For Immediate Release


James Freedland, ACLU national, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;
Sabrina Williams, Advancement Project (202) 728-9557
Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan, (734) 417-8757


Appeals Court Orders Michigan to Restore 5,500 Voters to Rolls

Ruling Is Latest Victory in ACLU and Advancement Project Legal Challenge

federal appeals court late Wednesday cleared the way for 5,500
illegally purged voters to be returned to the rolls in time for
Election Day. The U.S. Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit rejected
Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land's request not to enforce an
earlier court ruling that declared the state's voter removal programs
illegal. The appeals court decision is the latest victory in a lawsuit
filed in September by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of
Michigan, Advancement Project and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Earlier this month, Judge Stephen J.
Murphy of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan
ruled that Michigan's voter removal program violates the National Voter
Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). In question was a Michigan state law
requiring local clerks to nullify the registrations of newly-registered
voters whenever their voter identification cards are returned by the
post office as undeliverable. The NVRA permits voters to remain on the
voter rolls for at least two federal elections after voter registration
cards are returned.

The voter removal program would have
had a detrimental impact in minority, low-income and student
communities across Michigan. These communities tend to be more
transient and to live in multi-family housing. The plaintiffs in the
case are the United States Student Association (USSA) and the ACLU of

The following can be attributed to participants in the lawsuit:

Meredith Bell-Platts, staff counsel with the ACLU Voting Rights Project:

"This is a major victory for
democracy and the people of Michigan. This decision helps restore
confidence in an electoral process that has been badly damaged by
misguided attempts at disenfranchising lawful registered voters. In
just five days, 5,000 voters who would have been shut out of the
democratic process will now have their votes counted and their voices

Bradley Heard, senior attorney with Advancement Project:


If you think a better world is possible, support our people-powered media model today

The corporate media puts the interests of the 1% ahead of all of us. That's wrong. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:

"We are gratified that another court
has cleared the way for Michigan's unlawfully purged voters to vote on
Election Day. Federal law is not optional and the secretary of state
must obey it. Every voter must be heard this election and we are
confident that everyone who is eligible to vote on Tuesday will now be
allowed to exercise this fundamental right."

Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director:

"We regret that the secretary of
state has fought this, wasting valuable time and resources on an appeal
when she could have worked to re-enfranchise the 5,000 illegally purged
voters. We count on the secretary of state to act in the best interests
of every person eligible to vote in this state. We applaud the Sixth
Circuit today for filling that role and ensuring that every person who
is eligible to vote in Michigan is allowed to, free of intimidation and

Attorneys in this case are Heard of
Advancement Project; Bell-Platts and Neil Bradley of the ACLU Voting
Rights Project; Moss and Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan; and
Matthew Lund, Mary K. Deon and Deborah Kovsky of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Legal documents in this case are available at:

More information on the ACLU Voting Rights Project is available at:



This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article

More in: