Michigan court upholds mass mailing of absentee ballot applications

Michigan court upholds mass mailing of absentee ballot applications

A Michigan state appeals court on Wednesday upheld the right of Michigan's top election official to send unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all of the state's registered voters.

The ruling affirmed a lower court decision that Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had the authority to send the ballot applications statewide.

The dispute arose in May when several Michigan voters sued to stop the mailing of ballot applications. A lower court in August ruled against the voters, prompting the appeal that was rejected Wednesday.

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The Brennan Center for Justice, a left-leaning nonprofit group that advocates for voting rights, hailed the Wednesday decision. The group had filed briefs in support of Benson and warned the court that siding against the state's top election official would create widespread confusion ahead of the November election. 

"This is a big win for Michigan voters and for American democracy,” Myrna Perez, who directs the Brennan Center's voting rights program, said in a statement. “If the secretary of state had been prevented from sending ballot applications to all registered voters, it would have hurt the state's efforts to hold fair, safe, and accessible elections.”