Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) submitted written testimony to the Michigan state Senate Committee on Election expressing opposition to S.B. 273, S.B. 286, and S.B. 308, three bills that would restrict access to the ballot box and undermine significant progress the state has made to expand voting access in the past. Each of the three bills restrictions would make it more difficult for qualified voters to cast an absent voter ballot if enacted. S.B. 273 and S.B. 286 would restrict the number of absent voter ballot drop boxes which would disproportionately impact Black voters and low-income voters. S.B. 308 would require the Michigan Secretary of State to implement a signature-verification process for absent voter ballot applications and envelopes that could not presume voter signatures are valid. Removing this presumption would likely cause absent voter ballots to be wrongfully rejected, increasing the risk of unjustified disenfranchisement for all Michiganders, but especially for elderly voters, voters with disabilities, and voters whose first language is not English. Taken together, the three bills would impose significant barriers to the ballot box and their restrictions would disproportionately impact Black voters and other historically disenfranchised Michiganders.
Read the full 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.