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Citizenship Box On Ballot Goes To Court

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has been ordered to court as critics try to stop the use of a citizen check-off box on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Detroit federal Judge Paul Borman has set a hearing for Friday. A coalition of civil rights groups and labor unions is asking Borman to issue an injunction.

The secretary of state’s office is defending the citizenship box, saying voters still will be given a ballot even if they refuse to answer the citizenship question. A poll worker will read a brief statement that says a voter must be a U.S. citizen.

State lawyers representing the secretary of state say a citizenship question could prevent an unqualified person from voting and committing a crime.

The state legislature earlier this summer passed a bill to put the citizenship question on the ballot applications but Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it.

The citizenship question caused confusions and problems at the polls this past Auguts during the state primary election. In Detroit, some voters were reportedly turned away from the polls after refusing to fill out the citizenship box on their ballot application.

The day after the election, the Michigan Center for Election Law said they received several hundred calls on a voter hotline from people who were confused about the citizenship check box. A spokesperson said the center took calls from citizens in Wayne County, Oakland County and Macomb County as well as in Lansing and on the west side of the state – including some from people who weren’t allowed to vote.

Since the primary election, several counties in the state have said they will not include the citizenship question on future ballots – telling WWJ they don’t have to because it’s not mandated by law. Read more, here.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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