ArticleHeader-VotingRights

Clinton Lawyer Marc Elias Among Those Behind Major New Voting Rights Lawsuit in Wisconsin

Here is how the complaint for the lawsuit filed in federal court in Wisconsin begins:

This lawsuit concerns the most fundamental of rights guaranteed citizens in our representative democracy—the right to vote. That right has been under attack in Wisconsin since Republicans gained control of the governor’s office and both houses of the State Legislature in the 2010 election. Indeed, since 2011, the State of Wisconsin has twice reduced in-person absentee (“early”) voting, introduced restrictions on voter registration, changed its residency requirements, enacted a law that encourages invasive poll monitoring, eliminated straight-ticket voting, eliminated for most (but not all) citizens the option to obtain an absentee ballot by fax or email, and imposed a voter identification (“voter ID”) requirement. These measures were intended to burden, abridge, and deny, and have had and will have the effect of burdening, abridging, and denying, the voting rights of Wisconsinites generally and of African-American, Latino, young, and/or Democratic voters in Wisconsin in particular.

As set forth below, these and the other provisions challenged in this Complaint (the “challenged provisions”) violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. § 10301, and/or the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifteenth Amendment, and/or the Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The challenged provisions should therefore be declared illegal and enjoined.

A few thoughts:

1. As with the new Ohio litigation, the case is not officially being brought by the Clinton campaign but is being backed by the Clinton’s general counsel, Marc Elias. It is hard to believe such a suit would not be brought with Marc’s involvement without political vetting by the Clinton campaign.

2. These lawsuits serve a political purpose even if they are not successful legally. They keep the issue of voter suppression in the minds of Democratic constituencies and help galvanize Democratic voters. It puts Democrats on the offensive rather than the defensive.

3. As to the chances of success, if this case gets before the same federal judge which initially struck down Wisconsin’s voter id law, this case could well have a good chance of success. [Update: The case was filed in Western district, and Judge Adelman (as well as Judge Randa, who would not be a good draw for Democrats) is in the Eastern district.] But its fate is much less certain before the 7th Circuit (which reversed that district court opinion) or the Supreme Court. These cases are hard to win, especially if they are premised on a “retrogression” theory.  But we’ll see.  It is really too early for me to to say.

Source: http://electionlawblog.org/?p=72945


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