Organization for Black Struggle v. Ashcroft, No. 20-3121 (8th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the enforcement of portions of Mo. Rev. Stat. 115.302, which provides for voting by mail-in ballot due to the ongoing global pandemic. Plaintiffs alleged that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by treating mail-in ballots differently than absentee ballots, requiring the former to be returned by mail only while allowing the latter to be returned by mail or in-person, either from the voter himself or a relative within the second degree of consanguinity. The district court entered a preliminary injunction in favor of plaintiffs and the Secretary entered a temporary administrative stay of the preliminary injunction.
The Eighth Circuit granted the Secretary's motion to stay the injunction pending appeal. The court held that the Secretary has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits, under the Anderson-Burdick standard, that the requirement that mail-in ballots be returned by USPS mail is a minimal burden and a reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction. The Secretary has also shown that the State will suffer irreparable harm if the court does not grant the stay, and that the remaining factors of injury to other parties and the public's interest weigh in favor of granting the motion to stay.
Court Description: [Shepherd, Author, with Kelly and Grasz, Circuit Judges] Civil Case ? Election Law. Organization for Black Struggle and others sought a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a portion of Missouri?s law involving mail-in balloting. The district court granted a preliminary injunction. The State?s motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal is granted. Judge Kelly dissents