Michigan GOP Tries To Bypass Democratic Gov. Whitmer To Enact Voting Restrictions
The Michigan GOP is making moves to pass new voting restrictions weeks after similar regulations were approved in Georgia and Texas. Michigan’s Republican-majority state legislature, however, is at odds with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who has already confirmed that she would veto any new voting restrictions brought to her desk. The GOP, however, is planning to subvert Whitmer with a voter-driven petition. Michigan state law says that a bill submitted by petition cannot be subject to a governor’s veto.
The Michigan GOP hopes to move forward with a bill that requires voters submit a photocopy of their ID before receiving an absentee ballot, prevents the Secretary of State from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications and restricts absentee ballot drop boxes. The GOP measures also revoke expansions to absentee ballot use approved in 2018. The bill, however, also adds an extra day of early voting on Saturdays and gives 16-year-olds avenues to preregister to vote.
“These bills contain some of the most outlandish voter suppression ideas that Michigan has ever seen,” said Michigan State Sen. Paul Wojno (D) in an interview. “We’ll find out if what was adopted in Georgia may have backfired, causing legislation like this to be put under a bigger microscope.”
The Michigan Democratic Party and activist groups have since contemplated a counter-petition. Democrats also have a powerfully ally in corporations. Several of Michigan’s largest companies have come our vehemently against the GOP bills and vowed support to the Michigan Democrats’ counter-petition.
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The CEOs of Michigan’s 30 largest companies including Ford, General Motors, Magna International and Quicken Loans issued a joint statement Tuesday condemning the GOP’s plans which “historically disenfranchised communities, persons with disabilities, older adults, racial minorities and low-income voters.’’
Only nine bills have ever passed by the means Michigan Republicans are trying to use for their voter-restriction bills. A law passed by petition, which is only possible in nine states, obliges lawmakers to formally vote on the legislation. The bill is only subject to approval in the State’s House and Senate and cannot be vetoed. If a bill is left idle for more than 40 days after a successful petition, the bill will become a question on the next statewide ballot.
The GOP’s petition would need 340,047 signatures, 10% of Michigan’s population. “We’re confident we can ensure election integrity reforms ahead of the 2022 elections,’’ said Michigan GOP spokesperson Ted Goodman.
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