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


Blankenship v. Newsom


Blankenship v. Newsom, No. 3:20-cv-04479 (N.D. Cal.)

  Case Summary In California, nomination papers for an independent nominee for President must be circulated for signatures and receive the signatures of 1% of the statewide registered voters for the nominee to appear on the ballot. California issued social distancing orders in response to COVID-19, which did not explicitly provide an exception for nominee signature collection. Congressional candidate Blankenship and registered voter Pursche sued for a judgment declaring California’s ballot-access requirements unconstitutional and for TROs to prohibit their enforcement for California’s November 3, 2020 general election.
Filed 07/07/2020
State California
Type of Court Federal
Circuit Ninth Circuit
Status Closed ()
Last Updated 11/05/2020
Issue Tag(s) Candidate Signature Requirement (E-signatures, Threshold Number, Deadline/Time to Collect)
Complaint(s) 07/07/2020: Complaint filed.
Dispositive Ruling(s) 08/03/2020: Order/Ruling, "The court denied Plaintiff's motion for Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiff Donald Blankenship, the presidential nominee of the minority Constitution party, together with one of his supporters, claimed his access to the ballot faces imminent irreparable harm because collecting a certain number of signatures before a certain deadline is one way a minor party presidential candidate can secure a spot on California’s general election ballot, and because signature collection has been hampered by government-imposed restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the deadline looming, he moved to enjoin California from demanding his timely submission of the required number signatures. California’s Governor and Secretary of State oppose the motion countering that Blankenship’s prospective injury springs principally from his own inaction. The court denied the motion noting that CA law (Cal. Elec. Code § 5151(c)(1)) provides an alternative way for minority candidates to get on the ballot that does not require obtaining ""wet"" signatures. Specifically, a party qualifies for the ballot when “it appears to the Secretary of State . . . that voters equal in number to at least 0.33 percent of the total number of voters registered on the 123rd day before the presidential general election have declared their preference for that party.” The court denied the motion because it found that the burden on the plaintiff is not severe (because there is an alternative route to the ballot and because plaintiff failed to even try to meet the requirements) and because he fails to demonstrate “serious questions” as to the merits of his claim. The court founds that Plaintiff's alleged injuries ""are plainly outweighed by California’s democratic and electoral interests."" "
08/19/2020: Other, Plaintiffs Donald Blankenship and Denise Pursche voluntarily dismissed all claims pursuant to this action.
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