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Case Name Self Advocacy Solutions v. Jaeger VR-ND-0005
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00071 ( D.N.D. )
State/Territory North Dakota
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: On May 1, 2020, Self Advocacy Solutions N.D., League ... 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: On May 1, 2020, Self Advocacy Solutions N.D., League of Women Voters of North Dakota, and an individual plaintiff filed a complaint against the Secretary of State of North Dakota and the County Auditor of Grand Forks County to challenge the absence of notice and cure procedures for the state’s signature matching requirement. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction on May 11, which the court granted on June 3.


On May 1, 2020, Self Advocacy Solutions N.D., League of Women Voters of North Dakota, and an individual plaintiff filed a complaint against the Secretary of State of North Dakota and the County Auditor of Grand Forks County to challenge the absence of notice and cure procedures for the state’s signature matching requirement. The plaintiffs brought this as a declaratory action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, and as an injunctive action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought relief enjoining the defendants from enforcing the signature verification procedures, and to afford voters notice and opportunity to confirm the validity of their ballots prior to rejection based on the signature match. The plaintiffs also sought attorney fees and were represented by the Campaign Legal Center and private attorneys. The case was filed at the District Court for the District of North Dakota and assigned to Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal.

On March 26, Governor Burgum announced that all voters in North Dakota were required to vote by mail for the June 9 primaries. To authenticate the ballots, Dakota voting law required election officials to match the signature on the voter’s mail-in ballot to the signature the voter provided in their absentee voting applications. If the election officials determined a discrepancy, the ballot was rejected with no opportunity for the voter to verify their ballot. The plaintiffs alleged that North Dakota’s failure to provide mail-in voters with notice and opportunity to cure posed an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote and violated due process against the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

On May 11, the plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction and also filed a motion to expedite the briefing schedule the following day, which was granted. The defendants submitted a motion in opposition to the preliminary injunction on May 22. They argued that the court should not interfere with the election last-minute, as it is already in progress. They also argued that the plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim because they lack standing, have no injury-in-fact and cannot mount a successful facial challenge. On June 1, a hearing was held on the preliminary motion. The court granted the preliminary injunction on June 3, finding that the signature-matching requirement found is likely facially unconstitutional, and therefore the plaintiffs have established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their procedural due process claim. 2020 WL 2951012.

The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 08/12/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting
Voting access
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
Defendant(s) County Auditor of Grand Forks County
Secretary of State of North Dakota
Plaintiff Description two non-profit organizations and an individual plaintiff
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 Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 05/01/2020
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)
  Self Advocacy Solutions v. Jaeger
Campaign Legal Center
Date: May 1, 2019
By: Campaign Legal Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:20-cv-00071-PDW-ARS (D.N.D.)
VR-ND-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1 (& 1-1 to 1-4)]
VR-ND-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1 (incl. 1-1 to 1-5)]
VR-ND-0005-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 11-1]
VR-ND-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 11 (incl. 11-1 to 11-28)]
VR-ND-0005-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Response of Debbie Nelson, County Auditor of Grand Forks County, in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 18, 18-1]
VR-ND-0005-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Alvin Jaeger's Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 21, 21-1, 21-2, 21-3]
VR-ND-0005-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 29] (2020 WL 2951012) (D.N.D.)
VR-ND-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 31] (2020 WL 3068160) (D.N.D.)
VR-ND-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/05/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Senechal, Alice R. (D.N.D.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-9000
Welte, Peter David (D.N.D.) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0003 | VR-ND-0005-0004 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Braaten, Derrick L. (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Gaber, Mark P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Goetz, Carey A. (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Lang, Danielle Marie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Mulji, Aseem (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Paikowsky, Dana (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Vogel, Sarah (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0001 | VR-ND-0005-0002 | VR-ND-0005-0005 | VR-ND-0005-0007 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Phillips, David R. (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0009 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Sagsveen, Matthew (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0009 | VR-ND-0005-9000
Swanson, Howard D. (North Dakota) show/hide docs
VR-ND-0005-0008 | VR-ND-0005-9000

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