The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a friend of the court brief on Wednesday in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia urging the court to rule against the false assertions alleged by plaintiffs in Thomas Curtin v. Virginia State Board of Elections case which could disenfranchise millions of Virginia voters.
Virginia’s state primary will take place on June 23 and millions of the state’s voters had faced the prospect of raising their risk of exposure to COVID-19 by voting in-person at polling locations. In March, the Virginia Department of Elections took the commonsense step of expanding access to the absentee voting process in the upcoming primary election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several voters, represented by True the Vote, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to reverse Virginia’s efforts to promote access to the ballot for the primary election. The plaintiffs seek to limit absentee voting under “reason 2A” to only voters who are disabled or ill. This limit would severely burden or disenfranchise an overwhelming number of Virginia voters during a public health crisis, such as Fairfax County voters Maya Castillo Morrison and Adam Morrison. To make sure the voices of Virginia’s voters are heard, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Morrisons and their locally-based group, New Virginia Majority. The committee will seek to participate in a likely Wednesday hearing in front of Judge Rossie Alston. “Ultimately, if this cynical case is successful then voters like Maya Castillo Morrison and Adam Morrison are at risk of being disenfranchised,” said John Powers, counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Virginia officials are attempting to do right by its voters by increasing access to mail ballots for the upcoming primary. Elderly and immune-compromised voters should not have to choose between risking their health and exercising their constitutional right to vote.”
“The state of Virginia stood up for the rights and the safety and health of its citizens by allowing expanded access to absentee ballots in the coming election,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The plaintiffs in this case imply that the threat to a valid Virginia election results in expanded access to absentee ballots. The true threats lie in dark money groups who use our court system to file baseless lawsuits that would force millions of vulnerable citizens out into the streets during a deadly pandemic. We reject True The Vote’s thinly-veiled voter suppression campaign which seeks to deny voters access to the ballot amid the current pandemic.”
Read the filing here.