LANSING, Mich. — Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson along with Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey held a virtual press conference tto publicly express their opposition to a package of 39 GOP-backed bills they say are meant to suppress the vote.
Both Benson and Winfrey say the proposed changes to Michigan’s election laws would make it harder for people to vote and are part of a countrywide effort to tip the scales in favor of Republicans.
”Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Wyoming, soon Ohio. We’re seeing the exact same bills with the exact same language in some cases. Sometime worse and sometimes more in line with the code of the state," Benson said.
But Michigan GOP spokesperson, Ted Goodman, says the Democrats are grasping at straws.
”I think it's convenient for Democrats to try to loop in election reform from all over the country because they refuse to even talk about it. You even mention election reform and they immediately renounce it, denounce it and refuse to engage,"said Goodman.
One of the bills would require anyone requesting an absentee ballot to attach of copy of their state-issued ID. It’s a change both Winfrey and Benson say is unnecessary and would hurt voters.
”There are already secure protocols in place to affirm the identity of the registered voter in the absentee voting process. They work. They work well. That’s why you didn’t see widespread fraud," Benson said.
However Republican Party spokesperson Ted Goodman says the bill is something voters want.
”Voter ID is something that is overwhelmingly popular among voters including the African American community. And so when Democrats try to paint efforts like voter ID legislation as somehow racist...they are lying and being disingenuous," Goodman said.
The Michigan GOP says all 39 bills are aimed at reform, but Democrats call the proposals suppression.
Despite the differences in opinion, Benson says she is open to compromise.
”I certainly am willing to sit down and talk with legislators in ways that can improve the fabric of election policies we have in our state," Benson said.
She’s calling on voters to let their lawmakers know they don’t approve of the bills.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she plans to veto any bill aimed at suppressing the vote that ends up on her desk.
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