GOP-backed drive to tighten Michigan election laws will soon be out for signatures

Posted at 10:23 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 23:50:53-04

LANSING, Mich. — A GOP-backed ballot drive to tighten Michigan’s election laws and go around an inevitable veto from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, will soon be out for signatures. On Monday, The Board of State Canvassers approved the language of the “Secure MI Vote” petition.

“It now allows us to begin the process of collecting the 340,000 plus signatures that we need,” Secure MI Vote Committee Spokesman Jamie Roe said.

The petition is similar to bills championed by Republican state lawmakers and aims to tighten Michigan’s voter ID law by getting rid of an existing option that allows voters without an ID to sign a sworn affidavit. The petition would require voters show a photo ID at the ballot box or they will be given a provisional ballot and will have 6 days to show proof of ID for their vote to count.

The initiative would also prevent election officials from sending out unsolicited absentee ballots and require voters to provide driver’s license numbers when requesting to vote absentee or by mail, among other things.

To read the full petition click here.

“We believe that it's vital. In order to have a functioning democratic republic that we have in this state and country, people need to have faith in the outcome of the election, they need to be able to trust the election results,” Roe said. “I personally do not believe that the [2020] election was stolen, but what I do believe, is that we need to build people's trust in it.”

Opponents of the petition call it an attempt at voter suppression, driven by unfounded claims about 2020.

Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeting Monday, “The big lie is no longer about overturning the 2020 election. It’s about planting seeds to overturn the next one.”

“We know from 250 audits that the Michigan election system works, it's secure. There is you know, proven integrity already in the system and so there is no need whatsoever for any of the provisions that are in this petition,” says Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “What they're trying to do is, use this initiative process to pass laws circumventing the governor, circumventing the voters, that will actually make voting harder for many Michiganders.”

Organizers don't see it that way and believe there’s enough support to get more than enough signatures for it to be adopted by the Republican-led Legislature.

“We're not calling for any other, you know, rehash the 2020 election, we're looking forward to the future and making sure that future elections have adequate security and that when votes are cast, the voters can trust the votes that were cast,” Roe said.

"We're going to have an army of volunteers across the state. Since we announced it, we've already had thousands and thousands of people sign up to circulate petitions," he added.

The group will have 180 days to collect more than 340,000 signatures needed.

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