LANSING, Mich. – Top election officials came out Thursday against a slate of bills from GOP lawmakers aimed at making sweeping changes to Michigan’s election laws.
The 39 bills geared toward the state’s elections are being compared to the new laws in Georgia that made national news. Michigan’s bills are set to be heard this week in Lansing and opponents were sounding the alarm.
Michigan’s election leaders criticized the package of Republican-backed voting bills in the State Senate. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson did not hold back.
“We are witnessing state legislators acting as if their anti-American effort to take away citizens freedom to vote is somehow the right thing to do,” Benson said.
The 39 bills have been widely criticized by voting rights experts, major Michigan businesses and local election clerks like Detroit’s Janice Winfrey.
“It’s very clear that the legislators who drafted these bills clearly want to restrict the voting rights of the people of Detroit and other like communities,” Winfrey said. “We’re not going to stand for it. We’ve fought too hard.”
Among the provisions most criticized would be the requirement for a photocopy of a valid photo ID to be mailed to a clerk’s office for an absentee ballot. Something not even required in the high-profile laws that just passed in Georgia. Another is not allowing clerks to pay for return postage, which clerks say would harm low income voters.
But the state GOP said their bills are meant to make voting easier and prevent cheating.
“I would suggest the Secretary of State to listen to her constituents listen to the thousands of Michiganders who have expressed legitimate concerns surrounding election integrity, and their sacred right to vote,” said MiGOP press secretary Ted Goodman.
While those concerns are likely sincere, they’re not based on evidence but rather the lie that the election was rife with problems, when it wasn’t. But many voters were told otherwise.
“We are not gonna stand by and allow these Republican Legislatures to take our vote,” said Detroit chapter NAACP President, Rev. Wendell Anthony. “These 39 bills that are being introduced by this Legislature is based not on voter fraud or the mishandling of the election.”