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Case Name Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans v. Benson VR-MI-0078
Docket / Court 20-000108-MM ( State Court )
Additional Docket(s) 20-0000108-MM  [ 20-108 ]  Trial Court (MI)
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
This lawsuit was filed on June 2, 2020 in the Michigan state court of claims. Represented by private counsel, three individual plaintiffs, the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn ... read more >
This lawsuit was filed on June 2, 2020 in the Michigan state court of claims. Represented by private counsel, three individual plaintiffs, the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Detroit/Downriver Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel over three Michigan voting laws. First was a law that rejected all absentee ballots that are not delivered to the clerk by 8 p.m. on election day (the Ballot Receipt Deadline). The second was a law that required voters to use their own stamps to mail the ballots (the Postage Requirement). Third was a law that prohibited parties outside of election officials, postal workers, and a voter's immediate family from handling their absentee ballots (the Voter Assistance Ban). The plaintiffs argued that these laws were in violation of the Michigan constitution's guarantee of the right to vote absentee, the right to vote, due process, and free speech. They also argued that the voter assistance ban was preempted by federal law, specifically in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief in the form of preliminary and permanent injunctions that would prohibit the state of Michigan from enforcing these three laws. They also sought attorneys' fees and costs.

On June 10, the court ordered that the case be consolidated with two other cases, Black v. Benson and Davis v. Benson. Nine days later, the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate moved to intervene as defendants. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants submitted memoranda in opposition to their intervention. On July 2, however, the court denied these motions, but allowed the bodies to submit amici briefs. Also on July 2, the Republican National Committee and the Michigan Republican Party moved to intervene. The court issued a similar order on July 14, denying the motion to intervene but granting amici status.

Throughout the last few weeks of July, the parties filed supplemental briefs that drew on a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals in League of Women Voters of Michigan v. Secretary of State. That case answered the question of whether the Ballot Receipt Deadline was in violation of the Michigan constitution -- the court of appeals concluded that it did not. So the parties submitted their reports outlining how they thought that case impacted the claims in this case going forward.

The case is ongoing as of August 10, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 08/10/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Supremacy Clause
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Voter qualifications
Causes of Action State law
Voting Rights Act, section 208 (assistance for disabled persons), 52 U.S.C. § 10508 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-6)
Defendant(s) Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson
Plaintiff Description Detroit/Downriver Chapter of A. Philip Randolph Institute, Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and private individuals
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 06/02/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing VR-MI-0076 : League of Women Voters v. Benson (State Court)
Additional Resources
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  Michigan
https://www.democracydocket.com/
Date: Jun. 2, 2020
By: Democracy Docket
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
20-000108-MM (State Trial Court)
VR-MI-0078-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/31/2020
Source: State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint
VR-MI-0078-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2020
Source: State Court Website
show all people docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Jacki Lynn (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001
Elgart, Courtney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001
Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001
Jasrasaria, Jyoti (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001
Nkwonta, Uzoma (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001
Prescott, Sarah (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-0001 | VR-MI-0078-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Grill, Erik A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-9000
Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-9000
Steinberger, Michael K (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-9000
Wilder, Kurtis T (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0078-9000

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