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Federal Judge Extends Voter Registration Deadline In Arizona

Voting Rights Advocates Celebrate Victory Which Will Allow Thousands More to Register In Advance of the November 2020 Election

In response to a voting rights lawsuit, a federal judge in Arizona issued an order on October 5 extending the voter registration deadline in the state to October 23, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on voter registration.

“[A] core tenet of democracy is to be ruled by a government that represents the population,” U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan wrote in his decision. “Due to COVID-19, a portion of the population is prevented from registering to vote, and thus the integrity of the election is undermined in a different way; that portion is going unrepresented. Extending the deadline would give more time for those voters to register and let their voices be heard through the democratic process.”

ECBAWM LLP, together with Free Speech for People and Osborn Maledon P.A., represent Mi Familia Vota, the Arizona Coalition for Change, and an individual voter registration organizer who filed the lawsuit on September 30, seeking a court order extending the October 5 voter registration cutoff.

“This is a huge victory for democracy,” says Flavio Bravo of Mi Familia Vota. “With this court-ordered relief, thousands more voters will be able to register to vote in the midst of this pandemic and will be able to participate in the November 2020 election.”

This year, organizations that register citizens to vote were effectively prevented from registering voters from March 30, 2020, when Arizona imposed a stay-at-home order and other restrictions on day-to-day interactions in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, to the middle of August when those restrictions were lifted. As a result, new voter registration has been far lower than in previous years.

With the lifting of the state’s restrictions, plaintiffs have recently pivoted their operations to adapt to the pandemic, registering thousands of Arizona voters. Yet Arizona’s voter registration deadline—earlier than most states, threatened to prematurely halt those efforts.

“This ruling is a vindication of the fundamental right to vote,” says Reginald Bolding of the Arizona Coalition for Change. “Court intervention here was necessary to address the impact of the pandemic on voter registration. Thanks to this ruling, many more voters will have their voices heard in this election.”

ECBAWM attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, Zoe Salzman, and Nick Bourland represent the plaintiffs, together with Free Speech For People and Osborn Maledon P.A.

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Historic Settlement in Pennsylvania

ECBAWM has settled the 2016 Pennsylvania recount case brought by presidential candidate Jill Stein and Pennsylvania voters. The lawsuit challenged Pennsylvania’s use of paperless voting systems, as well as its byzantine, anti-voter recount procedures.

The settlement requires Pennsylvania to provide voter-verifiable paper ballots to all voters by 2020, and automatic, robust, statewide election audits by 2022.

“With this settlement, Pennsylvania will go from an election integrity backwater to a national leader,” said Ilann M. Maazel. “We will be watching closely to ensure Pennsylvania implements every one of these important election reforms.”

The Pennsylvania plaintiffs are represented by Ilann M. Maazel, Ali Frick, and Doug Lieb, as well as co-counsel Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads. In addition, Jonathan Abady and Andrew G. Celli Jr. represented the overall Stein 2016 recount effort.

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Rachel Maddow Interviews Professor Sarah Chayes About Donald Trump’s Violations of the Emoluments Clause

On October 18, 2017, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) presented oral argument in their landmark Emoluments Clause lawsuit against Donald Trump before Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York. Sarah P. Chayes of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on whose behalf ECBAWM filed an amicus curiae brief in support of CREW, was interviewed by Rachel Maddow on October 20, 2017. The interview featured Chayes’s analysis of the case and of oral argument and excerpts from ECBAWM’s brief.

“Is Trump Violating the Constitution? In Absentia, He Defends Himself in Court,” New York Times
“A Day in Court: Trump’s Emoluments Problem, His Challengers’ Standing Problem,” Washington Post
“Would $1 Million in Hot Dogs Violate the Emoluments Clause?,” Slate

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ECBAWM Leads Historic Recount Litigation on Behalf of Jill Stein in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania

In the first-ever legal effort to challenge election results in multiple jurisdictions for a Presidential contest in the United States, ECBAWM is representing Jill Stein and her campaign in election integrity efforts and attempts to obtain recounts in three states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Stein filed petitions for recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, and mobilized voters to seek recounts in Pennsylvania. ECBAWM has litigated various state and federal actions to pursue those recount requests.

ECBAWM attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Matt D. Brinckerhoff, Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ilann Maazel, Elizabeth Saylor, Debra L. Greenberger, Ali Frick, David Lebowitz, Hayley Horowitz, Doug Lieb, Alanna Small, and Jessica Clark are the lawyers litigating these efforts.

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Public Relations Firms File First Amendment Challenge to New State Lobbying Rules

Five bi-partisan, high-profile public relations firms, represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel and the Center for Competitive Politics, filed a federal lawsuit to block a new rule adopted by the New York’s State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Under the new rule, every time the public relations firms speak with an editorial board, reporter or other member of the media about any pending, proposed, or ongoing legislation or other government action, they would be required to register with the state and disclose the subject of their communications and extensive details about their businesses and their clients. The rule is unprecedented and unworkable in its expansiveness and, as the plaintiffs’ brief says, “directly inhibits and chills the rights of public relations firms and their clients to participate in discussions of public matters with and in the press, to serve as anonymous sources to the press, and to exercise their core speech and associational rights free from government inspection or the threat of prosecution or sanction.”

The public relations firms–The November Group, Inc., BerlinRosen Public Affairs Ltd, Anat Gerstein, Inc., Risa Heller Communications LLC, and Mercury Public Affairs–are represented by ECBAWM attorneys Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ilann M. Maazel, and Hayley Horowitz, and by CCP Attorney Allen Dickerson. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the New York Daily News have all covered the lawsuit.

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Bipartisan Group Sues to Close New York’s Corporate Donation Loophole

Today, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel and the Brennan Center for Justice, on behalf of several former and current State legislators and other plaintiffs, filed suit against the New York State Board of Elections to close the State’s infamous “LLC Loophole.” Since the Loophole was created by the BOE in 1996, contributors donating through LLCs have circumvented contribution limits and disclosure requirements that the Legislature created to protect the integrity of New York’s democratic process — and injected millions of secret dollars into state elections. In April the Brennan Center and Emery Celli asked the BOE to close the Loophole, but the board, in a 2-2 vote, refused to rescind its earlier decision and thereby defeated this attempt at reform. This lawsuit presents a promising opportunity to close the Loophole once and for all. ECBAWM attorneys Andrew G. Celli Jr., Elizabeth Saylor, and Ali Frick represent the bipartisan group of plaintiffs.

The New York TimesThe Daily News, The Albany Times Union, The Associated Press, Newsday, and The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, among other outlets, covered the lawsuit. Click here to read the press release about the case. On July 21, 2015, the New York Times editorial board called on the court to adopt ECBAWM and the Brennan Center’s position and close the LLC Loophole.

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Andrew Wilson Publishes Article on Gerrymandering

Andrew Wilson published an article titled “Population Predominance in Racial Gerrymandering,” with the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights section. The article addresses the Supreme Court’s recent treatment of racial gerrymandering and the Court’s statement on the role of equal-population objectives in redistricting analysis.

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ECBAWM and John Liu Challenge Constitutionality of New York City’s Campaign Finance System

Former New York City Comptroller and candidate for mayor John Liu, represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel, filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of New York City’s campaign finance system. The suit asserts that the rules governing the public financing system for City elections violate candidates’ First Amendment rights by giving the Campaign Finance Board, a City agency composed of five political appointees, unfettered discretion to arbitrarily determine which candidates receive significant public funding. This scheme allows the Board to censor candidates’ speech on a whim and grants it the authority to give preferential treatment to certain campaigns at the expense of others. The suit also alleges that the Board violated Liu’s Equal Protection rights when it preemptively excluded him from the public financing process based on mere suspicion and unproven allegations, even though in the past it has disbursed public funds to campaigns that have been caught breaking the law. Liu, whose 2013 campaign for mayor was denied all public matching funds just weeks before the Democratic primary election, noted that the Campaign Finance Board “is in dire need of reform.”

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