Detroit, MI — Today, Priorities USA announced it is intervening as a defendant in Karamo v. Winfrey, a lawsuit that threatens to limit how Michigan voters can request and return absentee ballots. Priorities is also supporting and funding the intervention of three individual voters and the Detroit/Downriver chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (DAPRI). The lawsuit was brought by Republican candidate for Michigan Secretary of State Kristina Karamo, the Election Integrity Fund and Force, and individuals in Michigan.
The initial lawsuit is requesting that absentee ballots only be requested at an election clerk’s office, as opposed to online or by mail. The plaintiffs also argue that absentee ballots should only be submitted to an election clerk in person, instead of via mail or drop box.
In the intervention, Priorities USA, DAPRI and individual voters argue that Karamo v. Winfrey could severely undermine the voting rights of Detroit residents, including voters of color, voters with disabilities, and elderly voters who rely on absentee voting when they cannot drive or easily get to a polling place.
If the Republican-aligned groups that are backing this lawsuit are successful, many absentee ballots that have already been cast could be rejected. This could lead to many Detroit voters being disenfranchised through no fault of their own, and the absentee ballot process would be severely disrupted just days before the election.
“In this lawsuit, Republican-backed groups are exploiting conspiracy theories and baseless claims about ‘ballot mules’ to restrict fundamental voting rights. It is also not a coincidence that Republicans are bringing this lawsuit less than a week before Election Day,” said Aneesa McMillan, Deputy Executive Director of Priorities USA. “Priorities is fighting for the voting rights of Michiganders on multiple fronts, including protecting voters from voter roll purges and protecting election observers from intimidation. Priorities has consistently fought in court to protect absentee balloting and we are proud to intervene in this case to continue to fight back against this attack on our democracy.”