Michigan judge blocks law that banned paid transportation to polls
Posted September 17, 2020 8:25 p.m. EDT
CNN — A federal judge in Michigan blocked a state law that made it a crime to hire drivers to take people to the polls, handing a victory to the pro-Joe Biden super PAC that challenged the law.
District Judge Stephanie Davis, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, granted a preliminary injunction on Thursday, blocking the state law and lifting the restrictions on paying to transport people to polling places. The lawsuit was filed by Priorities USA, a pro-Biden group, which says it wants to spend money in Michigan to help people participate in the election.
"Congress implemented a statutory scheme and gave citizens the right to spend money on transporting voters to the polls. The November election is nearly upon us and any particular election only occurs once," Davis wrote, concluding that the only way to prevent people's rights from being violated for the upcoming election was to temporarily block the state law.
Because of the transportation law, Michigan was the only state in the country where Uber didn't offer discounted rides to the polls in past elections, according to earlier court filings.
"This decision by the Michigan District Court is a victory for all Michigan voters and another defeat for the baseless laws that make exercising the right to vote more difficult," Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, said in a statement Thursday evening.
The judge rejected an attempt by liberal groups to ease restrictions on who can handle absentee ballot applications. Michigan doesn't let political organizations play a role in the application process for mail ballots -- only voters and their family can handle the paperwork.