Press Release

Voting Rights

Suffolk Superior Court trial to start Wednesday in case challenging voter registration cutoff law

Voters and civic groups will testify against the 20-day registration statute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2017

CONTACT:
Aaron Wolfson, ACLU of Massachusetts, awolfson@aclum.org, 617-482-3170 x310
Aaron Kellogg, Ropes & Gray LLP, aaron.kellogg@ropesgray.com, 617-235-4403

BOSTON – Trial will begin in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday, July 5 in Chelsea Collaborative v. Gavin, a lawsuit challenging Massachusetts’ voter registration cutoff law. The law arbitrarily denies citizens their fundamental right to vote by barring otherwise eligible voters from casting their ballots unless they register at least 20 days before Election Day.

The ACLU of Massachusetts, along with the national ACLU Voting Rights Project and the law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, filed the suit on behalf of the Chelsea Collaborative, MassVOTE, and certain individual registered voters. The groups are urging the court to declare the law unconstitutional, and to order the government to end enforcement of the law.

In November, Suffolk Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins issued a preliminary injunction permitting the individual plaintiffs to cast provisional ballots in the 2016 election, which were later counted. The order underscores the importance of voting rights in Massachusetts and nationwide.

The upcoming trial addresses the remaining question in the case: whether the voter registration cutoff law, which disenfranchises thousands of potential voters every election, is unconstitutional.

WHAT:

Arguments and testimony on Massachusetts’ 20-day voter registration cutoff law, which arbitrarily disenfranchises thousands of Massachusetts voters.

WHO:

Plaintiffs’ attorneys who will examine witnesses include Kirsten Mayer, Patrick Welsh, and Dave Derusha of Ropes & Gray, Alora Thomas-Lundborg of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, and Jessie Rossman of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

WHERE:

Suffolk County Courthouse, 3rd Floor, Courtroom 314
3 Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108

WHEN:

Wednesday, July 5 at 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 6 at 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Friday, July 7 at 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Additional hearing dates TBD

Learn more about the case, Chelsea Collaborative v. Gavin.

Learn more about the ACLU’s voting rights work.

Learn more about Ropes & Gray LLP.

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