Case: Ostrowski v. Office of Elections

1:20-cv-00209 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Filed Date: Oct. 2, 2020

Closed Date: Oct. 19, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case concerns the constitutionality of voting procedures and practices across various states. On October 2, 2020, an eligible voter and a resident of Missouri filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, against election officials and offices from 35 different states. Plaintiff claimed that the casting of a ballot is an act of free expression and defendants, by not having adequate safeguards in place, violated the First Amendment rights of voters. He …

This case concerns the constitutionality of voting procedures and practices across various states.

On October 2, 2020, an eligible voter and a resident of Missouri filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, against election officials and offices from 35 different states. Plaintiff claimed that the casting of a ballot is an act of free expression and defendants, by not having adequate safeguards in place, violated the First Amendment rights of voters. He claimed that current practices, as implemented and utilized by the defendants, ran afoul to those laid out by the Twelfth Amendment. He further argued that votes were treated arbitrarily and disparately, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Representing himself pro se, plaintiff sought injunctive relief. Specifically, plaintiff sought reform of voting procedures such that mail-in and absentee ballots must be notarized in order to be counted.

On October 19, 2020, the court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint as frivolous, and for failure to state a claim. Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. held that the plaintiff’s complaint did not explain how any of the 35 defendants violated his constitutional rights. Notably, plaintiff did not claim to have attempted to vote in any of the states named as defendants. The court found that the plaintiff’s constitutional argument was speculative and vague, providing no legal basis nor evidence as to how his constitutional rights had been affected. The action was dismissed without prejudice, with the court further ordering that “an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith.”

The case is closed.

Summary Authors

Kirby Shilling (11/2/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/18502040/parties/ostrowski-v-office-of-elections/


Judge(s)

Limbaugh, Stephen Nathaniel (Missouri)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Ostrowski, Andrew (Missouri)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:20-cv-00209

Complaint and Request for Injunction

Ostrowski v. Office of Elections, et al.

Oct. 2, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020

Complaint
6

1:20-cv-00209

Memorandum and Order

Ostrowski v. Office of Elections, et al.

Oct. 19, 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Order/Opinion

2020 WL 2020

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/18502040/ostrowski-v-office-of-elections/

Last updated March 17, 2024, 3 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR INJUNCTION against defendant All Defendants Non-Jury Demand, filed by Andrew Ostrowski. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Original Filing Form, # 3 Assignment Label)(CMH) Modified on 10/2/2020 (CMH). (Entered: 10/02/2020)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Original Filing Form

View on PACER

3 Assignment Label

View on PACER

Oct. 2, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020

Clearinghouse
2

MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis by Plaintiff Andrew Ostrowski. (CMH) (Entered: 10/02/2020)

Oct. 2, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020

PACER

Case Opening Notification: All parties must file the Notice Regarding Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction Form consenting to or opting out of the Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. Click here for the instructions. Judge Assigned: U.S. Magistrate Judge Abbie S. Crites-Leoni. (CMH)

Oct. 2, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020

PACER

Case Opening Notification

Oct. 2, 2020

Oct. 2, 2020

PACER
3

Pursuant to Local Rule 2.08, the assigned/referred magistrate judge is designated and authorized by the court to exercise full authority in this assigned/referred action or matter under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 636 and 18 U.S.C Sec. 3401, including any case budgeting matters. (FLJ) (Entered: 10/05/2020)

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER

***Complaint Letter Created. This is to advise you that this office has received and filed your complaint and has assigned it the above-referenced case number. (MRS)

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER

***Complaint Letter Processed (see notice of electronic filing for distribution list) Mon Oct 5 16:01:03 CDT 2020 (admin,)

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER

Case Assignment Local Rule 2.08

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER

Complaint Letter Created (Case Opening Event ONLY)

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER

Complaint Letter Processed (Case Opening Event ONLY)

Oct. 5, 2020

Oct. 5, 2020

PACER
4

ORDER The present action requests solely injunctive relief. Thus, the Court will order that the matterbe re-assigned to a United States District Judge. See 28 U.S.C. 636.IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Clerk of Court is directed to re-assign theinstant action to a United States District Judge. Signed by Magistrate Judge Abbie Crites-Leoni on 10/8/2020. (MRS) (Entered: 10/08/2020)

Oct. 8, 2020

Oct. 8, 2020

PACER
5

REASSIGNMENT ORDER (GJL). Magistrate Judge Abbie Crites-Leoni no longer assigned to case. Case reassigned to District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr for all further proceedings. (MRS) (Entered: 10/08/2020)

Oct. 8, 2020

Oct. 8, 2020

PACER

ORDER RECEIPT: (see receipt) Docket No: 5. Thu Oct 8 15:30:59 CDT 2020 (Schaefer, Michelle)

Oct. 8, 2020

Oct. 8, 2020

PACER

ORDER RECEIPT: (see receipt) Docket No: 4. Thu Oct 8 15:31:17 CDT 2020 (Schaefer, Michelle)

Oct. 8, 2020

Oct. 8, 2020

PACER

Order Receipt

Oct. 8, 2020

Oct. 8, 2020

PACER
6

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 2 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Plaintiff Andrew Ostrowski motion is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED without prejudice. 28U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken ingood faith.An Order of Dismissal shall be filed with this Memorandum and Order.. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 10/19/20. (MRS) (Entered: 10/19/2020)

Oct. 19, 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

RECAP
7

ORDER OF DISMISSAL..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED without prejudice.IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this action would not be taken in goodfaith.. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 10/19/20. (MRS) (Entered: 10/19/2020)

Oct. 19, 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

RECAP

ORDER RECEIPT: (see receipt) Docket No: 6,7. Mon Oct 19 16:09:07 CDT 2020 (Schaefer, Michelle)

Oct. 19, 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

PACER

Order Receipt

Oct. 19, 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 2, 2020

Closing Date: Oct. 19, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Missouri resident, eligible voter.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Office of Elections (Pearl City, Hawaii), State

Spencer Cox, Lt. Governor (Salt Lake City, Utah), State

Gail Fenumiai, Director of Elections (Juneau, Alaska), State

Katie Hobbs, Secretary of State (Phoenix, Arizona), State

Alex Padilla, Secretary of State (Sacramento, California), State

Gavin Newsom, Governor (Sacramento, California), State

DC Board of Elections (Washington, District of Columbia), Federal

Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State (Atlanta, Georgia), State

Illinois Legislator (Springfield, Illinois), State

Paul Prete, Secretary of State (Des Moines, Iowa), State

Maryland Board of Elections (Annapolis, Maryland), State

Joycelyn Benson, Secretary of State (Standish, Michigan), State

Steve Simon, Secretary of State (St. Paul, Minnesota), State

Corey Stapleton, Secretary of State (Helena, Montana), State

Robert B. Evnen, Secretary of State (Lincoln, Nebraska), State

Barbara K. Cegavske (Carson City, Nevada), State

Hon. Tahesha Way, Secretary of State (Trenton, New Jersey), State

Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Secretary of State (Santa Fe, New Mexico), State

Oklahoma State Election Board (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), State

Kathy Boockvar, Secretary of Commonwealth (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), State

Steve Barnett, Secretary of State (Pierre, South Dakota), State

Jim Condos, Secretary of State (Montpelier, Vermont), State

Virginia Department of Elections (Richmond, Virginia), State

Wisconsin Election Commission (Madison, Wisconsin), State

Denise W. Merrill, Secretary of State (Hartford, Connecticut), State

John Carney, Governor (Wilmington, Delaware), State

Indiana House of Representative and Senate (Indianapolis, Indiana), State

Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Election (Frankfort, Kentucky), State

Massachusetts State Legislature (Boston, Massachusetts), State

Chris Sununu, Governor (Concord, New Hampshire), State

Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor (Albany, New York), State

South Carolina General Assembly (Columbia, South Carolina), State

John R. Ashcroft, Secretary of State (Cole), State

State of West Virginia (Charleston, West Virginia), State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Voting Process Changes

Issues

General/Misc.:

Mail

Voting:

Election administration

Voting: General & Misc.