Fusaro v. Howard, No. 20-1879 (4th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Section 3-506 of Maryland's Election Law, which provides that a list of Maryland registered voters (the List) may be given to an applicant who is himself a registered Maryland voter (Access Provision), so long as the applicant attests that he will use the List for purposes that are related to the electoral process (the Use Provision). On remand from the Fourth Circuit, the district court awarded summary judgment to Maryland state officials on plaintiff's Use Provision-based free speech and vagueness claims.
The Fourth Circuit applied the Anderson-Burdick balancing test and concluded that plaintiff's claim that — as applied to him — the Use Provision contravenes the Free Speech Clause was without merit. The court explained that, when weighed against the State's interests — that is, safeguarding the List, protecting Maryland's election system, and shielding Maryland registered voters from harassment — the burden imposed on plaintiff is modest. The court also found plaintiff's as-applied vagueness claim unavailing where plaintiff understands the Use Provision's reach. Finally, the court found meritless plaintiff's facial challenges to the Use Provision which argued that the Use Provision facially contravenes the Free Speech Clause and that the phrase "related to the electoral process" is facially vague. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.