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City of Ypsilanti sued over ordinance requiring landlords to provide voting information to tenants

Ypsilanti City Hall
Josh Hakala
89.1 WEMU
Ypsilanti City Hall

An Ypsilanti ordinance requiring landlords to distribute voting information is unconstitutional. That’s the claim in a lawsuit filed by a conservative legal firm against the city.

In 2018, the city of Ypsilanti approved an ordinance that says all landlords must include information about voting in a tenant’s move-in packet. That includes information provided by the city about absentee ballots, polling locations, and a voter registration form.

Erick Kaardal is an attorney at the Thomas More Society, who is representing the five landlords who filed the suit.

“This would be a violation of the First Amendment because it’s compelled speech. When the government can communicate directly to people, for example, in this instance, the tenants, it’s constitutionally required not to require third parties to communicate for it.”

At last night’s meeting, Ypsilanti city council emerged from a closed session and passed a resolution to suspend the ordinance. This is intended to give the city time to amend it.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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