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

 

Davis v. Benson

Closed

Davis v. Benson, No. 20-000099-MM (Mich. Ct. Claims)

  Case Summary Plaintiff Davis is a registered voter seeking a declaration that the Michigan Secretary of State sent out “unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all registered voters” in violation of Michigan election law, even though Plaintiff intends to vote by mail in November. Plaintiff expresses concern as to whether the local clerk can accept the applications sent by the Secretary of State, and is also concerned that President Trump has spoken publicly about Michigan’s actions and has threatened to withhold federal funding for COVID-19 related matters. Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the Secretary of State has violated Michigan election laws, Sec. 168.759(5). Resolution: Plaintiff’s request to permanently enjoin Secretary of State from sending unsolicited applications to vote by absentee ballot is denied. Plaintiff’s request for declaratory relief is not addressed.
Filed 05/28/2020
State Michigan
Type of Court State
Status Closed ()
Last Updated 11/05/2020
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Other Vote-by-Mail Issue)
Authority To Act (Other)
Complaint(s) 05/28/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 06/18/2020: Order/Ruling, PI Denied; Plaintiff Davis did not show irreparable harm for a preliminary injunction to issue because a generalized assertion that an action violates the law or Constitution is not “particularized,” and no legally guaranteed choice of applying to vote by absentee ballot has been taken from the plaintiff or state electorate. Order does not address Davis’ request for declaratory relief
06/18/2020: Order/Ruling, Court denies plaintiff's request for prliminary injuction tto halt Secretary of State Benson's plan to send out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters of Michigan.
08/25/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court concluded that the State of Michigan had authority to send the absent voter ballot applications at issue, and therefore granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.
08/25/2020: Order/Ruling, The court ruled that Secretary Benson (defendant) had authority to send absent voter ballot applications to all Michigan voters, and dismissed plaintiffs’ consolidated cases.

Davis v. Benson, No. 1:20-cv-00768 (W.D. Mich.)

  Case Summary Plaintiff sued the Secretary of State for the State of Michigan for violating his constitutional and statutory rights by mailing of an unsolicited absentee voter application. Defendant mass mailed unsolicited absentee voter applications to plaintiff and other registered voters in the State of Michigan. Plaintiff alleged that mailing out of unsolicited applications was unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to Mich. Comp. Laws §168.759(5). Under Michigan Election Law, the process of issuing absentee ballots is controlled by local city and township clerks, not the Secretary of State. Also, a registered voter must first request an application to vote by absentee ballot. Defendant contended that the applications were mailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because plaintiff believed that the unsolicited absentee voter application was unlawful, he chose to vote in person for the August 4, 2020 primary election. He was told, however, that the local clerk’s office would not issue a different absentee ballot application. Therefore, plaintiff contended that he had been denied his constitutional and statutory rights to request an absentee voter application from his local city clerk as well as procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Filed 08/13/2020
State Michigan
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Sixth Circuit
Status Closed
Last Updated 09/01/2020
Issue Tag(s) Other
Unsolicited mailing of absentee voter applications
Complaint(s) 08/14/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/25/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court dismissed the consolidated cases of Cooper-Keel v. Benson, Black v. Benson, and Davis v. Benson after concluding that Defendant had the necessary authority to send the absent voter applications at issue in the case to voters who did not solicit them. The Court reached this conclusion after analysis of Michigan statutory and constitutional law.

Davis v. Benson, No. 354622 (Court of Appeals)

  Case Summary Three individual plaintiffs sued Michigan in three separate lawsuits (Black v. Benson, Cooper-Keel v. Benson, and Davis v. Benson), now consolidated, challenging the Secretary of State's ability to mail ballot applications to all registered Michigan voters.
Filed 08/28/2020
State Michigan
Type of Court State
Status Closed ()
Last Updated 12/06/2020
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Claim that Mail Voting Leads to Fraud and/or Vote Dilution)
Complaint(s) 08/28/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/16/2020: Order/Ruling, The appeals court confirmed the Michigan Court of Claim ruling that Sec. of State Benson had the authority to send out absentee ballot applications to all Michigan voters.
09/16/2020: Other, Court of Appeals affirmed lower court's grant of summary judgment for defendants and dismissal of case.

Davis v. Benson, No. 1:20-cv-00981 (W.D. Mich.)

  Case Summary Plaintiffs (who also filed a companion case in the Western District of Michigan in Davis v. Benson No. 20-cv-00915) contests Michigan's decision to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, since this decision was intended to increase voter turnout in predominantly Democratic areas. Further, Plaintiff alleges that her vote will be diluted if votes cast as a result of these absentee ballot applications were to be counted. Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief.
Filed 10/14/2020
State Michigan
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Sixth Circuit
Status Closed
Last Updated 02/25/2021
Issue Tag(s) Vote-by-Mail (Claim that Mail Voting Leads to Fraud and/or Vote Dilution)
Complaint(s) 10/14/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 10/30/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court denied Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction under Count I of his complaint concerning the alleged equal protection violation of mailing absentee ballots to registered voters in some counties but not others. The Court denied the motion both on procedural grounds (since Plaintiff did not file a verified complaint or affadavit with his request) and because the Court found Plaintiff had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.
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