"The Plaintiffs have demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that PA 268 unduly burdens the right to vote, reflects racial discriminatory intent harbored by the Michigan Legislature, and disparately impacts African-Americans’ opportunity to vote in concert with social and historical conditions of discrimination."
For example, in the twelve communities where African-Americans were the majority demographic, 77.7 percent of voters used the straight-party option. 68.9 percent of voters used the straight-ticket option in the seven communities where African-Americans were 40 to 49.9 percent of the voting age population. This evidence shows that if a Michigan community has a high percentage of voting age African-Americans, that community’s voters use the straight-ticket option at a high rate.
In addition, the evidence shows that African-Americans are using straight-ticket voting in high rates for the Democratic Party. In communities where African-Americans constituted at least 40 percent of the voting age population, 94.8 percent of straight-ticket votes were submitted for the Democratic Party. The Republican Party, however, garnered 53.3 percent of straight-ticket votes in communities where African-Americans were less than 40 percent of the voting age population.
"Plaintiffs have also offered forceful evidence that African-Americans in Michigan have lower levels of literacy than whites. Plaintiffs have also shown that, as a result of these lower levels of literacy, PA 268 will disproportionately cause African-Americans to (1) take more time than whites in completing ballots; and to (2) abandon their ballots at higher rates than whites out of frustration or lack of ability."
"In evaluating how these considerations fit together, the Court holds that the Michigan Legislature intentionally discriminated against African-Americans in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Specifically, the Court finds that eliminating the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters — success especially driven by African-Americans residing in communities with high voting-age African-American populations — was a motivating consideration in the Michigan Legislature’s enactment of PA 268. The goal of ending the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters, therefore, was achieved at the expense of African-Americans’ access to the ballot. Thus, the Michigan Legislature intentionally discriminated against African-Americans."
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