Facing projections that 80 million Americans or more might choose to vote by mail in the November 2020 general election, stakeholders turned to the courts to clarify the appropriate ways for election officials to adapt, apply, and administer the rules of mail voting in the highly competitive elections taking place during the coronavirus pandemic. Plaintiffs across the country filed over 340 lawsuits between March 4, 2020, and November 3, 2020 (Election Day), challenging election procedures affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including nearly every aspect of the absentee balloting process. They asserted claims under a variety of state and federal laws and constitutional provisions. This report outlines the many legal challenges to absentee and mail voting systems brought from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March up to Election Day, largely in response to the pandemic.
Authors: Connor Clerkin, Lane Corrigan, Zahavah Levine, Aviel Menter, Christopher Meyer, Alexander Perry, and Theodora Raymond-Sidel