Michigan Ordered to Restore Purged Voters

Election '08

DETROIT – In a major victory for voting rights, a judge today ruled that Michigan's voter removal program violates federal law and ordered the state to stop illegally purging voters from the rolls. The decision comes in a lawsuit filed last month by Advancement Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Michigan and the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

"We are gratified that the judge ordered the state of Michigan to halt its unlawful purge program," said Bradley Heard, senior attorney with Advancement Project. "This decision protects thousands of Michigan residents' voting rights from being infringed upon during this important and historic presidential election, and beyond. It is now up to the state of Michigan to afford these voters the protections that federal law requires."

Judge Stephen J. Murphy of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that one of Michigan's voter removal programs 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. Detroit elections officials report that nearly 30,000 voters per year in that city alone are removed from the rolls as a result of this state election law. The NVRA permits voters to remain on the voter rolls for at least two federal elections after voter registration cards are returned.

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