Case: Oppenheim v. Watson

20-cv-00961 | Mississippi state trial court

Filed Date: 2020

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding in progress

Case Summary

NOTE: This case is being tracked in close to real time by the Stanford/MIT Healthy Elections Project. So for information, see their tracker. According to their summary as of September 8, 2020, Plaintiffs sued Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson for a declaratory judgment regarding the meaning of the absentee ballot provision in Mississippi law (Section 23-15-713(d)) and who can vote absentee in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including clarification regarding the meaning of "ph…

NOTE: This case is being tracked in close to real time by the Stanford/MIT Healthy Elections Project. So for information, see their tracker.

According to their summary as of September 8, 2020,

Plaintiffs sued Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson for a declaratory judgment regarding the meaning of the absentee ballot provision in Mississippi law (Section 23-15-713(d)) and who can vote absentee in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including clarification regarding the meaning of "physician-imposed quarantine" and "dependent" in Section 23-15-713(d). In particular, plaintiffs asked the court to declare that: (1) "any elector who has an underlying physical condition that places them at a higher risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19 has a physical disability under the terms of the statute and may vote by absentee ballot under Mississippi Code§ 23-15-713(d)"; (2) "a voter may vote absentee if he or she wishes to avoid voting in-person at a polling place due to guidance from the MDH, the CDC, and other physicians or public health authorities to avoid unnecessary public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic," because "guidance from the MDH, CDC, or other physician to avoid unnecessary public gatherings or other congregate settings qualifies as a 'physician-imposed quarantine' that a voter could invoke as a 'temporary physical disability' in order to avoid the grave health risks posed by going to the polls and encountering groups of people during this pandemic"; and (3) "a voter may vote absentee if he or she provides care or support to any other individual who is avoiding unnecessary public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic," because a dependent is "anyone who is caring for someone who is under a 'physician-imposed quarantine.'" Consistent with the declaration, plaintiffs asked the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction ordering the Mississippi Secretary of State to instruct county elections officials about the application of Mississippi Code § 23-15-713( d).

People


Judge(s)

Owens, Denise (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)

Morse, Reilly (Mississippi)

Thames, Landon P (Mississippi)

Tom, Joshua F. (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fitch, Lynn (Mississippi)

Johnson, Kristi Haskins (Mississippi)

Matheny, Justin L. (Mississippi)

Miracle, Douglas T. (Mississippi)

Nobile, Krissy Casey (Mississippi)

Judge(s)

Owens, Denise (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McDuff, Robert B. (Mississippi)

Morse, Reilly (Mississippi)

Thames, Landon P (Mississippi)

Tom, Joshua F. (Mississippi)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fitch, Lynn (Mississippi)

Johnson, Kristi Haskins (Mississippi)

Matheny, Justin L. (Mississippi)

Miracle, Douglas T. (Mississippi)

Nobile, Krissy Casey (Mississippi)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
2

20-cv-00961

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Aug. 11, 2020

Aug. 11, 2020

Complaint
25

20-cv-00961

Order of the Court

Sept. 2, 2020

Sept. 2, 2020

Order/Opinion

2020-CA-00983-SCT

Opinion

Watson v. Oppenheim

Mississippi state supreme court

Sept. 2, 2020

Sept. 2, 2020

Order/Opinion

2020-CA-00983-SCT

Response/Reply Brief of Appellant/Cross-Appellee Secretary of State Michael Watson

Watson v. Oppenheim

Mississippi state supreme court

Sept. 10, 2020

Sept. 10, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 20, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Mississippi

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Healthy Elections COVID litigation tracker

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes