In the upcoming November election, Michigan residents will no longer be required to check a citizenship box on the ballot.
In a recent turn of events, federal Judge Paul D. Borman from the Eastern Michigan District issued an injunction against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s citizenship checkbox. A voting rights coalition brought the lawsuit requesting Borman strike down the checkbox as “unconstitutional and a violation of federal and state law.”
The coalition disputed the enactment of the checkbox would violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. This amendment requires voting rules and regulations to apply consistently across the state. The lawsuit was filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and others.
According to a press release, in addition to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the voting rights coalition, who filed the lawsuit, includes parties such as the Service Employees International Union, Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development, Ingham County Clerk Michael Bryanton and registered voters from East Lansing, Shelby Township and Buena Vista Township.
In a press release regarding the judgment passed Oct. 5, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney Dan Korobkin said, “Today’s decision is a clear victory for Michigan voters and the cause of voting rights across the country. There is no question that without the court’s intervention, the chaos that persisted during the August primary election will be replayed on a greater scale during the November general election. We are encouraged by the decision and hope to work with the Secretary of State on initiatives that will truly ensure that voting is convenient and open to every eligible voter in our state.”
An article written by Christina Hall of the Detroit Free Press reported that Johnson’s office said the state’s voter rolls have as many as 4,000 registered voters who are not U.S. citizens, and she wanted them to realize if they vote they could be committing a felony, face large legal fees, be deported or have problems pursuing U.S. citizenship.
Eastern Michigan University junior Rachel McCarthy said, “Whether a person is a citizen or not, if they’re living in the United States our policies and government officials affect their lives just as they do the average citizen’s. In order to register to vote one needs some proper form of identification so I don’t see where someone without citizenship or a green card would actually be able to vote here.
“The only problem I think removing the citizenship box would make is an increased level in anti-immigrant sentiments because unfortunately, immigrants are still the target of hate and bigotry by certain groups of Americans.”
EMU senior Jacob Jefferson said he is shocked the citizenship box is even on the ballot.
“I think that the Republican party is putting it on there to hinder votes from the Democratic party,” he said.”
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