote v. Blackwell et al.

Representing organizations in Ohio that wanted to engage in voter registration but found that Ohio’s regulations were restrictive on non-governmental entities who assist others in voter registration to register low-income, minority, and disabled citizens. The court found these regulations to violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the National Voter Registration Act.

Read the order here.


South Carolina

South Carolina Social Security Number Voter Registration

South Carolina Democratic Party v. Andino

Challenging South Carolina over its requirement that individuals seeking to register to vote disclose their full nine digit Social Security Number on their voter registration applications. As a result of our lawsuit, the State has changed its position less than two months after our lawsuit was filed. The State agreed to interpret the law as only requiring the last four digits of a registrant’s social security number.

Read the order here.


Tennessee

Tennessee Voter Registration Rejections Challenge

Tenn. Black Voter Project v. Shelby County Election Commission et al.

State court challenge, under state statute, demanding access to the high number of voter registration forms that the Shelby County Election Commission deemed incomplete or rejected for purposes of running a cure program. The lawsuit also sought injunctive relief which would require that the Shelby County Election Commission immediately notify voters whose registrations forms were deemed incomplete that they can cure the defects in their applications on or before Election Day, as the county was required to do under state statute. The district court granted the requested relief, and the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed.

Read the order here.


Utah

Utah Congressional Ballot Verification (2018)

Love v. Swensen

Congresswoman Mia Love brought a complaint arguing that observers should be able to challenge voter signatures as ballots are processed and counted; Love also argued that absentee ballot voter affidavits in Salt Lake County were an insufficient basis for verifying ballots. The court dismissed the matter with prejudice; the court’s order is attached.

Read the order here.


Virginia

Virginia Long Lines

Lee v. Virginia State Board of Elections

Successfully represented the Democratic Party of Virginia and two Virginia voters in settlement negotiations with the Virginia State Board of Elections and the Virginia Department of Elections that culminated in a favorable consent decree in which the Board and Department agreed to take critical, significant steps to remedy Virginia’s historical problem with long wait times to vote.

Read the consent decree here.

Virginia House of Delegates Racial Gerrymandering

Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

Constitutional challenge to the Virginia House of Delegates redistricting map on behalf of 12 Virginia voters. Plaintiffs contend that 12 of the House Districts drawn as part of that redistricting plan are racial gerrymanders in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. We secured a significant victory on behalf of Virginia voters when the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia held that 11 of the House of Delegates districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. The Virginia House of Delegates appealed that decision, and we argued the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 18, 2019. In a 5-4 decision by Justice Ginsburg, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the House of Delegates lacked standing to appeal the invalidation of the redistricting map. Accordingly, the remedial map was implemented for the November 2019 elections.

Read the Supreme Court opinion here.

Virginia Congressional Racial Gerrymandering

Wittman v. Personhuballah

Secured a unanimous victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of several Virginia voters who challenged Virginia Congressional District 3, a majority-minority district, as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander as it was constructed in Virginia’s 2012 congressional redistricting map. In October 2013, voters in Virginia’s third Congressional District instituted this lawsuit alleging that the state legislators unconstitutionally allowed race to predominate in the redrawing of the third Congressional district in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. In October 2014, a three-judge panel struck down the plan, finding it to be an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Page v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 58 F. Supp. 3d 533 (2014). After remand from the Supreme Court in light of a recent racial gerrymandering case, the three-judge panel again found that the third congressional district was a racial gerrymander. Page v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 2015 WL 3604029, at *19 (E.D. Va. June 5, 2015). In a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court dismissed the Virginia Republican congressional delegation’s appeal, finding that the delegation lacked standing.

Read the Supreme Court opinion here.

Virginia CD-2 Nomination Petition Fraud Litigation

Democratic Party of Virginia v. Piper

Challenging the fraudulent petition of an Independent candidate for Virginia’s 2nd congressional district who was backed by the incumbent Republican.

Read the order here.

Virginia Special Primary Election (2014)

Lambert v. Democratic Party of Virginia et al.

Defending the Democratic Party of Virginia over the rules of a 2014 special primary election.

Read the opinion here.


Wisconsin

Wisconsin April Election Litigation

DNC v. Bostelmann

Challenging four Wisconsin laws which, in light of the unprecedented crisis caused by the corona virus, severely burden Wisconsin voters’ right to vote in the upcoming April 7, 2020 primary election and all elections taking place during this unprecedented situation. As Wisconsin voters are forced to socially distance themselves to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, in person registration and voting are no longer safe options and voters must turn to electronic and mail registration and voting. However, Wisconsin’s current electronic and by-mail registration deadline, Wisc. Stat. § 6.28(1), requires that copies of proof of residence and voter ID accompany electronic and by-mail voter registration and absentee applications, id. § 6.34, 6.86, respectively; and require that absentee ballots be received by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to be counted, id. § 687. These restrictions all pose significant risks to voters seeking to exercise their right to vote. These laws set up an unconscionable choice between voters’ safety and their fundamental right to vote. Plaintiffs seek to have them enjoined and request that the current electronic and by-mail deadline get extended until April 3, 2020, the Court enjoin Wisconsin’s requirements that voters provide copies or scans of proof of residence and voter ID documentation until the COVID-19 crisis is over and that absentee ballots postmarked on or before election day and received within 10 days be counted. These challenges are made under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Read the opinion and order here.

Wisconsin Special Elections

Newton v. Walker

Obtained a writ of mandamus requiring Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin to call special elections in two legislative districts left vacant when the former office holders resigned to take positions in the Governor’s administration. In the process of the litigation, which occurred over a span of four weeks, the case was argued before two different judges and presented to three different courts. At each stage, the courts ruled in favor of the eight Wisconsin voters on whose behalf the case was filed, culminating in an order issued by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, which, in denying Governor Walker’s request for an extension of time to comply with the writ of mandamus, wrote: “We … disagree with the Governor’s assertion that the special elections ‘are an unnecessary waste of taxpayer resources and confusing to voters.’ . . . Representative government and the election of our representatives are never ‘unnecessary,’ [and] never a ‘waste of taxpayer resources.’” Governor Walker complied with the court order and called the special elections on March 29, 2018.

Read the order here.

Wisconsin In-Person Absentee Voting

One Wisconsin v. Thomsen et al.

Challenging a provision that would have limited in-person absentee voting to one location per municipality.

Read the opinion here.