Michigan Senate Passes Voter Restriction Bill

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The Michigan State Senate passed a bill on Wednesday (June 16) that would require voters to present IDs before being allowed to cast their ballot. The bill, passed in a 19-16 vote within the Republican-controlled legislative chamber, also adds requirements for voters who want to vote by mail. 

Under current state law, Michigan voters who don’t have a photo ID can sign an affidavit at their local polling site to cast their ballot. The new bill would give these voters a provisional ballot but would make them have to verify their identity within six days, according to The Associated Press

To vote by mail in Michigan, voters submit an application and then get their signatures matched to what’s in the system. The new legislation would require an application packet, including a copy of a photo ID, driver’s license number or Social Security number to vote by mail. 

Voting officials and advocates have condemned the bill, accusing lawmakers of establishing a “poll tax” that will ultimately make it more difficult to vote. 

“Trump lied. You believe the big lie. Now you want to change the rules because you realize the demographics of America are changing and your base is out of control,” Michigan state Sen. Sylvia Santana said.

“Now you want to change the rules and add rules so that people who look like me get frustrated and decide not to vote,” Santana added.

Michigan was one of several states to flip blue during the November election, thanks in great part to Black voters in Detroit and surrounding areas. Several local election officials attempted to block the certification of the city’s county seat’s vote unsuccessfully. 

Other key battlegrounds like Georgia and Florida passed voting restrictions labeled “Jim Crow 2.0” by advocates and lawmakers. Since the 2020 election, hundreds of Republican-sponsored bills have been introduced to impose more requirements at the polls.

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