Michigan Senate Passes Election Bills Strengthening Voter ID Requirements

by Laura Ramirez

Michigan’s Republican-led state Senate on Wednesday passed three election integrity bills on a 19-16 vote that would require voters to present photo ID at polling places. It would also strengthen identity requirements for those who vote by mail.

Michigan’s state legislature approved Senate Bills 0303, 0285, and 0304, on a party-line vote with full support from Republicans while every Democrat opposed the legislation, The Epoch Times reported.

Under SB 0303, voters without a photo ID would be required to cast a provisional ballot after which they must verify their identity and residence within six days in order for their ballot to be counted. To enforce this proposed legislation, SB 0304 stipulates that voters who received a provisional ballot must be notified of the six-day identity verification rule.

Lastly, Michigan SB 0285 requires Michiganders, who are seeking absentee ballots, to attach a copy of their driver’s license, state identification number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number to their applications.

Michigan’s current election laws allow voters to cast a ballot without providing voter ID as long as they sign an affidavit. Michiganders who wish to vote by mail using absentee ballots, or an election clerk’s office, are obligated to sign an application which is used for signature-matching, according to The Hill.

Michigan Democrats have criticized the legislation calling it a modern version of a “poll tax,” as they claim it would deter Michiganders who don’t have a photo ID, especially seniors and low-income residents, from casting their vote.

However, state Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Mich., counters this argument stating that the $10 fee to obtain a state ID is routinely waived for different groups of individuals, elderly, those on welfare or disability assistance, homeless and veterans. Johnson added that state lawmakers have also introduced bills to remove any financial barriers preventing citizens from obtaining a photo ID, according to the Associated Press.

She also contends that the bills passed this week would modernize the state’s existing photo ID laws that are defective due to voting changes made back in 2018.

“These bills would help ensure the security and fairness of our elections . . . requiring voters to verify their identity with ID is the best way to protect the one-person, one-vote standard,” said Johnson.

Although state lawmakers have approved the three election integrity bills, Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will likely veto the legislation once it reaches her desk. However, the Associated Press notes there is a possibility that Michigan Republicans could bypass her veto by establishing a citizen-initiated ballot proposal.

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