Press Center

November 30, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Melanie McElroy, Executive Director
Phone: (517) 610-2576
mmcelroy@commoncause.org


Voting Rights Groups Oppose Voter Suppression Legislation


A series of bills were heard by the Senate Committee for Elections today that would add unnecessary burdens to the rights of Michigan’s citizens to vote. This legislative effort resembles efforts we have seen around the country to limit the right to vote - resulting in millions of Americans being impacted in the upcoming 2012 election year. National organizations, Project Vote, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Fair Elections Legal Network and Demos, partnered with the Michigan Center for Election Law and Common Cause Michigan to oppose SB 754, SB 751 and SB 803 at the Senate Committee for Elections hearing on November 30, 2011 at 3:00pm.

Senate Bill 754 would make it more difficult for Michiganders to exercise their right to vote.
Two provisions of this legislation: identification requirements for in-person voter registration and the imposition of further restrictions on organizations conducting third party voter registration offer a solution in search of a problem.

Senate Bill 751 would create confusion over the registration and absentee voting process in Michigan particularly affecting young voters, college students, and mobile citizens such as military families.

Senate Bill 803 would require voters to check a box that affirms and explains their residency status, which would needlessly duplicate an existing provision, since voters declare their citizenship upon registration already.

Rather than prevent eligible voters from participating in Michigan’s elections, our elected leaders should be focused on bringing new and infrequent voters into the process. We need election reforms that would create efficiencies in voter registration and encourage voter engagement and while accommodating those who are unable to participate in person. Our leaders should prioritize their efforts towards fighting deceptive voting practices, aggressive challenges, and mechanical errors within the system.

We call upon the members of the State Senate committee on Local Government and Elections to reject these efforts to confuse the voting process and stand up for voters' rights.

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View the testimony from November 30.