ACLU Fact Sheet Addresses Voting Rights Myths

The ACLU of Michigan has released a voting rights fact sheets addressing common rumors about voting, focusing on issues such as voting without a photo ID, voting as an ex-felon, and voting if your home is in foreclosure.

In response to persistent rumors about voting rights in Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan has released a fact sheet addressing common myths about voting in the state:

Fact: You have the right to vote without photo ID in Michigan

Just ask to sign the affidavit form at the polls. Michigan’s new photo ID law allows registered voters who don’t have photo identification, or those who have forgotten to bring photo ID, to vote by signing a form at the polls stating they are not in possession of photo ID. Voters without ID need to know their right to vote because Michigan cities are getting this wrong. Shortly before the August 2008 primary election, both the cities of Allen Park and Grand Blanc sent newsletters to city residents stating the need for photo ID with no mention of the affidavit form for those without ID. The Secretary of State estimates that approximately 370,000 Michigan residents have no form of photo identification.

Fact: You have the right to vote in Michigan if you are an ex-felon.

Even those still on probation or parole can register and cast their vote on Election Day. Michigan law only prohibits those serving a sentence on election day from voting. People in jail awaiting trial or sentencing may vote by absentee ballot, and those who have been released but who are on probation or parole may vote after registering.

Fact: You have the right to vote if your home is in foreclosure

The Michigan State Department of Elections is informing poll workers statewide that voters with homes in foreclosure may not lose their right to vote nor be challenged on their right to vote. Those who have moved from their homes may vote in the same precinct up to 60 days after they have left that address.

Fact: You have the right to vote if you wear campaign gear to the polls

You cannot lose your right to vote if you wear a t-shirt, hat, button or other garb endorsing a candidate or an issue into the polling place. You will, however, be asked to remove these items by a poll worker or risk misdemeanor charges. Any and all campaign materials, including apparel, must be a minimum of 100 ft. outside of the polling place at all times.

Fact: You have the right to be free of intimidation or harassment at the polls

Voters should not be intimidated or discouraged from voting by questions like, “Have you paid your rent?” or “Have you paid your child support?” During the last presidential election, ACLU heard stories of voter intimidation like these occurring in precincts with low-income and African American voters. If voters are harassed or intimidated by anyone at the polling place, they should tell a poll worker immediately and call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, a joint project of state and national civil rights organizations, including the ACLU of Michigan.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media //