Read a PDF of our statement here.
LDF Files Emergency Lawsuit in Virginia State Court Seeking Relief for Voters on Election Day
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a lawsuit today in Stafford, Virginia seeking emergency relief for voters who fear the Stafford County Electoral Board’s conflicting and misleading instructions will ultimately prevent their provisional ballots for last Tuesday’s election from being counted. A hearing has been set for 9 am on Tuesday, November 14th.
“At the heart of this lawsuit is the ability of voters to have their voices heard,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of LDF. “When extraordinary steps are taken to impede the electoral process, we must act swiftly to ensure that each and every citizen has a meaningful opportunity to participate.”
Poll workers gave notices to voters containing contradictory information about how and when they could return to provide the additional information necessary for a provisional ballot. For example, one notice stated that voters could provide additional information to finalize their ballots until Noon, Friday, November 10; however, the office was closed on that day due to Veterans Day. Voters also received a second notice that stated that the only way to finalize the provisional ballot was to appear on Monday, November 13 before a convening of the Stafford County Electoral Board. Despite the confusion caused by the conflicting and misleading instructions provided to voters in Stafford County, the registrar’s office was largely offline and unavailable following Election Day as people were searching for answers regarding their ballots.
Last Tuesday, Virginia held statewide and local elections. The District 28 seat of the Virginia House of Delegates, located in Western Stafford County and Fredericksburg, remains hotly contested. Only 84 votes separate candidates Joshua Cole and Bob Thomas. Uncounted ballots could determine the race’s outcome.
LDF is litigating this case with co-counsel Gerlach Law Firm, PLC. Read our petition here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.