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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Litigation

 

King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell

Case Information

Date Filed: August 31, 2006
State: Ohio
Issue: Improper Election Administration
Courts that Heard this Case: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Case 2:06-cv-00745-ALM-TPK)

Issue:

Whether the rights, privileges, and immunities guaranteed to Plaintiffs by the Civil Rights Act, and the First, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been violated by the past and ongoing conduct of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell in connection with past elections in Ohio.

Status:

Motion for Reconsideration of Opinion and Order filed 12/3/10.  Responses in Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration filed 12/17/10.  Plaintiffs' Replies in Response to Motion for Reconsideration filed 1/3/11.  Notice of Developments in the Northern District of Ohio in Regard to Plaintiff's Proposed Filing filed 1/19/11.  State's Notice Opposing any Discover and Requesting a Status Conference filed 2/8/11.  Plaintiff's Response to Motion Requesting Status Conference filed 2/25/11.  Order Setting Status Conference entered 5/12/11. Plaintiff's Brief on Jurisdisction, Discovery, and Evidence issues filed 7/15/11.  Reply to Plaintiff's Brief on Jurisdisction, Discovery, and Evidence issues filed 8/16/11. Opinion and Order Dismissing Case filed 2/7/12.

Summary

Individual voters and three voters' rights groups sued Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell alleging that Blackwell allocated election resources in a racially discriminatory manner and instituted racially discriminatory procedures for provisional voting, purging voters from the statewide voter registration database, and maintaining the chain of custody of ballots. The complaint alleged that these actions led to the dilution and/or cancellation of plaintiffs' vote due to ballot cancellation and tampering, long poll lines, mechanical difficulties with voting machines, and unclear precinct boundaries. The complaint claims that plaintiffs reasonably fear these problems will recur in the November, 2006, election, and asks the court to appoint a special master to perform Blackwell's election administration duties in that election.

District Court Documents

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Back in 2004, those of us who worked on election law here at Ohio State realized that Ohio might play a pivotal role in the upcoming presidential election. (It did, but for the sake of the nation not as pivotally as it might have.) We also knew that 2004 would be the first presidential election after passage of the Help America Vote Act, with all its new rules on voter registration databases, voter identification, and provisional ballots. We thought it might be useful if, as a team, we tried to get up to speed on the new terrain of “election administration law,” which had been a sleepy field in terms of scholarship before 2000. We had a sense that teamwork would enable us to produce various forms of useful scholarship that we could not accomplish working separately.

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