FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–August 25, 2020
Federal Court to Hold Status Hearing on Lawsuit Challenging Louisiana’s Election Plan
Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 26, Judge Shelly Dick will preside over a status hearing on the lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s emergency election plans (or lack thereof). This is the next major step in the legal process that will likely determine the state’s election rules for November and December.
NEW ORLEANS, LA | August 25, 2020—Tomorrow, at a scheduled 1:30 p.m. hearing in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, which will take place via Skype, Louisiana voters should learn a little bit more about what their elections might look like this fall, as the status of a lawsuit challenging the state’s emergency election plans will receive a status hearing in front of Judge Shelly Dick. The lawsuit was brought by the NAACP LDF on behalf of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, and three individual plaintiffs.
Tomorrow’s hearing won’t decide the actual election rules, but it is a major step forward on the legal side for an issue that is likely to be decided by the court. Over the past 10 days, the legislative side of the issue came to a stalemate, which means the court case is likely to be the deciding factor in how and when Louisianans can vote in November and December.
Recap of the past 10 days:
- Monday, August 17: Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin releases his Emergency Election Plan. The plan is immediately met with strong opposition from voting right groups, civic organizations, and others who feel its provisions fall far short of addressing voters’ needs amid the pandemic. Conservative groups largely support the plan.
- Tuesday, August 18: Gov. John Bel Edwards announces that he opposes the plan, and that he will veto it should it get to his desk.
- Wednesday, August 19: House & Governmental Affairs Committee meets to debate Sec. Ardoin’s proposed plan. After a contentious five-hour hearing, the committee votes 8-6 to move the plan forward, with one Republican crossing party lines to vote with Democrats on the panel against the plan.
- Thursday, August 20: Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee meets to debate the plan. The hearing was again contentious, and the final vote broke down exactly along party lines, with five Republicans voting in favor and three Democrats voting against. Gov. Edwards also issued a letter to Sec. Ardoin and legislative leaders to officially register his disapproval of the plan.
- Friday, August 21: The plan is sent out to the full legislature for a vote, which they will be able to cast on their phones.
As Sec. Ardoin noted during his testimony in front of the House committee, “politics and a pandemic don’t mix.” Ashley Shelton, executive director of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, expressed similar thoughts in her testimony in front of the same committee, saying, “this issue is becoming more and more political, but how can it be political when 43 other states have implemented no-excuse vote-by-mail, and it just seems like we continue to go in the other direction while other folks are actually finding solutions.”
Aside from the lawsuit, the Power Coalition has been at the forefront of this and many other voting rights and access issues. And we will continue that work regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings.
The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice works to build voice and power in traditionally ignored communities. We are a coalition of groups from across Louisiana whose mission is to organize in impacted communities, educate and turn out voters, and fight for policies that create a more equitable and just system in Louisiana.
Who: Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
What: Federal lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s election plan to have status hearing on Wednesday, August 26, at 1:30 p.m. in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
When: August 25, 2020
Ashley Shelton, Executive Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (225) 802-2435, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Robins-Brown, Communications Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (504) 256-8196, email@example.com