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Trial to Begin Wednesday in Mass. Voting Rights Lawsuit

Tags: Pro Bono

The trial in a lawsuit challenging Massachusetts' voter registration cutoff law will begin in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday, July 5. A Ropes & Gray team led by government enforcement partner Kirsten Mayer will be arguing the case on behalf of the plaintiffs in Chelsea Collaborative v. Gavin. 

Currently, the law arbitrarily denies citizens their fundamental right to vote by barring otherwise eligible voters from casting their ballots unless they register at least 20 days before Election Day.

The upcoming trial addresses the remaining question in the case: whether the voter registration cutoff law, which disenfranchises thousands of potential voters every election, is unconstitutional. 

Ropes & Gray, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts and the national ACLU Voting Rights Project, filed the suit on behalf of the Chelsea Collaborative, MassVOTE, certain individual registered voters, and a class of similarly situated individuals. The groups are urging the court to declare the voter registration cutoff law unconstitutional, and to order the government to end enforcement of the law.

In November, Suffolk Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins issued a preliminary injunction permitting the individual plaintiffs to cast provisional ballots in the 2016 election, which were later counted. The order underscores the importance of voting rights in Massachusetts and nationwide. 

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