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Davis v. Perry (Orlando L. Garcia, W.D. Tex. 5:11-cv-788)
On September 22, 2011, six days after a three-judge redistricting bench trial on legislative and congressional districts in Texas, voters filed a federal complaint alleging dilution of minority voting strength in their districts. The court ordered the defendants to respond by October 3, and the case was consolidated with a collection of cases already underway. Seven years after the litigation began, the Supreme Court approved districting plans that reflected the political judgments of the state legislature as much as possible, modified by the district court only as necessary to cure legal defects.
Subject: District lines. Topics: Malapportionment; three-judge court; case assignment; section 2 discrimination; section 5 preclearance; intervention; attorney fees; removal; pro se party.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Pennsylvania (Michael M. Baylson, E.D. Pa. 2:17-cv-5137) and Corman v. Torres (Christopher C. Conner, Kent A. Jordan, and Jerome B. Simandle, M.D. Pa. 1:18-cv-443)
After a state supreme court redrew congressional district lines to remedy excessive partisan gerrymandering, opponents of the new lines sought a federal court injunction against the state court decision. A three-judge district court declined to enjoin the state court’s new lines. An earlier attempt to remove the litigation to federal court was unsuccessful because the removal was attempted without the consent of all defendants.
Subject: District lines. Topics: Matters for state courts; malapportionment; three-judge court; intervention; case assignment; removal; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Buell v. Monterey County (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal. 5:10-cv-1952)
A federal complaint alleged that polling place consolidations and the date of the election had not been precleared for a special election to fill a vacancy in the state senate, as required by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for a county overlapping with the senate district. By the time a three-judge district court met to hear the case, the special election had been precleared.
Subject: Election dates. Topics: Poll locations; section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; intervention.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Martinez v. Monterey County (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal. 5:05-cv-2950)
A federal complaint challenged a ballot initiative as different in wording from the text circulated for ballot-access signatures and challenged the change in wording as a change in election procedures requiring preclearance pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In parallel litigation, the state’s supreme court provisionally ruled that the electorate should not be denied an opportunity to vote on the initiative unless the text discrepancies were sufficiently misleading. A three-judge federal district court declined to interfere with state proceedings because the state court also had jurisdiction over the federal question. The initiative failed and the state’s supreme court subsequently ruled that the text discrepancies were not so great as to merit an injunction against including the initiative on the ballot.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure; section 5 preclearance; matters for state courts; three-judge court; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Salazar v. Monterey County (5:03-cv-3584) and Oliverez v. California (5:03-cv-3658) (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal.); Hernandez v. Merced County (1:03-cv-6147) and Gallegos v. California (1:03-cv-6157) (Oliver W. Wanger, E.D. Cal.)
When the state set a special election on whether to recall the governor, a ballot initiative was moved from a primary election to the earlier special election. Separate federal cases alleged that the recall and the early ballot initiative could not be held because they had not been precleared pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as required for four of California’s counties. The state obtained preclearance just as a three-judge district court met to review the case. The judge presiding over two similar cases in another of the state’s districts allowed the court presiding over the cases filed earlier to decide the issues.
Subject: Recall elections. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; news media; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Loeber v. Spargo (Lawrence E. Kahn, N.D.N.Y. 1:04-cv-1193)
A pro se complaint filed a few weeks before the 2004 general election challenged New York districting, among other things. After a hearing on concerns that a United Nations body would oversee New York elections, the district judge dismissed the complaint as speculative and for not naming as defendants parties against whom an injunction would provide the plaintiffs with their desired relief. In 2010, the court of appeals affirmed dismissal of an amended complaint for failure to state a federal cause of action.
Subject: Polling place activities. Topics: Pro se party; malapportionment; Help America Vote Act (HAVA); interlocutory appeal; three-judge court; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

LULAC of Texas v. Ramon (Alia Moses Ludlum, Jerry E. Smith, and Xavier Rodriguez, W.D. Tex. 2:10-cv-58)
A three-judge district court enjoined a special election set by a state court for lack of preclearance pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Once an uncontested schedule had received preclearance, the district court dissolved the injunction.
Subject: Election dates. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; matters for state courts; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Powell v. Alabama (L. Scott Coogler, N.D. Ala. 2:08-cv-1345)
The federal case involved a dispute about whether a county commission vacancy had been filled by gubernatorial appointment or by special election, both of which had occurred. The case included the question of whether the procedure for filling the vacancy required section 5 preclearance. As the next general election drew near, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the action because the governor’s appointee failed to qualify for the ballot.
Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

City of College Park v. City of Atlanta (Julie E. Carnes, N.D. Ga. 1:08-cv-1464)
The City of College Park and one of its residents filed a federal complaint against the City of Atlanta in the Northern District of Georgia on April 18, 2008, claiming that Atlanta was violating section 5 of the Voting Rights Act by acquiring an apartment building in College Park to clear the land of structures and people for benefit of the airport without first obtaining preclearance for the change in College Park’s electorate. On the day that the complaint was filed, the district judge issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the property acquisition, but the property had already been acquired earlier in the day, so the judge vacated the order. The parties agreed to a settlement.
Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Petteway v. Galveston (Kenneth M. Hoyt, Emilio M. Garza, and Melinda Harmon, S.D. Tex. 3:11-cv-511)
A federal complaint sought to enjoin the use of new county commission district lines until the new lines could be precleared pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The district judge assigned the case issued a temporary restraining order, but the other two judges of a three-judge district court empaneled to hear the section 5 claim determined that the injunction was unnecessary while preclearance procedures were pending. Preclearance required adjustments to the new districting plan, and the court ordered adjustments to the election calendar to accommodate the late-drawn district lines. The district judge assigned the case awarded attorney fees and costs to the plaintiffs, but the court of appeals determined that plaintiffs were not prevailing parties in the litigation because the injunction did not have an impact on the preclearance process.
Subject: District lines. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; malapportionment; three-judge court; enjoining elections; attorney fees; intervention.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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