Settlement will increase ballot access for college students
A breakthrough legal settlement in Michigan today will make voting more accessible for tens of thousands of students in a crucial swing state ahead of the 2020 election cycle. The legal settlement resulted from DCCC backed challenges to two laws in Michigan brought by students at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and the Michigan Federation of College Democrats. These voter suppression laws placed “nearly insurmountable barriers between many young voters and their fundamental right to vote.”
The two most immediate impacts of this legal victory are:
- The Secretary of State committed to encourage college student voting, including ending confusion regarding the requirement that voters’ registration address and drivers’ licenses address match, which had a chilling effect on voter registration. She committed to making it clear, through public education and outreach that students can vote either at their home addresses or at their campus address.
- The requirement that residents who register to vote by mail or as part of a voter registration drive, as many students do, would have to vote in person the first time they voted was declared invalid. Now, students who registered in this manner can vote by absentee ballot, increasing their ability to access the ballot.
Additionally, to ensure that these significant changes are communicated widely, the Michigan Secretary of State has agreed to set up new communications tools, as well as communicate directly to Michigan’s colleges and universities about the updated requirements for voter registration.
MSU College Democrats President Carter Oselett:
“Today’s agreement is a victory for college students throughout the state of Michigan. College Democrats want to thank Secretary of State Benson and the DCCC for their work in making the ballot more accessible for young voters. Here at Michigan State, we have seen how Republican voter suppression has impacted college students’ access to the ballot, and it is reassuring that after today’s decision, young people and college students, regardless of party, will be allowed to exercise their right to vote.”
DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos:
“Republican voter suppression is very real which is why we are so proud to have worked with college students to secure this important legal victory for young people in Michigan. Americans shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to cast their ballot, and we’re working hard to tear down barriers that Republicans put in place. Whether it’s voter suppression laws like this one in Michigan, ridiculously gerrymandered districts across the country, or the criminal election fraud in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District, I’m proud to stand on the side of Americans’ votes, not cynical political games.”