Michigan voters got a surprise when they voted on today. When filling out an application for a ballot, a new question was added: Are you a United States citizen? Yes or no. Gisgie Gendreau, of the Secretary of State’s office, said it the question was added as part of Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s continuing efforts to “ensure secure and fair elections.” Although there is a bill in the state legislature requiring such a declaration, it has not been passed.
The requirement has raised the hackles of civil liberties groups, who say the question is just another attempt to discourage people from voting. Residents already have to attest to their citizenship when they register to vote.
“Requiring voters to affirm their citizenship, again, at the polls is a solution in search of a problem,” said Melanie McElroy executive director of Common Cause of Michigan. “This new requirement will only confuse long time voters who affirmed their citizenship when they registered to vote for the first time.”