Voting Rights Groups Urge Michigan Secretary of State to Ban Citizenship Checkbox
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s “citizenship checkbox” on voter applications are confusing, inconsistently implemented, and may be used to intimidate voters, says the nonpartisan Michigan Election Coalition.
In a letter today, the coalition urged Johnson to stop requiring voters to affirm citizenship in order to receive a ballot. The requirement–which was rejected by Governor Rick Snyder in July–is “duplicative, unnecessary, and ineffective. And many citizens who voted in the Primary Election can attest: it is also confusing and poorly implemented,” said Jocelyn Benson, MEC co-chair in a press release today.
“Michigan law already requires that applicants to vote confirm their U.S. citizenship, under penalty of perjury, when they register to vote,” wrote the coalition in a letter to Johnson. “The citizen checkbox arbitrarily imposes a duplicative and unnecessary citizenship affirmation requirement on registered voters. It does nothing to enhance the integrity of the voting process. On the contrary, it impedes a free and fair election.”
“The checkbox is simply a solution in search of a problem. Secretary of State Johnson’s crusade against non-existent voter fraud is shamefully transparent,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “There is much more evidence that citizens are disenfranchised by these measures than there is evidence of individual voter fraud. In order for this to be a true democracy, every eligible American must be able to vote and every voice must be heard regardless of its political affiliation. ”
The coalition includes ACLU of Michigan, A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Fair Elections Legal Network, NAACP Michigan State Conference, Michigan Center for Election Law, AFT Michigan, League of Women Voters of Michigan, Progress Michigan, SEIU Michigan State Council, Common Cause Michigan, Michigan Election Reform Alliance, Project Vote, and International Union, UWA.