For Immediate Release:
September 28, 2020
Julian Brookes, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646–673–6224
Kayla Vix, League of Women Voters of the United States, email@example.com, 202–809–9668
Today, a federal judge permitted the League of Women Voters of Michigan and five local Leagues to intervene in support of the State in Daunt v. Benson, a federal lawsuit concerning voter purges.
“This lawsuit is based on unjust, flawed notions of how election officials should maintain voter rolls, practices that can endanger eligible voters’ ability to participate in elections,” said Christina Schlitt, President of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “The League of Women Voters is proud to intervene in defense of Michigan’s voters.”
In June, Anthony Daunt—backed by the Honest Elections Project—filed a federal lawsuit in Michigan against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the state’s director of elections, and several local county administrators. The suit alleges that these officials have failed to maintain accurate voter rolls in violation of the National Voter Registration Act, arguing that registration rates in 16 Michigan counties are too high.
As the League argues, however, the state’s and counties’ list-maintenance efforts comply with federal law. They include methodical processes for investigating apparent inconsistencies on the rolls as well as safeguards to ensure that eligible voters are not improperly removed.
Careful voter list maintenance is appropriate and necessary for election administration. But removing voters without adequate protections violates federal law and can lead to disenfranchisement.
“This lawsuit aims to force election officials to purge their voter rolls based not on evidence of errors but on speculative allegations,” said Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law. “We’re fighting to ensure that eligible voters in Michigan won’t be kicked off the rolls based on a guessing game.”
The League of Women Voters of Michigan and local Leagues from Grand Traverse, the Ann Arbor area, Leelanau County, Copper Country, and the Oakland area are represented by the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU Law; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison LLP; and Butzel Long.
The order granting the motion to intervene is here.
Case background is here.
Purges: A Growing Threat to the Right to Vote
Voter Roll Purges: Dos and Don’ts
Voter Purges in an Increasingly Vote-by-Mail World
Calls for More Purges Rest on Shaky Data