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Case Name League of Women Voters of Virginia v. Virginia State Board of Elections VR-VA-0067
Docket / Court 6:20-cv-00024 ( W.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
NOTE: This case is being tracked in close to real time by the Stanford/MIT Healthy Elections Project. So for more current information, see their tracker. COVID 19 summary: The League of Women Voters of Virginia and three ... read more >
NOTE: This case is being tracked in close to real time by the Stanford/MIT Healthy Elections Project. So for more current information, see their tracker. COVID 19 summary: The League of Women Voters of Virginia and three individual voters filed a suit against the Virginia State Board of Elections to remove Virginia’s witness requirement. The parties reached a partial agreement, which the court approved in a consent decree, to remove the requirement for the June 23, 2020 elections. On August 5, the parties came to an agreement to stop enforcement of the witness requirement for the November 3 General Election and collectively sought approval of a partial consent judgment, which the court approved on August 21. The case is ongoing.


On April 17, 2020, the League of Women Voters of Virginia and three individual voters filed a complaint against the Virginia State Board of Elections to remove Virginia’s witness requirement in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Virginia, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, 52 U.S.C. § 10302 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief for violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Specifically, they alleged that requiring absentee ballots to be marked in the presence of a witness was contrary to social distancing guidelines and that forcing voters to comply amid the COVID-19 pandemic unduly burdened the fundamental right to vote by forcing voters to choose between their safety and right to vote. Additionally, they alleged that the requirement disproportionately discriminated against elderly voters, African American voters, and voters with disabilities who face a heightened risk of illness from COVID-19. The case was assigned to Judge Norman K. Moon.

On April 21, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction that would: (1) prohibit the defendants from enforcing the witness requirement for the June 23 primary and all subsequent elections; (2) order the defendants to issue guidance instructing city and county election officials to count otherwise validly cast absentee ballots that are missing a witness signature for the June 23 primary election; (3) order the defendants to conduct a public campaign informing Virginia voters about the elimination of the requirement.

On April 23, a group of three individuals filed a motion to intervene as defendants. The next day, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) and another group of three voters also filed a motion to intervene. The following day, all of the individuals' requests to intervene were denied because they would unnecessarily expand the scope of the litigation and detract from timely resolution. 2020 WL 2090679. However, the RPV’s motion to intervene was granted. 2020 WL 2090678.

On April 27, the parties filed a joint motion for a partial consent decree, agreeing to withdraw the preliminary injunction motion in exchange for the defendant’s agreement to forego enforcement of the witness requirement for the June Primary.

On May 5, Judge Moon approved the partial consent decree. 2020 WL 2158249. The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Robert S. Ballou for all nondispositive pretrial motions and issues.

On June 19, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint with one of the named plaintiffs removed. On July 17, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint with three additional plaintiffs who are at higher risk from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions.

The plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction for the upcoming November 3 election and other subsequent elections affected by COVID-19 on July 23.

On August 5, the parties came to an agreement to stop enforcement of the witness requirement for the November 3 General Election and collectively sought approval of a partial consent judgment.

The district court approved the second consent judgment and decree on August 21, finding that the same reasons for the previous consent decree carry even more force, as the pandemic has resurged. 2020 WL 4927524.

A bench trial is scheduled for May 19-21, 2021. The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 09/22/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Race discrimination
General
Voting
Voting access
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Voting
Election administration
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Voting Rights Act, section 2, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973)
Defendant(s) Secretary of the Virginia Board of Elections
Chairman of the Virginia Board of Elections
Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections
Vice-Chair of the Virginia Board of Elections
Virginia State Board of Elections
Plaintiff Description League of Women Voters of Virginia and three individual voters seeking removal of Virginia’s witness requirement.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
None yet
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 04/17/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  League of Women Voters of Virginia v. Virginia State Board of Elections
https://www.aclu.org/
Date: May 5, 2020
By: ACLU
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  League of Women Voters of Virginia v. Virginia State Board of Elections
https://acluva.org/
Date: Apr. 17, 2020
By: ACLU of Virginia
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
6:20-cv-00024 (W.D. Va.)
VR-VA-0067-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
VR-VA-0067-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Brief in Support [ECF# 16, 17 (& 17-1 to 17-6)]
VR-VA-0067-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Intervene and Brief in Support [ECF# 22, 22-1, 22-2, 23]
VR-VA-0067-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Intervene of the Republican Party of Virginia, Vicki Burns, Vince Falter, Mildred H. Scott, and Thomas Turner and Memorandum in Support [ECF# 28, 28-1, 28-2, 29]
VR-VA-0067-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Partial Consent Judgment and Decree and Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 35, 35-1, 36]
VR-VA-0067-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Voter Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Preliminary-Injunction Motion [ECF# 37]
VR-VA-0067-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Consolidated Brief in Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 40, 40-1, 40-2]
VR-VA-0067-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Proposed Intervenors, Republican Party of Virginia, Inc., et al., in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 44, 44-1, 44-2]
VR-VA-0067-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and Landmark Legal Foundation as Amici Curiae [ECF# 48, 48-1, 48-2]
VR-VA-0067-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 49]
VR-VA-0067-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Intervene [ECF# 53]
VR-VA-0067-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Intervenor, Republican Party of Virginia, Inc., in Opposition to Motion for Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 58 (& 58-1 to 58-4)]
VR-VA-0067-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 59] (2020 WL 2090678) (W.D. Va.)
VR-VA-0067-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 61 (& 61-1 to 61-3)]
VR-VA-0067-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Reply Brief in Support of Joint Motion for Entry of Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 62, 62-1]
VR-VA-0067-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply in Support of Joint Motion for Entry of Partial Consent Judgment and Decree (Part 1/2) [ECF# 64, 64-1, 64-2, 64-3, 64-4]
VR-VA-0067-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits E and F of Reply in Support of Joint Motion for Entry of Partial Consent Judgment and Decree (Part 2/2) [ECF# 64-5, 64-6]
VR-VA-0067-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Partial Consent Judgment and Decree and Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 68, 69] (W.D. Va.)
VR-VA-0067-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Answer to Complaint for Injunctive Declaratory Relief [ECF# 72]
VR-VA-0067-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 81]
VR-VA-0067-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 84]
VR-VA-0067-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Entry of Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 95, 95-1, 96, 96-1, 96-2]
VR-VA-0067-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 109] (2020 WL 4927524) (W.D. Va.)
VR-VA-0067-0023.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 110, 110-1, 110-2] (W.D. Va.)
VR-VA-0067-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/21/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Ballou, Robert S. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-9000
Moon, Norman K. (W.D. Va.) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0012 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0023 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Agraharkar, Vishal Mahendra (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Cepeda Derieux, Adriel I. (New York) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Heilman, Eden Brooke (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Hellman, Eden B. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0024
Ho, Dale E. (New York) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Lakin, Sophia L. (New York) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Lee, Theresa J. (New York) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Rosborough, Davin McKay (New York) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0001 | VR-VA-0067-0002 | VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0006 | VR-VA-0067-0013 | VR-VA-0067-0014 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0020 | VR-VA-0067-0021 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Calvin Cameron (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Herring, Mark R. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0009 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0016 | VR-VA-0067-0017 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024
Kallen, Michelle S. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0009 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0016 | VR-VA-0067-0017 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Lewis, Carol Louise (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0009 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0016 | VR-VA-0067-0017 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Lockerman, Heather Hays (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0004 | VR-VA-0067-0009 | VR-VA-0067-0015 | VR-VA-0067-0016 | VR-VA-0067-0017 | VR-VA-0067-0022 | VR-VA-0067-0024 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Other Lawyers Adams, John Christian (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0008 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Bopp, James Jr. (Indiana) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0003 | VR-VA-0067-0005 | VR-VA-0067-0010 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Braden, E. Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Craig, Graven Winslow (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0008 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Forys, Matthew C (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0008
Henry, Patrick Cullen II (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0003 | VR-VA-0067-0005 | VR-VA-0067-0010 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Johnson, Noel H. (Indiana) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0008
Lewis, Patrick T (Ohio) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Lienhard, John P. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-9000
Marrs, Bradley Phipps (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0003 | VR-VA-0067-0005 | VR-VA-0067-0010 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Marston, Christopher Michael (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019 | VR-VA-0067-9000
McKnight, Katherine L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019
Milbank, Courtney Turner (Indiana) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0003 | VR-VA-0067-0005 | VR-VA-0067-0010 | VR-VA-0067-9000
O’Neill, Michael J (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0008
Raile, Richard B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019 | VR-VA-0067-9000
Stanley, Trevor Marshall (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-VA-0067-0007 | VR-VA-0067-0011 | VR-VA-0067-0019 | VR-VA-0067-9000

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