Election 2018: Proposal 3 overhauls Michigan voter law

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Michigan voters have passed Proposal 3 by an overwhelming margin.

The Associated Press declared the proposal had passed just after midnight when the margin was 68 percent to 32 percent in favor of passage.

Proposal 3 generally broadens access to the ballot by allowing no-reason absentee voting, same-day voter registration and other options that make voting easier.

Michigan lawmakers have considered many of these provisions at other times but did not adopt them.  Michigan voters, by approving Proposal 3, now joins a growing list of states that have similar legislation in place.

Supporters of Proposal 3 leveraged the phrase “Promote The Vote” to raise awareness of the effort to overhaul election law in Michigan and have it written into the State Constitution.

There are eight voting policies that will be added to the Michigan Constitution:

  1. Constitution provides a right to use secret ballots
  2. Constitution provides that military members and overseas voters receive an absentee ballot at least 45 days before the election
  3. Constitution provides that eligible persons can register to vote by mail until 15 days before an election
  4. Constitution provides that eligible persons can register to vote in person at a clerk’s office during the final 14 days before an election and at the polls on election day
  5. Constitution provides voters with straight-ticket voting option
  6. Constitution provides for the automatic voter registration of eligible persons when interacting with the state regarding driver’s license or state ID card, unless the person declines
  7. Constitution provides that any voter can vote using an absentee ballot (no-excuse absentee voting) during the 40 days before an election
  8. Constitution provides for the auditing of election results

While the proposal isn’t partisan, some elements of it have traditionally been supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  

One sticking point has been straight-ticket voting. By passing the proposal it becomes law in the state, overruling a Republican-passed measure that banned it earlier this year.

The initiative has broad support, including the American Civil Liberties Union, and its Michigan chapter.  Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson also supported it.

Interestingly enough, Republican Secretary of State candidate Mary Treder Lang has opposed it. 

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