This week we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a heroic piece of legislation that marked a giant step toward transforming our Constitution's democratic values into political reality.

Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, the vast majority of Americans have the right to cast their vote on Election Day. But this doesn't mean we can rest easy.

First, we need to exercise our right to vote. This Tuesday is Election Day for the Michigan primaries. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. To find out where you should vote and who will be on your ballot, visit the Voter Information Center online at

Second, know your rights at the polls. You will be asked for photo identification when you show up to vote, but if you don't have ID you cannot be turned away! Voters without ID may simply sign a form stating that they do not have their ID with them. The procedure is simple, and your ballot will be counted along with all the others.

Third, support the ACLU as we continue to protect the right to vote. Shortly before the 2008 election, the ACLU went to federal court to stop the Michigan Secretary of State from unlawfully disenfranchising thousands of voters.

In direct violation of federal law, the Secretary of State was purging eligible Michigan voters from the rolls when their registration cards were not delivered properly by the postal service or if they applied for an out-of-state driver's license.

Students and poor people were the most likely voters to be affected.

In a major voting rights victory, a federal judge ordered that these wrongfully disenfranchised voters be restored to the rolls before the 2008 election.

This summer, after nearly two years of litigation, the Secretary of State finally agreed to halt this unlawful practice.

By Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney