KEY NEWS & DOCUMENTS: 

Misleading Information about Voter ID

November 07, 2016

In Michigan, registered voters may vote without showing a photo ID if they do not have photo ID or if they did not bring one to the polls. All they have to do is sign a statement identifying themselves, and they can vote just like those with photo ID. 

Unfortunately, there is much confusion about this law, which differs from laws in some other states with strict voter ID laws. Each election, we receive complaints about false or misleading notices or posters at polling places stating or implying that people cannot vote in Michigan without picture ID. 

Shortly before the November 2016 election, the ACLU of Michigan, along with the Michigan State Conference NAACP and the Brennan Center for Justice, wrote a letter to hundreds of city clerks urging them to post accurate signs and educate their poll workers about the ability to vote without photo ID. Although most of the clerks complied and distributed accurate information, a few clerks still spread misleading information about photo ID. 

Among them was Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey whose jurisdiction has the most eligible voters without photo ID in the state. Ms. Winfrey actually gave TV interviews and produced a TV commercial suggesting that people without photo ID could not vote—which drew a sharply worded follow-up letter from the ACLU about how she was suppressing the vote in Detroit.

(ACLU Attorneys Michael J. Steinberg and Dan Korobkin; NAACP Attorney Khalilah Spencer; Brennan Center Attorney Adam Gitlin.)