SPLC Responds to SCOTUS Stay in Voting Lawsuit

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an emergency stay of a lower court injunction in People First of Alabama v. Merrill. Four justices noted in writing they would deny the application for stay. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s ban on curbside voting remains in place and he may intervene into any county in Alabama to prevent curbside voting. Voters in every county in the state must meet burdensome and unnecessary witness, notary, and photo ID requirements for absentee ballots. 

The following statements regarding this order are by organizations representing plaintiffs in People First v. Merrill:

“While we are deeply disappointed with today’s ruling, we look forward to presenting our clients’ case at trial later this summer,” said Caren Short, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Our goal is simple though unfortunately at odds with Alabama officials. We want to ensure that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama voters will not be forced to choose between exercising their fundamental right to vote and protecting their health or the health of a loved one.”

“We are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court‘s stay,” said Deuel Ross, Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. “Unfortunately, this means that Alabama voters who are at greater risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 will be required to risk their health and violate CDC recommendations in order to vote on July 14. This is occurring at a time when COVID-19 infections are soaring in Alabama and nationwide. Nonetheless, the litigation will continue and we intend to seek relief for our clients and other voters in time for November.”

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