A left-wing super Political Action Committee (PAC) is suing Michigan over its law that eliminates absentee ballots if a person’s signature doesn’t match the one election officials have on file.
Priorities USA, which describes itself as a progressive advocacy group, argued in its lawsuit Wednesday that Michigan’s course of deciding if an absentee’s signature is useable breaches the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal and Protection Clause.
“The burden that these laws impose on the right to vote is undeniable and unjustified. Any potential concerns about voter fraud in the absentee voting process are already effectively addressed by other Michigan laws,” the Super PAC’s lawsuit says according to the Detroit News.
The lawsuit claims the state’s method for checking if signatures match is not coherent.
“In fact, no one really knows how Michigan election officials decide whether a signature on an absentee ballot or ballot application is sufficiently similar to the previously designated signature to withstand scrutiny,” the lawsuit says.
The Detroit News reports the lawsuit said the process starts with local clerks comparing a person’s signature on the absentee ballot with the one the state has on the qualified voter list. When the signatures don’t match, clerks automatically throw out the application.
After voters get their application thrown out, they must submit an absentee ballot where the local clerks again check to see if signatures match people’s reference signatures on file. Clerks reject applications when they don’t match a person’s reference signature.
Marc Elias, a former Hillary Clinton lawyer who represents Priorities USA, said on Twitter this law is “a hidden way” to keep people disenfranchised. Previously, Elias has helped this advocacy group file lawsuits in Missouri, North Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire. Just this month, he and Priorities USA argued its Missouri lawsuit in front of the state’s Supreme Court about Missouri’s voter identification law. An outcome for this case is still pending.
Priorities USA has expanded its efforts in Michigan ahead of 2020 election. As The Michigan Star previously reported, this progressive group started Priorities Michigan in July as part of a $100 million investment in key 2020 battleground states. As of the end of June, the super PAC has raised over $4 million for 2020.
Former President Barack Obama campaign officials started Priorities USA in 2011 with the goal of helping him win-reelection in 2012. In 2016, the group acted as Hillary Clinton’s main fundraising super PAC when she ran for president, spending almost $191 million.
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