LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Michigan's longstanding ban on transporting voters to the polls, ruling it conflicts with U.S. election law. District Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis in Detroit issued an injunction Thursday against enforcing the restriction in November's presidential election. A form of the prohibition has been on the books since 1895. It is a misdemeanor to hire drivers to take voters to polling places unless they physically cannot walk. Because of the ban, Michigan was the only state in which ride-hailing company Uber did not offer discounted rides to the polls on Election Day in November 2018.
In other voting related news out of Michigan, a judge has cleared the way for more absentee ballots to be counted in Michigan. Envelopes postmarked by the eve of the Nov. 3 election are eligible even if they show up days later. Michigan is anticipating waves of absentee ballots this fall: about 2.3 million have already been requested. Michigan law requires absentee ballots to be received by the time polls close on Election Day to be counted. Judge Cynthia Stephens said Friday that flexibility is crucial in 2020 because of the coronavirus and chronic mail delays. Separately, another judge blocked Michigan’s longstanding ban on transporting voters to the polls.