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MI Senate adopts voting restrictions; Gov. Whitmer says she will veto

election sign
Reginald Hardwick
The bills must still be approved by the GOP-led state House.

The GOP-led state Senate adopted bills Thursday that would create new voting restrictions, including an ID requirement for voters.

Republicans say it’s part of an effort to make voting more secure. Democrats blasted back that it’s part of a larger effort to make voting harder.

“This is the same language that is being used across this nation from sea to shining sea to make it harder for people to vote,” said Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor). "And that is an abomination, and we should not be taking any part in that process.”

A separate bill would make it easier to get a free state-issued ID. But it would not be able to take effect unless the other bills are also signed into law, which Democrats said was a bait-and-switch maneuver.

Republicans said the bills are aimed at promoting confidence in the election process.

Republican Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) led committee hearings that found the 2020 results in Michigan were fair and accurate. But he said that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

“You think the laws are all great right now?” he asked. “You don’t believe in reform? Maybe you’re against the speed limits.”

The bills must still be approved by the GOP-led state House, and that is expected to happen. But Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said they’d be headed for vetoes.

“I’m not here to play games,” she said. “Our elections work. You don’t like the outcome? Well, then you run in the next election and try to win and earn people’s votes, not cast out a segment of people who’ve cast their ballots as Americans and with a right to do that.”

But vetoes might not be the final word. A petition drive is brewing to initiate a law that includes many of the provisions in the Republican-supported election bills.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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