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Gov. Whitmer signs voting rights bills

A sign welcomes East Lansing voters during the Aug. 2, 2022 primary election at a precinct at Martin Luther Chapel.
Sarah Lehr
The new laws will allow for at least nine days of early voting in statewide elections.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Tuesday to expand voting rights. That includes a measure to make it easier to vote by absentee ballot.

Whitmer said in a statement that the new laws will help enact the will of voters who overwhelmingly approved adding a new voting rights amendment to the Michigan Constitution in 2022.

“Michiganders spoke with a clear, united voice last November when they voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposal 2, expanding voting rights,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office.

“Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan legislation implementing the will of the people, ensuring they can make their voices heard in every election. Let’s keep fighting to expand the constitutional right to vote freely, fairly, and securely with commonsense reforms so we can build a government of the people that delivers for the people.”

The new laws will allow for at least nine days of early voting in statewide elections. Also, people will be able to sign up to have absentee ballots and pre-paid postage envelopes automatically sent to their homes.

The measures include a provision to establish more ballot drop boxes. And people will also be able to register for text or e-mail messages on the status of their absentee ballots right up to delivery to be counted by clerks’ offices.

“We are ready to work with Michigan’s clerks to implement these new laws in time for next year’s elections,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement.

The bills were adopted by the Legislature on bipartisan votes, although some Republicans argued the legislation could enable ballot fraud.

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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