05 Oct Case Updates: Week of Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2020
on 10/05/2020 in Case News & Commentary
See below for details on significant filings this week.
- The U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari in Arizona Republican Party v. Democratic National Committee, a case involving “wrong precinct” voting and the ballot collection practice referred to as “ballot harvesting.” The Court will likely not consider this case until after the November election. See further coverage at SCOTUSblog.
- In New Georgia Project v. Raffensperger, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed an injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross, which had extended Georgia’s absentee ballot receipt deadline by three days.
- In Jones v. Secretary of State, three Maine citizens filed an emergency application for the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a Maine Supreme Court opinion permitting ranked-choice voting in Maine for November’s Presidential election.
- In Johnson v. Benson, two former Michigan Secretaries of State filed a lawsuit against current Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, asserting that her policy of accepting absentee ballots after the deadline established by Michigan law exceeds her authority and also violates federal statutes governing the time for choosing electors.
- In Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRose, a divided three-judge panel of the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision, which found that the Secretary of State decision to limit drop-boxes to one location at the county board of elections was an abuse of discretion. According to the lead opinion of the court of appeals, the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a violation of the specific Ohio statute at issue, or assert a violation of any other state or federal law.
- In another case titled Ohio Democratic Party v. LaRose, a three-judge panel of the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the lower court, finding that the lower court erred in requiring county boards of elections to accept absentee ballot requests by fax and email, in addition to by mail and in person.
- In League of Women Voters v. LaRose, U.S. District Judge Michael Watson denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, determining that the plaintiffs were not likely to succeed in their constitutional challenge to Ohio’s signature-matching process for absentee ballots.
- In Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed an application in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to stay the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that permitted an extension of three days on the deadline by which the state can receive absentee ballots by mail. A group of Pennsylvania Republican legislators filed a similar application.
- In Andino v. Middleton, South Carolina Republican officials filed an emergency application for the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an order of U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs. That order prevented the state from enforcing a witness requirement on voters’ absentee ballots.
- In Texas Alliance for Retired Americans v. Hughs, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the decision of U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, which ordered the state to retain an option for “straight-ticket voting,” a 100-year old practice eliminated by a statute enacted in 2017.
- Two federal lawsuits seek to overturn Governor Greg Abbott’s decision not to permit counties to provide multiple drop-off locations for absentee ballots. The Texas League of United Latin American Citizens and others filed the first lawsuit, while the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans and others filed a second lawsuit.
- In Democratic National Committee v. Bostelmann, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied motions by the Wisconsin Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and the Wisconsin Legislature, to stay the decision of U.S. District Judge William Conley. That decision ordered several changes to Wisconsin election law including the extension of the date for online and mail-in registration, as well as the receipt of absentee ballots. The Seventh Circuit also gave the appellants one week to demonstrate why the court should not dismiss the case for lack of standing. The Seventh Circuit subsequently certified a question of state law to the Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding whether the legislature can appeal an injunction blocking a state law such as an election law.