Faegre Drinker—in coordination with the national and Minnesota chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—successfully resolved constitutional claims brought on behalf of the NAACP and individual voters to ensure safe access to the ballot box in Minnesota during the November election.
For the general election in November, every registered voter in Minnesota will receive an application for an absentee ballot and no absentee voter will be required to involve a third-party witness to cast a ballot. This relief is a victory for the right to vote safely and securely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Focusing on the burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized voters, the litigation challenged Minnesota’s requirement that absentee ballots must be signed by a third-party witness and Minnesota’s process for distributing absentee ballots.
The Minnesota Secretary of State agreed to a consent decree suspending the witness requirement for the November election, and the consent decree was upheld after a challenge by intervenors. The parties subsequently agreed to settle the NAACP’s remaining claims based on the Secretary of State’s commitment to mail a ballot application to all registered voters who have not requested one. This relief is critical to ensuring that lack of internet, social isolation, physical disabilities and other challenges do not prevent voters from safely exercising their right to vote.
“Faegre Drinker is proud to have worked with the ACLU, the NAACP and our clients to safeguard the right to vote during this election,” said Faegre Drinker partner Craig Coleman, who led the firm’s representation in the case.
In addition to Coleman, the Faegre Drinker team included partner Jeff Justman and associates Evie Snyder, Erica Moran, Rachel Osdoba, Hannah Leiendecker and Andrew Heiring.
For more information, read ACLU’s press release.