Priorities USA Adds Plaintiff in Michigan Suit Following Elections Guidance Victory

January 21, 2020

On Tuesday, January 21, Priorities USA added Rise as a plaintiff in its lawsuit challenging Michigan’s proof of residency requirements and automatic pre-registration policy. Priorities USA announced the plaintiff in an amended complaint that was filed on Tuesday. Rise, Inc. will also be joining Priorities USA’s lawsuit challenging Michigan’s voter transportation ban and its ban on absentee ballot application organizing. All four of the challenged policies often impact student voters. The original suits were filed in the fall of 2019.

The addition comes after the Michigan Bureau of Elections issued an election update regarding another provision that Priorities USA challenged in court. Prior to the election update, a Michigan statute restricted where voters could register to vote in the 14 days before and on Election Day to the city or township clerk’s office where they reside. In a lawsuit filed in November, Priorities USA argued this burden falls particularly and disproportionately on the state’s young prospective voters, who are significantly less likely to have easy, immediate access to reliable transportation to register to vote.

On January 13th, the Michigan Bureau of Elections issued an election update allowing clerks to open satellite city and township offices, where individuals can register to vote during the 14 days before and on Election Day. Following this important victory, Priorities will dismiss this portion of its claim while continuing to fight against the remaining provisions that create barriers voting in Michigan. 

“While we are encouraged by this recent victory, we know there’s still so much work to be done in Michigan,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA. “We are so pleased to have Rise join us in this fight and we hope that others in Michigan will understand the harm being done by these laws and join us in working together to find solutions for those that are impacted.”

“College students should be allowed to vote without facing unnecessary restrictions or obstacles,” said Carter Oselett, a 3rd year student at Michigan State University, and Rise’s Deputy State Director for Michigan. “While Michigan is making progress, we still have work ahead to make sure students can participate fairly in our elections.”

About Rise, Inc.

Rise is a student-led nonprofit organization advocating for free public higher education, and mobilizing college student voters with more than 30,000 students and supporters nationwide. In Michigan, Rise Student Organizing fellows are mobilizing thousands of student voters ahead of the 2020 elections through campus organizing efforts state wide.