A new lawsuit filed by liberal super PAC Priorities USA seeks to overturn Michigan’s ban on paid busing to the polls and restrictions on helping residents apply for absentee ballots.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and lists Attorney General Dana Nessel as the defendant.
“Together, the voter transportation ban and the absentee ballot organizing ban make it even more difficult for voters for whom voting is already difficult—in particular, voters without access to private transportation—to vote. These voters include senior voters, minority voters, voters who are disabled, and low-income voters, who traditionally use absentee voting and lack access to private transportation at greater rates,” the lawsuit argues.
It’s a misdemeanor in Michigan to hire drivers to take voters to the polls, which is why, as the complaint notes, Michigan was the only state where Uber didn’t offer discounted rates on Election Day last November.
The so-called “absentee ballot organizing ban” prevents non-relatives (campaigns and get-out-the-vote groups) from delivering absentee ballot applications to election officials for a voter unless the voter has explicitly asked for assistance.
Priorities USA thinks these two statutes are unconstitutional and in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“The voter transportation ban and the absentee ballot organizing ban, together and individually, create obstacles to voting that constitute an undue burden on the right of Michigan citizens to vote,” the lawsuit adds. “In addition, the voter transportation ban and the absentee ballot organizing ban each criminalize constitutionally protected political activity of individuals and organizations who desire to increase voter participation by transporting voters to the polls or by assisting voters in applying for absentee ballots.”
The lawsuit notes that federal law permits hired voter transportation to the polls, while Michigan law now allows citizens to vote early or by absentee ballot “without excuse.”
“It follows, therefore, that the restrictions on rides to the polls and absentee ballot application collection will prevent voters from casting ballots,” the lawsuit concludes.
Tuesday’s lawsuit was the second complaint targeting Michigan election laws filed by Priorities USA. In late October, the progressive PAC sued Michigan over its law that eliminates absentee ballots if a voter’s signature doesn’t match the one election officials have on file.
The group launched its Michigan chapter in July as part of a $100 million investment ahead of the 2020 election.
“This lawsuit is yet another example of the Democrats and their allies trying to weaken Michigan election laws that were put in place to stop voter fraud,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said in a Wednesday press release. “In states without strong absentee ballot protections we have seen numerous examples of massive vote harvesting, and other forms of election fraud. The Michigan Republican Party will fight any attempt to undermine the integrity of our states elections or the security of our citizens ballots.”
– – –
Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.