University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name The New Georgia Project v. Raffensperger VR-GA-0169
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01986 ( N.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
COVID-19 summary: On May 8, 2020, two voters and a non-profit organization sued the Georgia Secretary of State, the Georgia State Election Board, and the Board of Registration and Elections of various counties to enjoin various absentee voting laws during COVID-19. The plaintiff sought declaratory ... read more >
COVID-19 summary: On May 8, 2020, two voters and a non-profit organization sued the Georgia Secretary of State, the Georgia State Election Board, and the Board of Registration and Elections of various counties to enjoin various absentee voting laws during COVID-19. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They also submitted a motion for a preliminary injunction for the upcoming November 3 election. No outcome yet.


On May 8, 2020, two voters and a non-profit organization seeking to improve voter education filed a suit against the Georgia Secretary of State, the Georgia State Election Board, and the Board of Registration and Elections of various counties to enjoin various absentee voting laws during COVID-19. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the plaintiffs brought this declaratory and injunctive action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 52 U.S.C. §§ 10301-02. Specifically, the plaintiffs challenged the lack of standards in the “Absentee Application Notification Process” governing the notification process for incomplete absentee ballot applications, the “Absentee Postage Tax,” which requires the voter to pay for postage to return an absentee ballot, the “Election Day Receipt Deadline,” requiring the mail-in ballots to be received by 7 pm on Election Day, as well as the “Voter Assistance Ban,” prohibiting third-party assistance for voters casting absentee ballots. The plaintiffs sought relief declaring the challenged voting laws as undue burdens on the right to vote. The plaintiffs also sought injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from enforcing the Election Day deadline for ballots postmarked on Election Day which arrives at the county office within five business days after Election Day. Further, the plaintiffs sought an injunction requiring the defendants to provide postage to their absentee ballots, allow any third parties to assist in the collection of absentee ballots, and to use a non-uniform standard to notify voters of application deficiencies. Represented by private attorneys, the plaintiffs also sought attorney fees. The case was initially assigned to Judge Leigh Martin May, then reassigned to Judge Eleanor L. Ross.

This suit was filed after the Georgia 2020 primary elections, as the plaintiffs anticipated higher rates of absentee voting, paired with an overburdened postal system for the November 2o2o general elections. The plaintiffs noted that given the majority of absentee voters will have no prior experience voting by mail prior to November and more likely to err in filing the vote, the current Notification Process must be improved. Further, the plaintiffs alleged that the Election Day Receipt Deadline threatened to disenfranchise voters whose ballots, through no fault of their own, did not arrive by the deadline due to increased burdens to postal service during the pandemic. The plaintiffs further alleged that the current Absentee Applicant Notification Process and Election Day Receipt Deadline violated the due process clause and that requiring the voters to pay for postage unconstitutionally increased monetary transaction costs to voting in violation of the Fourteenth and Twenty-Fourth Amendments. Lastly, the plaintiffs contended that the “Voter Assistance Ban” constituted an unreasonable restriction on speech in violation of the First Amendment for voters without family or household members.

On June 3, 2020, the plaintiffs amended the complaint to add another plaintiff and to challenge the “Absentee Application Age Restriction,” which requires voters under the age of 65 to submit an absentee ballot application for each election cycle. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs sought to preliminarily and permanently allow voters to submit one application to vote by mail for the entire election cycle. The plaintiffs also argued that the “Voter Assistance Ban” was preempted by Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act.

On June 10, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction for the November 3, 2020 election. On June 26, the defendant submitted a motion to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim and to establish standing, claiming that the plaintiff’s purported injury is “no more than a fear that certain events may unfold at some ill-defined point in the future.” The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 07/04/2020


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Voting
Voting access
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Voter qualifications
Voter registration rules
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Voting Rights Act, unspecified, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 et seq (previously 42 U.S.C § 1973 et seq.)
Defendant(s) Albany-Dougherty County Joint Board of Registration and Elections
Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections and Voter Registration
Chatham County Board of Registrars
Clayton County Board of Elections and Registrations
Cobb County Board of Elections and Registration
Columbus-Muscogee County Board of Elections
De Kalb County Board of Registration and Elections
Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration
Fayette County Board of Elections and Voter Registration
Forsyth County Board of Registrations and Elections
Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections
Georgia Secretary of State
Georgia State Election Board and the Board of Registration
Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections
Henry County Board of Elections and Registration
Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections
Newton County Board of Elections and Registration
Richmond County Board of Elections
Rockdale County Board of Elections and Voter Registration
Plaintiff Description two voters and a non-profit organization seeking to improve voter education
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 05/08/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:20-cv-01986-ELR (N.D. Ga.)
VR-GA-0169-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-GA-0169-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 33]
VR-GA-0169-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 57, 57-1, 58]
VR-GA-0169-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
County Defendants' Consolidated Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 82, 82-1]
VR-GA-0169-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [ECF# 83, 83-1, 83-2]
VR-GA-0169-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Ross, Eleanor Louise (N.D. Ga.) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Callais, Amanda R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Hamilton, Kevin J. (Washington) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Holstein, Stephanie R (Washington) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Knapp, Halsey G Jr (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Lewis, Joyce Gist (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Smith, K’Shaani O (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Sparks, Adam Martin (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Timmermann, Lilian Magarita (Colorado) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0001 | VR-GA-0169-0002 | VR-GA-0169-0003 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Belinfante, Joshua Barrett (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Boughey, Timothy M (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Brown, Wayne (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Burwell, Kaye Woodard (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Carr, Christopher M. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005
Clark, James Clinton Jr (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Cole, David Alan (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Davenport, Jennifer R (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Denton, Alexander Fraser (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Hancock, Jack Reynolds (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Hart, Ralph Jonathan (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Hawkins, John Matthew (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Jacoutot, Bryan Francis (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Jaugstetter, Patrick D (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Johnson, Melanie Leigh (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Josey, Virginia Candace (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Lake, Brian Edward (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
LaRoss, Diane Festin (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Linkous, William J. III (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Lowman, David R (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Mack, Rachel Nicole (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Martin, Megan Nicole (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
McGowan, Charlene S. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-9000
Miller, Carey Allen (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Momo, Shelley Driskell (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Noland, William H (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Paradise, Loree Anne (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Ringer, Cheryl (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Robin, Kenneth Paul (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Russo, Vincent Robert Jr. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Sabzevari, A Ali (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004
Snipes, Alan G. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Sowell, Gregory C (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Tyson, Bryan P (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Vander Els, Irene B. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Webb, Brian K. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005
White, Daniel W (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0004 | VR-GA-0169-9000
Willard, Russell D. (Georgia) show/hide docs
VR-GA-0169-0005

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -