by Ellen K. Halter
The GOP-led state legislature proposed a package of bills (SB273-311) to restrict Michigan citizens’ right to vote. Their 39 bills would make it difficult to cast a ballot. Here is a partial list of what these bills aim to do:
- Limit dropbox usage and require all absentee ballots to be delivered directly to clerks. It would also make it more difficult for a voter to have someone deliver their ballot for them. (SB 286 McBroom, R-Vulcan)
- Prohibit the Secretary of State from mailing absentee ballot applications or offering pre-paid postage for their return. (SB 310, Johnson)
- Prohibit by cities, townships, and the secretary of state from providing prepaid postage for absentee voter ballot return envelopes. (SB 287 Stamas, R-Midland)
- Require voters to submit a physical copy of state-issued identification with an absentee ballot application or face demotion to provisional status (SB 285 Theiss, R-Brighton)
- Require clerks to complete the vote count by noon the day after an election. This would disenfranchise any voter whose ballot hasn’t been counted by that deadline and place unnecessary hardship on populated areas. (SB299 Zorn, R-Monroe )
- Require the Legislature to approve the spending of any federal election funds, essentially tying the hands of the secretary of state. (SB 289, Nesbitt R-Lawton),
- Require at least one canvasser from each political party to be present during the canvass at all times and require that anyone hired by a political party to assist canvassing to first be approved by the board of canvassers. (SB 297, Stamas, R-Midland)
- Reverse current law allowing voters who go to polls without ID to sign an affidavit verifying their identity and receive a regular ballot. Instead, this bill would require anyone without ID to vote a provisional ballot – and have to visit the clerk within days of the election to have their vote counted. SB303 (Theis, Zorn, Runestad)
In contrast, Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson is advancing legislation to increase access to voting. Benson’s Advance the Vote agenda can be found HERE, but here are a few of her points:
- Mandate ballots postmarked by Election Day and received shortly after are counted
- Establish early in-person voting
- Make Election Day a state holiday to facilitate voting and make it easier for citizens to serve as election workers
- Require absentee ballot applications be mailed to registered voters every federal election cycle
Republicans are planning to circumvent Governor Whitmer’s promised veto of bills enacting voter suppression by relying on a petition initiative sponsored by the conservative Rescue Michigan Coalition. If Republicans are able to gather more than 340,000 signatures, the GOP-controlled legislature would be able to create laws without Whitmer’s signature.
YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED!
Senator Lauwers (R-25) (517)-373-7708
Senator LaSata (R-21)(517) 373-6960
Senator Bizon (R-19 ) (517)-373-2426
Senator Barrett (R-24 ) (517)-373-3447
Senator Johnson (R-14 ) (517)-373-1636
Possible Script for calling Senators/Reps:
I am encouraging Senator/Rep. __________ to adopt the “Advance The Vote” agenda that encourages voting and rejects SB273-311 that makes voting more difficult. Everyone should be encouraged and able to vote including the disabled, the disadvantaged, seniors, rural residents and working individuals regardless of where they live in Michigan.