Michigan Senate GOP votes to gut recently approved voting access expansion


  • Shutterstock user Dimitriy Bryndin
  • Michigan State Capitol.

The GOP-led Michigan Senate voted along party lines on Thursday to gut a citizen-initiated law approved by voters in November that would make it easier to vote.

It's the latest in the Michigan GOP's series of undemocratic attempts to gut new citizen-initiated laws approved by voters in November, and strip power from incoming Democrats.
The Promote the Vote ballot proposal passed 67-33 percent on Nov. 6 and —  among other provisions — would allow the state to automatically register a resident to vote when they get a driver’s license or state identification card. The new law would also allow residents to register to vote through election day.

But Senate Republicans on Thursday approved bills that would partially gut that. The amendments would cut off voter registration at 14 days ahead of election day, and allow a resident to opt out of automatic voter registration. The bills would also force voters to show more identification and prove citizenship before voting.
The proposed changes next head to the state House for consideration, however, they appear to be illegal and a lawsuit is likely. The Michigan Constitution prohibits the legislature from making changes to citizen-initiated laws in the same legislative session. Republicans argue that the changes don't impact the spirit of the law, and only involve its implementation, therefore everything is above board. But it's hard to envision a court agreeing that the bills only involve minor changes.

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