State of Michigan

Michigan Voter Transportation Ban Challenge

Babb v. Nessel

Lawsuit filed on behalf of a voter, the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, Detroit Disability Power, Michigan Clergy Connects and Priorities USA challenging a Michigan law that makes it a misdemeanor to “hire a motor vehicle” to transport voters to the polls unless they are “physically unable to walk.” The plaintiffs allege that Michigan’s voter transportation ban is especially burdensome to senior voters, young voters, voters with disabilities and low income voters, “all of whom lack access to private transportation at greater rates than the average Michigander.” In addition, the plaintiffs argue that the ban hampers get-out-the-vote efforts such as campaigns by Black churches to encourage voter participation via “souls-to-the-polls”initiatives, where congregants are transported to the polls after Sunday church services. The plaintiffs note that the voter transportation ban also prevents rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, from offering free or discounted rides to the polls on Election Day in Michigan. According to the lawsuit, “no other state has an equivalent prohibition.” The plaintiffs contend that the voter transportation ban is an “an unreasonable and unnecessary obstacle to voting” that violates the fundamental right to vote enshrined in the Michigan Constitution in November 2022. The plaintiffs ask the court to declare the transportation ban in violation of the state constitution and to block its enforcement. The case was voluntarily dismissed in November 2023 after the Michigan Legislature enacted a law repealing the state’s transportation ban.

Case Documents

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