The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved a controversial bill that would impose new restrictions on the vote, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto any measure that makes it more difficult to vote.
The Senate voted along party lines, 20-15, to implement strict voter ID requirements and ban election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballots, as was done in the 2020 presidential election, in which a record 3.3 million people voted absent.
Democrats blew up the bill as a desperate and shameless attempt to restrict access to the vote after President Donald Trump lost in the Michigan general election by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points.
Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, asked Republicans why they waited until Trump’s defeat to support major changes to the voting laws.
“When you won your election, I do not remember the point where you questioned the results afterwards,” Hertel said from the Senate floor. “I do not remember the part where you took the oath and said, ‘Maybe I should not take this because I’m not sure if the choice was fair.'”
He continued: “When Donald Trump was elected, no one asked to change the law. Now that you do not like the results, you doubt the integrity of the choice. ”
The bill would require voters to present their driver’s license or state ID in order to cast a ballot in person. Under current law, voters who do not have access to a photo ID can sign a statement certifying their identity.
To request an absent ballot paper, voters must submit a photocopy of their driver’s license or state ID card or the last four digits of their civil registration number. That would be one of the strictest ID requirements for absentee voters in the country.
“We already have a voter ID law in Michigan,” said Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor. “There really is no need for this extra voter ID law on steroids. When we add additional restrictions, we make it harder for certain groups to vote. ”
He added: “We know this is going to mean longer lines in communities like mine and cities like Detroit and Flint.”
Republicans planned to pass additional restrictions Wednesday, but voted in favor to approve the Democrats’ proposal for postponement. (After doing so, they tried to undo it to no avail.) They will resume the debate on these restrictions on Thursday.
The bill now goes on to the State House. If approved, Whitmer is expected to veto it.
But Republicans are using a different route to circumvent a governmental veto. The GOP-backed Secure MI polling initiative is expected to launch as early as this week. A peculiarity in Michigan’s constitution allows the legislature to bypass the governor and approve a law if more than 340,000 voters – or at least 8% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election – sign a petition to set up a voting initiative. . The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved the Secure MI Vote petition last month.
On Sunday, Whitmer vetoed four of the Republicans supporting bills, saying they maintained lies about electoral fraud.
Republicans nationwide have pushed bills to restrict access to the right to vote as Trump and his supporters continue to spread untruths about the election.
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