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Federal Judge Orders Citizenship Checkbox Removed From Michigan Ballots

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said she ordered the verification to prevent voter fraud.

A citizenship checkbox ordered by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will not appear on Michigan ballots in November, a federal judge ruled. 

According to a report filed by Michigan Public Radio, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ruled that the checkbox "slows the voting process, is confusing and is a burden on the right to vote."

In a press release issued Friday evening, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) explained that a voting rights coalition, including the Clerk of Ingham County, three registered voters, the Michigan State Council and Local 517M of the SEIU and the ACLU of Michigan, filed the suit.

In July, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a portion of a new election law that would have required people to reaffirm their citizenship at the polls. In a statement published on the Secretary of State's website, Johnson said she ordered the checkbox be included on ballots in order to prevent voter fraud. 

Quoted in the SEIU release, plaintiff Glenn Rehahn of Shelby Township said the ruling "shows that nobody is above the law. When I tried to vote in the past, my rights were denied because I would not affirm my citizenship, which has never been in question. I shouldn't have had to jump through one more hoop to cast my ballot. This is a big victory for voting rights in Michigan because voters won't have to face the same barrier I did."

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