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Michigan Senate Passes Bills That Would Overhaul State Voter ID Laws

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


The Michigan Senate has approved a slew of voter bills that will provide additional protections to election integrity.

The GOP-controlled state Senate passed three bills with a party-line vote of 19-16.

One of the most important measures is Senate Bill (SB) 285, which would require an absentee ballot or ballot applicant to show or attach a photo ID to the application.

Approximately 3.2 million Michigan residents voted absentee in the 2020 election.

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It also seeks to require ID for absentee ballot applications from an absent uniformed services voter, overseas voter, or an applicant for an emergency absentee ballot to include a copy of identification attached to the application.

The second measure, SB 303, would remove the option for voters to sign an affidavit to vote, a current option 11,417 Michiganders used in the 2020 presidential election that a photo ID would replace under these bills.

And the third bill, SB 304, aims to require that the votes issued via provisional ballot only count if the voter-verified registration via ID to the clerk within six days post-election.

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All three bills now head to the state House of Representatives, where they are expected to pass.

Then, the tricky part: they must be signed by Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

It’s highly unlikely that Whitmer — arguably one of the most liberal governors in America — will sign these election measures.

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Nevertheless, Republicans in the state applauded the election integrity bills.

GOP state Sen. Ruth Johnson said providing identification is crucial to life, including buying a fishing license, alcohol, and flying on a plane.

Republican state Sen. Lana Theis said the bills aim to seal a “loophole” in which a Michigander could request an absentee ballot by mail, vote by mail, and never show a form of ID but still vote.

“It’s not voter suppression; It’s not an undue burden. Across the globe, an ID is required to vote,” Theis said.

The conservative Michigan Freedom Fund also applauded the news.

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“Over 70% of Americans support voter ID laws and the additional legislation introduced today will ensure everyone has access to photo identification,” Executive Director Tori Sachs said in a statement.

“These simple, pragmatic reforms will strengthen confidence in the security of our elections and make it easier for Michiganders to participate in everyday life,” Sachs added.

Democrats are furious over the passage of the bills.  Michigan Democrats tweeted, “Michigan Senate Republicans just voted to pass their first round of voter suppression bills, making it harder for Michiganders to vote by imposing burdensome voter ID requirements. We will fight this.”

Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow tweeted, “The most comprehensive audit in Michigan history showed the 2020 election was accurate, secure & fair. The so-called election ‘integrity’ bills passed by Michigan Republicans today are nothing more than a blatant attempt to take away our freedom to vote.”

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