On June 5, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced several initiatives designed to encourage participation among student and college-age voters, including the strikedown of a current law requiring some first-time voters to vote in person.
The changes come from a settlement meant to resolve a lawsuit brought forth by the University of Michigan’s chapter of College Democrats and other student groups alleging Michigan’s voting regulations unconstitutionally disfranchise younger voters.
According to the plaintiff’s press release, the lawsuit addresses two Michigan’s voter registration and ID laws, Michigan Public Act 118 and Michigan Compiled Laws 168.509t(2). The former law said the listed residence on a voter’s driver license and voter registration card must match, while the latter requires voters who register by mail or through a third-party voter registration drive to cast their first ballot in-person.
In an interview with the Daily, State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) noted young people face many important issues such as access to affordable healthcare, college affordability and changes to the criminal justice system. Irwin said he expects the SOS’s initiatives, along with the passing of Proposal 3, will encourage more college-age voters to participate.
“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” Irwin said. “Young people are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences (of current-day policy) the longest. I applaud the Secretary of State’s actions, and I applaud the actions of the College Democrats at U of M for pushing the issue.”
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