Manatt Negotiates Plan to Help Assure Voting Efficiency in AZ

Manatt's John McGuinness, a partner in the firm’s litigation practice, led a Manatt team that successfully negotiated with Arizona officials for an agreement that represents a major step forward in assuring the voting rights for individuals in the state’s Maricopa County are upheld. The agreement, known as the Wait Time Reduction Plan, came as a result of an earlier lawsuit filed pro bono by Manatt with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Osborn Maledon, P.A., challenging Arizona’s reduction of polling places during the March presidential preference election in Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, from 403 in 2008 to only 60 in 2016.

The deal with Maricopa County election officials helps prevent repeat problems in advance of the presidential election in November by reducing polling wait times and long lines. The plan delineates roles and responsibilities for county officials, poll workers and troubleshooters; outlines a mechanism to effectively respond to wait times exceeding 30 minutes; and promotes the use of hotlines for reporting excessively long lines. The county and the secretary of state will publicize the plan before each election, and the plan will also be included in the poll worker training manual.

“The agreement is a victory for the voters of Maricopa County,” said McGuinness. “Transparency and accessibility are vital components of democracy. And, this plan is an important step forward towards assuring both as we head into the general election.”

In addition to McGuinness, the Manatt team also included associates Andrew Case, Eric Chen and Chris Rheinheimer.