HomeLearning CenterFederal Judge Rejects GOP Lawmakers’ Lawsuit Challenging New Voting Rights in Michigan

Federal Judge Rejects GOP Lawmakers’ Lawsuit Challenging New Voting Rights in Michigan

Originally published by Beth LeBlanc for the Detroit News

A federal district judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the validity of two separate voting rights constitutional amendments adopted by state voters in 2018 and 2022, finding the lawmakers who brought the case did not have proper standing.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2023 by 11 Michigan Republican lawmakers, argued the policies ushered in under Proposal 3 of 2018 and Proposal 2 of 2022 — such as no reason absentee voting and nine days of early voting — violated the rights of lawmakers who, they argued, should be the sole body responsible for making election-related laws.

The suit was filed against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Elections Director Jonathan Brater.

Federal District Judge Jane Beckering in her Wednesday decision found the lawmakers did not have legal standing — a specific interest or specific injury — under which they could bring the case, neither as lawmakers nor as taxpayers or voters.

Beckering found the lawmakers did not have a particular right as individual legislators to argue that they had sole authority to rewrite election law.

“Plaintiffs’ asserted injury—the deprivation of the power to cast a binding vote — is neither concrete nor particularized because it is shared by every single member of the Michigan Legislature,” Beckering wrote.

She made similar conclusions as to the lawmakers’ alleged standing as taxpayers and voters.

“As defendants correctly point out, plaintiffs’ claim that the election regulations under which they must vote were enacted unlawfully is likewise a prototypical generalized grievance: ‘every other voter in Michigan could make the exact same claim,'” Beckering wrote.

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