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College student suit results in eased voting rules in Michigan

Voting requirements will be loosened a bit in Michigan after college students went to federal court arguing the rules were designed to keep them from turning out.

The changes announced Wednesday will be in place in time for next year's election, when Michigan's 16 electoral votes will be among the most intensely contested in the presidential race. Donald Trump carried the state by a scant 11,000 votes last time, breaking a six-election winning streak for the Democratic nominees.

College Democrats at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University sued the state before the 2018 midterm alleging that the election laws were restrictive, confusing and otherwise stacked against the state's youngest voters.

One requirement held that residents have the same address on their driver's license and their voter registration. Another required first-time voters to cast ballots in person if they registered by mail or through a third-party organization. The students argued these rules have a heavier impact on their generation.


To resolve the suit, Michigan Live reported, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the state will share voting information with college students and other first-time voters through a website and on social media, including information about where students may register and highlighted emphasis on the rules for matching addresses.

The in-person voting requirement will no longer be enforced, said Benson, because the state recognizes it puts an unnecessary burden on student voters.

Benson is a Democrat. When the suit was filed two years ago the top elections official in the state was a Republican.

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