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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

White House drops Obama-era discrimination claim against Texas voter ID law

Professor Edward Foley was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor in an article about how the Trump administration dropped a discrimination claim against a Texas voter ID law. Viewed as one of the strictest voting requirements in the country by voting rights advocates, the law required voters to show one of seven valid forms of ID.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that the law disproportionately impacted minorities and those living in poverty. The court required the state to adjust its requirements before the general election. According to court testimony, Hispanic voters were twice as likely to lack proper ID under the law, while black voters were three times as likely.

“Voting litigation is increasing, not decreasing,” Foley said. “The main impression … is that when a law looks like it’s engaging in outright disenfranchisement of a valid voter, even conservative judges have been stopping that. [But] the judiciary is more tolerant with state legislatures adjusting issues of convenience and accessibility, if the adjustment is not outright disenfranchisement.”
 

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Info & Analysis

Three-Judge Panel Finds Voting Rights Act and Constitutional Violations in Creation of Texas House of Representatives Districts

A little over a month after ruling that Texas\' Congressional redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Consistution, a three-judge panel similarly ruled (2-1) with regard to the creation of Texas\' state-level House of Representatives districts. The court issued a 171-page order in which it ruled for the state on some claims. The court also made separate findings of fact. The case is Perez v. Abbott.

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