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Board of State Canvassers Approves Language For Voter ID Petition; Critics Say It Would Make Voting Harder

voting sign
Reginald Hardwick

The Board of State Canvassers approved a summary of a petition that would tighten Michigan’s voter ID laws during a meeting Thursday.

The petition would also require voters to give the last four digits of their social security number to register. It would also eliminate the ability for voters without an ID to cast a ballot by signing an affidavit.

Board of State Canvassers vice-chair Julie Matuzak said it’s important to let potential signers to know that at the top of the petition in the 100-word summary.

“This proposal says if you don’t have your ID, you have to cast a provisional ballot. And if you don’t show up at your clerk’s office within six days, your vote’s not going to count. And that’s disenfranchising people,” Matuzak said.

The petition, brought by the group Secure MI Vote, echoes GOP-backed legislation brought up earlier this year.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto any bills she believes made it harder for Michiganders to vote. However, this process would circumvent the need for her signature, if the petition garners enough signatures, and if the Legislature then approves it, due to a loophole in the state Constitution.

That led several speakers during the meeting to voice concerns that the measure itself would likely never reach a ballot.

Secure MI Vote spokesperson Jamie Roe said he doesn’t see an issue with that process.

"This is the system that’s prescribed in the Michigan Constitution. If there’s an issue with the process, their issue is with the Michigan Constitution,” Roe said.

For its petition to reach the Legislature, Secure MI Vote would need to gather a minimum of 340,047 signatures.

While the Board of State Canvassers voted to approve the summary of the purpose for the petition, typos causing some letter Ls to appear where colons should be delayed the approval of the form itself.

The Board is planning to consider a re-printed version of the petition at a meeting next week. If the form is approved, signature gathering can begin.

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