State panel approves language for petition aimed at overhauling Michigan voting rules

Voting rights activists say petition rules will make it harder to vote

A controversial petition to put sweeping changes to Michigan’s elections has been passed by a state board.
A controversial petition to put sweeping changes to Michigan’s elections has been passed by a state board.

LANSING, Mich. – A controversial petition to put sweeping changes to Michigan’s elections has been passed by a state board.

The petition would ask voters to decide to make changes that voting rights activists say will make it harder to vote. Supporters of the petition say they believe it will restore confidence in elections.

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The petition goes under the name “Secure MI Vote” and is still in its early stages. Supporters of the petition will have to get 340,000 signatures to get it on the ballot. Opponents said the petition should not have been allowed and are encouraging people not to sign it.

The petition contains a slew of provisions that most political experts say are harmful to democracy and do not help the way Michigan residents vote.

If the petition got on the ballot and was approved by voters then stricter voter ID and absentee ballot rules would go into effect. It would prevent the state and local clerks from sending out unrequested absentee ballots and ban private funding to help run elections. Civil rights groups across the country said that would hurt voters.

“It will disproportionately impact seniors, military members, rural voters, Black and Brown communities. It’ll tie the hands of election officials by cutting off necessary funding to put elections together. It could even go as far as barring churches and schools from donating polling place locations to election officials -- so this is a very far-reaching proposal,” Progress Michigan’s Sam Inglot said.

Supporters of the petition said changes are needed because confidence in election integrity is at a low. Confidence is low due to false claims of election fraud made by former President Donald Trump.

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“What we’re trying to do is restore people’s confidence over the last two presidential elections you’ve had voters from both sides say that the election was stolen, the election was hacked. You know, the Russians hacked the election,” Secure MI Vote’s Jamie Roe said.

The petition comes in the wake of the so-called audit in Arizona, which has been widely seen as a farce. The results from that came out and showed that even those looking to overturn the election will come up empty-handed.

The minimum number of verified signatures needed to put the petition on the ballot is 34,000, but supporters guess they’ll need closer to 450,000 signatures overall to meet that. They have six months to collect the signatures.

Click here to view the petition.

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About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.