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Gretchen Whitmer Vetoes Voter ID Laws, But Election Integrity May Still Prevail in Michigan

Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File

On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) vetoed three bills to do with election integrity, claiming it would disenfranchise voters, as Clara Hendrickson reported for the Detroit Free Press. However, many of the provisions may still appear on the Secure MI Vote petition initiative, which would pass election integrity for Michigan if enough voters sign it and Michigan's Board of State Canvassers certify it.


The bills in question included SB 303, which would have further strengthened voter ID in the state by eliminating the option for voters who do not have a photo ID to sign an affidavit to confirm their identity in order to vote. Those without an ID who would be issued a provisional ballot would not have their vote count unless they verified their identity with the local clerk within six days of the election. It also proposed voter ID for absentee voters. 

SB 303 also banned election officials from sending absentee voter applications unless a voter requested one. 

Earlier this month, as Beth LeBlanc reported for The Detroit News, Michigan's Democratic attorney general, Dana Nessel, charged three women in the state with election fraud to do with absentee ballot applications.

SB 303 also proposed election funding restrictions and a ban against election officials providing absentee ballot applications to voters unless a voter requests one

Another bill, SB 304 would have put in place stronger voter ID laws in place for those issued a provisional ballot. As Scott McClallen with Center Square reported, it also would have required clerks to inform certain voters they are eligible for free IDs. 


A third bill, HB 5007, according to McClallen, would have made it easier to get an ID, by deleting or waiving a $10 fee. 

As Hendrickson reported about the initiative:

The sponsors of the Secure MI Vote initiative, which mirrors the GOP bills vetoed by Whitmer, have begun collecting the 340,047 signatures needed to put the petition initiative before state lawmakers.

If the Legislature passes it, Whitmer cannot veto the legislation.

Voters would not be able to nix the initiative through the referendum process because the initiative proposes appropriating money to provide free IDs. The Michigan Constitution bars referendums on any initiatives containing spending provisions.

Democratic members of the Michigan Board of Canvassers have been up to shenanigans before when it comes to a certifying a voter initiative to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act. The Michigan Supreme Court weighed in, as I covered in June, forcing the Board of Canvassers to certify the petition. The legislature passed it in July, as I also reported

Gov. Whitmer is up for re-election in 2022. LeBlanc also reported last month on a poll conducted August 31-September 2 from the Glengariff Group that showed decreasing support for the governor, including with Independent voters. 


"Michigan elections are decided by independent voters and how she does with these independent voters moving forward will really dictate" her performance in the 2022  election, LeBlanc cited Richard Czuba as saying. who is a pollster with the Lansing-based Glengariff Group.

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