Michigan Senate Approves More Election Bills to Increase ID Access

by Scott McClallen


The Michigan Senate approved three election bills on Thursday that aim to alter election law and make it easier get a state ID.

The Senate voted 20-16 to approve Senate Bill (SB) 304 as amended. Under the bill, the election inspector must notify an elector issued a provisional ballot that it will only be tabulated if the voter verifies voter registration with the clerk within six days after the election. The inspector would also have to inform the individual that some individuals are eligible for a cost-free state ID.

Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, argued the bill was based on the premise that Pres. Joe Biden unfairly won the 2020 election, and that’s why Republicans want to change election rules.

Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, disagreed. He said his Senate Committee on Oversight adopted a report finding no fraud in the 2020 election but also found points of reform that would strengthen election integrity.

The Senate voted 20-16 to approve HB 5007, which aims to make it easier for Michiganders to get a state ID. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, it seeks to delete a requirement that an applicant pays $10 to the Secretary of State for each original or renewal official State personal ID card issued, to prohibit the SOS from charging a fee for an original or a renewal of an ID card, the late renewal of an ID card, or for renewing an ID card.

It would also require the SOS to waive the $10 fee for a duplicate ID card if the individual were on disability assistance or the individual had a homeless verification letter and a photo identification card generated from the federal government.

Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, pushed an unsuccessful substitute to include mandate funding in bill. Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer didn’t support including appropriation in the bill. The nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency says the state receives about $2.5 million in revenue annually from ID new issuances, renewals, and reissues.

The bill is tie-barred to SB 303, which the Senate approved Wednesday. The bill seeks to amend the Michigan Election Law to require a voter to use a provisional ballot if the voter did not have ID or if the signature was determined not to match the digitized signature in the electronic poll book.

Sen. Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, pushed an unsuccessful amendment to break the tie-bar between SB 303 and 304.

The Senate approved SB 280, which aims to amend election law for the following:

  • Require the Board of State Canvassers to complete the canvass of an initiative petition within 100 days after the petition was filed with the SOS.
  • Require an initiative petition to be immediately forwarded to the Legislature for consideration if it were found to be sufficient by the Board.
  • Require the Board to complete the canvass of an imitative petition no later than 100 days before a general November election if that petition were filed with SOS at least 160 days before that general election.

Currently, initiative petitions must be filed with the SOS at least 160 days before the election that the proposed law would appear on the ballot if the Legislature rejects or fails to enact the proposed law.

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.





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