Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has vowed to veto an election integrity bill that would require a voter casting an absentee ballot to prove their identity.
Senate Bills 303 and 304, approved by the Michigan House of Representatives, would “require anyone who casts an absentee ballot or votes in person on Election Day to provide identification.” A related piece of legislation, House Bill 5007 removes the current $10 fee to obtain a state ID.
“A consistent requirement for all voters to present an ID before receiving a ballot protects the voter and ensures they have a voice with their vote,” state Rep. Ann Bollin (R), one of the champions of the effort, said in a statement. “Providing free ID cards will ensure that every eligible voter can readily access a ballot and provide certainty that they can cure their ballot.”
“As a former clerk, I fully understand what is involved in administering elections. I can assure you we do have checks and balances in our elections, but I can also stand here and tell you there is room for improvement,” she added. “It is time to come together – to restore confidence with our public – and protect the vote so every eligible voter can vote freely, secretly, independently, and securely. These bills will do just that.”
State Rep. Ryan Berman (R), sponsor of HB 5007, said, “Voter ID requirements are a popular, practical way to protect our elections against fraud. Strengthening ID protections will make our elections more secure, and providing free ID will ensure our elections are accessible for every Michigan voter.”
Repeatedly, polling has demonstrated that Americans overwhelmingly approve of the requirement to present a photo ID to vote, including 62 percent of Democrats.
A Whitmer veto is expected, as she also vetoed related legislation that would increase voter list security and clerk training.
Secure MI Vote is a citizens’ initiative comprised of much of the language in the 39 bills being considered in the legislature. If organizers are able to collect a sufficient number of signatures, it would require the legislature to vote on the measure and would not be subject to a governor’s veto.
“We’re proud of the State House for passing these common-sense elections bills and sending them to Governor Whitmer’s desk. A photo ID is essential for everyday tasks and secure elections,” Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs said in a news release. “Providing a photo ID at no cost to voters is the right thing to do for the people of Michigan. It’s time for Governor Whitmer to listen to the people and sign this legislation making it easier to vote, and harder to cheat.”
The Michigan State Senate approved the potential law earlier this month.
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