|Scott v. Schedler|
Scott v. Schedler (formerly Ferrand v. Schedler) is a lawsuit brought by Project Vote, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF), and New Orleans attorney Ronald Wilson against Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, the Secretary of the Departments of Children and Family Services, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, for failing to provide voter registration services at public assistance agencies as required by Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act. The complaint was filed on behalf of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP and Louisiana residents Roy Ferrand and Luther Scott, Jr.
The complaint, filed on April 19, 2011, cites substantial evidence demonstrating that Louisiana is
failing to provide mandatory voter registration services at its public
assistance offices as required by the NVRA. Despite
consistently high numbers of participants in Louisiana’s food stamp and
Medicaid programs, voter registration applications originating from public
assistance agencies have been surprisingly low. As of 2008, voter registration
applications originating in these agencies had dropped 88 percent from 1995,
despite increased participation in
public assistance programs. The
complaint also cites the results of agency investigations and interviews of
public assistance recipients showing widespread non-compliance.
On January 23, 2013, the same federal judge entered a final judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The court ruled that the Secretary of State, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Health and Hospitals had been systematically violating the NVRA.
Among other things, the court found that the public agencies were violating the NVRA by using application forms that did not offer voter registration or did not contain the language required by the NVRA; requiring clients to affirmatively request voter registration (opt-in) before distributing registration applications; failing to check voter registration applications and failing follow-up with clients if applications were incomplete; and permitting employees to tell clients that they could register to vote through the Secretary of State's website, rather than actually distributing voter registration applications.
With regard to the Secretary of State, the Court ruled that the Secretary provided inconsistent and inaccurate trainings and failed to ensure that public assistance offices were complying with their responsibilities under the NVRA. The court also reaffirmed the plaintiffs' standing, and entered a permanent injunction requiring the defendants to comply with the NVRA.
Complaint Exhibit 1: Notice Letter - January 12, 2011
Complaint Exhibit 2: Letter to Secretary Schedler - February 25, 2011
Complaint - April 19, 2011
Ruling - January 23, 2013
Permanent Injunction - January 23, 2013
Press Release - January 24, 2013
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