Hanes et al. v. Merrill, et al.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs Tommy Hanes, David Calderwood, and Focus on America appealed a circuit court judgment dismissing their claims against John Merrill, in his official capacity as the Alabama Secretary of State, and Bill English, Wes Allen, Clay Crenshaw, Jeff Elrod, and Will Barfoot, in their official capacities as members of the Alabama Electronic Voting Committee ("the committee"). In May 2022, plaintiffs filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief relating to the general use of electronic-voting machines in the November 2022 general statewide election and in all future elections. Plaintiffs primarily sought to enjoin the usage of electronic-voting machines to count ballots. They specifically sought an order requiring that the 2022 election be conducted by paper ballot, with three individuals as independent counters who would manually count each ballot in full view of multiple cameras that could record and broadcast the counting proceedings, among other measures. Plaintiffs claimed the use of electronic voting machines was so insecure, both inherently and because of the alleged failures defendants in certifying the machines, that it infringed upon their constitutional right to vote, or, in the case of Focus on America, the right to vote of those persons it represented. Defendants moved to dismiss, citing Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P. They argued plaintiffs lacked standing, that the claims were moot, that State or Sovereign immunity under Art. I, § 14, of the Alabama Constitution barred the claims, that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that the court lacked jurisdiction pursuant to § 17-16-44, Ala. Code 1975. The circuit court found that the jurisdiction-stripping statute barred the plaintiffs' action, that the plaintiffs lacked standing, that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and that sovereign immunity barred the plaintiffs' claims. Finding plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue
their claims, thus depriving the circuit court of jurisdiction over their complaint, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed dismissal.