Why the Race in Michigan is Closer Than It Should Be

by Ann Nichols
Print Email

michigan_map.jpgI live in a college town in Michigan.  There are at least 40,000 students who should be voting in the upcoming elections. The Obama folks are doing a great job of getting them registered, as are University organizations.

However.

We have a situation in Michigan that makes it difficult for students to vote if they are away at school. Michigan law states that a person voting for the first time cannot use an absentee ballot, but must vote at the polls. That means college students have to vote in person – this also applies to residents of Michigan who are attending college out of state who will only be allowed to vote if they show up in person, which effectively wipes out their vote as well.

michigan-license-sample.jpgThere is a second law in Michigan that basically hammers this in stone. This law was introduced in 1999 by then-State-Senator and now U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers. “Rogers Law,” states that, in order to vote, a person's voting address has to match the address on their driver's license or state ID. The effect of this law is that students cannot vote in the town where they attend school, unless they change the address on their driver’s license.

Students can’t use an absentee ballot and vote in their home precinct because most of them are voting for the first time, and must vote “live.” For students in this state, “home” may be somewhere in the Upper Peninsula, which is at least an eight hour round trip. The only way to vote is to change one’s permanent address at the Secretary of State’s office, or online (which requires printing, completing and mailing the form).

michigancampus.jpgStudents in the third month of the academic year are likely to avoid the hassle of changing address, and just not vote. Even worse, rumors were spread (note the careful use of the passive voice) that by registering here instead of at home, students risked being taken off of their parent's health insurance plans or having their credit rating adversely affected. “Rogers Law” was meant to discourage a large group of Democratic voters from voting. It helped Rogers’ win a Congressional seat in 2000; he’s been there ever since.

The passage of the law led to a lawsuit from the ACLU, which represented the student governments of six state universities. The ACLU argued that the law would overburden students, and questioned the claim that it would prevent voter fraud. The lawsuit was unsuccessful in overturning the law.

What Can Be Done To Reverse Rogers' Law
Michigan State Representative Rebekah Warren has introduced legislation to repeal Roger's law. Contact Representative Warren and tell her you support her legislation to give students back their vote. If any readers are from Michigan find your state Representative and Senator and tell them to support House Bills 4447 and 4448. Another way is to help remove Mike Rogers from office. The 8th district is on the verge of turning blue. Visit Democratic Candidate Bob Alexander's campaign website or his ActBlue page.

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

Huckleberry Cafe
Los Angeles
by Rachel Parker

zoe-nathan-and-josh-loeb.jpg
photo: Joshua Lurie/944.com

With a sensibility learned from fairy tales, one would expect a baker, the conjurer of butter,...

Read more...
Chinese Chicken Salad at Comfort's Cafe
San Francisco
by Amy Spies

comforts1.jpg I keep trying to figure out why the Chinese Chicken Salad served at ‘Comforts Cafe’ is so uniquely spectacular.  Well, first: as we’ve all infused, everything is location, location,...

Read more...
Delicious Authentic Mexican Dishes at La Sandia
Los Angeles
by David Latt

img 1235La Sandia Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar shares the top floor of Santa Monica Place with half a dozen other restaurants, the Food Court and the Market.

You'll recognize La Sandia by the crowded...

Read more...
Dorchester: 224 Boston Street
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

224 3Last year Boston Magazine named owner Kevin Tyo's 224 Boston Street: "Best Dorchester restaurant, neighborhood casual." Sadly, their website doesn't say when they opened. It's got to be 20 years...

Read more...