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Ypsilanti ordinance requiring landlords to distribute voting info on its way to being repealed

Ypsilanti City Hall
Josh Hakala
89.1 WEMU
Ypsilanti City Hall

An Ypsilanti ordinance that requires landlords to distribute voting information to tenants is on its way to being repealed. The first reading of the repeal was approved on a 5-1 vote at last night’s city council meeting.

Five Ypsilanti landlords sued the city in May claiming the requirement is unconstitutional.

Under the ordinance, created in 2018, landlords have to distribute voting information provided by the city to new tenants. This includes polling locations, a voter registration form and details about absentee ballots.

Erick Kaardal is an attorney at the Thomas More Society. He says the ordinance violates the First Amendment.

“When the government can communicate directly to someone about anything like voting, it’s unconstitutional to compel a third party to do the communication on the government’s behalf.”

Ypsilanti City Attorney John Barr recommended to the city council that it would be better to repeal the ordinance than to fight the case in court.

The second reading will be voted on at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, July 18th.

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