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Republicans propose election changes; Democrats push back

On Wednesday, over 39 election bills were introduced by Senate Republicans.
Michigan elections.
Michigan elections.(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Senate Republican are trying to change election laws, but Democrats say the bills would suppress voters.

“They are now proposing a bill package that will make it more difficult for Michiganders to access the ballot,” said Sam Inglot, Progress Michigan Deputy Director. “Plain and simple, this is voter suppression.”

“My colleagues across the aisle issued press releases labeling them as voter suppression,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Senate Majority Leader. “I should say laughable labeling them as voter suppression.”

On Wednesday, over 39 election bills were introduced by Senate Republicans. The lengthy plan would not allow absentee ballots to be sent to a voter unless it is requested, and security cameras would be required outside absentee ballot drop boxes. This is just some of the changes as part of a much larger plan.

“There are a few things in here that Republicans aren’t going to like,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-38th State Senate District. “There are a few things that Democrats aren’t going to like, but there is a lot of just technical updates and things that I think everybody should be able to get behind.”

Other changes include letting anyone over the age of 16 pre-register to vote when getting a driver’s license and changing the way election challengers are trained.

“Frankly we see it as a continuation of lies and misinformation that were spread about our election,” said Inglot.

McBroom introduced four of the bills including a deadline on voters turning in absentee ballots of 5 p.m. the day before election day.

“Somebody has to drive around to all of these boxes in a big city; collect them all,” said McBroom. “Thousands of ballots getting processed all night long. It’s just a delay, delay to this that is not practical for our poll workers.”

The package of bills would also stop the use of prepaid postage on any absentee ballots.

While activist group Progress Michigan says parts of the bills may address some issues, it says problems still remain.

“Overall, what this bill package does it takes us backwards not forwards,” said Inglot.

If the bills are passed, many are expected to be vetoed.

“I have veto pen and I am ready to use that for any bill that is looking to make it harder for people in our state to vote,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told the Michigan Chronical.

The bills would have to pass the Republican-controlled Senate and House before going to the governor’s desk for approval.

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