Federal Court Throws Out Michigan Law, Helps Illegal Voters


ACRU Staff


October 13, 2008

A federal judge, on an emergency basis, has thrown out two Michigan laws designed to take non-residents off the states’ voter rolls. At the behest of the ACLU, he struck two different state laws, and ordered 1,438 “voters” back onto the election rolls.

The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article in the Detroit Free Press on 13 October, 2008. A federal judge has found two Michigan laws illegal for striking disqualified voters from the rolls.

In a suit brought by the ACLU, federal judge U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III ruled against a Michigan law which required election officials to strike from the rolls any new registrant whose voter card was returned as undeliverable when sent to the address provided by the would-be voter. He also ruled against another Michigan law which required ending the registration of any voter who applied for a drivers license in another state.

With regard to the first, the judge ordered that 1,438 “voters” restored to the rolls. With regard to the second, the judge did not order the restoration of about 200,000 “voters” because only a few of them were wrongfully removed, and that ordering them back onto the rolls would “risk grave harm to the public interest by permitting a large number of ineligible voters to vote.”

In short, the judge acknowledged that the Michigan laws at issue did remove ineligible would-be voters from the rolls. Nonetheless, he found that the Michigan laws violated the federal, National Voting Rights Act. Presumably, the judge explained in his opinion why these state laws were illegal under the federal law. None of the immediate press stories on this judicial fiat bothered to report those reasons.

Presumably, this matter will be appealed to the Circuit Court. And if that court does not reverse this injunction, then it will be taken to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis.

The central point is that it should be the people of Michigan, acting through their duly elected state legislature, who determine what steps that state takes to ensure the legitimacy of its elections and voter rolls. It should not be the ACLU, through an unelected federal judge, who acts on those matters.

Source for original story on the Net:




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