facebook linkedin twitter

Supreme Court Pumps Brakes on Curbside Voting in Alabama

October 22, 2020 by Dan McCue
Alabama State Capitol.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court put the brakes on a lower court order that would have allowed curbside voting in Alabama in November.

The underlying lawsuit was filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program on behalf of voters with pre-existing health conditions who are worried they’ll be exposed to the coronavirus while at the polls.

A lower court ruled Alabama counties could offer curbside voting to these individuals.

But Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Secretary of State John Merrill sought to block the lower court ruling, arguing that because the state does not have a law expressly permitting curbside voting, the accommodation should not be allowed.

Alabama, Marshall said, has already taken ” extraordinary measures to ensure that all voters can vote safely.”

To implement curbside voting now, just days before the election, would create “chaos,” he said.

The justices split 5-3 on the matter, with the court’s three liberal members dissenting.

Though the majority did not explain its rationale for tossing the lower court ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor had no reservations in describing why she disagreed with them.

In a dissent which Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined, Sotomayor said making curbside voting available to those who sought it was but a “modest” accommodation that she would have allowed to go forward.

“It does not require all counties to adopt curbside voting; it simply gives prepared counties the option to do so,” she wrote. “This remedy respects both the right of voters with disabilities to vote safely and the state’s interest in orderly elections.”

Alabama Secretary of State Merrill said in a written statement,

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked diligently with local election officials in all 67 counties to offer safe and secure voting methods – including through the in-person and mail-in processes. I am glad the Supreme Court has recognized our actions to expand absentee voting, while also maintaining the safeguards put into place by the state Legislature.

“The fact that we have already shattered voter participation records with the election still being 13 days away is proof that our current voting options are easy, efficient, and accessible for all of Alabama’s voters,” he added.

This is the second time the Supreme Court has waded into the issues of curbside voting in Alabama. In July, before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court put on hold a lower court ruling that would have allowed curbside voting in the state’s primary and would have also eased absentee ballot requirements in three of the state’s largest counties.

State News

September 14, 2021
by Victoria Turner
State and Local Governments Will Drive Broadband Deployment Success

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill.  The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More

April 22, 2021
by TWN Staff
New Caucus Aims to Bring Main Street Priorities to Capitol Hill

Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that... Read More

Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More

April 16, 2021
by TWN Staff
35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs... Read More

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More

Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House... Read More

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More

March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the... Read More

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5.  That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More

Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary... Read More

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top