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.
Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson II
Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, No. 20-2911 (7th Cir.)
|Case Summary||Indiana Secretary of State appeals the preliminary injunction from the district court.|
|Type of Court||Federal|
|Issue Tag(s)||Vote-by-Mail (Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark))|
|Complaint(s)||10/02/2020: Complaint filed.|
|Dispositive Ruling(s)||10/13/2020: Other, Judge Easterbrook authored the circuit panel decision, finding that, as long as the state allows voting in person, there is no constitutional right to vote by mail (following Tully v. Okeson). Absentee ballot rules receive only rational basis review. The court reversed the district court's injunction.|
Common Cause Indiana v. Lawson, No. 1:20-cv-02007 (S.D. Ind.)
|Case Summary||Plaintiffs brought suit requesting an injunction on Indiana's Noon Election Day Receipt Deadline for mail-in ballots, which causes disenfranchisement of voters (thousands in the June primary); requesting that mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Election Day but received within a reasonable time after be counted.|
|Type of Court||Federal|
|Issue Tag(s)||Vote-by-Mail (Other Vote-by-Mail Issue, Mail Voting Deadlines (for Applying, Receiving, Postmark))
Indiana's deadline for mail-in ballot to be received by noon on Election Day disenfranchises voters, especially Latino/African American and young voters.
|Complaint(s)||07/30/2020: Complaint filed.|
|Dispositive Ruling(s)||09/29/2020: Order/Ruling, The court granted Plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. The Court applied the Anderson-Burdick balancing framework to determine whether Indiana's deadline was constitutional. First, the court determined that the statutory deadline imposed a serious burden on the right to vote, finding that thousands of voters would likely be disenfranchised by the deadline. The court held that alternate methods of voting did not alleviate the burden, because they would require the voter to show up at a polling place or vote center in person--a potentially dangerous act during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court then determined that the state's interests in maintaining the deadline did not justify this burden. The court found no evidence that the deadline was necessary to stop voter fraud, or to prevent county officials from becoming overburdened. And the court also rejected Indiana's argument that the deadline was necessary to preserve confidence in the election, explaining that counting every vote would better promote voter confidence. Having determined that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, the court then proceeded to find that all other factors relevant to the issuance of a preliminary injunction were on the plaintiff's side as well.|