College Democrats file suit against Michigan Secretary of State

Lansing, Michigan - August 31, 2018 - The Michigan Federation of College Democrats (MFCD), the College Democrats at the University of Michigan, and the College Democrats at Michigan State University have joined together in a suit against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections Sally Williams over the oftentimes insurmountable barriers faced by many college students in registering to vote and voting in Michigan. This suit specifically challenges:

Michigan Public Act 118 of 1999 (“Public Act 118"), which requires that a voter's residence for voter registration purposes match the address listed on her Michigan driver's license, see M.C.L. SS 257.307(c), 257.315(b)(1) Mich. Comp. Laws 168.509t(2), which is the current statute that requires that those who register to vote by mail or through third-party registration drives must vote in-person the first time they vote (the “First-Time/In-Person Requirement”).

As stated in the complaint filed by counsel, Perkins Coie LLP and Michigan State University Law Professor Mark Totten, in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan, as a result of these laws:

(Young voters in Michigan have faced unequal and consequential barriers in registering to vote and voting for the first time, and they have even been denied the right to vote entirely for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualification or eligibility to participate in Michigan elections. Indeed, in many cases, these laws have resulted in a chilling effect that has kept eligible young voters in Michigan from voting and registering to vote entirely due to widespread confusion about the laws' requirements and legal effects. If [these laws) are not enjoined, Michigan's young voters, who are among the most vulnerable to restrictive voting laws, will continue to be deterred and prevented from exercising their right to vote.

We believe that voting is an inalienable right, and that all levels of government should make every effort to ease the process of voting. Over the past several decades, some lawmakers in Michigan—and across the country-have attempted to make voting harder, more confusing, and time prohibitive. This has had an outsized impact on students, which is why we are glad to bring suit against this unconstitutional and burdensome law. On behalf of all college students in Michigan, we hope you will join us in ensuring that every Michigander has the ability to take part in an electoral process that is efficient, equitable, and just.

About: The Michigan Federation of College Democrats is dedicated to organizing students on campuses across Michigan to ensure a progressive and inclusive future. The College Democrats at the Universities' of Michigan and Michigan State share similar goals and are chartered members of the MFCD. The Michigan Federation of College Democrats is a chartered state federation with the College Democrats of America and is the official college caucus under the Michigan Democratic Party.