LANSING, Mich. — Republicans in Lansing are proposing a slew of election bills that would change how the state handles absentee ballots and early voting. The Secretary of State and a number of voting rights groups oppose the measures.
Included in the 39 bills are requirements for voters to submit a photo ID, prohibit the unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications, and restrict the hours in which people could drop their ballot in curbside boxes.
Former Secretary of State and current State Senator Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) says the legislation, includes "commonsense measures that will protect the integrity of our elections by safeguarding the right for people to vote and ensuring our elections are safe and secure.”
"We are taking steps to restore trust and the public confidence that our election systems are secure, that is so critical to the survival of a democracy, right, that that the public trusts the election process. Wee are committed to that and Senate Republicans showed that today in Lansing," says Michigan GOP Communications Director Ted Goodman.
Democrats say the legislation introduced Wednesday would suppress voting, months after some Republican lawmakers falsely claimed the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issues a statement Wednesday on the package of bills, saying they would make it harder for people to vote.
Michigan’s 2020 elections were the most secure, accessible and successful in our history. Now GOP lawmakers in our state are trying to pass laws to make it harder to vote and undo the very policies that enabled more people to vote than ever before.— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) March 24, 2021
Ready to fight back? I am. pic.twitter.com/HbbWMzO8QA
"Rather than introducing bills based on disproven lies and copied from other states, lawmakers should be codifying what worked in 2020," said Benson. "Michigan voters demonstrated they want our elections to be accessible in 2018 when they enshrined new voting rights in our state constitution, and again in 2020 when millions exercised those new rights. Everything we do should be based on protecting the right to vote, and too many of these bills would do the opposite.”
The Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, Michigan League of Women Voters and the Promote the Vote Coalition joined the Secretary of State in opposition to the bills.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.