FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 9, 2021
CONTACT: Hannah Lupi, 517-643-5153
LANSING, Mich. – Voters Not Politicians Ballot Committee (VNP) today submitted objections to the Michigan Department of State about the disingenuous, false and misleading Petition Summary submitted by the “Secure MI Vote” group. To ensure that voters have accurate information about what the anti-voter campaign will be asking voters to sign, VNP has offered alternate language for consideration by the Board of Elections.
“As the sponsor of the successful voter-initiated ballot proposal that created Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2018, VNP has a particular interest in protecting the People’s right to propose beneficial changes by voter initiative. We acted today to protect against the misuse of the process by Secure MI Vote,” said Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “Nearly every representation in the Petition Summary lies to Michigan residents about what the current law is, and what the petition would do. If a voter is presented with the petition on the street, they would have no idea what they were being asked to sign based on this summary.”
Under MCL 168.482b(1)(b), petition summaries are required to be a “true and impartial statement of the purpose of the proposed amendment… in language that does not create prejudice for or against the proposed amendment…”. The Petition Summary raises several red flags:
- The summary says that the petitioner’s purpose is “to protect the right to vote and increase confidence in the conduct of elections by requiring photo identification before casting a ballot”. This suggestion that a photo ID is not needed currently is not true. Michigan Election Law already requires photo ID to cast a ballot. MCL 168.523(1).
- To state that the proposed amendment, which would clearly make it more difficult for people to vote, would “protect the right to vote” is disingenuous and not impartial. Likewise, whether such changes to the process would “increase confidence in elections” is at best a matter of opinion, which is strongly disputed and is not impartial at all.
- The clause to “increase participation by providing free photo identification to anyone needing it to vote” is never explained and creates false prejudice by insinuating that photo IDs are either not required, nor available to residents. A person can already obtain photo identification for free in Michigan right now.
- The last clause “to protect election integrity by prohibiting special interest funding of elections” is also completely uncalled for in a Petition Summary by being completely untrue and unexplained. The proposed amendments would eliminate all private funding, including for voter registration and election security. Moreover, the term “special interest” is not defined, is a matter of opinion and is a very narrow description of what the amendments would actually prohibit.
- In addition to its affirmative misrepresentations, the Petition Summary fails to explain what the proposed amendments would actually do, including to fundamentally change the process required for persons who do not have photo identification, by not allowing them to vote a regular ballot, not allowing their ballot to be counted on election day and requiring them to go to a clerk’s office within 6 days after the election with certain specified forms of identification in order to have their vote ever be counted. Moreover, absentee ballot applications cannot be just sent to people, which obviously makes voting easier and more accessible, nor can they even be provided online absent a specific request. Local clerks would also be given access to highly personal sensitive information for all voters in their area, including social security and driver’s license numbers, without any protection or safeguards. A person cannot even register to vote without providing the last four digits of their social security number.
“We ask that the Bureau of Elections create a summary that is in fact true and impartial, so that people are given accurate, factual information to base their decision upon when asked to sign this voter suppression petition,” added Wang.
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Paid for with regulated funds by Voters Not Politicians Ballot Committee, P.O. Box 13099, Lansing MI 48901