Harlan v. Orr, No. 16-3597 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Two-and-a-half months before the November 2016 general election, Harlan, the Republican Party’s candidate for an Illinois congressional seat, and the Crawford County Republican Central Committee filed suit, seeking a preliminary injunction against the implementation of a state law that allows voters to register and vote on Election Day itself. The law generally gives more options for same‐day registration and voting for residents of counties with populations of 100,000 or more than it does for those who live in smaller counties. The plaintiffs contended that the difference violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clause. The district court agreed with them and issued the injunction; the Seventh Circuit granted a stay of that injunction, then vacated the preliminary injunction altogether. The district court’s finding that voters would suffer irreparable harm was unsupported as was its application of strict scrutiny based on a finding that the burden on voters in the smaller counties was severe. Plaintiffs failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits.