A Democratic state lawmaker is reintroducing legislation he says would make voting easier and more accessible to Michigan citizens by changing the state Constitution to include a “voter bill of rights.” The bills, first introduced last session and brought to light again by Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, proposes adding several provisions to the existing Constitutional right to vote, including allowing no-reason absentee ballots, allowing people to vote in-person absentee up to 15 days prior to an election, automatic voter registration and automatically sending military and overseas voters a ballot at least 45 days prior to an election.
“Now more than ever, people are energized, people are engaged and people are excited about the democratic process,” Hoadley said at a Wednesday press conference. “It is our job as legislators to make sure that participation in that process is modernized, streamlined and accessible to as many people as possible.”
It’s a tall order to amend the Constitution in Michigan – Hoadley’s bill would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Michigan Legislature before heading to the ballot.
Although some Republicans – notably Secretary of State Ruth Johnson – have called for no-reason absentee ballots in Michigan, most of the reforms proposed in Hoadley’s bill have been non-starters in the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature.