The following statement can be attributed to Nancy Wang, Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians, the nonpartisan, grassroots group that ended gerrymandering in Michigan, on election reform legislation introduced today in the Michigan Senate:
“The 2020 election was safe and secure, and more Michiganders voted than ever before in the history of our state. But today Senate Republicans joined the coordinated, national effort to make it harder for voters to exercise our right to vote. The thousands of volunteers who make up VNP – everyday citizens, from rural and urban communities and across the political spectrum around the state – are focused on protecting voters against any law that restricts access to the ballot. We will fight to make sure that special interests do not suppress the vote in Michigan.”
Senate Bills 273-311 were introduced today to impose changes to the election administration process and would:
- Establish strict voter identification laws similar to those introduced in other states
- Prohibit the Secretary of State from mailing absentee ballot applications
- Prohibit clerks from supplying pre-paid return postage for absentee ballots, requiring voters to pay to cast their ballot by mail
- Not allow clerks to begin counting ballots until the day before the election
- Create costly requirements for ballot drop boxes, which have been used securely in previous election cycles
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey on March 15 appeared on the Bart Hawley Show on JTV, a local station out of Jackson, Mich., and alluded to the “comprehensive” election reform package that was unveiled in the Senate. This comes as anti-voter legislation is being pushed by conservative groups nationwide. According to Fox News, Heritage Action for America, a nonprofit tied to the conservative Heritage Foundation, is investing $10 million to double down on false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
National democracy group the Voting Rights Lab is tracking anti-voter legislation across the country, including current efforts to suppress the vote in Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona. A comprehensive tracker of national efforts can be found here.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in February released an Advance the Vote agenda to build on the expanded voting rights and access established through Proposal 2018-3, including lessons learned from one of the best-run elections in recent history, particularly amidst a global pandemic.
CONTACT: Elizabeth Battiste