PILF Argues Before the First Circuit Court of Appeals

Published On: October 05th, 2023

At stake is the right to study voter rolls and speak about errors in election administration

(Boston, MA) – October 5, 2023: Today, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is in court arguing before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in its case against Maine Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows.

This case implicates significant issues of press freedom, the First Amendment, and transparent elections. At issue is Maine’s penalties for speaking about public records.

PILF sued to obtain a copy of the voter roll and to challenge the state’s use restrictions that prohibit using Maine’s voter roll as a resource to study other state’s voter rolls and the discussion of specific errors found. In March of 2023, the United States District Court ruled in PILF’s favor that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) prohibited the state’s use restrictions on the voter roll. Secretary of State Bellows appealed the ruling.

WHAT:           Oral Arguments before the First Circuit Court of Appeals

WHEN:           October 5, 2023 at 9:30AM

WHERE:         Moakley United States Courthouse

                       1 Courthouse Way

                       En Banc Courtroom (on the 7th floor)

LINK:             The argument will be livestreamed here. Later today recordings of the argument will be available here.

“The public has a right to inspect election records and discuss any errors they find,” said PILF President, J. Christian Adams. “Maine has given the government power to silence individuals from speaking and criticizing election officials for not doing a good job. This case is an important step to stop the growing trend of states trying to dictate how concerned citizens may research voter rolls.”

Prior case filings in Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Shenna Bellows and documents can be found here. A factsheet breaking down the facts of the case is here.

The attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation in this case are Noel H. Johnson and Kaylan L. Phillips.

Previously, the Foundation has fought and won access to the voter roll in Maryland and Illinois.

Public Interest Legal Foundation
 (PILF) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.


For media inquiries, please reach out to Lbowman@publicinterestlegal.org

Public Interest Legal Foundation