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Voters' rights group seeks to intervene in challenge to state's qualified voting file

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
A polling location in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Michigan League of Women Voters is seeking to intervene in a federal lawsuit in support of the Michigan Secretary of State, over alleged issues with Michigan's Qualified Voter File.    

The lawsuit, filed by a Republican-affiliated group, seeks to force the state to purge Michigan's Qualified Voter File, claiming there are too many registered voters in some counties, based on the last Census. And it claims that if ineligible voters cast ballots, that will "dilute" the legitimate vote by qualified voters in the November election.

Attorney Eliza Sweren-Becker represents the League. She says the lawsuit is part of a national voter suppression effort by Republicans, including President Donald Trump.

"It's intended to put stumbling blocks in the way of voters, to make it harder for voters to remain on the rolls and cast their ballots," says Sweren-Becker. "And to undermine the confidence of American citizens in the integrity of our elections. But across these cases, they have failed to produce any actual evidence of fraud that would support their claims."

The judge in the case has set a scheduling hearing for October. Sweren-Becker says that's too late for plaintiffs, even if they were to eventually prevail. The federal Voting Rights Act forbids voter file purges 90 days or less before an election.

Attorneys for the plaintiff, Anthony Daunt, didn't respond to inquiries.

Other groups joining the Michigan League of Women Voters include the League of Women Voters of Ann Arbor Area, the League of Women Voters of Copper Country, the League of Women Voters of Grand Traverse Area, the League of Women Voters of Leelanau County, and the League of Women Voters of Oakland Area.

It's the second set of pro-voting rights groups to seek to intervene in support of the Michigan Secretary of State.

A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Rise, Inc. filed motions to intervene earlier this month. The groups say they represent minority voters, whose interests would not be fully represented by Jocelyn Benson, the Michigan Secretary of State.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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