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

 

Donald J. Trump for Pres., Inc. v. Boockvar

Closed

Donald J. Trump for Pres., Inc. v. Boockvar, No. 2:20-cv-00966 (W.D. Pa.)

  Case Summary The Trump Campaign, four Republican members of Congress, the RNC, and two PA residents sued the PA Secretary of State, and the County Election Boards of all 67 PA counties. The general theme of the complaint is that mail-in-voting is the “single greatest threat to free and fair elections.” The specific legal claim(s) are that PA’s vote-by-mail election process violates: (1) the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (2) The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution; (3) the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (4) PA Constitution’s Free and Equal Elections Clause; (5) PA Constitution’s Equal Protection Guarantees; and (6) the PA Election Code. Plaintiffs seek an order: (1) that prohibits Defendants from permitting the return of mail-in ballots to locations other than the respective office of the county boards of elections. Or, to instruct Defendants to publish uniform state-wide guidance on mail-in ballot drop boxes, subject to the same notice and determination requirements that Pennsylvania law currently provides for polling places; (2) that bars County Election Boards from counting mail-in ballots that lack an "Official Election Ballot" secrecy envelope; and (3) that permits poll watchers, regardless of their county of residence, to be present in all locations where votes are cast, including without limitation where mail-in ballots are being returned before and on Election Day and at any pre-canvass meetings.
Filed 06/29/2020
State Pennsylvania
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Third Circuit
Status Closed ()
Last Updated 10/22/2020
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Claim that Mail Voting Leads to Fraud and/or Vote Dilution, Restriction on Assistance or Collection of Mail Ballots for Return, Notice/Cure for Mismatches Missing Signature or Mistakes, Witness and/or Notary Requirement, Failure to Include ID/Documentation)
In-Person Voting COVID Concern (Number/Location of Polling Places)
Authority To Act (Elections Clause)
Complaint(s) 06/29/2020: Complaint filed.
07/27/2020: Complaint, Amended Complaint. filed.
09/23/2020: Complaint, Second amended complaint. filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/23/2020: Order/Ruling, The District Court decided to abstain from a decision under the Pullman doctrine, determining that state court statutory interpretation of a new law could narrow Plaintiffs claims.
10/10/2020: Other, The court dismissed Plaintiff Donald J Trump for President's claims that certain election practices were unconstitutional under the federal Constitution or under the Pennsylvania state constitution. Plaintiffs brought three claims: 1) That the use of “drop-boxes” for mail-in ballots is unconstitutional; 2) that the Secretary of State’s guidance to accept mail-in ballots where the voter’s signature does not match the one on file is unconstitutional; 3) that Pennsylvania’s restriction that poll watchers be resident in the county in which they are assigned is unconstitutional. The court ruled that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring their federal constitutional claims since the alleged injury, “vote dilution,” is not sufficiently concrete for Article III purposes. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, and dismissed them without prejudice.
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