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1 Unsuccessful Suit to Stop Private Funding of a Federal Election in Minneapolis 1 (2021)

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CASE STUDIES IN EMERGENCY ELECTION LITIGATION


         Unsuccessful Suit to Stop Private Funding
             of a  Federal   Election in Minneapolis
          Minnesota Voters Alliance v. City of Minneapolis
              (Michael   J. Davis, D. Minn.  0:20-cv-2049)
       A  federal complaint challenged a municipality's accepting private
       funds to help administer a federal election. The district judge ruled
       that the plaintiffs did not have standing to pursue the general griev-
       ance.
           Subject: Voting Procedures. Topics: COVID-19; Help America
       Vote Act (HAVA); National Voter Registration Act.
The City of Minneapolis  is one of 22 Minnesota municipalities that applied
for and was awarded  a COVID-19   Response  Grant from the Center for Tech
and Civil Life to assist with the substantial costs entailed with administering
an election during [the] global [COVID-19 infectious] pandemic.'
    A September  24, 2020, federal complaint filed in the District of Minnesota
alleged that it was unconstitutional for a municipality to accept private funds
for its administration of the November 3 general election.2 Five days later, the
plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order.'
    Judge Michael  J. Davis set the case for an October 15 videoconference
hearing, posting on the docket sheet a telephone number for receiving dial-in
instructions.
    On October  16, Judge Davis ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing
to bring the suit.'
    Plaintiffs allege no injury to their right to vote caused by the City's actions.
    For example, nowhere do they allege that they will be unable to cast a ballot,
    or that they will be forced to choose between voting under unsafe pandemic
    conditions and not voting at all. The City's actions in applying for and ac-
    cepting the grant and using the grant money to improve all manners of voting
    in Minneapolis in the 2020 election affect all Minneapolis voters equally. All
    individual Plaintiffs are Minneapolis voters. Plaintiffs fail to explain how they
    will be uniquely affected by Minneapolis's actions.6
    The plaintiffs filed a voluntary dismissal on January 4, 2021.'



    1. Opinion at 1-2, Minn. Voters Alliance v. City of Minneapolis, No. 0:20-cv-2049 (D.
Minn. Oct. 16, 2020), D.E. 25, 2020 WL 6119937 (footnote omitted).
   2. Complaint, Minn. Voters Alliance v. City of Minneapolis, No. 0:20-cv-2049 (D. Minn.
Sept. 24, 2020), D.E. 1; see Amended Complaint, id. (Nov. 13, 2020), D.E. 29.
   3. Temporary Restraining Order Motion, id. (Sept. 29, 2020), D.E. 7.
   4. Docket Sheet, id. (Sept. 24, 2020) (D.E. 16); see Notice, id. (Oct. 6, 2020), D.E. 15.
   5. Opinion, supra note 1; see Liz Navratil, Judge Rules Mpls. Can Accept Election Grant,
Minneapolis Star Trib., Oct. 18, 2020, at 3B.
   6. Opinion, supra note 1, at 2.
   7. Voluntary Dismissal, Minn. Voters Alliance, No. 0:20-cv-2049 (D. Minn. Jan. 4,2021),
D.E. 38.


Federal Judicial Center 1/29/2021


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