The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”) and Attorney Janey J. Lamar sent a letter urging Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to veto Senate Bills (S.B.) 303 and 304 that would impose unnecessary burdens and restrict access to voting. The bills have passed both houses of the Michigan Legislature. If allowed to become law, these bills would impose a strict photo ID requirement for in-person voting; add a new ID requirement to the absentee voting process; ban any private donations of money, resources, facilities, or volunteer hours for election administration; prohibit the SOS and other officials from sending out absentee ballot applications to voters who have not already requested them for that election; and increase the burdens involved in making a provisional ballot count. Both bills would disproportionately impact and disenfranchise Black and low-income Michiganders who disproportionately lack access to the specified identification or the underlying documents necessary to obtain it, forcing more voters to cast provisional ballots that may not be counted. S.B. 303 would make Michigan’s voter identification requirements far more restrictive by striking the mitigating provision that allows in-person voters to cast a regular ballot if they attest in an affidavit that they are not in possession of photo identification. S.B. 303’s provisions restricting election funding from non-governmental sources will likely prevent jurisdictions from attaining critical resources they need for secure, accessible, and transparent election administration. Together, these burdens infringe on all eligible Michiganders’ voting rights, potentially violating the U.S. Constitution, the Michigan Constitution, and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Read the full letter 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.