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Author: Andrew Vazquez
Date: Apr. 2021
From: Fordham Urban Law Journal(Vol. 48, Issue 4)
Publisher: Fordham Urban Law Journal
Document Type: Article
Length: 20,545 words
Lexile Measure: 2270L

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Introduction 968 I. The Purcell Principle and State Emergency Powers 974 A. Judicial Analysis of Election Laws and the Purcell Principle 974 i. Jurisprudence Surrounding Election Laws and Requests for Preliminary Relief 975 ii. How Purcell Altered the Preliminary Injunctive Relief Analysis 977 iii. The Development of the Purcell Principle Through the "Shadow Docket" 978 B. The State Emergency Powers Doctrine and Its Relevance to Election Law 982 i. Emergency Powers in Constitutional Law 983 ii. When Emergencies Impact Elections 987 iii. State Responses to COVID-19 990 II. Requests for Preliminary Relief from Election Laws During the COVID-19 Pandemic 992 A. The Application of the Purcell Principle During the COVID-19 Pandemic 992 i. Republican National Committee v. Democratic National Committee 993 ii. Merrill v. People First of Alabama 994 B. The Combination of the Purcell Principle and the State Emergency Powers Doctrine 996 i. Andino v. Middleton 997 ii. Democratic National Committee v. Wisconsin State Legislature 998 iii. Moore v. Circosta 999 iv. Looking Back at RNC and Merrill 1000 C. Lower Court Usage of the Purcell Principle 100? D. A Confusing, Gaping Hole in Voting Rights Protections 1004 III. The Combination of Purcell and State Emergency Powers Is Ripe for Abuse 1008 A. Fixing the Purcell Principle 1009 B. Courts Should Limit the Purcell Principle and State Emergency Powers 1011 C. Analyzing the Georgia 2022 Election Hypothetical Under the Egregious Abuse of State Emergency Power Framework 1014 Conclusion 1018 Appendix 1020


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities across the United States. (1) The deadly disease infected approximately 20 million and killed more than 300,000 people as of December 31, 2020. (2) In the same year, Joe Biden and Donald Trump competed in the presidential election, (3) while down the ballot, hundreds of politicians competed in House, Senate, state, and local elections. (4) In the months leading up to Election Day, state officials struggled to implement safe procedures to facilitate voting. (5) Although the majority of U.S. citizens have historically voted in person and on Election Day, (6) election officials sought to provide alternative access to the ballot box while also minimizing voters' exposure to COVID-19. (7) In many states, these changes included expanded access to absentee ballots and extended early voting, resulting in record-breaking voter turnout in the 2020 general election. (8)

As a result of the November election, Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency, and the Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives. (9) Additionally, Democrats won 48 Senate seats, and Republicans won 50 Senate seats. (10) In Georgia, both Senate seats went to runoff elections, which occurred on January 5, 2021. (n) The runoff elections determined the control of the Senate. (12) If the Republican candidates won one or both of the seats, the Republicans would have control of the Senate; (13) if the Democrats won both seats, the Democrats would have control, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote. (14) Control of the Senate was momentously important for both parties. (15)...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A663050696