KEY NEWS & DOCUMENTS:
Three Michigan House Bills Threaten Our Right to Vote
Lame duck session in Michigan always brings challenges. Last week, on the heels of a truly concerning presidential election that will without a doubt have chilling consequences for our most basic constitutional rights, term-limited Representative Lisa Lyons, R - Alto, introduced bills to further restrict and suppress access to the voting booth.
House Bills 6066, 6067, and 6068 would institute a photo ID requirement for virtually all voters – effectively making is more difficult for the poor, elderly, communities of color, and the disabled to vote.
While there are some provisions in the bill that intend to make it easier for indigent people to obtain photo ID, those provisions are only helpful if those individuals – who are already lacking in resources – know exactly what to do and what hoops to jump through in advance.
Waiving the cost of a photo ID does not account for other significant costs that voters will have to pay, including transportation, waiting in line, time away from work or acquiring the underlying documents like a birth certificate. The practical effect of these bills will be to disenfranchise the vast majority of eligible voters who don’t have photo ID or show up on Election Day without it.
The basis for these bills claims that voter ID laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but those claims are unsubstantiated and overblown. Studies have shown, time and time again, that no credible threat of voter fraud exists.
In fact, impersonation of voters on Election Day is one of the least frequent forms of voter fraud because it is the most likely the type of fraud to be discovered, there are stiff penalties associated with this type of fraud, and it is an inefficient method of influencing an election.
While many states move to modernize voting and increase access to the ballot, Michigan remains one of five states severely limiting the freedom of eligible citizens to register to vote and cast their ballot.
The Michigan House of Representative is expected to vote on this package the week of December 5th and we urge calls to lawmakers asking them to reject voter suppression policies by casting their own votes against HB 6066, 6067, and 6068.
Voting is a fundamental right. The integrity of our elections depends on every eligible citizen being able to register and cast their vote.
Rather than putting hurdles in the way of eligible voters, our lawmakers should support real solutions that would make Michigan elections more welcoming and modern such as online voter registration, no reason absentee voting, early voting, and same-day registration.
When people take the time and responsibility to exercise their right to vote, we need to guarantee that their votes are counted and their voices are heard.