COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

Case Details

This database consolidates and tracks litigation concerning the effect of the pandemic on election law. The purpose of this tool is to provide an interactive list of relevant cases that can be searched by issue, court, status, and jurisdiction.

Case Details

 

Arizona Democratic Party v. Hobbs

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Arizona Democratic Party v. Hobbs, No. 2:20-cv-01143 (D. Ariz.)

  Case Summary Arizona law permits all registered voters to submit mail-in ballots. Arizona's Elections Procedures Manual establishes a cure period, between 3 and 5 Business Days after an election (depending on the type of election), for the cure of signature mismatches on mail-in ballots. In the case of a signaure mismatch, election officials are required to make reasonable efforts to reach the applicable voters, advise regarding the mismatch and provide an opportunity for voters to confirm the signature or otherwise cure the mismatch. In the case of a ballot missing a signature entirely, election officials are required to make reasonable and meaningful attempts to contact applicable voters to advise that missing signatures may be cured by 7:00 pm on the relevant election day. If the deficiency is not cured, a mail-in ballot without a signature is rejected (i.e., not counted). Plaintiffs allege that Arizona voters will be disenfranchised by the insufficient cure period for missing signatures and challenge the same on First and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, with the 5 business day cure period being extended to cure of mail-in ballots missing signatures.
Filed 06/10/2020
State Arizona
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Ninth Circuit
Status Active
Last Updated 03/13/2021
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Notice/Cure for Mismatches Missing Signature or Mistakes)
Complaint(s) 06/10/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 09/10/2020: Order/Ruling, The court issued a Permanent Injunction, an order requiring Arizona election officials (including the Secretary of State) to extend the deadline that voters have cure missing signature on their return mail ballots to match the deadline that voters have to cure mismatched signatures. Specifically, it allow voters with unsigned return mail ballot envelopes to fix missing signatures for up to 5 business days after Election Day (for federal elections; up to 3 days for state/local-only elections), which is already the cure deadline for voters to fix ballots with signatures that do not match signatures on file and for in-person voters who lacked proper identification.
09/10/2020: Order/Ruling, The District Court granted plaintiffs a preliminary and permanent injunction after finding that Arizona's election day deadline for curing unsigned ballot envelopes presented a minimal but unjustifiable burden on the right to vote and failed to properly safeguard that right.
09/18/2020: Order/Ruling, The district court denied defendant Hobbs's motion to stay the injunction pending appeal.

Arizona Democratic Party v. Hobbs, No. 20-16759 (9th Cir.)

  Case Summary Respondents appeal the Sept 10, 2020 US District Court order issuing a Permanent Injunction requiring Arizona election officials to extend the deadline that a voter has to cure a mail ballot envelope that is returned without a signature from Election Day to five days after the election (the same deadline voters have to cure mismatched signatures).
Filed 09/11/2020
State Arizona
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Ninth Circuit
Status Active
Last Updated 03/13/2021
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Notice/Cure for Mismatches Missing Signature or Mistakes)
Complaint(s) 09/11/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 10/06/2020: Other, The Ninth Circuit granted the appellants’ Emergency Motions for a Stay Pending Appeal, finding that (1) even though the plaintiff-appellees contend that the changes to Arizona’s law will likely affect only a small number of voters and create a relatively low administrative burden on the State, the State’s probability of success on the merits is high, and (2) the public interest is well served by preserving Arizona’s existing election laws, “rather than by sending the State scrambling to implement and to administer a new procedure for curing unsigned ballots at the eleventh hour.” The Court notes that, by contrast, the plaintiffs stand to face only the “minimal” burden of ensuring that voters sign their ballot affidavits by 7:00 PM on Election Day if the law remains in effect.
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