Casino Opponents Claim Victory in Richmond Voter List Lawsuit

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The recent victory by opponents of a proposed casino resort in Richmond, Va., marks a pivotal moment in their ongoing campaign. These activists, led by local firebrand Paul Goldman and his group known as No Means No Casino, succeeded in a federal lawsuit compelling the state Board of Elections to release the contact information for registered voters in the city.

Goldman, the key plaintiff in the case, launched the lawsuit earlier this year, contending that his group was unjustly refused access to voter lists – a privilege traditionally extended to political candidates and committees. The lawsuit’s journey began in city court before progressing to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, culminating in a trial conducted the previous week.

A federal judge, late on Friday, commanded the board to furnish a list of individuals who voted in the past election. According to state law, release of such lists is permitted to specific eligible entities, including office-seeking candidates, political action committees, and nonprofits focused on promoting voter participation.

Meanwhile, city leaders in Richmond support the anticipated $562 million casino venture spearheaded by Urban One and Churchill Downs. Urban One, a media behemoth based in Maryland and serving the Black community, forges this alliance with Churchill Downs, a prominent racing and gaming outfit based in Kentucky.

Voters in the city previously voted down a similar proposal marginally two years ago, presaging another tight contest this time around. Additionally, ongoing negotiations for Goldman’s unimpeded access to separate voter lists are supervised by District Court Judge M. Hannah Lauck.

However, the court order arrived too late to involve the thousands of citizens in Richmond who had already participated in this year’s election. Early voting kicked off on September 22, with roughly 7,400 Richmond residents having cast their vote by Sunday as per the data from the Virginia Public Access Project.

Interestingly, early votes typically tilted towards supporting the casino, particularly those cast in person, creating a fascinating dynamic between the early and election day voters. As discussions continue over the registered voter lists, the outcome of this bathed-in-controversy casino proposal will be eagerly watched in the coming weeks.

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