Baten v. McMaster, No. 19-1297 (4th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action challenging the "winner-take-all" aspect of South Carolina's process for appointing its nine Electors to the Electoral College.
After determining that it has subject matter jurisdiction to address the merits of the appeal, the court held that the winner-take-all process does not violate the Equal Protection Clause, because it does not treat any particular group of voters in the State differently; the winner-take-all process does not violate plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights because it does not burden plaintiffs' right to freedom of association; and the winner-take-all process does not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. In this case, while plaintiffs allege that Black voters in South Carolina are a minority group sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district, the court stated that they fail to address what this means in the context of a statewide election.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on July 27, 2020.