University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name The College Democrats at the University of Michigan v. Johnson VR-MI-0074
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-12722-RHC-SDD ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
On August 30th, 2018, several student groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs sued Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, and Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, Sally Williams under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988 for alleged ... read more >
On August 30th, 2018, several student groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs sued Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, and Director of the Michigan Bureau of Elections, Sally Williams under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988 for alleged constitutional violations of the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. The plaintiffs, represented by a combination of public interest and private attorneys, sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the State from enforcing Public Act 118, also known as Roger’s Law, which plaintiffs alleged put significant barriers in place for college aged students who wanted to vote.

Specifically, plaintiffs claimed that Roger’s Law placed two major barriers in the way of students seeking to vote: Strict matching requirements and requirement that a person first vote in person. The strict matching requirement prohibited college students, who had their home address listed on state identification, from using said identification to register to vote in their college town. The in-person voting requirement prohibited college students, who would need to return to their permanent addresses to vote, from voting if they were far from home. Plaintiff claimed that these laws were driven to enactment by discriminatory intent, as shown through the explicit statement by the legislation’s drafter that he didn’t care if college-aged students couldn’t vote.

The complaint was later amended on September 7th, 2018, to add new plaintiffs, specifically more student groups.

On September 8th, 2018, a motion for preliminary injunction was filed, but stayed while the parties negotiated a potential settlement. The negotiations are ongoing.

Raul Noguera-McElroy - 02/15/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Voter registration rules
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Ruth Johnson, State of Michigan
Plaintiff Description Student organizations who want to help students vote.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:18-cv-12722 (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0074-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-MI-0074-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 12]
VR-MI-0074-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/07/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Jacki Lynn (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-0001 | VR-MI-0074-0002 | VR-MI-0074-9000
Berlin, Hayley L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-0001 | VR-MI-0074-0002 | VR-MI-0074-9000
Dul, Sambo (Arizona) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-0001 | VR-MI-0074-0002 | VR-MI-0074-9000
Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-0001 | VR-MI-0074-0002 | VR-MI-0074-9000
Totten, Mark Allan (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-0001 | VR-MI-0074-0002 | VR-MI-0074-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Denise C. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-9000
Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0074-9000

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