Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Black voters and the Christian Ministerial Alliance against Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston for failing to take adequate steps to protect the fundamental right to vote ahead of 2020 elections, including the runoff occurring on March 31, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. LDF is asking the Court to immediately order Arkansas to accept absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day (March 31) and received within 10 days of Election Day.

In a communal effort to slow the spread of the disease and save millions of people, Governor Hutchinson has closed government offices, schools, and businesses, strongly urged people to limit person-to-person interactions to their family, and to avoid large gatherings. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, voters will rely heavily on absentee ballot voting and other remote options to cast a ballot. However, state officials have not suspended the provisions that pose direct and severe obstacles to absentee voting.

Earlier this month, LDF’s sent a letter to Secretary Thurston urging him to take steps to protect voters in the current crisis.

Read the full complaint here.