A new law moving through the Michigan legislature would make it harder for groups to hold voter registration drives, unregister voters who haven’t recently voted and require voters to show identification at the polls. Does the new legislation in Michigan make it easier to vote? No. As part of a trend seen across the nation, Republican controlled legislatures are passing new and more restrictive voting laws. In each case, the legislation makes it more likely that a citizen would be prevented from casting a ballot. The move in Michigan also comes at a time when the Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney wants to ensure that he wins the state at all costs. The Wolverine State has become a symbolic and personal battleground for Romney since it’s where he grew up while his father George Romney was Governor from 1963 – 1969. As a result, the stakes are high for Michigan Republicans to produce electoral results.Those stakes are even higher as a recent Rasmussen poll shows incumbent President Barack Obama “comfortably” ahead in Michigan by 8 points, 50% to 42% against Romney. In 2008, the President crushed former Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 57.4% to 40.9%, easily grabbing the state’s coveted 17 electoral votes. Additionally, the state is over 14% African American, more than the national average and critical to Obama’s re-election hopes.
Michigan is about to become the latest in a popular legislative trend over the last two years with regard to voting with less than 5 months to a major election. The Michigan House and Senate is controlled by Republicans. The Governor of Michigan is Rick Snyder, a Republican.
In 2011, voter ID laws passed in Kansas, Rhode Island and Wisconsin as Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas made voter ID laws already in existence even more restrictive. The legislation that has been proposed and is likely to pass is opposed by The League of Women Voters and Project Vote. The National Urban League’s Occupy the Vote initiative and the NAACP’s 1-866-MYVOTE effort are attempts to answer the new voter ID and voter suppression laws and educate voters before November.