Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Election Law
  • Date Filed: April 6, 2020
  • Case #: 19A1016
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam, 589 U. S. ____ (2020)
  • Full Text Opinion

The application for stay presented to Justice Kavanaugh and by him referred to the Court is granted. The District Court’s order granting a preliminary injunction is stayed to the extent it requires the State to count absentee ballots postmarked after April 7, 2020.

Respondents sought relief in district court to alleviate burdens imposed upon Wisconsin primary voters as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finding that existing deadlines for absentee voters would unconstitutionally interfere with the voting rights of Wisconsin citizens, the district court ordered an extension for absentee ballot requests and extended the deadline to receive completed absentee ballots—including those ballots postmarked after the election date of April 7, 2020. The district court also enjoined any release of polling results prior to the new deadline of April 13, 2020. Petitioner-intervenors submitted an application for stay to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Seventh Circuit denied their challenge to the extended ballot receipt deadline and upheld the district court’s injunction. The Supreme Court granted the stay and reinstated the April 7 postmark deadline for absentee ballots. The Court held that lower federal courts should refrain from altering election rules near the election date, citing its decision Purcell v. Gonzalez, 549 U. S. 1 (2006) (per curiam) and the need to avoid “judicially created confusion.” The Court found no probative evidence that rights of Wisconsin voters would be substantially infringed by retaining the April 7 postmark deadline for absentee ballots. GRANTED.

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