Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday vetoed three election law bills pushed by Republican legislators seeking to require a ballot box affirmation of citizenship, restrict voter registration drives and require photo ID for obtaining an absentee ballot. Snyder said he vetoed the absentee ballot bill, House Bill 5061, because it would not let an absentee ballot count if the person did not affirm their citizenship by the close of the polls on an Election Day. “I am concerned (the bill) could create voter confusion among absentee voters,” Snyder wrote in a veto letter to legislators. The Republican governor’s use of his veto pen won rare praise from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal special interest groups.
The Rev. Charles Williams II, who led a raucous protest against the bills during a House committee meeting in May, predicted more civility would come from Snyder’s veto of the bills. “I think it’s a step toward removing the divisive nature of partisan politics in the state of Michigan,” said Williams, pastor of King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit and president of National Action Network. Under Senate Bill 754, lawmakers wanted to require third-party groups like the League of Women Voters who have been registering people to vote for decades to get mandatory training by the Secretary of State’s office or county election clerks. But Snyder said the bill “may cause confusion with regard to voter registration efforts” and he vetoed the bill.
Susan Smith, president League of Women Voters of Michigan, said her group was “thrilled” by the governor’s decision. “The league is very pleased that the governor has listened to the League and other third-party organizations who register voters in understanding that it’s extremely important that we offer opportunities for all citizens in our state to register to vote,” Smith told The Detroit News.