LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Civil rights activists made the trek from Detroit to Lansing today to denounce voting measures introduced by republicans last month.
About 100 people rallied against the bills saying they’re a clear form of voter suppression.
Last month, Michigan Senate Republicans unveiled 39 bills that would significantly change state election laws. If passed the bills would ban Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson from sending out absentee ballot applications unless they are specifically requested by voters. A change from 2020 when all eligible voters received one in the mail
People wanting to receive an absentee ballot would also be required to present or attach an ID.
President of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, Dr. Wendell Anthony, says what happened in Georgia, can’t happen here.
“We’re simply saying today nope we’re not going for that. We are watching you. We’re calling on you,” he said.
Today 37 business leaders from top companies like Ford, General Motor, and Henry Ford Health System listened to that call and joined the battle over voting rights, signing a letter denouncing the latest measures.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a statement today that the bills have elements that give voters more opportunities to both cast their vote and register to vote.
“The right to vote is our most treasured right as Americans and no one entitled to it should be inhibited or barred. The perfunctory step to equitable access is being 100 percent certain that every legal vote cast is handled and counted the same. Where you live should not impact how your vote is processed.
“It also should not impact your access. So, in addition to security, we have intentionally put forward elements to give voters more opportunities to both cast their vote and register to vote.
“This package’s move through the legislative process has only just begun and I look forward to seeking the input of my colleagues across the aisle and all who have engaged in this process. At all times we must use logic, not political sentiment or ‘wokeness,’ to build good public policy that will serve all Michiganders and safeguard our democracy.
“If having an ID is viewed as an obstacle to voting because there is a problem getting an ID, let’s solve that problem.”
Lansing City Clerk and the president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, Chris Swope, says the bills will make it harder for people to vote
“Voters don’t have photo copiers at their house or easy access to it. it just really creates a lot of steps,” Swope said.