Fair Elections Center joined Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the law firm Arnold & Porter in filing a federal lawsuit against Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, and other officials over the state’s lack of safe and accessible voting processes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lawsuit challenged Louisiana’s burdensome requirements surrounding absentee ballots – specifically the excuse requirement, witness requirement, and cure prohibition. These measures put voters' health and lives at risk, particularly older voters, African Americans, and people of any age who are immunocompromised.
Brought on behalf of organizational plaintiffs Crescent City Media Group (a community engagement and media production agency serving communities of color in Louisiana), League of Women Voters Louisiana, and three individual Louisiana voters, the suit requested that a federal court declare the challenged provisions unconstitutional for the remainder of 2020 and instruct state officials make absentee voting more accessible to protect the health and safety of all Louisiana residents. Unfortunately, the court dismissed the case as unready for judicial review, on the grounds that the state could still issue an emergency plan for the November 2020 election that would grant the plaintiffs’ requested relief.
As a result of Fair Elections Center's lawsuit, the State of Louisiana did adopt an absentee ballot cure procedure.