Monday, January 14, 2008

Green Party Sues to Overturn Mich Law that Allows only GOP and Dems to See Voter Lists

There is no justification in a democracy for a law like this.

ACLU sues over voter lists from primary
Law lets only GOP, Democratic Party see names

January 11, 2008, by David Ashenfelter, Detroit Free Press

The ACLU of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit today on behalf of three political parties to overturn a new law that enables the Democratic and Republican parties – but no one else – from obtaining lists of people who will vote on Tuesday’s presidential primary.

“It’s not our intention to stop the primary,” Michigan ACLU director Kary Moss said Friday after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court. “Instead, it is our contention that the state cannot lawfully limit access to this information to the two major political parties. The consequence of this law is to exclude individuals and parties from meaningful participation in the process.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Green, Libertarian and Reform parties of Michigan, the Metro Times and Winning Strategies, a political consulting firm. The new law, passed last August, doesn’t require Michigan voters to register by party, so the party in which residents will cast votes on Tuesday is valuable to political parties, candidates, journalists and citizen groups that support or oppose ballot proposals, the ACLU said. The law says anyone other than the two parties who uses a “secret” record could be issued a 93-day, $1,000 misdemeanor.

Moss said the statute gives the major political parties an unfair advantage and violates the Equal Protection Clause and 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds. No hearings have been scheduled. The suit asks Edmunds to declare the law unconstitutional and prohibit the Michigan Secretary of State from carrying out the law’s provisions.

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