LANSING, Mich. — Members of the Michigan Republican party are calling out Lt. Governor, Garlin Gilchrist for remarks he made recently on national TV.
“Republicans are afraid of voters. It is that simple. And frankly they would rather assault and kick voters in the teeth than opening up the democratic process,” said Gilchrist on MSNBC.
The remarks are in response to several bills the GOP party introduced that would change some voting laws and regulations in Michigan.
There are over 30 bills. One would ban the Secretary of State from making absentee ballots available online. Another would stop allowing clerks from providing prepaid return postage for those same ballots.
Some democrats, including Garlin, say the changes are meant to make it harder for people of color to vote.
Its an allegation members of the Michigan GOP say is flat out wrong.
“The Lt. Governor is out there making some very serious accusations. Characterizing some election reform measures as some how racist. And we feel for the Lt. Governor to make such serious accusations, he should be specific," said MI GOP spokesperson, Ted Goodman via Zoom.
The GOP in a press release points to two interviews Gilchrist did on March 28th. One was with MSNBC and the other with the Gethesmane Missionary Baptist Church.
When asked about the country-wide rollout of Republican-backed bills aimed at changing voter laws across the country, Gilchrist said the GOP bills are inspired by fear.
“One Republicans are scared of you voting. Period. Republicans are scared of people who look like us voting. And that’s happened at a level that is hasn’t ever in this past presidential election. And they are so scared they decide, you know what? We don’t want yall to vote anymore," said Gilchrist.
The conversation around race in the party is not a new one.
At a meeting of the North Oakland Republican Club last month, one of the speakers addressed the party’s challenges with attracting minorities.
“We don’t win by subtraction. We win by addition. And I don’t know if we can go to minorities, democrats and independents and say come with us. Come with us and we can change this country when we are busy assassinating our own," said an unknown speaker.
Gilchrist says he never used the term racist in in his interviews.
“I didn’t say what they are claiming that I said. I actually never said that,”Gilchrist told FOX 47 News in an interview.
Gilchrist said he does not regret his comments.
“These kinds of laws make it more difficult for low-income people to vote and decrease the turnout. It makes it more difficult for people of color to vote and decreases the turnout. I told the truth and so I’m always going to be comfortable telling the truth," said Gilchrist.
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