Election sign in Detroit.
Community groups have held vigils across Michigan this week to call for voting and democracy reform on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack following the 2020 election.
As the U.S. Department of Justice continues to investigate the riot, Congress is taking up voting-rights legislation.
Allison Wilcox, leadership team member for the Women of Michigan Action Network, said legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
and the Freedom to Vote Act
, now both before Congress, are critical.
"There are several bills that, if those could be passed, they would really help to strengthen our democracy," Wilcox asserted. "They would help improve voting access and ensure fairness in drawing congressional districts."
Four people died during the Jan. 6 riot. Fourteen of the 700 people
who have been charged with federal crimes in connection with the insurrection are from Michigan.
A new Ipsos-NPR poll
showed more than 60% of Americans believe U.S. democracy is "in crisis and at risk of failing."
Sharon Dolente, senior advisor for Promote the Vote Michigan, said it is critical voters get accurate information about election security. She noted a petition is circulating now in Michigan calling for an "audit" she argued is not actually an audit. The proposal said funding sources for the audit would not be disclosed, and a third-party review board, rather than public election officials, would gain access to voters' documents.
"Audits must be in public, and they are in the state of Michigan already," Dolente contended. "Audits must be funded with public dollars, and that is how the audits that are currently being conducted in Michigan are done. So, I really encourage folks to look really closely at any petition and make sure that they know what they're signing."
She added hundreds of audits were done following the 2020 election, and they have shown the election was conducted fairly with no evidence of widespread fraud or cheating.
Originally published January 7, 2022 on Michigan News Connection. It is shared here with permission.
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