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ACLU advises Michigan clerks to "follow voting rights laws"

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to municipal clerks across the state reminding them to follow Michigan's voters’ rights laws.

“We’ve sent this letter...to make sure that clerks are prepared to follow the requirements of the law,” says Sharon Dolente, a voting rights strategist with the ACLU.

The letter reminds clerks to respond to absentee ballot requests within 24 hours. Clerks’ offices must be open for in-person voting during regular business hours. People without a photo ID can still legally register and vote after signing an affidavit.  

Dolente says the ACLU wants clerks to be prepared to follow the law. And she says the ACLU is willing to go to court if necessary.

“It’s critically important in this election and all elections to protect the voting rights of the citizens of this state and we’ll take the steps we need to if we find people are not in compliance,” says Dolente.

The ACLU took the Flint city clerk’s office to court over problems before the August primary. A judge ordered the clerk’s office to clear a backlog of absentee ballot requests ahead of the primary. 

More than two million Michiganders have requested an absentee ballot for the November general election. 

The 40-day period during which Michigan voters are allowed to cast an absentee ballot in person or by mail starts September 24. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.