Case: The College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson

3:18-cv-12722 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: Aug. 30, 2018

Closed Date: June 11, 2019

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Case Summary

On August 30th, 2018, several student groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs sued the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, and the Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, Sally Williams under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988 for alleged constitutional violations of the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. The plaintiffs, represented by a combination of public interest and private attorneys, sought declaratory and injunc…

On August 30th, 2018, several student groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs sued the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, and the Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, Sally Williams under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988 for alleged constitutional violations of the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. The plaintiffs, represented by a combination of public interest and private attorneys, sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the State from enforcing Public Act 118, also known as Roger’s Law, which plaintiffs alleged put significant barriers in place for college aged students who wanted to vote. The case was assigned to District Judge Robert H. Cleland.

Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that Roger’s Law placed two major barriers in the way of students seeking to vote: Strict matching requirements and requirement that a person first vote in person. The strict matching requirement prohibited college students, who had their home address listed on state identification, from using said identification to register to vote in their college town. The in-person voting requirement prohibited college students, who would need to return to their permanent addresses to vote, from voting if they were far from home. Plaintiff claimed that these laws were driven to enactment by discriminatory intent, as shown through the explicit statement by the legislation’s drafter that he didn’t care if college-aged students couldn’t vote.

The complaint was later amended on September 7th, 2018, to add new plaintiffs, specifically more student groups.

On September 8th, 2018, a motion for preliminary injunction was filed, but stayed while the parties negotiated a potential settlement. Along with the motion, the plaintiffs filed an expert report from Stanford Political Science Professor Jonathan Rodden supporting their arguments. 2018 WL 10072776. On September 25, the plaintiffs voluntarily withdrew their preliminary injunction. They did this because of their preparations for the 2018 midterm elections, and the potential impact that the elections would have on the outcome of the case. Status updates were moved to January 9, 2019.

Status updates were further delayed as the Whitmer administration was sworn in and implemented policies that expanded access to vote-by-mail programs. The plaintiffs submitted a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case on June 5, 2019, perhaps because of progress toward the plaintiff's asks by the Whitmer administration. Judge Cleland dismissed the case on June 11; the case is closed.

Summary Authors

Raul Noguera-McElroy (2/15/2019)

Ellen Aldin (6/22/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7783208/parties/college-democrats-at-the-university-of-michigan-v-johnson/


Judge(s)

Cleland, Robert Hardy (Michigan)

Davis, Stephanie Dawkins (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Anderson, Jacki Lynn (District of Columbia)

Berlin, Hayley L. (District of Columbia)

Dul, Sambo (Arizona)

Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia)

Frost, Elisabeth C. (District of Columbia)

Marshall, Brian Simmonds (District of Columbia)

Totten, Mark Allan (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barton, Denise C. (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Cleland, Robert Hardy (Michigan)

Davis, Stephanie Dawkins (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Anderson, Jacki Lynn (District of Columbia)

Berlin, Hayley L. (District of Columbia)

Dul, Sambo (Arizona)

Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia)

Frost, Elisabeth C. (District of Columbia)

Marshall, Brian Simmonds (District of Columbia)

Totten, Mark Allan (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barton, Denise C. (Michigan)

Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan)

Mertens, Scott A (Michigan)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Rodden, Jonathan PhD (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:18-cv-12722

Docket

College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson

June 11, 2019

June 11, 2019

Docket
1

3:18-cv-12722

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson

Aug. 30, 2018

Aug. 30, 2018

Complaint
13-3

3:18-cv-12722

Expert Report of Jonathan Rodden, PhD

College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson

2018 WL 10072776

Sept. 6, 2018

Sept. 6, 2018

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
12

3:18-cv-12722

First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson

Sept. 7, 2018

Sept. 7, 2018

Complaint
26

3:18-cv-12722

Stipulated Order to Continue the Stay of Proceedings and Postpone Status Conference

Jan. 3, 2019

Jan. 3, 2019

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7783208/college-democrats-at-the-university-of-michigan-v-johnson/

Last updated Aug. 2, 2022, 3:26 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT filed by College Democrats at Michigan State University, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Michigan Federation of College Democrats against All Defendants. Plaintiff requests summons issued. Receipt No: 0645-6885434 - Fee: $ 400. County of 1st Plaintiff: Washtenaw - County Where Action Arose: Washtenaw - County of 1st Defendant: Ingham. [Previously dismissed case: No] [Possible companion case(s): None] (Anderson, Jacki) (Entered: 08/30/2018)

Aug. 30, 2018

Aug. 30, 2018

Clearinghouse
7

Appearance

Sept. 4, 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

PACER
2

SUMMONS Issued for *Ruth Johnson* (LGra) (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Aug. 31, 2018

Aug. 31, 2018

10

File Excess Pages

Sept. 7, 2018

Sept. 7, 2018

PACER
3

SUMMONS Issued for *Sally Williams* (LGra) (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Aug. 31, 2018

Aug. 31, 2018

11

Appearance

Sept. 7, 2018

Sept. 7, 2018

PACER
4

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE: Mark Allan Totten appearing on behalf of All Plaintiffs (Totten, Mark) (Entered: 08/31/2018)

Aug. 31, 2018

Aug. 31, 2018

12

Civil Case - Complaint, Amended

Sept. 7, 2018

Sept. 7, 2018

Clearinghouse
5

CERTIFICATE of Service/Summons Returned Executed. Sally Williams served on 08/31/2018. (Anderson, Jacki) (Entered: 09/04/2018)

Sept. 4, 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

13

Preliminary Injunction

1 Index of Exhibits

View on PACER

2 Exhibit A - Declaration of Jacki Anderson

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3 Exhibit 1 - Expert Report of Jonathan Rodden

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4 Exhibit 2 - Expert Report of Peter Levine and Prabhat Gautam

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5 Exhibit 3 - Michigan Senate, March 18, 1999 Transcript

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6 Exhibit 4 - Floor Session, Michigan House of Representatives

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7 Exhibit 5 - Driver License/Voter Address

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8 Exhibit 6 - Motor/Voter Implementation

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9 Exhibit 7 - Michigan Senate Journal, 90th Legislature, Regular Session

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10 Exhibit 8 - Michigan Opinion of the Attorney General, No. 6930

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11 Exhibit 9 - Hearing Before the Michigan House of Representatives Standing Commit

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12 Exhibit 10 - Governors Remarks upon Signing SB 432 into Law

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13 Exhibit 11 - Michigans Stabenow challenges Abraham for Senate

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14 Exhibit 12 - Statement of Organization

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15 Exhibit 13 - Cook Political Report

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16 Exhibit 14 - NATIONAL JOURNALS CONGRESS DAILY

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17 Exhibit 15 - Detroit News

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18 Exhibit 16 - Fix the System

View on PACER

19 Exhibit 17 - Its Strictly the Party Line in Michigan Primary

View on PACER

20 Exhibit 18 - Whos Afraid of the Big Bad Vote?

View on PACER

21 Exhibit 19 - West Michigan Clerks Debunk Voter Fraud Claims

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22 Exhibit 20 - Michigan is the New Illinois in Voter Fraud Myths

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23 Exhibit 21 - Michigans Machiavelli: How Congressman Rogers Stole Students Votes

View on PACER

24 Exhibit 22 - MSU YouVote

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25 Exhibit 23 - Voting Tips for College Students

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26 Exhibit 24 - Voting Tips for College Students

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27 Exhibit 25 - New Law Affects College Voters

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28 Exhibit 26 - Slices of life from East Lansing elections

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29 Exhibit 27 - Letter from Carolyn L. Grawi

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30 Exhibit 28 - Letter from Marc Elias to Ruth Johnson

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31 Exhibit 29 - Clerks Cant Circumvent Voting Rules

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32 Exhibit 30 - Update: Michigans Voting Laws

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33 Exhibit 31 - Election Inspectors Procedure Manual

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34 Exhibit 32 - Project Vote

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35 Exhibit 33 - Memorandum from Jean Golden

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36 Exhibit 34 - Elections Task Force Report and Recommendations

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37 Exhibit 35 - Opinion and Order

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38 Exhibit 36 - Statement of Chris Swope

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39 Exhibit 37 - Statement from Dusty Farmer

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40 Exhibit 38 - Statement from Clerk Barb Byrum

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41 Exhibit 39 - Letter from Chief Deputy Attorney General Carol L. Isaacs to the Ho

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42 Exhibit 40 - Letter from Richard A. Bandstra

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43 Exhibit 41 - Letter from Christopher M. Thomas

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44 Exhibit 42 - Could Michigans restrictive student voter law hurt Bernie Sanders?

View on PACER

45 Exhibit B - Declaration of Gilda Jacobs

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46 Exhibit C - Declaration of Aaron Stephens

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47 Exhibit D - Declaration of Camron Razdar

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48 Exhibit E - Declaration of Lisa Brown

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49 Exhibit F - Declaration of Mark Miller

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50 Exhibit G - Declaration of Dianne Byrum

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51 Exhibit H - Declaration of Eli Pales

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52 Exhibit I - Declaration of Kellie Lounds

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53 Exhibit J - Declaration of Norma Bailey

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54 Exhibit K - Declaration of Rebeckas Miller

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55 Exhibit L - Declaration of Robert Joerg

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56 Exhibit M - Declaration of Barb Byrum

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57 Exhibit N - Declaration of Chris Swope

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58 Exhibit O - Declaration of Dusty Farmer

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59 Exhibit P - Declaration of Kylie Novak

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60 Exhibit Q - Declaration of Larry Kestenbaum

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Sept. 8, 2018

Sept. 8, 2018

PACER
14

Expedite

Sept. 8, 2018

Sept. 8, 2018

PACER
6

CERTIFICATE of Service/Summons Returned Executed. Ruth Johnson served on 08/31/2018. (Anderson, Jacki) (Entered: 09/04/2018)

Sept. 4, 2018

Sept. 4, 2018

15

Response to Motion

Sept. 10, 2018

Sept. 10, 2018

PACER
16

Supplemental Brief

1 Exhibit 1 - September 7, 2018 Email

View on PACER

Sept. 11, 2018

Sept. 11, 2018

PACER
8

ATTORNEY APPEARANCE: Denise C. Barton appearing on behalf of Ruth Johnson, Sally Williams (Barton, Denise) (Entered: 09/07/2018)

Sept. 7, 2018

Sept. 7, 2018

18

Order

Sept. 14, 2018

Sept. 14, 2018

PACER
17

ERRATA Sheet re: 15 Response to Motion filed by Sally Williams, Ruth Johnson. by Ruth Johnson, Sally Williams (Attachments: # 1 Document Continuation Errata Sheet) (Meingast, Heather) (Entered: 09/11/2018)

Sept. 11, 2018

Sept. 11, 2018

TEXT−ONLY ORDER DENYING 14 MOTION to Expedite Briefing and Consideration filed by College Democrats at Michigan State University, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Michigan Federation of College Democrats. (Separate Order to be issued) Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag) (Entered: 09/12/2018)

Sept. 12, 2018

Sept. 12, 2018

24

NOTICE of Appearance by Hayley Lara Berlin on behalf of College Democrats at Michigan State University, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Michigan Federation of College Democrats. (Berlin, Hayley) (Entered: 01/02/2019)

Jan. 2, 2019

Jan. 2, 2019

25

ORDER of the substitution of Attorney Hayley Berlin in place of Mark Totten as local counsel for plaintiffs with stipulation. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag) (Entered: 01/03/2019)

Jan. 3, 2019

Jan. 3, 2019

26

STIPULATED ORDER to Continue Stay of Proceedings and Rescheduling Status Conference, ( Status Conference re−set for 3/8/2019 01:30 PM before District Judge Robert H. Cleland, at the US District Court, Detroit, MI Room 1061 ) Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag) (Entered: 01/03/2019)

Jan. 3, 2019

Jan. 3, 2019

Clearinghouse
27

ORDER of the Withdrawal of Attorney Sambo Dul with stipulation. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag) (Entered: 01/25/2019)

Jan. 25, 2019

Jan. 25, 2019

28

NOTICE of Appearance by Brian Simmonds Marshall on behalf of College Democrats at Michigan State University, College Democrats at the University of Michigan, Michigan Federation of College Democrats. (Marshall, Brian) (Entered: 03/01/2019)

March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

19

ORDER Setting Hearing and Scheduling Deadlines for Submissions re 13 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction :( Response due by 10/1/2018, Motion Hearing set for 10/19/2018 09:30 AM IN DETROIT before District Judge Robert H. Cleland)(See Order for Additional Dates). Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (WBar)

Sept. 21, 2018

Sept. 21, 2018

RECAP
20

Appearance

Sept. 24, 2018

Sept. 24, 2018

PACER
21

Stipulation and Order

Sept. 24, 2018

Sept. 24, 2018

PACER
22

Withdraw Motion

Sept. 25, 2018

Sept. 25, 2018

PACER
23

Stipulation and Order

Sept. 28, 2018

Sept. 28, 2018

PACER
29

Stipulation and Order

March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

PACER
30

Stipulation and Order

April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

PACER

Text-Only Order

May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019

PACER
31

Voluntary Dismissal

June 5, 2019

June 5, 2019

RECAP

Text-Only Notice of Hearing Cancelled

June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

PACER
32

Order

June 11, 2019

June 11, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 30, 2018

Closing Date: June 11, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Student organizations who want to help students vote.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Perkins Coie

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Ruth Johnson, State of Michigan, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief request withdrawn/mooted

Issues

General:

Voting

Voting access

Discrimination-basis:

Age discrimination

Voting:

Election administration

Voter ID

Voter registration rules