A lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday alleges Michigan’s election laws purposefully try to confuse and disenfranchise young, college-aged voters. College Democrats at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Bureau of Elections Director Sally Williams claiming the state’s youngest voters are “particularly vulnerable to restrictive voting laws and uniquely susceptible to voter confusion.” The suit claims Michigan’s laws violate the First, Fourteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and will presumably seek relief from these two come Nov. 6: “Rogers’ Law,” which requires a citizen vote where their driver’s license lists their address, as well as a law requiring first-time voters to vote in person, meaning they can’t participate in early or absentee voting.
The College Democrats blame low turnout among college-aged residents on such requirements, according to the suit.
The two requirements “make registering and voting unduly confusing and difficult for young voters,” according to the lawsuit. When combined, “they place nearly insurmountable barriers between many young voters and their fundamental right to vote,” attorneys from Perkins Coie law firm wrote in the suit.
The high-profile Washington D.C.-based firm is representing the UM, MSU College Democrats, as well as the Michigan Federation of College Democrats in the suit.