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Laches

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Format: 2019
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Spirit Lake Tribe v. Jaeger (Daniel L. Hovland, D.N.D. 1:18-cv-222)
Although acknowledging that the plaintiffs’ claims were not without merit, a district judge denied immediate relief in a suit challenging the application of a voter identification to residents of Indian reservations. The plaintiffs claimed that Native American voters often did not have recognized residential street addresses. But the complaint was filed only one week before the election.
Subject: Voter identification. Topics: Voter identification; laches; interlocutory appeal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

O’Neil v. Hosemann (Daniel P. Jordan III, S.D. Miss. 3:18-cv-815)
On the day before a runoff election, plaintiffs sought a federal court injunction requiring the counting of absentee ballots post-marked by election day instead of received by the day before election day. The federal judge decided that the request for relief was too late and the relief requested too disruptive.
Subject: Absentee ballots. Topics: Absentee ballots; laches.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Hill v. Williams (1:16-cv-2627) and Harlos v. Morrissey (1:16-cv-2649) (Christine M. Arguello, D. Colo.), Silberberg v. Board of Elections (P. Kevin Castel, S.D.N.Y. 1:16-cv-8336), and ACLU of Northern California v. Padilla (William Alsup, N.D. Cal. 3:16-cv-6287)
From eight to 15 days before the 2016 general election, federal actions in three states sought relief from proscriptions on “ballot selfies”—photographs of ballots taken by voters completing them. These actions and previous actions in three other states pitted freedom of expression against the secret ballot. Some district and circuit judges favored freedom of expression; others favored the secret ballot.
Subject: Polling place activities. Topics: Laches; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

De la Fuente Guerra v. Democratic Party of Florida (Robert L. Hinkle, N.D. Fla. 4:16-cv-26), De la Fuente v. Kemp (Richard W. Story, 1:16-cv-256) and De la Fuente v. Kemp (Mark H. Cohen, 1:16-cv-2937) (N.D. Ga.), De la Fuente v. South Carolina Democratic Party (Cameron McGowan Currie, D.S.C. 3:16-cv-322), De la Fuente Guerra v. Winter (Robert C. Brack, D.N.M. 1:16-cv-393), De la Fuente v. Krebs (Roberto A. Lange, D.S.D. 3:16-cv-3035), De la Fuente v. Cortés (John E. Jones III, M.D. Pa. 1:16-cv-1696), De la Fuente v. Wyman (Benjamin H. Settle, W.D. Wash. 3:16-cv-5801), and De la Fuente v. Alcorn (Liam O’Grady, E.D. Va. 1:16-cv-1201)
A prospective candidate for president in 2016 filed federal complaints challenging his exclusion from primary election and general election ballots in several states. In 2018, the candidate achieved a change to ballot access rules in Virginia.
Subject: Getting on the ballot. Topics: Getting on the ballot; pro se party; laches; primary election; matters for state courts; Electoral College; absentee ballots; interlocutory appeal; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Baca v. Hickenlooper (Wiley Y. Daniel, D. Colo. 1:16-cv-2986), Chiafalo v. Inslee (James L. Robart, W.D. Wash. 2:16-cv-1886), Koller v. Brown (Edward J. Davila, N.D. Cal. 5:16-cv-7069), and Abdurrahman v. Dayton (Paul A. Magnuson, D. Minn. No. 0:16-cv-4279)
After one party’s candidate earned more votes in the 2016 presidential election, but the other party’s candidate earned more Electoral College votes, electors in four states won by the popular-vote victor filed federal complaints to relieve electors from voting as pledged. No federal court granted any plaintiff immediate relief. But in 2019, a court of appeals ruled that the Constitution requires states to allow electors to vote as they please.
Subject: Voting irregularities. Topics: Electoral College; intervention; laches.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Common Cause of Georgia v. Kemp (Amy Totenberg, 1:18-cv-5102) and Brown v. Kemp (William M. Ray II, 1:18-cv-5121) (N.D. Ga.)
Two federal lawsuits filed on the day before and the day of a general election challenged a secretary of state’s election oversight. The first case alleged susceptibility to tampering of voters’ records. The second case challenged the propriety of a secretary of state presiding over an election in which he is running for governor. A related case from the previous year challenged the security of touchscreen voting machines. A federal judge ordered the use of provisional ballots as an interim remedy for voter record discrepancies, pursuant to the Help America Vote Act. Apparently the winner of the gubernatorial election, the secretary notified the judge in the other case of his resignation as secretary of state.
Subject: Voting procedures. Topics: Voting technology; provisional ballots; case assignment; Help America Vote Act (HAVA); laches; removal; enjoining certification.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda v. Kemp (Eleanor L. Ross, N.D. Ga. 1:18-cv-4727)
A federal complaint challenged a statute that required the name on a voter registration form to exactly match—character and space and hyphen for character and space and hyphen—how the name appears in other government records. The complaint also challenged the flagging of voter registration applications as potentially from noncitizens just because the applicants had not yet become citizens when they received their driver’s licenses. One week after a motion for a preliminary injunction was filed and 11 days before a general election, the judge specified how voters could prove their citizenship and vote if their voter registrations had not become final because of citizenship questions.
Subject: Registration procedures. Topics: Registration procedures; citizenship; signature matching; laches; provisional ballots.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Great America PAC v. Wisconsin Elections Commission (James D. Peterson, W.D. Wis. 3:16-cv-795), Stein v. Thomas (Mark A. Goldsmith, E.D. Mich. 2:16-cv-14233), and Stein v. Cortés (Paul S. Diamond, E.D. Pa. 2:16-cv-6287)
Following the 2016 presidential election in which a candidate earned more votes in the Electoral College than the candidate who received the most popular votes, a minor party candidate sought recounts in the three states that the Electoral College victor won by the smallest margins. The matter was litigated in state courts and in federal courts in the Western District of Wisconsin, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with mixed results for the minor party candidate’s litigation efforts and no change in the Electoral College outcome. The Pennsylvania case ended with a settlement agreement requiring a change in voting technology and a payment of attorneys fees.
Subject: Recounts. Topics: Recounts; election errors; voting technology; matters for state courts; laches; intervention; recusal; case assignment; Electoral College; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Cortés (Gerald J. Pappert, E.D. Pa. 2:16-cv-5524)
Two and one-half weeks before a presidential election, a federal lawsuit challenged a state statute that required poll watchers to serve only in their counties of residence. Five days before the election, the district judge denied the plaintiffs immediate relief because the requirement had a rational basis and because the last-minute filing was not justified.
Topics: Laches; intervention

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Democratic National Committee v. Republican National Committee (Dickinson R. Debevoise and John Michael Vazquez, D.N.J. 2:81-cv-3876), Arizona Democratic Party v. Arizona Republican Party (John J. Tuchi, D. Ariz. 2:16-cv-3752), Nevada State Democratic Party v. Nevada Republican Party (Richard F. Boulware II, D. Nev. 2:16-cv-2514), Ohio Democratic Party v. Ohio Republican Party (James S. Gwin, N.D. Ohio 1:16-cv-2645), Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Republican Party of Pennsylvania (Paul S. Diamond, E.D. Pa. 2:16-cv-5664), North Carolina Democratic Party v. North Carolina Republican Party (Catherine C. Eagles, M.D.N.C. 1:16-cv-1288), and Michigan Democratic Party v. Michigan Republican Party (Mark A. Goldsmith, E.D. Mich. 2:16-cv-13924)
In 2004, a voter in Ohio moved to intervene in a 1981 District of New Jersey case, complaining that widespread voter registration challenges in Ohio violated a consent decree between the two major political parties in the New Jersey case. On the day before the election, the district court in New Jersey granted injunctive relief. A panel of the court of appeals, over a dissent, denied the defendants a stay, but the full court ordered en banc review on election day. Because the plaintiff was allowed to vote, the appeal was subsequently declared moot. In 2016, a suit was again filed in the District of New Jersey to enforce and extend the consent decree. Related actions were filed in six other states, plaintiffs were denied immediate relief there, and the actions were dismissed voluntarily after the election. A little more than one year later, the consent decree was terminated.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Registration challenges; intervention; enforcing orders; laches; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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