Dechert Files Important Voting Rights Lawsuit in Pennsylvania on Behalf of NAACP

June 18, 2020

Dechert LLP and Free Speech For People filed an important voting-rights lawsuit today in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 
Pennsylvania State Conference.  The suit, brought against the Secretary of the Commonwealth, challenges a broad range of Pennsylvania election practices as unsafe and unequal during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.  These practices became apparent during the June primary election and include dramatic reductions (in some cases 90%) in the number of polling places, including in areas with substantial populations of African-American and Latino voters, and with inadequate notice.  Other practices include impractical and overly rigid mail-in ballot procedures and deadlines that made it difficult for many voters to receive mail-in ballots sufficiently far in advance to cast their votes in the primary.  Unless changed for the November election, these and many other practices will result in unsafe voting conditions and burden the right to vote, with particularly devastating impact on African-American and Latino voters, and violate Pennsylvania Constitution’s guarantees of free and fair elections and equal protection of the law.

Dechert partner and former Philadelphia City Solicitor Sozi Tulante commented: “As our country tries to cope with an unprecedented pandemic and comes to grips with systemic racism, we are all reminded that there is nothing more fundamental to ensuring all of our rights than voting. The November election will be a critical one for the future of our country and our state and it’s important that we get it right by ensuring that all people, including African Americans and Latinos, be afforded the right to participate equally and meaningfully.  No organization better exemplifies this commitment to equal justice than the NAACP, which is why Dechert is proud to partner with them and Free Speech For People on a pro bono basis to try to make that a reality.”

The Dechert team includes partners Sozi Tulante and Neil Steiner, and associates Julia Chapman, Craig Castiglia and Tiffany Engsell.  

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Dechert is a leading global law firm with 26 offices around the world. We advise on matters and transactions of the greatest complexity, bringing energy, creativity and efficient management of legal issues to deliver commercial and practical advice for clients.