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.
New Mexico ex rel. Riddle v. Oliver
New Mexico ex rel. Riddle v. Oliver, No. S-1-SC-38228 (N.M. Sup. Ct.)
|Case Summary||Petitioners are County Clerks and therefore responsible for administering elections and the election process in each county of New Mexico. Petitioners are (1) required to appoint and confirm the willingness of all Election Boards to work on the primary and general elections by April 21, 2020, (2) responsible for hiring additional election workers, as needed, and (3) required to conduct a site inspection of each location chosen to serve as a voting center at least 30 days prior to the election. Petitioners argue that they must either abide by the Election Code or violate their respective oaths of office to protect voters and staff. Petitioners argued that the NM Secretary of State is duty-bound to abide by the Election Code and an order by the Governor or Secretary of State to change the manner of elections would violate the NM Constitution (as time, place and manner of voting is in the purview of the Legislature). Petitioners reached out to the Governor's office requesting the Governor call the Legislature to a Special Session but that request was denied (and, Petitioners argue, a Special Session is not truly feasible or safe during a pandemic). Petitioners claimed there was no adequate remedy available at law and therefore turned to the Court for equitable relief. Petitioners asked the Court to issue a writ directing Respondents to (1) do away with in-person voting and use mail-in ballots only, (2) order polling places not to operate, (3) deliver ballots to voters in accordance with the procedures for special elections, and (4) operate alternate in-person polling places for voters that require assistance. The Supreme Court ruled from the bench, unanimously (1) ordered the Secretary of State to mail to all registered voters an absentee ballot application, (2) ordered in-person voting to proceed (in accordance with legal/health guidelines, and (3) denied all other relief requested.|
|Type of Court||State|
|Issue Tag(s)||In-Person Voting COVID Concern (Suspension of In-Person Voting)|
|Dispositive Ruling(s)||03/30/2020: Petition|
|04/14/2020: Order/Ruling, The Court ordered New Mexico to mail an application for a mail-in ballot to every major party absentee voter in New Mexico who had not yet submitted an absentee ballot for the 2020 primary election, and to conduct in-person voting for the primary election, whether on Election Day or early voting, in compliance with all New Mexico public health orders.|