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Lansing city clerk opposes Secure MI Vote ballot drive

election sign
Reginald Hardwick

Lansing's City Clerk is urging voters not to sign the Secure MI Vote ballot drive.

The drive received approval last week from the Board of State Canvassers.

According to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the 2020 election was the most secure in the state’s history. But not everyone agrees.

A group called Secure MI Vote wants to put in place new restrictions into current election laws.

The group needs more than 340,000 voter signatures to send its initiative to the state legislature.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope says he strongly opposes the drive.

“This proposal targets particular people to make it harder for them to vote and to discourage them from participating. And in particular, it seems to me that it targets low income, racial minorities and young people," he said.

The proposal would only allow Michiganders who vote at the poll without an ID to cast a provisional ballot. Proof of identification would need to be shown within six days for their vote to count.

Jamie Roe, a spokesperson for Secure MI Vote, says the proposed laws would help people pay to get the identification they need to be able to vote.

The initiative would also only send absentee ballot applications to those who request them. Ahead of the November 2020 election, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson mailed unsolicited applications for absentee ballots to every registered voter in the state.

Roe called Benson's move unnecessary.

"She mailed ballot applications to an inaccurate list of voters," he said. "We just heard of a few people last week who received ballot applications at their home for individuals who hadn't lived there for almost twenty years."

According to Swope, the proposal would limit his ability to do his job like holding voter registration drives.

"The initiative that's being proposed would specifically ban any contributions, including any in-kind contributions, which could include people's time or organizations helping to do outreach, from working with us on voter registration drives," he said.

Roe disagrees. He said if the law passes organizations will still be able to run registration drives.

“What we're saying is that you can't have government-run voter registration drives or any other government-run election activity that's funded by an outside private source," he said.

Audits conducted in Michigan found that no widespread fraud took place during the 2020 election.

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