Dondiego v. Chapman – Mail-in Ballots (PA)
On May 31, 2022, a group of 9 voters filed a complaint against the Lehigh County and Northampton County Boards of Election (the Boards) and Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to stop the Boards from certifying the state’s 2022 primary election results until certain mail-in ballots were counted.
The voters submitted mail-in ballots that were missing a secrecy envelope or were received by the Boards after the deadline for them to be counted. The plaintiffs argued that these errors are immaterial and that the 260 ballots in question should be counted prior to certifying the counties’ results.
In early June, the court ordered the Boards to hold off on the certification of any races for which the ballots at issue would be outcome-determinative.
The plaintiffs settled with Lehigh and Northampton on June 15. The Boards agreed to a more robust voter education system and a plan to notify voters who submit “naked ballots” without the secrecy envelope, among other stipulations.
States United served as pro-bono counsel for Acting Secretary Chapman and was co-counsel with Spencer Scharff of Scharff PLLC.
On June 16, 2022, the case was dismissed with prejudice, per the plaintiffs request and based on the stipulations of the settlement.