Top Republican leaders in the Michigan Legislature are backing a strict voter identification proposal, setting the stage for potential passage in the session’s final two weeks. The House Elections Committee on Thursday advanced a three-bill package that would require voters to provide photo identification at their polling place or within 10 days of casting a provisional ballot on Election Day. “It solves the opportunity for voter fraud,” said House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, who intends to put the plan up for a floor vote. “Voter fraud is something that’s very difficult to be able to identify, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t protect the right to vote.” The proposal includes provisions allowing low-income voters to obtain a free birth certificate copy for the purposes of obtaining an ID, which is “great,” said Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo. “But the problem with all this is, it’s used to restrict the vote, that’s what the purpose of this is,” he said. “It’s about making sure (we) can keep certain people from the polls, folks who can’t otherwise obtain get IDs.”
Current Michigan law allows voters without a photo ID to cast a ballot after signing an affidavit confirming their identity. The new proposal would treat that as a provisional ballot, which would only count if voters later provided an ID to their clerk within the 10-day window.
Alternatively, voters could show their local elections clerk a document establishing their residency and a second affidavit indicating they could not afford to obtain an ID due to indigence or a religious objection to being photographed.
An amendment adopted Thursday in committee added $10 million for the Michigan Secretary of State’s office to finance “election modernization, voter education and implementation” of the new rules.
Full Article: Strict voter ID bills lined up for possible passage.