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Whitmer leads group of governors urging passage of national voting rights legislation

Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Posted at 11:08 AM, Dec 13, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer led a group of 16 other governors Monday in urging leaders in the U.S. Senate to take action to pass voting rights legislation.

“Right now, voting rights are under attack in states across the country, including right here in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “Our democracy works when everyone can be heard, when every eligible voter – no matter where they live or who they support – has safe, convenient and secure access to the ballot. In states across the country, people’s voices are being silenced. Since the last election, legislatures have introduced 389 anti-voting bills and counting across 48 states. Protecting the right to vote is not a political or partisan issue. It is foundational to who we are. As governors, we have been working to make the ballot more accessible at the state level, and we know that voting rights have long been a bipartisan issue at the national level. We can work together to protect people’s voices by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Let’s get this done for the sake of our democracy.”

Proponents of the Freedom to Vote Act say it would improve voter access, uphold election integrity and boost transparency.

It would make Election Day a national holiday, provide voters two weeks of early voting, offer online voter registration, permit same-day voter registration and restore voting rights to people who have served their time in prison.

The bill would require campaigns to disclose contacts from foreign governments, mandate paper ballots and protect local officials from partisan interference or control.

It would also ban partisan gerrymandering, combat dark money and prevent coordination between super PACs and campaigns.

Meanwhile, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, ensuring last-minute changes to voting laws do not adversely affect voters, authorizing more robust responses to racial discrimination at the polls and helping prevent voter intimidation at the voting booth.

Read the full letter on the state's website here.