UPDATE: Voter suppression’s on the menu in Michigan

UPDATE: The Michigan House has voted a trio of voter suppression bills out of committee, sending them to the floor for votes expected in the coming week. The bills have already passed the Senate and could soon go before Governor Rick Snyder. Part of Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s so-called Secure and Fair Elections package, they echo the nationwide attack on the right to vote. A fourth (House Bill 5061) is moving in the Senate.

Last month we reported on the citizenship question that came up during Michigan’s primary. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for voter suppression in the Great Lakes State.

Pending before the Michigan House are 3 bills that the Senate has already passed. Common Cause Michigan (links added):

Senate Bill 754 would make it more difficult for Michiganders to exercise their right to vote. Two provisions of this legislation: identification requirements for in-person voter registration and the imposition of further restrictions on organizations conducting third party voter registration offer a solution in search of a problem.

Senate Bill 751 would create confusion over the registration and absentee voting process in Michigan particularly affecting young voters, college students, and mobile citizens such as military families.

Senate Bill 803 would require voters to check a box that affirms and explains their residency status, which would needlessly duplicate an existing provision, since voters declare their citizenship upon registration already.

Sponsors of the latter two, David Robertson and Darwin Booher, both have ties to ALEC.

Also pending in the House are the chamber’s own contributions to the voter suppression menu, including:

House Bill 5061 would require those wishing to vote absentee to provide photo ID when obtaining their ballots, as well as amend requirements for the ballot tracker program, ballot coaching at residential care facilities, and provisional ballot affidavit reports.

House Bill 5221 would require all persons registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship before they are added to the rolls.

The latter bill is sponsored by Dave Agema. Not only does he have ties to ALEC, but his text shares some similarities (and a few differences) with the proof of citizenship bill in South Carolina (SB 304), sponsored by ALEC member George Campsen.

For more information, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.

PFAW Foundation