LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – On Wednesday, the Senate Election Committee approved three bills, that would change Michigan election laws in terms of identification requirements for absentee voters.
Under Senate Bills 285, 303, and 304 voters would have to adhere to the following among other things:
Senate Bill 285
- Require those seeking an absentee ballot to provide their local election official with proof of Identificational and residential living status
- Require an applicant for an absentee ballot who was an absent uniformed services voter, overseas voter, or an applicant for an emergency absentee ballot to include a copy of his or her identification with his or her application.
Senate Bill 303
- Remove references to an affidavit that an elector may sign if he or she does not have identification for election purposes.
- Remove language pertaining to affidavit reports that must be transmitted to both the county clerk and the Secretary of State (SOS).
Senate Bill 304
- Specify that a notice provided to an elector who was issued a provisional ballot would have to indicate that the ballot would be tabulated only if the voter verified his or her voter registration record with the clerk by presenting identification and specified documents within six days after the election.
- Require the notice to include information stating that certain individuals would be eligible to have the fee waived for obtaining an official State personal identification card.
Michigan Republican Senator Ruth Johnson, spoke in favor of the proposed legislature:
“There is strong bipartisan support for requiring voters to use ID to vote,” she said, “Ensuring the integrity of our elections is critical to a healthy democracy and requiring voters verify their identity with ID is the best way to protect the ‘one person, one vote’ standard.”
The Michigan Democratic Party carried different sentiments, saying:
“These bills seek to restrict the options that make voting more convenient and accessible, including early voting and voting by mail, and add new, burdensome voter ID requirements for in-person and mail voting. The MDP will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Michiganders from voting.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson echoed those statements with one of her own, releasing the following statement:
“State lawmakers continue legislating on lies instead of telling their constituents the truth – the 2020 election was the most secure election in Michigan history. The bills passed today will do nothing to bolster the extremely strong voter ID laws Michigan already has, and the politicians pushing the bills through are fine with that, because their real goal is reducing voter turnout. By suggesting voters include a photocopy of their ID with their absentee ballot request form, lawmakers are exposing voters to identity theft. And prohibiting the use of a signed and sworn affidavit to confirm a voter’s identity will only increase the number of votes that never get counted.”
Passing the committee is just first step of the process, all three bills would still need to gain full senate approval, before going to the house, should is pass both chambers it would then need the governor’s signature before coming law.