Federal Judge Hears Arguments over Citizenship Question on November Ballot

Oct 5, 2012

Arguments are underway in federal court over Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s citizenship question on November ballot applications.

A coalition of groups opposed to asking voters whether they’re U.S. citizens at the polls say they’re happy with the way the case is going so far.

Bruce Fealk is with the Michigan Election Reform Alliance. He says attorneys for the Secretary of State have not made a convincing argument for keeping the question on the applications.

“The legislation that brought us here today was vetoed by Governor Snyder back in July. And in my opinion she has no justification for this question being on the voter applications.

Election officials couldn’t deny voters a ballot for refusing to answer the question. But Judge Paul Borman  expressed concern voters could be opened to ridicule and embarrassment in the process.

The Secretary of State’s attorneys suggested clerks who do not put the question on the ballot could be violating state law. Johnson ordered the question as a way to help prevent ineligible voters from receiving ballots in November.