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League’s position nonsensical

August 25, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

To the editor:

In an Aug. 2 Daily Mining Gazette letter to the editor regarding voter ballot applications, the League of Women Voters stated: "As everyone has probably noticed, these forms have become overly complex and difficult to read, and a registered voter can be challenged if the form is not completely accurate."

Currently, the applicant is required to provide his or her name, signature, birth date and address. I fail to see what is overly complex or difficult about this. And I fully agree with challenging an applicant who cannot accurately provide this information.

The League also opposes Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's desire to add an affirmation of citizenship to the application form. The affirmation would ask "Are you a United States citizen?" and provide boxes to check either "Yes" or "No."

Regarding this, the League stated: "LWV has been opposing legislation that creates barriers for voters. Adding a new box which, if missed or unchecked, will cause a voter to be denied a ballot is such a barrier." This implies if a potential voter inadvertently skips the affirmation of citizenship question, he or she will be denied a ballot. This is simply not true.

An applicant who skips the question will be prompted by an election official to respond to it, just as they would for failing to provide any of the required information (for example, their birth date). The person will only be denied a ballot if they refuse to affirm that they are a U.S. citizen.

Fact Box

The Daily Mining Gazette welcomes letters to the editor from readers.

Letters should be signed and include name, address and telephone number. Names will not be withheld and letters should be no longer than 400 words. No personal attacks. Writers are limited to one letter per month. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length, as well as for spelling and punctuation.

Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor, The Daily Mining Gazette, P.O. Box 368, Houghton, MI 49931. Letters may also be e-mailed to or submitted on the Gazette's Web site,, by clicking on "Submit News."

Absentee ballots can be obtained without affirming citizenship (see the legislation in question, Senate Bills 803 and 1219).

Why has the League taken such a defensive, and in my opinion, nonsensical position regarding these requests for basic information? I don't know, but I will offer one possibility.

The League is nonpartisan and is supposed to neither support nor oppose individual candidates and officials. Nevertheless, the League may go to great lengths to oppose the opinions of an individual. They appear to be doing just that with regard to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. It explains why the League has repeatedly devoted resources to creating and perpetuating misinformation regarding the simple topic of affirmation of citizenship.

John Haeussler




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