Hoffard v. Cochise, County of et al

Filing 14

First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Hearing by Kathleen Hoffard. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(In, Tamaraingsey)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 9 10 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA Case Number: 4:20-cv-00243-SHR Kathleen Hoffard, Plaintiff, 11 12 13 14 vs. [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Cochise County, Arizona; Lisa Marra, in her official capacity as Director of (Assigned to the Hon. Scott H. Rash) Cochise County Elections Department, 15 Defendants. 16 Before the Court is Plaintiff Kathleen Hoffard’s (“Hoffard”) Motion for 17 Preliminary Injunction against Defendants Cochise County (Arizona) and Lisa Marra, in 18 her official capacity as Director of Cochise County Elections Department (collectively, 19 “Cochise County”). For the following reasons, Hoffard’s motion is granted. 20 I. Findings of Fact 21 Plaintiff has spinal stenosis (lumbar and cervical spondylosis), rheumatoid 22 arthritis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis of the lumbar region, and degenerative disc 23 disease. As a result of these conditions, Hoffard is substantially limited in the major life 24 activities of standing, walking, and musculoskeletal function. She also takes medication 25 for treatment of the arthritis that suppresses her immune system. She is a registered voter 26 in Cochise County who desires to cast a vote in-person using curbside voting or a 27 28 1 1 substantially equivalent reasonable modification, on Election Day at one of Defendants’ 2 Vote Centers in the November 2020 General Election. 3 Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of her claims under the Americans with 4 Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”), and the 5 voting provisions of the Arizona Civil Rights Act (“ACRA”), because Defendants 6 discriminate against her and other voters based on disability by not providing a reasonable 7 modification of curbside voting, or a substantially equivalent reasonable modification, for 8 qualified individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in in-person voting on 9 Election Day. 10 Absent a preliminary injunction, Plaintiff and other voters with disabilities will 11 suffer irreparable harm in the General Election in November 2020. Specifically, Plaintiff 12 will be forced to navigate the parking lot and Vote Center despite significant pain in 13 walking and standing and, unlike in prior years, the absence of a preliminary injunction 14 forces Plaintiff to risk exposure to COVID-19 at a County Vote Center to exercise the 15 right to cast a ballot by in-person voting. 16 The balance of equities supporting the grant of preliminary injunctive relief tips in 17 favor of Plaintiff. In the absence of a preliminary injunction, Plaintiff and other voters 18 whose disabilities place them at greater risk of serious health complications or death from 19 COVID-19 will suffer injury to their right to equal access to voting on election day when 20 there are rapidly deployable, free or limited cost ways to provide curbside voting as a 21 reasonable modification for qualified individuals with disabilities. 22 The public interest is in upholding the right of Plaintiff and other voters with 23 disabilities to have equal access to the in-person voting program, especially considering 24 the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 25 26 27 II. Conclusion For the foregoing reasons, Hoffard is entitled to the preliminary injunction order sbe seeks. The Court will not require Hoffard to post bond. 28 2 1 2 3 4 5 IT IS ORDERED that Kathleen Hoffard’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. __) is GRANTED as follows: 1. Cochise County is enjoined from continuing its blanket ban on curbside voting; 2. Cochise County is ordered to provide the reasonable modification of 6 curbside voting, or a substantially equivalent modification to voters with disabilities who 7 intend to vote in person on November 3, 2020, pursuant to Title II of the Americans with 8 Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and A.R.S. § 41-1421(B); 9 3. On or before Tuesday, October 27, 2020, Cochise County shall implement 10 an effective remedial plan to provide notice to qualified electors that the unlawful blanket 11 ban of curbside voting has been lifted and that curbside voting or a substantially 12 equivalent modification is available as a reasonable modification for an individual with a 13 disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and A.R.S. § 41- 14 1421(B), including, but not limited to, providing necessary instructions and equipment to 15 its poll workers for providing curbside voting, and revising its public documents, Cochise 16 County’s Poll worker’s Training Handbook and Cochise County AZ: Elections FAQ. 17 Dated this ____ day of October, 2020. 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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