Case: LaRose v. Simon

20-cv-03149 | Minnesota state trial court

Filed Date: May 13, 2020

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This lawsuit was filed in Minnesota state court on May 13, 2020 by four individual plaintiffs and the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund. Represented by private counsel, they filed suit against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. The lawsuit challenged two Minnesota election law provisions. First, the "Witness Requirement" mandated that Minnesotans who voted absentee needed another voter to bear witness. Second, Minnesota law required absentee ballots to be received…

This lawsuit was filed in Minnesota state court on May 13, 2020 by four individual plaintiffs and the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund. Represented by private counsel, they filed suit against Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. The lawsuit challenged two Minnesota election law provisions. First, the "Witness Requirement" mandated that Minnesotans who voted absentee needed another voter to bear witness. Second, Minnesota law required absentee ballots to be received by 3 p.m. on Election Day if they were turned in by hand and by 8 p.m. if they were turned in by mail, the so-called "Election Day Receipt Deadline." The suit argued that these provisions would not be acceptable even under normal circumstances, but that in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic (and the massive expansion of absentee voting that followed) they were violative of the Minnesota constitution and the U.S. Constitution. The suit argued that both provisions represented undue burdens on the right to vote in violation of the Minnesota constitution as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, the complaint alleged that the Election Day Receipt Deadline was contrary to Due Process guarantees in both the Minnesota constitution and the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would prohibit the defendant from enforcing the Witness Requirement while also allowing for the counting of any absentee ballot that was postmarked on or before Election Day.

The case was assigned to Judge Sara Grewing.

On June 16, the parties submitted a stipulation that adjusted the rules with regards to the August 11 primary in Minnesota. In the stipulation and partial consent decree, the parties agreed that the Witness Requirement would not be enforced for the August 11 primary and that all ballots postmarked on August 11 or earlier would be counted. They also agreed that the state would make this information public.

Though it is hard to tell exactly what happened from the docket alone (the Clearinghouse does not have access to every filing on this case), it appears that from mid- to late-June several Republican organizations moved to intervene as defendants in the case, including the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

By early August, the court entered an order granting similar relaxation of the laws with regards to the November 3 general election, according to the Minnesota Reformer. The order stated that the Witness Requirement would be waived for the general election and that ballots postmarked for November 3 or earlier would be counted as long as they were received by official county canvassing dates. The plaintiffs and the state of Minnesota agreed to this order, but it was decried by the Republican intervenors as judicial overreach.

The case is ongoing as of August 11, 2020.

Summary Authors

Jack Hibbard (8/11/2020)

People


Judge(s)

Grewing, Sara (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Callais, Amanda R. (District of Columbia)

Clark, Samuel J. (Minnesota)

Curtis, Charles G. Jr. (Wisconsin)

Dunlop, Sybil L. (Minnesota)

Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia)

Khanna, Abha (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Ellison, Keith (Minnesota)

Judge(s)

Grewing, Sara (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Callais, Amanda R. (District of Columbia)

Clark, Samuel J. (Minnesota)

Curtis, Charles G. Jr. (Wisconsin)

Dunlop, Sybil L. (Minnesota)

Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia)

Khanna, Abha (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Ellison, Keith (Minnesota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

20-cv-03149

Docket [PACER]

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

Docket

20-cv-03149

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

Complaint

20-cv-03149

Stipulation and Partial Consent Decree

June 17, 2020

June 17, 2020

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 25, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Minnesota

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 13, 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Four private individuals and Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Perkins Coie

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Voting

Voting access

Voting:

Election administration

Voter qualifications