A powerful liberal super PAC has filed a third lawsuit in Michigan in an effort to overturn election laws it considers unconstitutional.
The Friday lawsuit was filed by Priorities USA in a Michigan district court and lists Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in her official capacity as the defendant. The lawsuit marks the third legal challenge the left-wing super PAC has brought against Michigan election laws in just 17 days.
The Associated Press reported that the lawsuit challenges the state’s documentation requirements for voter registration and a ban on same-day registration at polling places. Legislation passed last November by the Republican-controlled Legislature specifies that in the absence of a driver’s license or state ID, prospective voters must provide some form of identification along with a document, such as a bill or bank statement, that establishes proof of residency.
Attorneys for Priorities USA called these measures “onerous restrictions” that discourage young people from voting.
The lawsuit also challenges a policy from Benson’s office that prevents young people from being automatically registered to vote when they turn 17 ½ years old.
“Young voters in Michigan will face unequal and consequential barriers in registering vote and may even be denied the right to vote entirely for reasons having nothing to do with their qualification to participate in Michigan elections,” a copy of the complaint obtained by the Associated Press says.
Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, said in a statement released to the media that Friday’s lawsuit will be the “third and final suit in Michigan.” He said the complaint “places a much-need emphasis on voting rights for younger voters who wish to make their voices heard in the Democratic process.”
“Young people deserve a free and fair registration process that does not limit their access to exercising their right to vote,” he added.
In court documents obtained by MLive, attorneys for Priorities USA said young voters are “more likely to be confused by what is required for proof of residency, due to their lack of information about the voting process and limited to no experience navigating election processes.”
“Given that the Secretary of State’s office maintains accurate records of individuals with whom it interacts … there is no reason why it cannot automatically register such individuals to vote when they become eligible due to age,” those documents said.
The liberal group filed its second lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and named Attorney General Dana Nessel in her official capacity as the defendant. The complaint seeks to overturn Michigan’s ban on paid busing to the polls and restrictions on helping residents apply for absentee ballots, as The Michigan Star reported.
The first lawsuit filed by Priorities USA was submitted on October 30 and challenges Michigan’s law that eliminates absentee ballots if a voter’s signature doesn’t match the one election officials have on file.
Priorities USA was started in 2011 by former campaign officials for President Barack Obama with the goal of helping him win reelection in 2012. The group acted as Hillary Clinton’s main fundraising super PAC in the 2016 election, spending nearly $191 million.
The group launched its Michigan chapter, called Priorities Michigan, in July of this year as part of a $100 million investment ahead of the 2020 election. The super PAC spent more money than any other PAC during the 2016 election, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
The PAC now has chapters in other key battleground states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
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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].
Photo “Guy Cecil” by Guy Cecil. Background Photo “Priorities Michigan” by Priorities Michigan.