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Case Assignment

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Format: 2020
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Ramratan v. New York City Board of Elections (Nicholas G. Garaufis and Dora L. Irizarry, 1:06-cv-4770), Bert v. New York City Board of Elections (Charles P. Sifton, 1:06-cv-4789), Brown v. Board of Elections (Kiyo A. Matsumoto, 1:08-cv-3512), Fischer v. Suffolk County Board of Elections (Joanna Seybert, 2:08-cv-4171), Minnus v. Board of Elections (Sandra L. Townes, 1:10-cv-3918), Fischer v. NYS Board of Elections (Joanna Seybert, 2:12-cv-5397), and Pidot v. New York State Board of Elections (Joseph F. Bianco, 2:16-cv-3527) (E.D.N.Y.) and Williams-Bey v. Commissioners of Elections (Katherine B. Forrest, 1:12-cv-3836), Thomas v. New York City Board of Elections (Shira A. Scheindlin, 1:12-cv-4223), and Moore v. McFadden (Edgardo Ramos, 1:14-cv-6643) (S.D.N.Y.)
In ten cases, district judges denied relief contrary to state court results to prospective candidates in the Eastern District of New York in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2016 and in the Southern District of New York in 2012 and 2014.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; matters for state courts; primary election; pro se party; case assignment; laches; recusal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Boone v. Nassau County Legislature (Joanna Seybert, E.D.N.Y. 2:11-cv-2712)
On the day before a period of collecting ballot petition signatures for a county legislature election, voters filed a federal complaint challenging new district lines. The district judge held preliminary injunction hearings during the following week, but the state high court’s nullification of the district lines mooted the federal case.
Topics: Malapportionment; matters for state courts; section 2 discrimination; case assignment; getting on the ballot; class action.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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In re 2016 Primary Election (Susan J. Dlott, S.D. Ohio 1:16-mc-5)
A federal district judge ordered a one-hour extension of voting hours in four counties following an anonymous telephone request to the court. A serious traffic accident had resulted in the closure of a trans-state bridge. The court of appeals determined that the court was without jurisdiction to issue an order without a plaintiff.
Topics: Polling hours; presiding remotely; intervention; case assignment; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Harris v. Florida Elections Canvassing Commission (4:00-cv-453) and Medina v. Florida Election Canvassing Commission (4:00-cv-459) (Maurice M. Paul, N.D. Fla.)
Two removed cases challenged the validity of absentee ballots received from overseas voters after the date of a presidential election. Although one complaint had been amended before removal to omit federal claims, the district judge found that a well-pleaded complaint would have included federal issues. The judge found that a consent decree in previous federal litigation nullified the state’s requirement that overseas ballots be received by election day in federal elections. The court of appeals affirmed this decision.
Topics: Absentee ballots; enforcing orders; removal; matters for state courts; case assignment; recusal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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CURE-Ohio v. Blackwell (Sandra S. Beckwith, S.D. Ohio 1:04-cv-543) and Racial Fairness Project v. Summit County Board of Elections (John R. Adams, N.D. Ohio 5:04-cv-1948)
A federal complaint against the state’s secretary of state and 21 county boards of elections challenged false representations by election officials that persons convicted of felonies cannot be registered to vote even if they are on parole or have been released from confinement. Following an agreement to provide former prisoners with notices of the right to re-register to vote, the action was dismissed voluntarily. A subsequent action in the state’s other district challenged another county’s election officials' not including in notices of registration cancellations to felons notices that felons can re-register following confinement. The district judge in the second case held that notices of registration cancellations were not required, but if they are provided they must not be misleading, which they would be if they failed to provide notice of the right to re-register following confinement.
Topics: Registration procedures; prisoner voters; class action; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Campanello v. New York State Board of Elections (Joanna Seybert and Sandra J. Feuerstein, E.D.N.Y. 2:16-cv-1892)
Filed on the day before a presidential primary election, a federal complaint sought to open the parties’ primary elections to voters of all parties as a remedy for allegedly improper purging of party registrations. The district judge on miscellaneous duty denied immediate relief. Following their filing of an amended complaint after the election, the plaintiffs declined to respond to a motion to dismiss the case, and so the assigned judge dismissed the case.
Topics: Registration procedures; matters for state courts; primary election; National Voter Registration Act; case assignment; class action; ballot segregation; provisional ballots.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Ramos v. City of San Antonio (Royal Furgeson, W.D. Tex. 5:05-cv-500)
A federal complaint challenged a switch from touch-screen voting machines to paper optical scan ballots, because of the impact on the ability of voters with vision impairments to vote in secret. A claim pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was mooted when the Justice Department precleared the change after the case was filed. The district judge opined that the plaintiffs would prevail on the merits, but a workaround procedure mitigated the impact on vision-impaired voters for the impending election, so the judge denied immediate relief. Three years later, the case settled.
Topics: Voting technology; section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; recusal; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Nelson v. Dean (4:07-cv-427) and Ausman v. Browning (4:07-cv-519) (Robert L. Hinkle, N.D. Fla.)
On November 20, 2007, Florida voters filed a state court complaint challenging the state’s moving up the 2008 presidential primaries in violation of party rules. The case was removed to federal court on December 7, and a preliminary injunction motion was filed a week later. On January 3, 2008, the district court denied the plaintiffs preliminary injunctive relief because the consequences of the early primaries were still uncertain. In related litigation, federal courts declined to interfere with either party rules or the state’s election calendar.
Topics: Primary election; party procedures; removal; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Espronceda v. Krier (H.F. Garcia, William Wayne Justice, and Pamela A. Mathy, W.D. Tex. 5:00 cv 1259)
One week after the election, a pro se federal complaint challenged the passage of a referendum to add fluoride to a city’s drinking water. A little over a year later, a three-judge district court granted the defendants summary judgment.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot measure; enjoining certification; pro se party; section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; case assignment; recusal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Rodriguez v. Bexar County (H.F. Garcia and William Wayne Justice, W.D. Tex. 5:01 cv 1049)
A district judge issued a temporary injunction against the redistricting of justice of the peace and constable precincts, eliminating one of the five precincts, without preclearance pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. After the county obtained preclearance, the judge found Hispanic vote dilution in violation of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, but the court of appeals reversed the nullification of an election to the new precincts.
Topics: Section 5 preclearance; section 2 discrimination; enjoining elections; three-judge court; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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