Follette v. Padilla


Cooley successfully advised Peter la Follette and The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California on the case

A San Francisco judge has ruled that California elections officials must notify voters before rejecting their mail-in ballots over signature concerns.

Previously, state law allowed elections officials – who may not be handwriting experts – to reject vote-by-mail ballots if they felt the signature on the ballot envelope didn’t match the signature on file for the voter, without giving the voter any opportunity to show that the signature was genuine.

As the court recognized, thousands of eligible voters are disenfranchised in California each election cycle – with approximately 33,000 to 45,000 ballots rejected in the November 2016 general election alone – due to a perceived signature mismatch. Asian-American voters, Latino voters and voters born outside the US are disproportionately disenfranchised by perceived signature mismatches.

Cooley advised with a team including William Donovan, Jr. (Picture) and Rebecca Tarneja.

Involved fees earner: William Donovan Jr. – Cooley LLP; Rebecca Tarneja – Cooley LLP;

Law Firms: Cooley LLP;

Clients: American Civil Liberties Union;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti