Michigan Republicans are launching a citizen initiative to implement election reforms after the 2020 vote, WWMT reported.
The legislature has been making progress on a package of 39 bills that would require photo ID to vote, and provide proof of ID when submitting an absentee ballot application, among other things. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), whose signature would be required to enact the potential law, has vowed to veto the legislation.
Republicans are using a law that allows citizens to collect petition signatures — in this case, about 340,000 — and force the legislature to vote on the proposal, or put it on the next general election statewide ballot. The Republican-led legislature could pass the reforms and make them law, bypassing a governor’s likely veto.
“After the 2016 and 2020 elections, voters on both sides of the political spectrum questioned the integrity of the election,” Secure MI Vote, the group organizing the petition effort, said in a statement, according to the Detroit News.
“Secure MI Vote seeks to restore confidence in our elections by making it easier to vote and harder to cheat, giving every legal Michigan voter confidence that their vote is not diluted by illegal or fraudulent votes.”
Recent polling found the tenets of the initiative are popular with voters, particularly requiring an ID to cast a ballot. Furthermore, the new initiative would provide funding to individuals who cannot afford to purchase an ID.
“Secure MI Vote enjoys strong public support because it makes voting easier and cheating harder,” the statement said. “We will collect the required signatures to put this initiative before the state Legislature, and we are confident it will be enacted into law.”
Michigan Democrats denounced the effort, claiming it will create “barriers to voting.”
“We’re pretty hopeful and optimistic here that we can get this process moving quickly, and get these inactive in the law,” Secure MI Vote spokesman Jamie Roe told Bridge. “I would hope that the legislature would take immediate action particularly, if we act with dispatch to get support from across the state.”
The new proposal would also prevent the Michigan secretary of state from sending ballots to all registered voters throughout the state. Instead, voters would specifically request a ballot from the election official
Current Michigan law only requires individuals who submit an absentee ballot to sign a statement to signify the authenticity of the ballot.
The push for new election integrity laws in Michigan follows a host of states throughout the country making similar moves after the 2020 election. In Georgia, lawmakers passed a similar measure that placed new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots. Governor Brian Kemp also described the efforts to “make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.”
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