Michigan Dem chair blasts GOP for fighting voting rights suits

    Susan J. Demas

    During a voting rights roundtable held in Detroit on Friday, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Lavora Barnes called out the GOP and the Republican National Committee (RNC) for “rigging the game.”

    This comes after the RNC announced $10 million for a motion to intervene and challenge several voting-related lawsuits.

    As the Advance previously reported, Priorities USA, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic SuperPAC, has filed three lawsuits in Michigan over voting issues, including one challenging the Secretary of State rule that absentee ballots are only valid if the signature you have on file with the state matches that on your ballot.

    Priorities USA now has 3 voting lawsuits in Michigan

    The second lawsuit is over restrictions in transporting voters to the polls and helping them apply for absentee ballots. The third lawsuit challenges voting restrictions signed into law by GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder in the 2018 Lame Duck session.

    Barnes says that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing everything they can to suppress votes and silence Michiganders for their own political gains.

    Lavora Barnes at the MDP Convention, Feb. 2, 2019 | Ken Coleman

    “Well, I say, when you deny communities a voice in our political process, that’s ‘rigging the game.’ When you fight to keep laws that disproportionately deny Black and Brown voters’ access to the ballot, that’s ‘rigging the game,’” said Barnes.

    A Michigan Republican Party spokesperson didn’t return a request for comment.

    Barnes also said the MDP wants to ensure that Michigan voters have the tools and information they need to cast their ballots. She said that the party has trained staff and more than 1,000 volunteers across the state to help residents get registered to vote and fight voter suppression.

    “The Michigan Democratic Party is making investments in organizing and voter protection early in this cycle,” said Barnes. 

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak covers the economy, health care and safety net, immigration and politics. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found reading, whipping something up in the Instant Pot, gardening or treasure hunting at thrift stores.