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Barrett introduces legislation to improve election integrity

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Barrett introduced legislation Wednesday to help safeguard secure elections in the state and give every voter confidence in the results.

Barrett’s measure is part of a comprehensive, 39-bill package introduced by Senate Republicans to ensure election access and integrity in Michigan and to restore trust in a system vital to democracy in the state.

“Election integrity is not a partisan issue; all citizens, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, independents or other party, benefit from free and fair elections,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “Securing the processes by which voters make their choices for candidates and issues is critical to the health of our society.”

The Senate Republican measures include bills covering a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election, such as protecting ballot security in drop boxes, ensuring proper management of the state’s Qualified Voter File, requiring training of poll challengers, and ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.

Barrett sponsored Senate Bill 303, which would require a person to vote with a provisional ballot if they do not have a photo ID when voting in person.

“Basic election integrity requires the use of photo identification to ensure honest voting,” Barrett said. “This is a simple, straightforward requirement that will go a long way toward securing elections.”

Some of the other reforms included in the election package include:
• Requiring voters to present or attach a photo ID (actual or copy) when submitting their absentee voter ballot application.
• Allowing for pre-registration of 16-year-olds to vote when they are issued a driver’s license or state ID if they are a U.S. citizen.
• Prohibiting the use of third-party money for election activities.
• Requiring challengers to be properly identified as representing a campaign or political party and listing their names, the entities they are with, and the precincts in which they are allowed to be present.
• Allowing video and audio recording wherever votes are being tabulated and during audit proceedings.
• Increasing security requirements for ballot drop boxes.

SBs 273-311 have been referred to the Senate Elections Committee for consideration.