News Release: Law Change Lets Libertarians Work At Polls

Law Change Lets Libertarians Work At Polls
Emily Salvette
CONTACT: Emily Salvette
(313) 747-8129

(Ann Arbor, MI) – Libertarian Party members will be able to serve as election inspectors with last week’s signing of Michigan House Bill 4443. The bill cleaned up several provisions of Public Act 261 passed in January including one which required election workers to declare their affiliation with only the Republican or Democratic party. Election workers can now declare a minor party affiliation. The new law takes immediate effect, just in time for Libertarians to work in June school elections. The Libertarian Party of Michigan filed a lawsuit in March challenging the constitutionality of the original law.

Emily Hopp Salvette, Libertarian Party of Michigan State Chair, credits the party’s actions with drawing lawmakers’ attention to the needed change. “Everyone supported our lawsuit, from local election officials to the general public,” said Salvette. “Michiganders want fair, open elections run for their benefit, not the benefit of the two major political parties.” But she noted, “While I’m glad the Legislature helped Libertarian Party members, we’re still a long way from open, non-partisan elections. ” She explained, “People who want to work at the polls still must declare their political party affiliation and are subject to challenge by the Republican and Democratic county party chairs. Also, a person can only declare affiliation with minor parties that have state-wide ballot status–independents or members of parties currently petitioning are out of luck.” Because such restrictions remain, the Libertarian Party of Michigan will continue its legal challenge on purity of elections and civil rights grounds. The suit currently awaits hearing in federal court.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States. Over 1000 Libertarian candidates will be running for office in the November 5 general election, including 78 in Michigan.

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