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Court Supervision Over Absentee-Ballot Procedures

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
November 1, 2023

Willingham v. County of Albany (Norman A. Mordue, 1:04-cv-369) and Hoblock v. Albany County Board of Elections (Lawrence E. Kahn, 1:04-cv-1205) (N.D.N.Y.)
A federal complaint sought an emergency injunction against absentee-ballot fraud in an ongoing special-election cycle, but the district judge determined that the plaintiffs did not establish a need for immediate federal relief beyond the relief provided by the state court. At the end of approximately three years of litigation, the case was resolved by consent decrees. Meanwhile, a different federal judge in the same district resolved a dispute over the counting of some absentee ballots by overruling the state high court’s rejection of absentee ballots cast by voters who received them because of errors by the election board.
Subject: Absentee and early voting. Topics: Absentee ballots; matters for state courts; case assignment; primary election; enjoining certification; class action; attorney fees; intervention; malapportionment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.