Judge halts Michigan voter roll purging

Oct. 14, 2008 at 8:10 AM

DETROIT, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A federal judge says Michigan officials must restore the names of 1,438 newly registered state residents who were purged from the voting rolls.

The residents' names had been removed from the rolls because the U.S. Post Office had returned their registration cards as "undeliverable." But in a ruling sought by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III Monday told Michigan officials to immediately halt the practice, The Detroit Free Press reported.

"We are thrilled that thousands of voters who were illegally removed from voter rolls will be able to vote in November's historic presidential election," Michael Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, told the newspaper. "Disenfranchisement undermines our democracy and today's opinion restores some confidence in our electoral system."

Murphy, however, declined to side with the ACLU on a second voter purging matter -- the state's practice of removing the names of people who apply for driver's licenses in other states. The judge concluded that very few people have been shown to be harmed by the practice.

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