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Lawsuits over Mail-In Ballot Laws Abound in Battleground States That Matter in November Election

Last Updated 2 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

by Natalia Mittelstadt

 

Lawsuits across six battleground states will significantly impact the November election as laws regarding mail-in balloting are challenged.

In the states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, lawsuits that have either concluded or remain ongoing over laws about mail-in and absentee ballots are shaping how votes will be counted in the general election.

Republican-led states enacted a higher amount of election-related laws this year compared to Democratic-led states, according to a new Ballotpedia report.

report released by Ballotpedia on Monday found that out of more than 305 election-related bills that were enacted this year, states led by Republicans adopted 64 percent of them. In Democratic-led states, 19 percent election-related bills were enacted.

Regarding absentee/mail-in voting laws, nine were enacted by six states.

As states have enacted new laws, various groups have sued over mail-in voting provisions, procedures, and statutes, arguing that they are either too loose or too strict.

Arizona:

Strong Communities Foundation of Arizona and Eric Lovelis v. Maricopa County

In February, America First Legal (AFL) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Strong Communities Foundation of Arizona and a voter against Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Maricopa County recorder.

The lawsuit alleged that Maricopa County has violated multiple state election laws, such as refusing to maintain chain of custody for ballots and requiring in-person ballot curing for voters, as well as using artificial intelligence for signature verification on ballots instead of only humans.

AFL withdrew the lawsuit and filed a new complaint against the counties of Maricopa, Coconino, and Yavapai in a court in Yavapai County.

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in May in favor of Maricopa County’s motion that the lawsuit against the county should not take place in Yavapai County but instead in Maricopa County.

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Fontes

A state judge ruled against the Arizona Free Enterprise Club in a pair of lawsuits brought against Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (D) over the state’s dropbox and signature matching procedures for mail-in ballots.

The mail-in ballot procedures are part of the Arizona Election Procedures Manual (EPM), which the secretary of state is in charge of putting together.

The judge granted summary judgment to Fontes, ruling that the 2023 EPM “complies with Arizona law.”

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club notified the state court last month that it appealed the decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Georgia:

International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees Local 927 v. Woolard et al.

The International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees Local 927 sued the members of the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections and members of the Georgia State Election Board in federal court over the state’s deadline to receive absentee ballot applications for presidential elections.

The union claims in its lawsuit that the ballot application deadline, which is 11 days before the election, violates the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit argues that the Voting Rights Act requires the deadline be seven days before the election.

The U.S. Department of Justice submitted a statement of interest in the lawsuit, arguing that the Voting Rights Act could be enforced privately, not just by the U.S. attorney general.

Last month, the judge dismissed the State Election Board members from the case, allowing the case to move forward with the Fulton County election board members.

Michigan:

Republican National Committee et al. v. Benson et al.

Last month, a Michigan judge partially ruled against Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s lenient guidance on signature verification, following a lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee, Michigan Republican Party, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

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Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Yates ruled “that the ‘initial presumption’ of validity in signature verification of absentee-ballot applications and envelopes mandated by the December 2023 guidance manual” issued by Benson “is incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the State of Michigan.”

The judge allowed the guidance manual to keep explanations of why signatures may appear different, such as age or writing quickly, contrary to the GOP plaintiffs’ request.

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement regarding the ruling, “This RNC legal victory confirms the importance of mail ballot safeguards in Michigan’s Constitution. The Secretary of State’s covert attempts to sidestep these rules were rightfully rejected by the court, exposing that her attacks on election integrity have no substance. This win is just the latest development in our ongoing fight to promote fair and transparent elections in the Great Lakes State.”

Nevada:

Republican National Committee et al. v. Burgess et al.

In May, the Republican National Committee, the Nevada Republican Party, and the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit against Nevada Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar (D) and county officials over state law allowing mail-in ballots to be counted after Election Day.

The lawsuit argues that state law violates federal law and presumes “that ballots received up to three days after Election Day ‘have been postmarked on or before the day of the election.’”

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP v. Chapman 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in March that Pennsylvania may enforce state law requiring envelopes for mail-in ballots to be dated and include the voter’s signature.

In that case, the plaintiff sued the then-acting secretary of the commonwealth in 2022 regarding Pennsylvania’s decision to void mail-in ballots that are either missing a date on the outer return envelopes or have an incorrect date.

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Pennsylvania counties were ordered by a lower court following a Republican lawsuit in 2022 to reject undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots. The issue was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

After a three-judge panel of the circuit court ruled in favor of the law, the Pennsylvania NAACP requested a rehearing en banc but was denied by the court.

Wisconsin:

Liebert et al. v. Millis et al.

In May, a Wisconsin federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to toss out the witness requirement for absentee voting.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Thursday granted summary judgment against a lawsuit brought by Democratic-aligned election lawyer Marc Elias’ law firm that attempted to cancel the witness requirement for voters who cast absentee ballots. Elias Law Group argued that the witness requirement violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a losing party 30 days to file a notice of appeal, but as of yet no such notice has been filed.

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Natalia Mittelstadt is a reporter for Just the News.
Photo “Ballot Box” by Chris Phan CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 


Reprinted with permission from Just the News.

The post Lawsuits over Mail-In Ballot Laws Abound in Battleground States That Matter in November Election first appeared on The Ohio Star.

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