Most Michigan voters would have to present an ID card for their votes to count under legislation that popped up suddenly during Michigan’s lame-duck session. Currently voters who are registered but do not have a voter ID can fill out an affidavit attesting to their identity and then vote. House Bills 6066, 6067 and 6068, introduced Tuesday, would change that. Under the bills a voter without ID would fill out a provisional ballot. That ballot would only be counted if the voter returned to their clerk’s office within 10 days to show either a photo ID or present evidence they are either indigent and can’t afford an ID or have a religious objection to having their photo taken. “I can’t emphasize how simple this is. If you want your vote to count, you must prove your identity,” said Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, who sponsored the bills. The bills also allow indigent voters to receive free birth certificates and IDs.
Lyons said the legislation’s goal was two-fold. “I want to make sure that we are setting policy that protects the integrity of our elections but we are also not setting up barriers,” Lyons said.
But others say the bills will disenfranchise voters. “The practical effect of these bills, we believe, will be to disenfranchise the vast majority of voters who either don’t have ID or show up to the polls without it,” said Merissa Kovach, a policy strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.