After a lopsided string of court victories knocking down state voting restrictions, Democratic superlawyer Marc E. Elias was literally flying high last week in his pursuit of other Republican-initiated voting laws he says hurt his party’s most loyal constituencies. First up was the battleground of Ohio, where Elias told a federal appeals court that the state had unlawfully cut a few days of early voting disproportionately used by African Americans. Less than 24 hours later, the lawyer whose firm counts Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee among its clients was in a federal courtroom 1,600 miles away. He charged that Arizona’s new law regarding the handling of absentee ballots was an unconstitutional effort to discourage Latino and Native American voters as well as those who assist them.
Elias, a go-to lawyer for Democrats in recount fights and redistricting battles, has now taken a prominent and somewhat controversial place among the coalition of groups challenging a wave of state election laws that were rewritten in recent years.
With a multimillion-dollar commitment from liberal mega-donor George Soros, Elias is challenging laws that, he argues, diminish the impact of important Democratic Party constituencies of African Americans, Latinos and young people.
“I don’t think people should think we’re done filing lawsuits for this election cycle,” Elias said in a taxicab interview after two flights and a two-hour weather delay delivered him to Phoenix.