Another Vote Suppression Plot Foiled
Posted by MEC on October 6, 2012
U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman has ruled that Michigan secretary of state Ruth Johnson cannot add an “affirmation of citizenship” checkbox to the ballot application.
Taking one extra step to affirm that we’re voting legally may seem trivial — just check the box and move on — but consider:
Johnson keeps claiming that there are thousands of noncitizens on the Michigan voting rolls, but hasn’t provided actual evidence to back that up. Her claims that illegal votes have been cast in previous elections are contradicted by her own Bureau of Elections. The “need” for that citizenship checkbox is a fabrication, which makes the motives for it suspect.
Johnson’s insistence that vote fraud will happen unless extra effort is taken to prevent it contradicts Michigan’s history of very clean elections, a history defended by every recent secretary of state including Ruth Johnson herself.
Johnson mandated the affirmation for the February primary, before the [Republican-dominated] legislature passed a bill making it legal — and again for the August primary, after the [Republican] governor vetoed the bill. She claims she has the authority to require it, but the history of that legislation says otherwise.
The affirmation created confusion, which slowed down the voting lines. Some voters were offended by the insinuation that they might be voting illegally, and those who insisted they didn’t have to check the box were denied ballots. The affirmation caused so much trouble that halfway through Election Day, Johnson’s office issued new instructions that people who didn’t mark the checkbox should get ballots anyway, contradicting the alleged necessity of the affirmation.
When Judge Borman ruled against the affirmation, he recognized that unnecessarily complicating the voting process is disenfranchisement:
“It is really a burden on the right to vote in terms of slowing things down, in terms of confusion,” U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman said in a preliminary ruling from the bench. Borman is expected to issue a written opinion by the end of Tuesday.
Could somebody please explain this to Judge Simpson of Pennsylvania?
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