The U.S. Supreme Court struck down witness and notary requirements for Rhode Island absentee ballots Thursday, holding with lower court rulings.
The high court ruled that requirements that voters obtain two witness signatures or have their absentee ballot notarized did not pass constitutional muster.
“Democracy was upheld by today’s decision,” said Jane Koster, president of the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island, which brought the suit. “Witness and notary requirements do nothing to improve the security of our elections, and now voters can cast their ballots free from the burden of fulfilling these requirements during a deadly pandemic.”
Rhode Island’s Democratic administration and the plaintiffs, which include the LWV and a number of individual Ocean State voters, agreed to waive the requirement in late July but faced pushback from Rhode Island Republicans and the Republican National Committee.
“Today’s decision is a victory for democracy. When voters are protected and have the assurance that they can cast their ballot safely and securely, without major barriers, that’s when our democracy works the way it should,” said Deborah Turner, president of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Twenty-twenty is not a normal election year, and states like Rhode Island should be celebrated for making necessary election changes to protect voters. Other states around the country should model this policy of putting voters first.”