Case: United States v. Arizona

2:18-cv-00505 | U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Filed Date: Feb. 14, 2018

Closed Date: Feb. 15, 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is about absent uniformed service voters' and overseas voters' ability to vote in federal elections in Arizona.  On February 14, 2018, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, before District Judge Douglas L. Rayes.  The United States sued Arizona and Michele Reagan (Secretary of Arizona), in her official capacity, under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). The United States alleged that Arizona violated …

This case is about absent uniformed service voters' and overseas voters' ability to vote in federal elections in Arizona.  On February 14, 2018, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, before District Judge Douglas L. Rayes.  The United States sued Arizona and Michele Reagan (Secretary of Arizona), in her official capacity, under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). The United States alleged that Arizona violated Section 102(a)(8)(A) of the Act and sought an order requiring Arizona to ensure compliance with that provision for the February 27, 2018 special primary election for the House of Representatives and in future special elections for Federal office.

Section 102(a)(8)(A) requires that states transmit validly requested ballots to UOCAVA voters not later than 45 days before an election for Federal office when the request is received at least 45 days before the election.  52 U.S.C. § 20302(a)(8)(A).  Under Arizona law, when a vacancy occurred in the office of a representative in Congress more than six months before the next general election, the governor would call a special primary election and special general election for at least 80 and no more than 90 days after the vacancy.  Ariz. Stat. § 16-222(B).

On December 8, 2017, Arizona Representative Trent Franks resigned from Congress.  The governor set the special primary election for February 27, 2018, and the special general election for April 24, 2018.  Candidates were required to file nominating petitions for the special primary election by January 10, 2018, and any challenges to such petitions by January 18, 2018.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-222(B).  The deadlines for transmission of absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters who timely requested them was January 13, 2018, for the special primary election and March 10, 2018, for the special general election. 

On January 13, 2018, Arizona officials sent ballots to eligible UOCAVA voters.  Officials included a notice explaining that the list of candidates was not final because of potential challenges, that the final list of candidates would be confirmed January 25, 2018, and that another ballot would be sent then.  The notice stated that voters could vote on the initial ballot or wait for the updated ballot but if they voted on the initial ballot for a candidate that was later disqualified, they would not be allowed to vote on the updated ballot or change their vote. 

On January 23, 2018, a Democratic Party candidate was removed from the ballot.  That same day, Arizona officials sent corrected ballots reflecting the removal to UOCAVA voters who had requested Democratic ballots and advising that to be counted ballots had to be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, February 27, 2018—35 days after when the corrected ballots were sent.  UOCAVA voters who received Republican Party, Libertarian Party, or Green Party ballots were never sent an "updated official ballot" because the relevant candidates were not challenged, but the notice stating as much was not sent till January 19, 2018—39 days before Election Day.  The United States alleged that the 35-day and 39-day periods violated UOCAVA's requirement that states transmit ballots to UOCAVA voters not later than 45 days before an election. 

The same day the United States filed its complaint (February 14, 2018), the United States and Arizona and Secretary Reagan filed a joint motion requesting expedited entry of a consent decree.  The motion stated that the parties had agreed to a proposed consent decree.

On February 15, 2018, the district court entered the parties' proposed consent decree.  The decree ordered in relevant part that: (1) Arizona officials count original ballots from UOCAVA voters sent on January 12, 2018; all corrected ballots from UOCAVA voters sent on January 23, 2018; and any Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots; (2) Arizona officials should inform UOCAVA voters who had not yet returned a final ballot about this consent decree and ensure that such voters know the ballot-return deadlines; and (3) Arizona officials ensure that UOCAVA voters are able to participate in future Federal elections.  The case closed upon the district court's entry of the consent decree (though the district court retained jurisdiction over this action through September 30, 2018).  

 

 

 

Summary Authors

Jesse Hogin (10/6/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6305721/parties/united-states-v-arizona-state-of/


Attorney for Plaintiff

Berman, Robert S (Arizona)

Cooper, David G (Arizona)

Herren, T Christian (Arizona)

Attorney for Defendant

Karlson, Kara (Arizona)

LaRue, Joseph Eugene (Arizona)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
2

2:18-cv-00505

Motion for Miscellaneous Relief

United States v. Arizona, State of

Feb. 14, 2018

Feb. 14, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
1

2:18-cv-00505

Complaint

United States v. Arizona, State of

Feb. 14, 2018

Feb. 14, 2018

Complaint
8

2:18-cv-00505

Consent Decree

United States v. Arizona, State of

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6305721/united-states-v-arizona-state-of/

Last updated Feb. 5, 2024, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

*COMPLAINT filed by United States of America.(Submitted by David Cooper) (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet Supplemental Civil Cover Sheet)(KAS) *Modified to regenerate NEF on 2/15/2018 (SCH). (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 14, 2018

Feb. 14, 2018

Clearinghouse
2

*Joint MOTION for Expedited Entry of Consent Decree by United States of America. (Submitted by David G Cooper) (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(KAS) *Modified to regenerate NEF on 2/15/2018 (SCH). (Entered: 02/15/2018)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Feb. 14, 2018

Feb. 14, 2018

Clearinghouse
3

*This case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Douglas L Rayes. All future pleadings or documents should bear the correct case number: CV-18-505-PHX-DLR. Notice of Availability of Magistrate Judge to Exercise Jurisdiction form attached. (KAS) *Modified to regenerate NEF on 2/15/2018 (SCH). (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 14, 2018

Feb. 14, 2018

PACER
4

*NOTICE TO THE PARTIES - The Court is participating in the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot (MIDP) and this case is subject to that pilot. The key features and deadlines are set forth in the attached Notice which includes General Order 17-08. Also attached is a checklist for use by the parties. All parties must respond to the mandatory initial discovery requests set forth in the General Order before initiating any further discovery in this case. Please note: The discovery obligations in the General Order supersede the disclosures required by Rule 26(a)(1). Any party seeking affirmative relief must serve a copy of the attached documents (Notice to Parties, including General Order 17-08 and MIDP Checklist) on each new party when the Complaint, Counterclaim, Crossclaim, or Third-Party Complaint is served. (KAS) *Modified to regenerate NEF on 2/15/2018 (SCH). (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

PACER
5

SERVICE EXECUTED filed by United States of America: Rule 4 Waiver of Service of Summons. Waiver sent on 2/15/2018 to The State of Arizona and returned executed. (Cooper, David) (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

PACER
6

SERVICE EXECUTED filed by United States of America: Rule 4 Waiver of Service of Summons. Waiver sent on 2/15/2018 to Secretary of State Michele Reagan and returned executed. (Cooper, David) (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Joseph Eugene LaRue on behalf of Arizona, State of, Michele Reagan. (LaRue, Joseph) (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

PACER
8

CONSENT DECREE - To ensure that all eligible UOCAVA voters will have sufficient opportunity to receive absentee ballots they have requested and to submit marked absentee ballots in time to be counted for the 2/27/2018 special primary election for the House of Representatives... Defendants shall file a report with this Court no later than 3/31/2018, in a format agreed upon by the parties, concerning the number of UOCAVA ballots received and counted for the special primary election. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action through 9/30/2018, to enter such further relief as may be necessary for the effectuation of the terms of this Consent Decree, including entry of such other relief as may be necessary to abate any violation of UOCAVA. Signed by Judge Douglas L Rayes on 2/15/18. (DXD) (Entered: 02/15/2018)

Feb. 15, 2018

Feb. 15, 2018

Clearinghouse
9

NOTICE re: UOCAVA Ballots Received and Counted for 2/27/2018 Special Primary Election by Arizona, State of, Michele Reagan . (LaRue, Joseph) (Entered: 03/30/2018)

March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Arizona

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 14, 2018

Closing Date: Feb. 15, 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The United States of America (federal government)

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Arizona, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentia Voting Act, 52 U.S.C. § 20301 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.)

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 0

Issues

Voting:

Voting: General & Misc.

Voter registration rules