Pro Bono Effort Helps Voting Advocacy Groups Highlight Poll Worker Safeguards in 8 Key States
Ballard Spahr attorneys worked pro bono with the nonpartisan advocacy organizations Brennan Center for Justice and All Voting Is Local to create state-level guides that highlight safeguards to ensure that poll workers cannot disrupt the election process.
The effort to assist election officials and the public in ensuring compliance with the law comes in response to press reports of election deniers trying to recruit poll workers to disrupt the election process in midterm votes next month. The recently issued guides summarize and highlight state laws and rules that govern election poll worker conduct in eight states of particular concern to the organizations: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They also provide guidance on further actions election officials can take to block any threats to election integrity. The guides were issued last week, except for Michigan’s, which was released in June 2022. Each of the guides is available here.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute. All Voting Is Local is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for policies and legislative priorities that expand voter access. With Brennan Center Democracy Program Counsel Lauren E. Miller as lead author of the poll worker guides, Ballard Spahr Partner Kahlil C. Williams and Associates J. Chesley Burruss and Laura E. Luisi Gavin supervised a Ballard Spahr team that assisted with the research and drafting.
Mr. Williams, who previously served as a policy analyst in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, noted that “the guides will be an essential resource to poll workers and will give them confidence that there are rules in place to prevent outsiders and insiders from disrupting polling places on Election Day.”
The state-by-state guides address laws and rules on matters such as poll worker eligibility, polling place chain-of-command, vote challenge procedures, enforcement mechanisms, and applicable laws against harassment, tampering, interference, and disinformation.
“While state and local election officials cannot exclude poll workers based on their political beliefs, they can and should take reasonable steps to ensure that poll workers follow the law and lawful instructions,” the Brennan Center states.
The Ballard Spahr team also included Associates Clayton C. Keir, Andrew “Drew” Hensley, Chanelle N. Jones, Justin A. Barry, Kyle A. Ceuninck, Stephen J. Martin, Ryan D. Brown, and Michael A. Charlebois, along with former Summer Associates Emma Shi and Melissa Rezzag.
Ballard Spahr’s participation is part of the firm’s wider pro bono initiative aimed at addressing racial and social justice issues such as voting rights, policing, and education, along with the firm’s historical focus on civil and human rights, child advocacy, and representation of low-income and other clients who would otherwise be unable to afford counsel.
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