DOJ Files Brief Backing Alabama Absentee Ballot Rule Requiring Two Witnesses Or Notary For Mailed Ballots

Via press release from the Justice Department:

The Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest Monday in an Alabama federal court to promote the proper and uniform interpretation of the Voting Rights Act. The Statement of Interest is part of the Department of Justice’s continuing efforts around the country to enforce our nation’s federal voting rights laws.

The lawsuit in question, brought by private plaintiffs, includes constitutional and statutory challenges to Alabama’s witness requirement for absentee ballots. Although certain of private plaintiffs’ claims relate to the COVID-19 pandemic, plaintiffs have also asked the court to enjoin Alabama’s witness requirement permanently as a violation of Section 201 of the Voting Rights Act.

The Statement of Interest explains that Section 201 prohibits denial of the right to vote to citizens who fail to prove their qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class. Alabama’s absentee witness requirement, however, does not violate Section 201. The Statement of Interest does not take a position on any of the private plaintiffs’ other claims.