Federal Judge Orders Citizenship Checkbox Removed From Michigan Ballots

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said she ordered the citizenship verification to prevent voter fraud.

A citizenship checkbox ordered by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will not appear on Michigan ballots in November, a federal judge ruled today. 

According to a report filed by Michigan Public Radio, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ruled that the checkbox "slows the voting process, is confusing and is a burden on the right to vote."

In a press release issued Friday evening, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) explained that a voting rights coalition, including the Clerk of Ingham County, three registered voters, the Michigan State Council and Local 517M of the SEIU and the ACLU of Michigan, filed the suit.

In July, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a portion of a new election law that would have required people to reaffirm their citizenship at the polls. In a statement published on the Secretary of State's website, Johnson said she ordered the checkbox be included on ballots in order to prevent voter fraud. 

Quoted in the SEIU release, plaintiff Glenn Rehahn of Shelby Township said the ruling "shows that nobody is above the law. When I tried to vote in the past, my rights were denied because I would not affirm my citizenship, which has never been in question. I shouldn't have had to jump through one more hoop to cast my ballot. This is a big victory for voting rights in Michigan because voters won't have to face the same barrier I did."

Joe Santelli October 06, 2012 at 02:53 AM
If your boss tells you not to do something, but you do it anyway, and then the project is completely messed up, and has to be completely redone, wasting a lot of time and money... Don't you get fired?
Susan Lossing October 06, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Obviously our Secretary of State needs a lesson on Federal and State Laws and what she can and cannot due because of them.
Leah Derby October 06, 2012 at 12:46 PM
huh. a law is a law.........but i do NOT understand how checking a box that says "are you a citizen of the united states" could be 'difficult' or 'confusing' or 'slow the voting process'. they aren't asking people to show their papers or get a full body scan. just check the box, yes or no.
Bronwyn October 06, 2012 at 12:57 PM
well I guess some people don't mind illegals determining the out come of our..elections...time to overhaul the Federal judges......wake up people...or are you all drinking the Kool-aid
hartland eagle October 06, 2012 at 01:15 PM
You cant register to vote without Identification that proves your citizenship. Illegals can't vote. I know that's the fox news kool aid, but its not true.
Susan Lossing October 06, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Michigan does not have a history of having illegals vote, as they couldn't get a voter registration card and therefore wouldn't be allowed to vote as they wouldn't be on the list of registered voters and how is checking a box going to stop someone from voting when they aren't a US citizen? The Judge ruled properly as what she wanted to do was illegal under Federal Law. The Federal Law would have to be overturned and re-written which isn't going to be happening anytime soon.
Tim October 06, 2012 at 02:29 PM
So let me get this straight. Now you don't have to show I.D., you don't have to even say your a US citizen.That checking a little box is violating your rights. That as a born US citizen I don't have the right to know that my right to vote is protected to the extent that no one who is not a citizen is affecting the outcome of my country. Why is it that everyone but citizens is more protected by our elected government is more protected than us? Am I the only one that see's the problem here, or is eveyone being so politacly correct that there looking past our right to question. This is the exact definiton of socialism. In michigan we have the largest populatin of islamic people who will do anything to change the outcome of our government. They have stated this many times, but we don't have the right to make sure that the don't break the law. A simple check mark in a box makes them feel bad? That's insane
Susan Lossing October 06, 2012 at 02:53 PM
You have never had to show ID, you need a driver's license and birth certificate to get a voter registration. They are to ask you your full name when you go to vote and if your name is on the registation books you can vote. That has always been the law, and we don't have the "quote largest population of islamic people" so get off it. And its only the islamic people who don't live here who have said that so get off the prejudice and get yourself a real education about the world around you.
Mumford Chopp October 06, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Leah----Liberals aren't too bright and are easily confused. Also when yoy're voting more than once, who wants to check all those silly little boxes....ROTFLMAO
Love All October 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Please provide the FACTUAL numbers of illegal votes cast IN PERSON,,, please. Once you can FACTUALLY demonstrate that there is a problem with the system, you can fix it. This has been looked in to on the national level and has been shown to statistically insignificant,,,, perhaps a few dozen instances in the millions of votes cast. The fact that you rant about "slamic people who will do anything to change the outcome of our government" clearly demonstrates your own bias and bigotry without providing a shred of evidence that anyone is doing anything illegal. As others have stated here, in Michigan, you have to prove citizenship and a drivers license to get your voter ID card. If those two documents don't prove who you are,, checking a silly box certainly won't improve anything. Topping it off,,,, you have to show NOTHING to vote absentee....... where's your faux outrage at that friends?
walden schmidt October 06, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The Secretary of State is an elected official, not appointed by the governor. Their "boss" are the citizens of Michigan..
Mary Burck October 06, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I agree with Ron, lets send Tim to the Patch of Shame!
hartland eagle October 06, 2012 at 05:05 PM
How does it feel being called out as a bigot, Tim? Have a nice day.
Patrice A October 06, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I read the comment about having to show a birth certificate when registering to vote... I thought, I don't remember having to show a birth certificate... it has been a long time though. So I went on the SOS website and pulled up the form to register through the mail and it does not require a birth certificate. You just have to check a box saying you are a citizen. But there is a statement at the bottom of the form that says you acknowledge all information to be true and will be held for perjury if found providing false information. I suppose if illegals wanted to vote they could, but they could get into some big trouble, or could they if there were thousands? Yeah, maybe there could be a problem but let's worry about it when it happens.
canseeallsides October 06, 2012 at 07:33 PM
If they defrauded the system thus far, a check box wouldn't stop their vote any way.
Marty Rosalik October 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Well it might become a case of "Double Secret Probation". However, if nobody is going to track down the fraudulent voter and drag them into court charged with perjury, this second box is useless. Oh and I got my unsolicited 6 page glossy mailer from the Michigan Republican Party today. It has two Absent Voter Ballot Applications in it wit hpre-printed addresses to the Oakland Charter Twp Clerk. NO, and I mean absolutely NO identification required. Someone could have taken these out of my mail box and intercepted the actual ballots. But maybe I'm watching too many conspiracy movies. I vote in person. They ask for my picture ID nothing else. I then color in the silly citizen bubble and move to the table where they look at my ID AGAIN and signed with pencil application. They open the book and color in yellow high lighter my name off the list. Folks, we can skip the color in the citizen bubble. I doubt the republic will crumble.
jon orlando October 07, 2012 at 02:52 AM
I'm proud to check that box! I think anyone that is a US citizen is proud to check that box. It's like putting a flag in front of your house or getting that sticker that says, " i voted". I think it question should be on the ballot, if your not a citizen you should NOT voting or even reading the question. The question should mess with you if your not a citizen, cause we as citizens shed blood to give you the freedom to live in our country and if you want to vote, BECOME A CITIZEN!
Gaear Grimsrud October 07, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Gaear Grimsrud October 07, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Leah...you are the smartest woman on this website. Thank you for some common sense.
Cathy Fucinari October 07, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Ruth Johnson works for us.
Cathy Fucinari October 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
If you are a registered voter, you have already established your citizenship. Repeated requests amount to the harassment of voters. The law prohibits such behavior.
Cathy Fucinari October 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Illegals don't vote.
Lynn Gross October 08, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Please read Jack Lessenberry's commentary: http://michiganradio.org/post/commentary-citizenship-and-voting
Brian Vosburg October 09, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Trenton Resident, The last 3 Secretaries of State in Michigan (including in 2008) have all been Republicans, none of them close to being a liberal.
Sadie October 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
FYI... The voter registration deadline for Michigan is Oct. 9. Here’s information on how you can register in Dearborn in time for the Nov. 6 elections: •Head to the Dearborn City Clerk's office, located on the first floor of Dearborn City Hall. The clerk's office is open 8 a.m-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. •Any Secretary of State office offers voter registration. Dearborn has one at 5094 Schaefer Road. It's open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Wednesday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. •Dearborn's Republican Victory Center, located at 22707 Michigan Ave., has voter registration on site. Same goes for Dearborn's Obama for America office, located at 13742 Michigan Ave. Remember: A valid driver's license or state ID must be shown in many cases when registering to vote. If you don't have either, check with the location beforehand to see if other forms of identification are acceptible. Voter registration cards generally take two weeks to arrive by mail. When you get yours, don't forget to go out and vote Nov. 6!


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