SCOTUS Decision Lifts requirement For Pre-Clearing Michigan Election Laws

Jun 25, 2013

The US Supreme Court’s decision striking down part of the federal Voting Rights Act lifts a requirement that the state and two Michigan municipalities check with the Justice Department on their election plans.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports.

Buena Vista and Clyde townships ran afoul of the law because both had a history of failing to adequately assist Spanish-speaking voters at the polls. So any changes to local rules, polling places, or voting machines had to be approved in advance by the U-S Justice Department.

And state Elections Director Chris Thomas says that also subjected a lot of state elections laws to a federal review.

“Anything that would affect voting in those jurisdictions, which would essentially be just about every Michigan election law,” he says.

Democrats had hoped to use the pre-clearance requirement to challenge a measure that would allow the state to dissolve the Buena Vista school district. That’s because the move would also dissolve the locally elected school board. The court decision pretty much put an end to those plans.