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MI House Should Vote “No” on Voter Suppression Package Print E-mail
March 8, 2012

Diverse Coalition of Michigan Advocates Seek to Protect Voting Rights and Election Integrity

(Lansing) – The Michigan legislature is considering a package of bills that will create unnecessary hurdles for voters. “Michigan is part of a national trend of voter suppression tactics in anticipation of the November 2012 election,” says Melanie McElroy, executive director of Common Cause Michigan. “Adding the redundant citizenship affirmation and photo ID requirements at the poll and restricting community voter registration drives will unnecessarily confuse voters and will severely limit the ability of many to exercise their right to vote. Our election officials should be focused on making voting more convenient and truly securing the integrity of our election system, not creating costly and useless hurdles for voters to jump over,” says McElroy. “We urge House members to vote no on the voter suppression bills.”

“Michigan should do all it can to expand participation in the voting process by adopting reforms like Election Day registration, no-reason absentee voting, and allowing college students to vote on campus,” says Melvin Butch Hollowell, general counsel, Detroit Branch NAACP. 
 
The proposed Michigan voter suppression package of bills, SB 751, 754, and 803, as well as HB 5061, includes rules that may violate the Constitutional rights to assembly and petition, and which would make it very difficult for community organizations to conduct voter registration drives. In addition to imposing photo ID and citizenship affirmation requirements, the proposed bills introduce new bureaucratic burdens on any community organization that assists two or more voters with their registration applications. The organizations must register with the Department of State, undergo training, and collect and maintain signed statements by every volunteer and employee.

“Burdensome regulations that do not clearly improve the integrity of the ballot do little to help community-based nonprofits promote civic engagement. Putting barriers to getting voters to the polls could have a chilling effect on their important efforts to engage citizens. We do not want to be in a place where nonprofits give up promoting their missions and educating and bringing eligible voters into our democratic process,” says Kyle Caldwell, the president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA).

“Community-based groups play an important role in working with state and local election officials to ensure integrity in our elections, while also making voting more relevant, accessible, and convenient,” said Caldwell.

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This is a joint press release from Common Cause Michigan, the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Project Vote, and the Detroit Branch NAACP

Media Contact MNA: Christina Kuo, Sr. Dir.of Public Policy & Public Affairs
(517) 492-2408(ofc) (248)762-6113 (cell), ckuoATmnaonline.org
 
Media Contact Common Cause MI: Melanie McElroy, Executive Director
(517) 610-2576, mmcelroyATcommoncause.org
 
Media Contact Project Vote: Sarah Massey, Media Director
(202) 210-6614, smasseyATprojectvote.org
 

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