Arizona Mail Ballot Deadline
Voto Latino v. Hobbs
Challenging Arizona over its mail ballot deadline law and practice that systematically disenfranchise voters in general and Hispanic and Latino voters in particular. Arizona requires ballots to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If the ballot is received after 7 p.m. on Election Day, the ballot is discarded. Even if the ballot was postmarked well in advance of Election Day, including before or during the five to seven recommended days, but failed to arrive because of mail irregularities, the ballot is rejected. The Election Day Receipt Deadline has particularly profound implications for Arizona’s Hispanic and Latino voters. Statistically, they comprise a disproportionately significant portion of voters whose ballots are rejected under the Election Day Receipt Deadline. Indeed, in rural counties Hispanic and Latino voters are five to six times more likely to be disenfranchised than white voters. We claim that Arizona’s unjustified imposition of the Election Day Receipt Deadline violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michigan COVID-19 Election Relief
Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans v. Benson
On behalf of the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, the Detroit Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and individual voters, we sued Michigan over its vote by mail restrictions. We ask the state to extend the deadline for when absentee ballots must be received, provide pre-paid postage for vote by mail, and permit third parties to assist voters in submitting their sealed ballots.
Michigan Criminal Voting Challenges
Priorities USA v. Nessel
Challenge to two Michigan voting restrictions. The first is Michigan’s restriction on the transportation of voters which makes it a misdemeanor to “hire a motor vehicle or other conveyance or cause the same to be done, for conveying voters, other than voters physically unable to walk, to an election.” By prohibiting the transportation of voters to polling locations, the statute inhibits protected political activities, including important GOTV efforts. The second law is Michigan’s restriction on absentee ballot applications which requires an individual that assists another voter with an absentee ballot application to affirm that she did not “solicit or request to return the application,” and prohibits an individual from assisting another voter in returning their application unless the individual is a registered voter in Michigan or a member of the voter’s immediate family or household.
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.
Michigan State Constitution Voting Challenges
Priorities USA v. Benson
Challenge to two Michigan voting restrictions. The first is Michigan’s proof of residency law which limits the forms of acceptable “proof of residency” in a way that excludes commonly-held documents that demonstrate residency. The statute prevents many voters from exercising their right to register within 14 days of an election or on Election Day, as prescribed by the Michigan Constitution, and this burden falls disproportionately on young voters who live with family members, or in private college dormitories. The second law is Michigan’s automatic registration which, under current practice, only provides that those who conduct business with the Secretary of State after reaching 17.5 years-old are being automatically registered. That means the Automatic Registration Procedure may not reach a significant number of residents who have already obtained driver’s licenses or state IDs, for instance, and have no reason to return to a Secretary of State branch office until several years after reaching the age of eligibility to register to vote.
Nevada Vote by Mail Federal Intervention
Paher v. Cegavske
We intervened as defendants on behalf of the Nevada State Democratic Party, DNC, DCCC, Priorities and an individual voter. Plaintiffs in this federal case are attempting to shut down the Nevada Secretary’s move to an all-mail election due to the unprecedented public health crisis caused by COVID-19. We intervened to support the Secretary’s decision to designate this an all-mail election, while still noting that the Secretary’s policy does not go far enough to protect all Nevada voters by referencing our Nevada four pillars case.
Nevada Four Pillars
Corona v. Cegavske
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we sued on behalf of individual plaintiffs, the Nevada State Democratic Party, the DNC, the DCCC and Priorities USA ahead of the June 2020 Nevada Primary Election. The Nevada Secretary of State announced this primary would be all-mail, closing every polling location except for one in each county. This plan will leave too many Nevadans without a meaningful ability to vote, as it excludes qualified voters with “inactive” status and exacerbates existing problems with Nevada’s election laws such as a ballot collection ban and signature matching rules. We argue that while vote by mail is necessary during this time, it must be paired with meaningful opportunities to vote safely in person and include safeguards to prevent disenfranchisement of voters like what we saw in Wisconsin’s primary election in April.
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.