University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Parham v. Watson"
Date Nov 1, 2020
Author COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker
External Link
Abstract Mississippi law allows those with permanent or temporary disability to vote absentee if in-person voting could reasonably cause danger to the voter or others. New legislation further establishes that individuals under physicain-imposed quarantine and those caring for such individuals count as disabled and may vote absentee. At the same time, MIssissippi law requires that both applications for absentee ballots and the ballots be witnessed and notarized. Finally, Mississippi requires that signatures on absentee ballots match a second signature on the envelope such ballots are mailed in (the so-called Cure Requirement). Plaintiffs ask the court to declare that Mississippi law allows those who fear COVID transmission to apply for absentee ballots; in the alternative, that the law's failure to allow those fearing COVID transmission to apply for absentee ballots violates the 1st and 14th Amendments; or, in the alternative, that MIssissippi law is unconstitutionally vague and should be construed to permit those fearing COVID transmission to vote absentee. Plaintiffs also seek a declaration that Mississippi's witness and notarization requirements unconstitutionally burden voters 1st and 14th Amendment rights because of the risks and difficulties in witnessing and notarizing applicaitons and ballots during the pandemic. Finally, plaintiffs seek a declaration that Mississippi's Cure Prohibition is unconstitutional under both the procedural and substantive due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. Plaintiffs also seek temporary and permanent injunctions mandating that those fearing COVID transmission be allowed to vote absentee, forbidding application of the witness and notarization requirements for absentee voters, and mandating that county clerks give notice and an opportunity to cure discrepancies between signatures on absentee voter materials.
Source Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

This Resource Relates To
case (VR-MS-0153)

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