Merrill v. People First of Alabama, et al.

20A67 | Closed

On May 1, 2020 People First of Alabama and several voters filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama requesting an injunction preventing enforcement of state witness verification requirements, photo ID requirements, and the prohibition of curbside voting during the 2020 election due to the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic. The district court entered a preliminary injunction, which the Eleventh Circuit refused to stay on the state’s appeal, both courts citing voters’ fear of the risk of infection with COVID-19.

The state filed an emergency application for stay with the Supreme Court, citing Purcell v. Gonzales to argue that the lower federal courts should not change election procedures while absentee voting is already taking place and that the effect of the injunction would be widespread voter confusion. On October 1, 2020, the Supreme Court granted the state’s application, and stayed the district court’s order granting the injunction pending disposition of the appeal to the Eleventh Circuit and the petition for a writ of certiorari.