Michigan Court Rules in Favor of Retiree Demands for Mail Ballots

In a significant development in the fight to protect the civil rights of millions of older Michigan voters, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that any ballot postmarked by November 2, but not received until November 17 will be counted. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans.

Judge Cynthia Stephens agreed with the Michigan Alliance that the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges facing the U.S. Postal Service warrant a change in the state’s voting procedures.

“Seniors take voting seriously, and we can rest easier knowing that we have easy and convenient ways to cast our ballots without putting our health at risk,” said Dick Long, President of the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans. “This ruling means that we can be confident that any mail delays will not keep our votes from being counted.”

The Court also ruled that voters may select any individual they choose to provide assistance in returning their ballots from the Friday before Election Day until the close of polls. This provides another convenient way for older voters, many of whom do not drive, to return their ballots.

“The Court of Claims agrees that all Michigan voters should be able to vote by mail and know that their ballot will be counted,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “This is especially critical for the 1.6 million Michigan voters who are over the age of 65 and whose health is most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans, working with its state chapters, has filed lawsuits to protect vote by mail and absentee voters in Florida, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, in addition to Michigan this year.

A copy of Judge Stephens’ opinion is here .

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Contact: Lisa Cutler, lcutler@retiredamericans.org

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