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

 

Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar

Active

Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, No. 407-MD-2020 (Penn. Commonw. Ct.)

  Case Summary Petitioners request a declaratory and injunction relief so as to protect the franchise of absentee and mail-in voters. On October 31, 2019 the Governor enacted Act 77 which permits no excuse mail-in voting for all qualified electors. Due to COVID-19, Act 12 was passed. This Act allowed counties to temporarily consolidate polling places, consequently there are less polling places available. It also allowed Pre-Canvass for mail in voting from 7am on Election Day. Petitioners request (i) Declaratory judgment that secure ballot drop-boxes are permitted. (ii) Injunction that mail-in and absentee ballots postmarked by 8pm on Election Day and received by the UOCAVA deadline must be tabulated; (iii) Injunction requiring boards to contact electors whose mail-in or absentee ballots contain facial defects, and provide an opportunity to cure such defects by the UOCAVA deadline; (iv) Declaratory judgment that boards must clothe and count naked ballots and an Injunction against boards from excluding such ballots; (v) Declaratory judgment that the poll watcher residency requirement does not violate the law.
Filed 07/10/2020
State Pennsylvania
Type of Court State
Status Active
Last Updated 09/06/2020
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Failure to Allow No-Excuse Vote by Mail, Restriction on Assistance or Collection of Mail Ballots for Return, Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark), Notice/Cure for Mismatches Missing Signature or Mistakes, Other Vote-by-Mail Issue)
Poll Watcher Residency
Complaint(s) 07/10/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/16/2020: Other, The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania agreed to hear the case, exercising its special "King's Bench" jurisdiction to bring up a case that has been filed in another state court.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, No. 133 MM 2020 (Penn. S. Ct.)

  Case Summary Petitioners request a declaratory and injunction relief so as to protect the franchise of absentee and mail-in voters. On October 31, 2019 the Governor enacted Act 77 which permits no excuse mail-in voting for all qualified electors. Due to COVID-19, Act 12 was passed. This Act allowed counties to temporarily consolidate polling places, consequently there are less polling places available. It also allowed Pre-Canvass for mail in voting from 7am on Election Day. Petitioners request (i) Declaratory judgment that secure ballot drop-boxes are permitted. (ii) Injunction that mail-in and absentee ballots postmarked by 8pm on Election Day and received by the UOCAVA deadline must be tabulated; (iii) Injunction requiring boards to contact electors whose mail-in or absentee ballots contain facial defects, and provide an opportunity to cure such defects by the UOCAVA deadline; (iv) Declaratory judgment that boards must clothe and count naked ballots and an Injunction against boards from excluding such ballots; (v) Declaratory judgment that the poll watcher residency requirement does not violate the law. Defendant subsequently filed an Appeal for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to Exercise Extraordinary Jurisdiction over the case.
Filed 08/16/2020
State Pennsylvania
Type of Court State
Status Active
Last Updated 09/23/2020
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Failure to Allow No-Excuse Vote by Mail, Restriction on Assistance or Collection of Mail Ballots for Return, Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark), Notice/Cure for Mismatches Missing Signature or Mistakes)
Other
Poll Watcher Residency
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/16/2020: Appellant Brief, Filed
09/14/2020: Other, The court 1) decided that the Election code permits drop-boxes, 2) extended the absentee and mail-in ballot recieved-by deadline to 5:00 p.m. on November 6, 2020 if postmarked by 8:00 p.m. November 3, 2020, 3) ruled that the poll watcher residency requirement is constitutional, 4) denied the Petitioner's request that the Board of Elections contact individuals whose mail-in or absentee ballots contain a minor facial defect and provide them an opportunity to cure those defects, and 5) denied the Petitioner's request to count ballots returned wihtout the secrecy envelope instead of invalidating them.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, Secretary of Pennsylvania, et al. sub. nom. Corman v. Pennsylvania Democratic Party, 592 U.S. __ (S. Ct.)

  Case Summary Republican Party seeks emergency stay of Pennsylvania Supreme Court injunction that allows ballots received up to the Friday after Election Day to be counted so long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
Filed 10/19/2020
State Pennsylvania
Type of Court Federal
Circuit US Supreme Court
Status Active
Last Updated 03/13/2021
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark))
Authority To Act (Elections Clause, Electors Clause)
Dispositive Ruling(s) 09/28/2020: Other, Petitioners, the President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, filed an emergency application for a stay of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar. Combined with Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar and Republican Party of Pa. v. Boockvar.
10/19/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court reached a 4-4 split. The stay is denied.
10/19/2020: Order/Ruling, Stay denied.
10/28/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court refused to grant a motion to expedite review of a petition for cert in the same case in which it reached a 4-4 split on Oct. 19. Justice Barrett did not take part in the consideration. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch filed a statement outlining that "there is a strong likelihood that the [Pennsylvania] Supreme Court decision violates the Federal Constitution." The justices went on to state that they were eager to grant cert after the election.
11/04/2020: Other, President Trump’s reelection campaign moves to intervene as a petitioner in Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, seeking to prevent Pennsylvania from counting ballots received after Nov. 3.
11/06/2020: Other, The Republican Party of Pennsylvania petitioned the Supreme Court to order election boards to separate ballots received after Election Day through November 6, 2020 and to refrain from counting them while the Republicans’ legal challenge to those ballots remains pending. The challengers acknowledged that Secretary of State Boockvar directed county election boards to segregate later-arriving ballots, but contend the guidance is insufficient to preserve the challengers’ potential right to a targeted remedy of tossing those ballots later because (i) the election boards are not required to follow the directions from the Secretary of State, (ii) Secretary of State may change her mind, and (iii) “is currently unclear whether all 67 county boards of elections” in the state are following instructions to segregate mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day and they have been unable to confirm they are. Petitioners requested the court to instruct election boards “to log, to segregate, and otherwise to take no further action” on mail-in ballots received after Election Day, suggesting that the order might also prohibit the state from counting the ballots.
11/06/2020: Order/Ruling, Justice Alito ordered that all absentee ballots received after 8:00 P.M. on November 3 be segregated and that, if such ballots are counted, that their tally be counted separately.
02/22/2021: Order/Ruling, Cert denied.
Creative Commons License  Covid-Related Election Litigation Tracker by the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project – Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.