|The League of Women Voters of Michigan opposes the package of bills introduced by Senate Republicans on March 24 and assigned to the Senate Elections Committee, prior to the spring recess. The bills as introduced set up barriers to carrying out a safe and secure election in which the right to vote is protected. The bills seem to respond to the unfounded claim that there was fraud in the 2020 election. The bills are SB 273 through SB 311 and are available at www.legislature.mi.gov.|
The bills impact absentee voting, voter registration, photo identification, election finance, county boards of canvassers, poll challengers, election inspectors, qualified voter files, ballot proposals, and election observation. While there are a few provisions in some of the bills that LWVMI could support, we oppose the package as introduced and will follow the bills through the legislative process. Click here to see an explanation of the 39 bills plus a chart that details what each bill wants to accomplish, and the League’s position on each.
Some highlights of the bills include: SB 310 bans the Secretary of State or any clerk of mailing an absentee ballot application without a request and it even bans a link to an absentee ballot application on the Secretary of State’s website. SB 273 gives new powers to the Board of Canvassers who are not elected officials and not accountable to the electorate. Voters do not choose Board of Canvassers, in fact, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in each county give a list of three people to the County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Commissioners must select two from each party to serve on the Board of Canvassers. (168.24c) SB 273 specifically says the Board of Canvassers must approve the location of any dropbox used in the county, as well as the Secretary of State. Since the law requires two from one party and at least one from the other party to vote in favor of the placement of the dropboxes, this makes it a definite possibility that no dropboxes will be allowed in Michigan if one political party decides to block the placement. SB 285 requires a registered voter to submit a copy of his/her driver’s license or state id with their absentee ballot request. This is totally unnecessary since the voter has already proven his/her citizenship when they registered to vote. Also, it is important to note that no bill in the package mentions the use of a permanent absentee voter file. SB 304 gets rid of the provision in the law that allows the use of signed affidavit if they do not have the correct identification to vote. Instead, the voter would be given a provisional ballot and must prove their identity with the clerk within 6 days if his/her vote is to be counted. The use of a signed affidavit is eliminated. SB 292 restricts all poll challengers to members of the Democratic or Republican parties. Specifically, no groups such as the League of Women Voters of NAACP or other nonpartisan groups are allowed.
The bills are likely to move quickly through the MI Senate, we urge you to contact your Senator by email or telephone and urge them to vote no on these bills. You can link to your Senate here. https://senate.michigan.gov/
Your advocacy is needed now!
Judy Karandjeff, LWVMI Advocacy Committee Chair