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Litigation

United States v. Alabama

Case Information

Date Filed / Ended: May 1, 2006 / September 18, 2008
State: Alabama
Issue: State Voter Registration Databases
Courts that Heard this Case: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama (Case 2:06-cv-00392-WKW-SRW)

Issue:

Whether Alabama has failed to comply with the Help America Vote Act by not implementing technology or procedures required to create a statewide voter registration database.

Status:

Substance of D's HAVA compliance plan accepted, timeline rejected. Court has appointed Governor Bob Riley as Special Master to administer the plan.  Final Status Report filed by the Special Master on 8/22/08.  Final Order and Judgment issued on 9/18/08.

Case Summary

In this case, the United States has brought an action to enforce the requirements of §303(a) and §303(b) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA"). It is alleged that Defendants, the State of Alabama and the Alabama Secretary of State, have failed to comply with these HAVA requirements by failing to implement new technology that would create and maintain a centralized voter registration list. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have failed to: (1) publish any regulations regarding the creation of maintenance of a centralized voter registration list; (2) contract with any company to develop a centralized voter registration list; (3) develop technical requirements necessary for the implementation of a centralized voter registration list; (4) coordinate state agency databases with a centralized voter registration list; (5) require voter registration applicants to provide their driver license number or last four digits of their social security number; and, (6) coordinate with the Social Security Administration to match data from the centralized voter registration list with information from the federal social security number database. Accordingly, Plaintiff is now seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring Defendants to comply with these HAVA requirements.

District Court Documents

Related Links

Commentary

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral Fix We Really Need

Edward B. Foley

The Electoral College winner should be the majority choice in each state that counts towards that Electoral College victory.

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In the News

Edward B. Foley

Gerrymandering Is Headed Back to the Supreme Court

Professor Edward Foley was requoted in Mother Jones about a gerrymandering case in Wisconsin on its way to the Supreme Court. Other legal actions on partisan gerrymandering in Maryland and in North Carolina may be bound for the Supreme Court as well.

While previous Supreme Court cases have noted that partisan gerrymanders are “incompatible with democratic principles,” The New York Times originally reported, the court has never officially struck a case down. While it remains unseen how the Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming cases, a 2004 ruling from a previous gerrymandering case could play a pivotal role in how the court stands in the future. 

“The ordered working of our Republic, and of the democratic process, depends on a sense of decorum and restraint in all branches of government, and in the citizenry itself,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in 2004. Kennedy’s statement is “the most important line” in the decision, Foley told The New York Times, adding,  “He’s going to look at what’s going on in North Carolina as the complete absence of that. I think that helps the plaintiffs in any of these cases.”


 

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Info & Analysis

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Wisconsin Gerrymandering Case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider a gerrymandering case involving Wisconsin state legislative districts. The court also granted a request by the state to temporarily block the lower court\'s decision until the appeal is resolved. The case is Gill v. Whitford.

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