A number of organizations are saying a series of bills designed to close loopholes and prevent voter fraud will interfere with the right to vote. State Senate Bills 751 and 754 call for new photo identification requirements for voter registration and absentee voting. SB 754 also regulates groups that register people to vote. SB 751 requires voters to show photo identification to obtain an absentee ballot. Currently, a range of documents are accepted as proof of identify and residency, such as a Social Security card, paystubs, utility bills and bank statements. The laws are part of a package of bills called Secure and Fair Elections initiative designed to strengthen campaign finance laws, create new policies and the expand the use of technology.
The League of Women Voters, the American Association of Retired People and several other groups are opposing the bills because many eligible voters don’t have the type of identification required and could have difficulty getting it. “Nearly one in five people age 65 or older don’t have photo ID,” stated Jacqueline Morrison, state director of the Michigan chapter of the AARP, in a press release. “People who have been voting all of their adult life will face this hurdle if the legislation passes.”
An estimated 10 percent of voting-age Americans does not have a government-issued photo identification, an indication that more than 700,000 of Michigan citizens could be affected by the legislation, according to a press release from the groups.