Protesters disrupted a Michigan House committee meeting on Tuesday as lawmakers were approving several proposed election law changes, including one that would require residents to present photo identification or a birth certificate when registering to vote. Michigan voters must now present a photo ID when they go to a polling place to vote, but not when they register. Supports say the measure would protect against voter fraud, but opponents argue it would hamper voter registration drives and disenfranchise elderly and poor residents who may not have a photo ID.
The crowd of about 50 people, many of whom came on two chartered buses from Detroit, loudly chanted, “Respect our vote!” A similar number watched the proceedings on television in an adjacent room because they couldn’t fit into the hearing room. House sergeants removed a few of the rowdier protesters during the House Redistricting and Elections Committee hearing. Voter advocacy groups said the measures would create obstacles to voting and registering to vote.