Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer vetoes another round of voter suppression bills

By: - October 29, 2021 1:14 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist | Whitmer office photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed Friday three more bills from the Republicans’ 39-bill election package that would have imposed stricter ID requirements for voters.

Senate Bills 303 and 304, as well as House Bill 5007, would eliminate the state’s current option for voters to submit an affidavit attesting to their identity when attempting to vote without a state issued ID. 

Whitmer said the bills would “disproportionately harm communities of color,” as non-white voters are five times more likely to lack access to an ID on Election Day.

“Voting restrictions that produce such a racially disparate impact must never become law in this state,” Whitmer said. 

Advocates for “common sense election reform” applauded Whitmer for her decision to veto. 

Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians, said the bills “would have disenfranchised voters across the state by putting up new barriers to voting and restricting funding for local elections.”

Sharon Dolente, senior advisor for Promote the Vote, also supported Whitmer’s vetoes. 

“These bills are out of step with what we know Michigan voters want, a voting system that works for everyone. Michigan law already requires voters to verify their identity prior to voting. These bills would impose a radically restrictive identity verification scheme rejected by 42 states. These bills would make it harder for election officials to ensure Michigan elections remain both accessible and secure,” Dolente said.  

State Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Groveland Twp.), a former Michigan secretary of state, said that “by vetoing these measures, the governor is rejecting nearly 80% of Michigan voters who support requiring every voter coming to the polls to present a government-issued ID to cast their ballot — including over 58% of voters in her own party.”

Johnson also stated that Proposal 3, which allows for no-reason absentee voting, same-day voter registration, straight-ticket voting and more, “weakened the integrity of our election system by allowing people to register and vote without ever being seen in-person.”

Secure MI Vote, a Republican-led petition drive, is working to implement many of the same restrictions to voting access. If the campaign is able to gather enough signatures, the initiative will go to the GOP-led Legislature for approval before voters and Whitmer can’t veto it. 

“Now, we anticipate that the politicians and political operatives behind Secure MI Vote will attempt to use this veto to fuel their anti-voter plan,” Wang said. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.