Suppose that there is an intentional and successful effort by the government to suppress voters likely to vote for a particular candidate or party. Further suppose that this extends to an intentional and successful effort to discard votes likely to be for that candidate/party.

This question assumes the above to be established beyond doubt. Let's say all government officials in question have openly declared it to be official policy. The policy was so effective that it definitely changed the outcome of an election.

  • Who has legal standing to file suit?
  • Who could they file suit against?
  • What grounds do they have to file suit?
  • What jurisdictions are especially favorable or unfavorable?
  • What is the difference if the government in question is county, state, or federal?
  • Thanks for the response. I was being intentionally vague about the mechanism but certain about the intent and effect, in an effort to concentrate responses on the bullet pointed questions. My assumption was that mechanism wouldn't be important if intent was certain, but you indicate I was wrong. For the sake of concreteness, I was
    – Curt Cox
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 22:23
  • - mainly considering voter registration procedures, access to polling places, and selective discarding of votes. The intent of all of those is to allow "your" voters to vote more easily, more quickly, and have their votes be counted more often. If you've seen the documentary "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" you will have a better idea where I'm coming from, but I tried to ask the question in a way that would make that background superfluous.
    – Curt Cox
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 22:52
  • You might have the opportunity to learn about some of these questions in real life or follow this story as it unfolds: wnyc.org/story/…
    – Michael
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


Your scenario is skirting fraud, which is a criminal issue; I'm assuming that was unintentional and that criminal questions were beyond the scope of what you intended.

A person could claim standing by demonstrating:

  • They voted successfully, but at a precinct affected where their vote may have been discarded based on the policy in question.
  • They voted successfully, but they were disproportionately or unreasonably burdened by the policy during the registration and/or voting process.
  • They were unable to register and/or vote because of the policy.
  • They were a candidate for election and were on the ballot in a precinct affected by the policy.
  • You're right that I wanted to focus on standing, but I am ignorant here. In my scenario, the government actors are completely transparent. I posed it in this blatantly unrealistic way to avoid the issue of proving intent. How can there be fraud without intent to deceive? What changes if there was a crime? Why "skirting fraud" and not definitively either way?
    – Curt Cox
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 13:53
  • @curt when I mentioned potential criminality I was referring to the bit about discarding ballots; anyway, it's not germane to the rest of the answer, which is regarding civil standing. That's what you asked about, yes? I only mentioned the first bit to make sure I understood you correctly.
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 20:47

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