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Case Name League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund v. Simon VR-MN-0017
Docket / Court 0:20-cv-01205 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
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: This lawsuit was brought on May 19 by the League of ... 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: This lawsuit was brought on May 19 by the League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund and an individual voter to challenge Minnesota’s absentee voting laws requiring the physical presence of a witness. The plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief requiring the defendant to waive the witness requirement for the August 2020 primaries and the November 2020 general elections. No outcome yet.


On May 19, 2020, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund and a registered voter filed a complaint against the Secretary of State of Minnesota to challenge Minnesota’s absentee voting laws. The plaintiffs alleged that Minnesota’s witness requirement and restrictive witness qualifications posed an undue burden on the right to vote in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs also alleged that requiring a witness to be a registered voter with a U.S. citizenship discriminated between U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens by posing burdens to individuals living in mixed immigration status households. The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit as an injunctive and declaratory action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-02. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the defendant to waive the witness requirement for the August 2020 primaries and the November 2020 general elections. The plaintiffs also sought a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from passing any statute or regulations that would directly or indirectly require any voter to obtain a witness signature in 2020. Additionally, the plaintiffs requested an order for the defendant to temporarily modify election materials to avoid instructing any voter to interact with a witness for the purpose of casting an absentee ballot. The plaintiffs also sought attorney fees. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, and the plaintiffs were represented by the Campaign Legal Center and private attorneys. The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung.

Under Minnesota voting laws, an absentee ballot requires the physical presence of a witness who is either a registered Minnesota voter, a notary, or an individual authorized to administer oaths. The plaintiffs argued that the challenged provisions were contrary to social distancing guidelines, as it would require the voter to interact closely with individuals who do not live in their households. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that it would be difficult for the voter and witness to maintain six feet distance throughout the voting process and because they would be required to touch the same Signature Envelope.

On May 29, the plaintiffs also submitted a motion for preliminary injunction. The defendants submitted an answer on June 9, which alleged that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim.

On June 16, the parties proposed partial consent judgment and decree enjoining the defendant from enforcing the witness requirement for the August primaries, and to inform the public and modify instructions accordingly. The same day, the court ordered a fairness hearing to be held on the proposal.

On June 18, the Republican Party of Minnesota filed an emergency motion to continue the hearing, as they wished to intervene. The motion was granted the same day, and on June 20, the Republican Party of Minnesota filed a motion to intervene as defendants. The motion was granted on June 23. The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 07/17/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Voting
Voting access
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Voter qualifications
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Secretary of State of Minnesota
Plaintiff Description the League of Women Voters of Minnesota Education Fund and a registered voter
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 05/19/2020
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 Minnesota v. Simon
Campaign Legal Center
Date: May 19, 2020
By: Campaign Legal Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
0:20-cv-01205-ECT-TNL (D. Minn.)
VR-MN-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-MN-0017-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1 (incl. 1-1 to 1-7)]
VR-MN-0017-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 13]
VR-MN-0017-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 13, 15 (incl. 15-1 to 15-26)]
VR-MN-0017-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 15 (incl. 15-1 to 15-14)]
VR-MN-0017-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/29/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer to Plaintiffs' Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 22]
VR-MN-0017-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 24]
VR-MN-0017-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Partial Consent Judgment and Decree [ECF# 24]
VR-MN-0017-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 26] (D. Minn.)
VR-MN-0017-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Emergency Motion to Continue Hearing [ECF# 29, 30]
VR-MN-0017-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Intervene as Defendants by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Republican National Committee, and Republican Party of Minnesota [ECF# 37, 37-1, 38, 38-1]
VR-MN-0017-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Intervene as Defendants by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Republican National Committee, and Republican Party of Minnesota [ECF# 37, 37-1, 38, 38-1]
VR-MN-0017-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Proposed] Intervenor-Defendants' Opposition to the Proposed Consent Decree [ECF# 41]
VR-MN-0017-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Proposed] Intervenor-Defendants' Opposition to the Proposed Consent Decree [ECF# 41]
VR-MN-0017-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/20/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 45]
VR-MN-0017-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 45]
VR-MN-0017-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Response to Proposed Intervenor's Objections to Partial Consent Decree [ECF# 46]
VR-MN-0017-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Response to Proposed Intervenor's Objections to Partial Consent Decree [ECF# 46, 47, 47-1]
VR-MN-0017-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Hillary Taylor in Support of Defendant's Response to Proposed Intervenor's Objections to Partial Consent Decree [ECF# 47]
VR-MN-0017-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Proposed Consent Decree [ECF# 48]
VR-MN-0017-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Proposed Consent Decree [ECF# 48, 48-1]
VR-MN-0017-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Partial Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 49]
VR-MN-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Partial Opposition to Motion to Intervene [ECF# 49]
VR-MN-0017-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Proposed] Intervenor-Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Abeyance Request [ECF# 51]
VR-MN-0017-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Leung, Tony N. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-9000
Tostrud, Eric Christian (D. Minn.) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0017 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Diaz, Jonathan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0001 | VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015 | VR-MN-0017-0023 | VR-MN-0017-0024 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Erickson, Amy Elizabeth (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Gaber, Mark P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0001 | VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0015 | VR-MN-0017-0023 | VR-MN-0017-0024 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Jackson, Caleb (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015
Klein, Julia Dayton (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0001 | VR-MN-0017-0003 | VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015 | VR-MN-0017-0016 | VR-MN-0017-0023 | VR-MN-0017-0024 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Lang, Danielle Marie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0001 | VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015 | VR-MN-0017-0023 | VR-MN-0017-0024 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Zalesin, Jeffrey (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0004 | VR-MN-0017-0005 | VR-MN-0017-0006 | VR-MN-0017-0014 | VR-MN-0017-0015
Defendant's Lawyers Crosland, Stewart (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0002 | VR-MN-0017-0023
Ellison, Benjamin L (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0002 | VR-MN-0017-0023
Ellison, Keith (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0007 | VR-MN-0017-0011
Gore, John M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0002 | VR-MN-0017-0023
Harris, Jeffrey M. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0008 | VR-MN-0017-0009 | VR-MN-0017-0013 | VR-MN-0017-0018 | VR-MN-0017-0019 | VR-MN-0017-0020
Marisam, Jason (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0007 | VR-MN-0017-0010 | VR-MN-0017-0011 | VR-MN-0017-0021 | VR-MN-0017-0022 | VR-MN-0017-9000
McCarthy, Thomas R. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0008 | VR-MN-0017-0009 | VR-MN-0017-0013 | VR-MN-0017-0018 | VR-MN-0017-0019 | VR-MN-0017-0020 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Miltich, Cicely (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0010 | VR-MN-0017-0011 | VR-MN-0017-0021 | VR-MN-0017-0022
Morgan, Richard G. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0008 | VR-MN-0017-0009 | VR-MN-0017-0013 | VR-MN-0017-0018 | VR-MN-0017-0019 | VR-MN-0017-0020 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Norris, Cameron T. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0008 | VR-MN-0017-0009 | VR-MN-0017-0013 | VR-MN-0017-0018 | VR-MN-0017-0019 | VR-MN-0017-0020 | VR-MN-0017-9000
Strawbridge, Patrick (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0008 | VR-MN-0017-0009 | VR-MN-0017-0013 | VR-MN-0017-0019 | VR-MN-0017-0020
Taylor, Hilary S. (Ohio) show/hide docs
VR-MN-0017-0010 | VR-MN-0017-0011 | VR-MN-0017-0012 | VR-MN-0017-0021 | VR-MN-0017-0022 | VR-MN-0017-9000

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