Barrett disappointed in voter ID bill veto, not surprised

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Tom Barrett on Friday expressed his disappointment in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of a series of bills that would have helped to better secure Michigan elections and provided state residents with access to free IDs.

“Sadly, once again, our governor has shown her unwillingness to rise above partisan politics, listen to the will of the people, and lead; I am disappointed, but not surprised,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “These bills were commonsense solutions to vulnerabilities identified in the election process after more than 30 hours of hearings on the subject following the historic turnout of the 2020 election. These measures had support among Republican, Democrat and independent voters and worked to ensure that all Michigan voters have fair and secure access to the election process.”

Among the bills vetoed Friday by the governor were Senate Bills 303 and 304, along with House Bill 5007.

SB 303, sponsored by Barrett, would have required voters to show proper ID when voting in person and required absentee voters to write their Michigan driver’s license number or state ID card number on their absentee ballot application to verify their identity. Voters could also have written the last four digits of their social security number on their application or presented their ID to their clerk to get an absentee ballot. It also would have prohibited the use of third-party money for elections administration in Michigan and banned the secretary of state or other government officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters.

 

A statewide poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Glengariff Group in May 2021 showed that 79.7% of Michigan voters support requiring “every voter coming to the polls present a government-issued identification to cast their ballot” — that included 100% of strong Republicans, 83.4% of Independents, and 58.4% of strong Democrats. A recent Monmouth University poll found that four out of every five Americans (80%) support showing ID to vote.

SB 304 would have allowed in-person voters without proper ID and absentee voters who fail to fill in the identifying information to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election to verify their identity, and have their vote counted. HB 5007 would have made official state personal ID cards free for Michigan residents.

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