Proposal would make voting more difficult for many Michigan voters

The right to vote was hard won. The League of Women Voters Flint Area is always working hard to educate voters on the security of our elections and voting rights.

We are concerned about a petition being circulated that would take away current Election Day voting options and make absentee voting less accessible, along with other problematic features. Its premise implies that we need to take additional measures to make sure voting is secure. This comes after the claims of fraud following the 2020 Presidential Election, but we know those claims are false because multiple audits, court cases and the Report on the November 2020 Election, by Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, have affirmed that the election was fair and secure. The committee was non-partisan, comprised of three Republicans and one Democrat. They investigated in granular detail, down to an allegation of a vote by someone deceased (she was alive when casting vote but died before Election Day).

The voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 3. One of the most popular was no-reason absentee voting, because it opened up opportunity for those overburdened with work and family responsibilities. It was easy to vote. Simplified registration, guaranteed secret ballot, more time for return of military/overseas ballots, mandated audits, and other provisions made voting much more available to citizens.

This petition is complicated and confusing, citing revisions to over a dozen laws. Some things are already law, such as showing ID at the polls. But right now, if something happens to someone’s ID right before the election (such as damage or theft), the voter can sign an affidavit swearing to identity. There are penalties attached if oath is false, so it isn’t taken lightly. But this petition calls for discontinuing affidavit and also adding additional ID requirements for absentee voters, requiring the disclosure of a partial Social Security number and copy of driver’s license with application for an absentee ballot. These additional measures could pose an identity theft risk. The provision to pay for ID for the indigent seems good, until you read further and see the paperwork required to benefit from that, making it difficult for that population to qualify.

The appropriation attached serves another purpose. It would prevent a vote of the people from overturning the law. Unlike the petition for Proposal 3, this one could become law once turned in. If a Legislature is not in favor of a petition, it goes to the ballot for all citizen’s votes. But if a Legislature likes a petition, it can simply make it law. Fewer than 347,000 voters could enact law for everyone.

Our state already has excellent election security safeguards. This petition is a step backwards. — Pegge Adams, President, League of Women Voters, Flint Area