Resource: Taylor v. Milwaukee Elections Comm’n

By: COVID-Related Election Litigation Tracker

September 1, 2020

Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

Washington state senator Lena Taylor, Tory Lowe (candidate for alderman in the City of Wilwaukee's 6th aldermanic district) and Justice Wisconsin Inc. (non-profit founded by Lowe) sued the Wilwaukee Election Commission and its members, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to (1) postpone the April 2020 primary election, (2) permit early voting to continue, (3) extend the deadline for registering to vote electronically or by mail, and (4) "cancel" in-person reigstration and in-person voting. Complaint alleged defendants violated plaintiffs' civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983 (under First, Fourteenth, Sixteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments), 28 U.S.C. 2201 and 2202, and defendants abridged plaintiffs' voting rights in violation of 52 U.S.C. 10301. The Court denied plaintiffs' request for relief, stating that a federal court ordering the delay of a state-wide election raises federalism concerns which outweighed the requested relief. The Court also cited to the Supreme Court's decision in Republican Nat'l Committee v. Democratic Nat'l Committee (140 S.Ct. 1205) which held that the district court erred in ordering that absentee ballots mailed and postmarked after the April 7, 2020 election date be counted if received by April 13, 2020.