Michigan Republicans have introduced a whole slew of proposed election reforms and they believe they have a veto-proof way to sidestep Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to ensure a chance at a fair election in 2022.
The GOP-led legislature put forth 39 bills concerning electoral reform. Included in the proposed reforms are required voter ID for new voters, the prohibition of prepaid absentee envelopes, limiting the number of absentee dropboxes, locking them after 5 pm on the day before an election, and forbidding the secretary of state from mailing absentee ballots unless one is requested.
“If that legislation is not passed by our legislature, which I am sure it will be, but if it’s not signed by the governor, then we have other plans to make sure that it becomes law before 2022,” Ron Weiser, who is the chairman of Michigan’s GOP, stated.
Weiser noted at the North Oakland Republican Club on Thursday that Republicans are planning to combine parts of the proposed voting bills to form a petition initiative that they would be able to enact into law, in essence negating the need for Whitmer’s signature. They would need 340,000 signatures to get their initiative on the ballot.
(Video Credit: WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7)
Notably, the initiative would not let the GOP unilaterally amend the state’s constitution.
“Everyone must have confidence that our elections system is fair, safe, and open,” state Senate Majority Floor Leader Dan Lauwers (R) commented in a statement. “The reforms introduced today will increase transparency in the process and ensure people are guaranteed access to secure elections.”
Bridge Michigan is reporting that Republican state Sen. Ruth Johnson is pushing the proposals as “commonsense measures that will protect the integrity of our elections by safeguarding the right for people to vote and ensuring our elections are safe and secure.”
Whitmer is threatening to veto as expected: “I have a veto pen, and I am ready to use that for any bill that is looking to make it harder for people in our state to vote.”
The effort by Michigan Republicans follows former President Trump losing to Biden in the 2020 presidential election in that state. The initiative also follows hot on the heels of Georgia passing strict voting reforms and Democrats in Congress countering with a bill that would nationalize expanded voting rights.
Just as in Georgia, Michigan Democrats are labeling the voting reforms as voter suppression. On the other side, Republicans are trying to stop Democrats from centralizing elections.
“The fact that Republicans didn’t win as many races as they wanted to does not justify their attempt to silence voters,” Democratic Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich proclaimed. “This is how the Michigan Republicans do business. First, they lose. Then they lie. And then they find ways to suppress the vote because even they know that when people vote, Democrats win.”
Michigan Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes touted the purported fact that 67% of Michigan voters gave a thumbs up to a constitutional amendment in 2018 that lets no-excuse absentee voting take place.
Weiser came under fire Friday when he called Whitmer, the female secretary of state, and the female attorney general the “three witches” at the North Oakland Republic Club. “Our job now is to soften up those three witches and make sure that when we have good candidates to run against them that they are ready for the burning at the stake,” he quipped. “Maybe the press heard that, too.”
Weiser went on to make a joke about “assassination” in reference to two Michigan Republican congressmen who voted to impeach Trump. Weiser said he was taken out of context but admitted that he should have been more careful in what he said publicly. He also said he has no plans to resign.
(Video Credit: WOOD TV8)
Secretary of State Dana Nessel tweeted in response: “Witches who magically decrease Covid spread, increase voter turnout and hold sexual predators accountable without any help from the legislature? Sign me up for that coven. Do better, Michigan GOP.”
Witches who magically decrease Covid spread, increase voter turnout and hold sexual predators accountable without any help from the legislature?
Sign me up for that coven.
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) March 26, 2021
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