As voters hit the polls for today’s highly anticipated election, there’s a greater chance for challenges of voters at polling stations throughout Michigan.
Kary Moss, executive director of Michigan’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she expects both Democrats and Republicans to send lawyers or law students to polling stations today to challenge the eligibility of voters.
“We expect that there will be Democratic and Republican challengers, but there should also be poll watchers, and a lot of lawyers have volunteered to go out to poll districts to make sure that no one is using the challenge process inappropriately,” she said. “No one should be challenged from voting unless there’s a good reason.”
One of the most common challenges will stem from Michigan’s photo identification requirement, which requires Michigan voters to show photo ID before they vote. But for many students, an out-of-state driver’s license may have a different address than the one on their registration card.
Students using out-of-state IDs may be challenged, even though such identification is valid for use at the polls. If voters forget their IDs, they can sign an affidavit and they’ll be able to vote, Moss said.
Another problem students may face is if they’ve moved since they first registered to vote, but haven’t changed their registration.
Voters who have moved within the same city or township are still able to vote at their old precinct. But voters who’ve moved to a different city more than 60 days ago are ineligible to vote unless they’re registered at their new address.
Moss said students should be aware of other “groundless challenges,” even if they seem less relevant to them.
During the 2004 election, many voters who were behind in their child support payments were turned away from the polls, as were ex-felons, she said.
Moss said she’s heard concerns from prospective voters concerning foreclosure lists. The notion that someone will be disqualified because their house has been foreclosed upon, though, is untrue, she said.