Michigan residents with a valid identification card could register to vote online under advancing legislation backed by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who argued the proposal would improve existing processes without jeopardizing security. The Senate Elections Committee unanimously approved the five-bill package Thursday morning after grilling Johnson on anti-hacking protocols, sending it to the floor for consideration. A House panel debated similar legislation later Thursday but did not immediately vote on the measure. The online system “would safeguard and add great efficiency to one of the most significant, fundamental rights of Democracy: one citizen, one vote,” Johnson told lawmakers. “This legislation would give me one more tool in my toolbox to improve technology, service and to keep our elections secure.”
The proposal would likely affect a limited number of residents who choose not to register when obtaining a driver’s license or state identification card or only become eligible to vote after doing so. More than 90 percent of eligible Michigan residents are registered to vote, according to the state.
The Secretary of State’s Office would be required to develop an electronic voter registration program that residents could apply through using a driver’s license or identification card. The system would transmit an application to the state’s qualified voter file database, compare ID signatures to those on file and use other authentication measures to ensure an applicant’s identity, including the last four digits of his or her Social Security number.