The Michigan Senate passed a series of election integrity bills on Thursday, sending them to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) desk for a predicted veto.
The bills, part of a 39-bill package making its way through the legislature, “would limit who can access Qualified Voter File, prohibit poll books from being connected to the internet, require specific training for poll challengers and change how municipalities decide where to hold polling locations,” Mlive reported.
The bills passed mostly on a party-line vote, with a lone Democrat in favor.
State Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Brighton), chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee and former township clerk, said the bills “make common-sense changes that have broad, bipartisan support.”
“I’m committed to strengthening our elections by making meaningful reforms that protect the vote, advance democracy and instill voter confidence in the elections,” Bollin said in a news release. “The changes we’ve put forward will help provide continuity and additional support for clerks to ensure future elections run more smoothly.”
Democrats opposed the integrity efforts, claiming they would “confuse voters about the security of Michigan’s elections,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
Eric Ventimiglia, executive director of Michigan Rising Action, blasted the Democrats for not supporting the bills.
“Michigan Democrats proved today that they care more about scoring political points than actually broadening voters’ rights,” Ventimiglia said. “Today’s votes showed that Michigan Democrats are more concerned with politics than the people they represent.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has attacked the 39-bill package.
“To embark on this endeavor is not just un-American and anti-Democratic. It’s an abdication of the oath of office these leaders took to serve the people of this state,” she said previously.
The Michigan Republican Party has launched “Secure MI Vote,” a citizen initiative that mirrors the bills. This specific petition allows petitioners, after collecting a sufficient number of signatures, to force the legislature to vote on the proposal or put it on a general election ballot. The method is not subject to a governor’s veto.
In September, Whitmer attacked the initiative idea.
“I think it’s more accurate to call it an attack on voting rights, frankly,” Whitmer said, the Holland Sentinel reported.
“This effort is to roll back those protections and make it harder to vote when there is not a scintilla of evidence that our elections are anything other than fair and secure and accurate,” she claimed. “So I think that this is a cynical attempt to undermine the 2020 election and elections going forward.”
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