Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. submitted written testimony to the Michigan Senate Committee on Elections opposing S.B. 299, a bill that would require election workers to stop counting votes and report their results to their county’s canvassing board by “12 noon on the day following the election,” regardless of whether all votes have been counted. The bill would not make any provision for voters whose ballots haven’t been counted by the arbitrary deadline. In the 2020 election, absentee ballots were still being counted in five Michigan cities, including Flint and Detroit, until 8pm on the day after Election Day. Four of the five cities in which counting continued on November 4, 2020 are home to a higher percentage of Black residents than the State of Michigan overall. If this provision had been in force as of the 2020 general election, thousands of votes—disproportionately including votes cast by Black Michiganders—would likely have been left uncounted. Based on Michigan’s experience in 2020, S.B. 299 could subject the disproportionately Black voters in these cities to a greater risk of disenfranchisement than other Michigan voters. S.B. 299 would unconstitutionally jeopardize the rights of voters to have their ballots counted.
Read the full written testimony here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.