On March 4, Free Speech For People held a briefing to review key highlights of our election protection cases in 2020, as well as to outline our voting rights work moving forward, as we continue the fight to defend our democracy.

You can see the full video of the briefing presentations below, featuring our Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor Ben Clements and our Senior Counsel Courtney Hostetler.  FSFP President John Bonifaz moderated the discussion.

Free Speech For People Senior Counsel, Courtney Hostetler, described our critical voting rights lawsuits in Texas and North Carolina, the latter of which is still ongoing. “What they share,” she said, “is a focus on our attempts to make sure that every voter has the ability to vote in a manner that is secure, reliable, and safe. During the pandemic it became very clear that free and fair elections hinged on voters’ access not just to reliable voting methods but to safe voting options.” 

FSFP Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor Ben Clements described our key victories in our voting rights cases in Arizona and Minnesota. In Arizona, we won a federal court order on behalf of our clients, Mi Familia Vota and the Arizona Coalition for Change, which led to an extension of the voter registration deadline in the state, allowing more than 35,000 Arizonans to register to vote in the November 2020 election. In Minnesota, we won a landmark federal court ruling stopping a Tennessee-based private mercenary company from engaging in illegal voter intimidation in the state. The company had planned to send armed former military personnel to patrol the polls, in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. Our clients in that case included the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the League of Women Voters of Minnesota. 

Says Ben Clements: “A federal judge granted our motion, granted our motion completely, and ensured that Minnesota voters were able to vote at the polls without fears and without interference from armed mercenaries. Our major goal in this case was to address the threat in the 2020 election, but we were looking beyond that and we asked for relief against the defendants for future elections.” 

FSFP President John Bonifaz shared our plans for 2021 with regard to election protection, including: preparing for potential court challenges to any new state laws which restrict voting rights; continuing our election security litigation in North Carolina and Pennsylvania; and implementing our victory in our Minnesota case as a model for addressing illegal voter intimidation in other states across the country.