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Election & Political Litigation

When it comes to defending the principle of "one person, one vote" fundamental to American democracy, Arnold & Porter is a recognized frontrunner. Our seasoned Election & Political Litigation team has an exemplary success rate over multiple election cycles, prioritizing the rule of law over partisan outcomes. We have represented prominent advocacy organizations, concerned citizens and government officials in challenging state and federal laws that restrict voting rights and hinder free and fair elections—gerrymandering, voter ID laws, felony disenfranchisement, attempted census manipulation for partisan gain, and more. We develop smart strategies to navigate state and federal court systems and working closely with our top-tier appellate practice to address shifting Supreme Court perspectives, help ensure the fundamental right to vote remains free of improper restraints.

1 | We were the first firm to argue successfully that a state voter
ID law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
2 | Consecutive Financial Times’ Innovative Lawyers—Rule of Law and Access to Justice awards for our work on census and gerrymandering cases.
4 | Number of National Law Journal Political Activism/First Amendment Trailblazers (2020) on our team—the highest concentration of any firm.
» Read more.
11 | Barriers to voting access in the
run-up to the 2020 election.
» See the Carnegie Corporation’s list.

Experience Highlights

  • Immigration-rights organizations in the successful lawsuit—at the district court, on appeal and at the US Supreme Court—blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Dep't of Commerce v. New York, 139 S. Ct. 2551 (2019).
  • Plaintiffs in bringing the landmark partisan gerrymandering challenge to Pennsylvania's congressional districts under the Pennsylvania Constitution, and in successfully defending against a collateral attack on the state court judgment in federal court, to ultimately secure a new congressional map for the 2018 election. League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth, 178 A.3d 737 (Pa. 2018); Corman v. Torres, 287 F. Supp. 3d 558 (MD Pa. 2018).
  • Plaintiffs in a successful partisan gerrymandering challenge to North Carolina's state legislative districts in state court under the North Carolina Constitution, as well as in successfully defending a remand of the case to state court after state legislators removed the case to federal court and appealed the remand order; secured new state House and state Senate maps for the 2020 election. Common Cause v. Lewis, No. 18-cvs-14001 (NC Super. Ct.); 956 F.3d 246 (4th Cir. 2020).
  • Plaintiffs in a partisan gerrymandering challenge to North Carolina’s congressional districts in state court under the North Carolina Constitution that resulted in obtaining a preliminary injunction and a new map for the 2020 election. Harper v. Lewis, No. 19-cvs-12667 (NC Super. Ct.).
  • Nonprofit organization in the lead lawsuit under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) against the Pence-Kobach Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, which led to the Commission's disbanding. Lawyers' Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law v. Presidential Advisory Comm'n on Election Integrity, 316 F. Supp. 3d 230 (DDC 2018).
  • Plaintiffs in challenge to Virginia’s online voter registration deadline following widespread technical failures of the system; led to Virginia agreeing to extend the deadline, allowing tens of thousands of additional voters to register. New Virginia Majority Education Fund v. Virginia Department of Elections, No. 16-cv-01319-CMH (ED Va.).
  • Nonprofit organization in securing an injunction barring the Election Assistance Commission's proposed regulatory changes that would have permitted states to require documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote. League of Women Voters v. Newby, 831 F.3d 1 (DC Cir. 2016).
  • Plaintiffs in prevailing at state court trial and in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to secure a permanent injunction against Pennsylvania's voter-ID law under the Pennsylvania Constitution. Applewhite v. Pennsylvania, No. 330 MD 2012 (Pa. Comm. Ct. Jan. 17, 2014); 54 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2012).
  • Plaintiffs in securing an emergency stay from the US Supreme Court to block enforcement of Wisconsin's voter-ID law for the 2014 general election. Frank v. Walker, 135 S. Ct. 7 (2014).
  • Plaintiffs in an equal protection challenge to the Ohio Secretary of State's failure to administer elections in a fair and even manner; settled on favorable injunctive terms after our claims were sustained on appeal. League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Brunner, 548 F.3d 463 (6th Cir. 2008).

Key Contacts

John A. Freedman
John A. Freedman
Senior Pro Bono Counsel
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5316
R. Stanton Jones
R. Stanton Jones
Partner
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5563
Elisabeth S. Theodore
Elisabeth S. Theodore
Partner
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.942.5891
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