© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Politics & Government

MI Senate Adopts Bills To Enact Voter Restrictions

election sign
Reginald Hardwick

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate adopted bills Wednesday to expand ID requirements to vote in-person or to get an absentee ballot.

The bills were adopted on party-line votes over the objection of Democrats and the promise of a veto from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.Republican Senator Ruth Johnson is a former Secretary of State. She says showing a photo ID is a reasonable expectation.

“ID is an essential part of everyday life for most Americans,” she said. “We must show ID for many things in our lives, including getting on an airplane, opening a bank account, buying alcohol, or even applying for a fishing license online.”

But Democrats argued the ID requirement would pose a needless hardship and would discourage some people from exercising the right to vote, especially after Michigan voters approved an amendment in 2018 to make absentee voting easier.

Senator Sylvia Santana is a Detroit Democrat. She says Republicans know the landscape is changing after losing the 2020 presidential race.

“So now you want to change the rules and add barriers so that people who look like me get frustrated and decide not to vote,” she said.

Senator Adam Hollier is also a Democrat from Detroit. He called the proposed ID requirement a needless barrier to exercise the right to vote. He said the Legislature’s time would be better spent finding ways to make voting faster and easier. 

“That’s not what this is designed to do, is to make it easier. But it could be,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to fix problems, and we are creating even more, and that’s the travesty of these discussions is that there are a lot of people whose ballots won’t be counted.”

The bills now go to the House, which is also controlled by Republicans.

News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.