Case: City of Green Bay v. Bostelmann

1:20-cv-00479 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Filed Date: March 24, 2020

Closed Date: March 27, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Green Bay city clerk, and the mayor of Green Bay brought this lawsuit on March 24, 2020, to challenge the constitutionality of the April 7, 2020, election in Wisconsin. The plaintiffs sued Wisconsin Elections Commissioners, the Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Governor of the State of Wisconsin ("the defendants") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, alleging that requiring in-person abse…

The city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Green Bay city clerk, and the mayor of Green Bay brought this lawsuit on March 24, 2020, to challenge the constitutionality of the April 7, 2020, election in Wisconsin. The plaintiffs sued Wisconsin Elections Commissioners, the Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Governor of the State of Wisconsin ("the defendants") in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, alleging that requiring in-person absentee voting and in-person polling locations during the election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic would violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The relief requested by the plaintiffs included declaratory judgments, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees.

Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that the election could not be safely conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and would result in the disenfranchisement of voters.

On the same day, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. The plaintiffs requested that the court enjoin the defendants from enforcing in-person voter registration and/or absentee voting for the duration of the election, permit the plaintiffs to mail election ballots to all registered voters and to cancel the election on April 7, 2020, require the defendants to extend the deadline for voter registration electronically or by mail to May 1, 2020, and order the defendants to establish June 2, 2020, as the deadline by which municipal clerks must have counted all returned mailed ballots.

During litigation, the Republican Party of Wisconsin; Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association; and the City of Neenah, WI, moved to intervene in this case.

On March 27, 2020, Judge William Griesbach responded to the defendants’ motion to dismiss and dismissed this case for lack of jurisdiction. Judge Griesbach found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to assert a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause because the political subdivision doctrine barred the political subdivisions from bringing this claim against their parent states. Additionally, the mayor of Green Bay failed to state a claim on his own behalf.

As a result of Judge Griesbach's order, the court declared the motions to intervene moot and closed this case.

Summary Authors

Richa Bijlani (2/23/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17008826/parties/city-of-green-bay-v-bostelmann/


Judge(s)

Griesbach, William C. (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chavez, Vanessa (Wisconsin)

Mather, Lindsay J (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gahnz, Dixon R. (Wisconsin)

Hector, Colin (Wisconsin)

Jurss, Hannah (Wisconsin)

Lawless, Lisa M. (Wisconsin)

Roth, Colin (Wisconsin)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Griesbach, William C. (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chavez, Vanessa (Wisconsin)

Mather, Lindsay J (Wisconsin)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gahnz, Dixon R. (Wisconsin)

Hector, Colin (Wisconsin)

Jurss, Hannah (Wisconsin)

Lawless, Lisa M. (Wisconsin)

Roth, Colin (Wisconsin)

Other Attorney(s)

Fischer, William E. (Wisconsin)

Godlewski, James G (Wisconsin)

Miller, Amy C. (Wisconsin)

Phillips, Andrew Thomas (Wisconsin)

Roper, Matthew J (Wisconsin)

Rotker, Karyn (Wisconsin)

Tseytlin, Misha (Wisconsin)

Walsh, Ryan J. (Wisconsin)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

March 30, 2020 Docket
1

Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

March 24, 2020 Complaint
26

Amended Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

March 26, 2020 Complaint
53

Decision and Order

2020 WL 1492975

March 27, 2020 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

City of Green Bay v. Bostelmann

COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

After the Wisconsin Governor, Secretary-Designee, and Election Committee refused to postpone the April 2020 election, the City and Mayor of Green Bay sought declaratory and injunctive relief permitti… Sept. 1, 2020 https://healthyelections-case-tracker.stanford.edu/detail?id=145

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17008826/city-of-green-bay-v-bostelmann/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against All Defendants by Kris Teske, City of Green Bay. ( Filing Fee PAID $400 receipt number AWIEDC-3402841) (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Marge Bostelmann, # 3 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Julie M. Glancey, # 4 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Ann S. Jacobs, # 5 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Dean Knudson, # 6 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Robert F. Spindell, Jr., # 7 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Mark L. Thomsen, # 8 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Andrea Palm, # 9 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Tony Evers)(Chavez, Vanessa)

1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Marge Bostelmann

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3 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Julie M. Glancey

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4 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Ann S. Jacobs

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5 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Dean Knudson

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6 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Robert F. Spindell, Jr.

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7 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Mark L. Thomsen

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8 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Andrea Palm

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9 Summons Summons in a Civil Action to Tony Evers

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March 24, 2020 Clearinghouse
2

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order, MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by All Plaintiffs. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 24, 2020 RECAP
3

BRIEF in Support filed by All Plaintiffs re 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Declaration of Vanessa R. Chavez, # 2 Exhibit Michigan Health Blog Article, # 3 Exhibit Outbreaks in Wisconsin, # 4 Exhibit Order for Statewide School Closure, # 5 Exhibit Order Prohibiting Mass Gatherings, # 6 Exhibit Order Restricting Size of Childcare Settings, # 7 Exhibit Updated Mass Gathering Ban, # 8 Exhibit Safer At Home Order, # 9 Exhibit Opinion and Order, # 10 Exhibit WEC Election Planning Update, # 11 Exhibit WEC Absentee Envelope Order Status, # 12 Exhibit City of Green Bay Election Inspector Manual, # 13 Exhibit WEC Hand Sanitizer FAQ, # 14 Exhibit CDC Are You at Higher Risk?, # 15 Exhibit WEC In-Person Absentee Voting, # 16 Exhibit Letter to Mayor Genrich, # 17 Exhibit WEC Guidance Regarding Election Procedures, # 18 Exhibit Executive Order #72, # 19 Exhibit DHS Memo re Long Term and Assisted Living Facilities, # 20 Exhibit List of DPH Communicable Diseases Memos, # 21 Exhibit Fox6Now Article re Absentee Ballots)(Chavez, Vanessa)

1

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9

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10

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16

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17

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March 24, 2020 PACER

Notice of Judge Assignment

March 25, 2020 PACER

NOTICE Regarding assignment of this matter to Judge William C Griesbach ;Consent/refusal forms for Magistrate Judge Duffin to be filed within 21 days;the consent/refusal form is available on our website ;pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1 a disclosure statement is to be filed upon the first filing of any paper and should be filed now if not already filed (jcl)

March 25, 2020 PACER

Summons Issued

March 25, 2020 PACER

Summons Issued as to All Defendants. (mac)

March 25, 2020 PACER
4

NOTICE of Appearance by Lindsay Mather on behalf of All Plaintiffs. Attorney(s) appearing: Lindsay J. Mather (Mather, Lindsay)

March 25, 2020 PACER
5

DISCLOSURE Statement by All Plaintiffs. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 25, 2020 PACER
6

NOTICE of Appearance by Colin T Roth on behalf of Tony Evers, Andrea Palm. Attorney(s) appearing: Colin T. Roth, Hannah S. Jurss, Colin A. Hector (Roth, Colin)

March 25, 2020 PACER
7

ORDER for Telephone Conference signed by Judge William C Griesbach on 3/25/2020. (cc: all counsel)(Griesbach, William)

March 25, 2020 PACER
8

NOTICE of Hearing: (cc: all counsel)ATT Telephone Conference set for 3/26/2020 01:30 PM in By Telephone before Judge William C Griesbach. Participants are to call in to 1-888-273-3658, using Access Code 4416978, and Security Code 1234. All participants are to confirm their appearance with the Clerk. SEE NOTICE FOR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS.(lh)

March 25, 2020 RECAP
9

NOTICE of Appearance of James G. Godlewski with intent to file Motion to intervene on behalf of the City of Neenah (lh)

March 25, 2020 PACER
10

NOTICE of Appearance by Dixon R Gahnz on behalf of Marge Bostelmann, Julie Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr., Mark L Thomsen. Attorney(s) appearing: Dixon R. Gahnz, Daniel P. Bach, Terrence M. Polich (Gahnz, Dixon)

March 25, 2020 PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Ryan J Walsh on behalf of Wisconsin Legislature. Attorney(s) appearing: Ryan J. Walsh (Walsh, Ryan)

March 25, 2020 PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Amy Miller on behalf of Wisconsin Legislature. Attorney(s) appearing: Amy Miller (Miller, Amy)

March 25, 2020 PACER
13

NOTICE by Wisconsin Legislature of Intent to Intervene and Request to Participate in March 26 Conference (Walsh, Ryan)

March 25, 2020 PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Misha Tseytlin on behalf of Wisconsin Legislature. Attorney(s) appearing: Misha Tseytlin (Tseytlin, Misha)

March 25, 2020 PACER
15

NOTICE of Appearance by Lisa M Lawless on behalf of Republican Party of Wisconsin. Attorney(s) appearing: Lisa M Lawless (Lawless, Lisa)

March 25, 2020 RECAP
16

LETTER from Attorneys Lawless and McLeod . (Lawless, Lisa)

March 25, 2020 RECAP
17

TEXT ONLY ORDER approving 16 Letter request to participate in 3/26/20 telephone conference, 13 Notice filed by Wisconsin Legislature, and 9 Notice, signed by Judge William C Griesbach on 03/26/2020. All participants are to confirm their appearance with the Clerk. SEE NOTICE (Dkt 8) FOR SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. (cc: all counsel)(Griesbach, William)

March 26, 2020 PACER

Text Only Order

March 26, 2020 PACER
18

NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew J Thome on behalf of Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association. Attorney(s) appearing: Matthew J. Thome (Thome, Matthew)

March 26, 2020 PACER
19

LETTER from Matthew J. Thome regarding intervention. (Thome, Matthew)

March 26, 2020 PACER
20

NOTICE of Appearance by William E Fischer on behalf of Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association. Attorney(s) appearing: William E. Fischer (Fischer, William)

March 26, 2020 PACER
21

NOTICE of Appearance by Andrew T Phillips on behalf of Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association. Attorney(s) appearing: Andrew T. Phillips (Phillips, Andrew)

March 26, 2020 PACER
22

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Tony Evers - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 26, 2020 PACER
23

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Andrea Palm - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 26, 2020 PACER
24

MOTION to Intervene by Republican Party of Wisconsin. (Lawless, Lisa)

March 26, 2020 RECAP
25

BRIEF in Support filed by Republican Party of Wisconsin re 24 MOTION to Intervene . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Republican Party of Wisconsin's Proposed Motion to Dismiss)(Lawless, Lisa)

1 Exhibit Republican Party of Wisconsin's Proposed Motion to Dismiss

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March 26, 2020 PACER
26

AMENDED COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against Marge Bostelmann, Tony Evers, Julie Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Andrea Palm, Robert F Spindell, Jr., Mark L Thomsen filed by Kris Teske, City of Green Bay, Eric Genrich.(Chavez, Vanessa)

March 26, 2020 Clearinghouse
40

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge William C Griesbach: Telephone Conference held on 3/26/2020. Simultaneous briefs are due by 3:00 p.m. 3/27/2020. (Tape #032620) (cav) (Entered: 03/27/2020)

March 26, 2020 PACER
27

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Marge Bostelmann - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
28

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Julie Glancey - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
29

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Ann S Jacobs - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
30

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Dean Knudson - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
31

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Robert F Spindell, Jr. - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
32

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Mark L Thomsen - Waiver sent on 3/25/2020. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
33

MOTION to File Amicus Brief by Disability Rights Wisconsin Inc, ACLU of Wisconsin. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order, # 2 Amicus Brief)(Rotker, Karyn)

1

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2

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March 27, 2020 PACER
34

DISCLOSURE Statement by ACLU of Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin Inc. (Rotker, Karyn)

March 27, 2020 RECAP
35

NOTICE of Appearance by Karyn L Rotker on behalf of ACLU of Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin Inc. Attorney(s) appearing: Karyn L. Rotker, Laurence J. Dupuis, Kristin Kerschensteiner, T. Alora Thomas, Dale Ho, Adriel Cepeda-Derieux (Rotker, Karyn)

March 27, 2020 PACER
36

MOTION to Intervene by Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association. (Phillips, Andrew)

March 27, 2020 PACER
37

BRIEF in Support filed by Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association re 36 MOTION to Intervene . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Proposed Brief in Opposition)(Phillips, Andrew)

March 27, 2020 PACER
38

DISCLOSURE Statement by Washington County, Wisconsin Counties Association. (Phillips, Andrew)

March 27, 2020 PACER
39

BRIEF filed by Marge Bostelmann, Julie Glancey, Ann S Jacobs, Dean Knudson, Robert F Spindell, Jr., Mark L Thomsen Regarding Standing and Intervention. (Gahnz, Dixon)

March 27, 2020 PACER
41

MOTION to Intervene by Wisconsin Legislature. (Walsh, Ryan)

March 27, 2020 PACER
42

BRIEF in Support filed by Wisconsin Legislature re 41 MOTION to Intervene . (Walsh, Ryan)

March 27, 2020 PACER
43

DECLARATION of Chris Wery (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit 1 - March 26, 2020 email response from Celestine Jeffreys)(Lawless, Lisa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
44

MOTION to Dismiss Proposed Motion to Dismiss Complaint by Wisconsin Legislature. (Walsh, Ryan)

March 27, 2020 PACER
45

LETTER from Colin Roth re: TRO hearing. (Roth, Colin)

March 27, 2020 PACER
46

BRIEF filed by City of Green Bay, Eric Genrich, Kris Teske in Response to Motions to Intervene and Issues Raised at March 26, 2020 Hearing. (Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
47

BRIEF in Support filed by Wisconsin Legislature re 44 MOTION to Dismiss Proposed Motion to Dismiss Complaint . (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Ryan J. Walsh, # 2 Exhibit 1 - WEC March 13, 2020 COVID-19 FAQ, # 3 Exhibit 2 - Memorandum of Senior Legislative Attorney Gallagher, # 4 Exhibit 3 - WEC March 13, 2020 Announcement re. Webinar, # 5 Exhibit 4 - CISA Memorandum re. Identification of Critical Infrastructure, # 6 Exhibit 5 - WEC March 20, 2020 Request for Information re. Cleaning Supplies, # 7 Exhibit 6 - WEC March 20, 2020 Request for Information re. Poll Workers, # 8 Exhibit 7 - WEC March 22, 2020 Hand Sanitizer FAQ, # 9 Exhibit 8 - WEC March 22, 2020 COVID-19 FAQ, # 10 Exhibit 9 - WEC Memorandum re. Emergency Order #12)(Walsh, Ryan)

March 27, 2020 PACER
48

DUPLICATE of 47 BRIEF in Support filed by Wisconsin Legislature re 44 MOTION to Dismiss Proposed Motion to Dismiss Complaint . (Miller, Amy) Modified on 3/27/2020 (blr).

March 27, 2020 PACER
49

DECLARATION of Vanessa R. Chavez in Support of Plaintiffs' Brief in Response to Motions to Intervene and Issues Raised at the March 26, 2020 Hearing (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex 1 - WEC Memo, # 2 Exhibit Ex 2 - Gear v Knudson, # 3 Exhibit Ex 3 - Lewis v Knudson)(Chavez, Vanessa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
50

BRIEF in Opposition filed by Republican Party of Wisconsin re 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order MOTION for Preliminary Injunction Proposed Brief by Proposed Intervenor and in Support of RPW's Proposed Motion to Dismiss. (Lawless, Lisa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
51

DECLARATION of Lisa M. Lawless Brief (Doc.50) in Support of Republican Party of Wisconsin's Brief Opposing Plaintiffs' Motion for Injunction (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex 1 Unofficial Election Results Cook County, # 2 Exhibit Ex 2 Arizona Presidential Preference Election Results, # 3 Exhibit Ex 3 Florida Division of Elections Election Watch, # 4 Exhibit Ex 4 WEC's Special Teleconference Meeting re COVID-19, # 5 Exhibit Ex 5 Ohio Dept of Health's Director Order, # 6 Exhibit Ex 6 WEC's Update re COVID-19, # 7 Exhibit Ex 7 City of Eau Claire Facebook post re "drive-through" voting, # 8 Exhibit Ex 8 City of Beloit re "drive-through" voting, # 9 Exhibit Ex 9 WEC Publication Responds to Coronavirus COVID-19, # 10 Exhibit Ex 10 Letter from Elections Commissioners to Legislative Leadership and Governor, # 11 Exhibit Ex 11 Letter from various local leaders to Governor and Legislative Leadership, # 12 Exhibit Ex 12 Signatures to Exhibit 11)(Lawless, Lisa)

March 27, 2020 PACER
52

MOTION to Add Party, MOTION to Intervene by City of Neenah. (Attachments: # 1 Cover Letter, # 2 Supplement Memo of Law, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Godlewski, James)

March 27, 2020 PACER
53

ORDER DENYING 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; DENYING denying 2 Motion for TRO; DENYING AS MOOT 24 Motion to Intervene; DENYING AS MOOT 33 Motion to File Amicus Brief; DENYING AS MOOT 36 Motion to Intervene; DENYING AS MOOT 41 Motio n to Intervene; TERMINATING 44 "proposed" Motion to Dismiss; DENYING AS MOOT 52 Motion to Add Party; and DENYING AS MOOT 52 Motion to Intervene; signed by Judge William C Griesbach on 03/27/2020. This case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. (cc: all counsel) (Griesbach, William)

March 27, 2020 Clearinghouse
54

JUDGMENT signed by Deputy Clerk and approved by Judge William C Griesbach on 3/30/2020. (cc: all counsel)(cav)

March 30, 2020 PACER
54

JUDGMENT signed by Deputy Clerk and approved by Judge William C Griesbach on 3/30/2020. (cc: all counsel)(cav)

March 30, 2020 PACER

State / Territory: Wisconsin

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Healthy Elections COVID litigation tracker

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 24, 2020

Closing Date: March 27, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Green Bay, WI, Green Bay City Clerk, and the Mayor of Green Bay

Plaintiff Type(s):

City/County Plaintiff

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Wisconsin Elections Commissioners, State

Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, State

Governor of the State of Wisconsin, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Disparate Impact

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

Voting

Voting access

Voting:

Challenges to at-large/multimember district/election

Election administration

Voter registration rules