OXFORD, Miss. — A lawsuit against Mississippi’s Republican Party and Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman has been dropped for now by Texas based voter integrity organization True the Vote. This comes a day after a letter from Northern U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mills who asked the group to justify why they filed lawsuit in the Northern District. He also hinted that the lawsuit was vague.
Based upon the allegations of the complaint, it is not clear to this court why this case was filed in the Northern District of Mississippi. Although the complaint does not so indicate, both defendants in this case are residents of Hinds County, and it would appear that the overwhelming majority of the witnesses and evidence in this case are located in the Jackson area. Indeed, defendants’ residence aside, plaintiff True the Vote alleges that, immediately prior to the election, it sought but was denied records by “Hinds and Rankin Counties.” It thus seems clearthat, factually speaking, this case is very strongly centered in the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi.
It appears that the complaint has been drafted largely to give the impression that it involves Northern District issues when, particularly in light of recent Fifth Circuit precedent discussed below, it actually does not. While a number of plaintiffs in this case do reside in the Northern District, it appears that many, if not most, of them allege nothing more than that they “voted in the 2014 Republican Primary Election and Republican Primary Run-off Election.” The same could be said for hundreds of thousands of voters across this state. It is well settled that, to meet the constitutional standing requirement, a plaintiff must allege “personal injury fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct and likely to be redressed by the requested relief.” Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984).
In the lawsuit, the Mississippi Republican Party was accused of violating the Voting Rights Act. They wanted a federal judge to place an injunction on the party until all voting records related to the June 23 Republican Runoff could be reviewed. The group may refile the lawsuit in the Southern District.