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Gretchen Whitmer vetoes three voter integrity bills aimed at tightening voter ID laws

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) kept her promise on Friday to veto three bills meant to streamline and tighten voter ID laws in the state, triggering a Republican petition to circumvent her efforts to block them.

(Video Credit: Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV)

The leftist governor claims that the three GOP-backed bills would make it more difficult for individuals without state IDs to vote in elections. She also contends that most of those affected are people of color.

“These bills would disproportionately harm communities of color. … Non-white voters were about five times more likely to lack access to ID on election day than white voters,” Whitmer wrote in a letter sent to the state Senate on Friday. “Voter restrictions that produce such a racially disparate impact must never become law in this state.”

Senate Bill 303 eliminates the option for those who do not have identification to submit an affidavit in order to vote which many assert opens the door to voter fraud.

“There is no evidence that use of affidavit ballots is related to voter fraud,” Whitmer remarked in her letter. “Yet this voting restriction would disenfranchise the more than 18,000 voters who relied on the affidavit ballot in recent elections.”

Senate Bill 304 requires that voters using provisional ballots establish their identification within six days. Over 11,400 people in Michigan voted by provisional ballot in the 2020 election, according to the Associated Press.

House Bill 5007 eliminates certain fees that are related to obtaining an ID card. Those fees include a $10 fee for replacing or renewing a card. The fee is already waived for the elderly and those on welfare or disability.

Republicans and Democrats are massively at odds on the issue. Republicans assert that the bills would restore faith and trust in the electoral process. Democrats are siding with the governor and claim that they will harm minorities and other demographics.

“This was an irresponsible and solely partisan response to common-sense legislation that would protect our democratic system and is widely supported by Michiganders of all political stripes,” stated Michigan GOP spokesman Gustavo Portela.

“Proposal 3 made changes that weakened the integrity of our election system by allowing people to register and vote without ever being seen in-person,” Sen. Ruth Johnson, who is a former secretary of state, said in a statement slamming Whitmer’s vetoes.

“It also allows people to register and vote on Election Day without showing an ID and with no real-time system to check if they are eligible or have voted in another location. In the November 2020 election, over 20,000 people registered to vote in the 14 days before or on Election Day without presenting a Michigan driver’s license or personal identification card,” she pointed out.

“These bills are out of step with what we know Michigan voters want, a voting system that works for everyone,” Sharon Dolente, who is a senior adviser for the liberal ballot committee Promote the Vote, said. “Michigan law already requires voters to verify their identity prior to voting. These bills would impose a radically restrictive identity verification scheme rejected by 42 states.”

A conservative ballot committee called “Secure MI Vote” is circulating a petition that would circumvent Whitmer and her veto power. If the group is able to get 340,000 valid signatures within six months, the bills can be enacted by the GOP-controlled state legislature despite Whitmer’s pen.

“The governor may have vetoed this bill now, but once we finish this process, she will not be able to stop these changes,” spokesman Jamie Roe vowed in a statement.

Whitmer’s vetoes were met with disgust:

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