Oct 2, 2008
Senate Republicans maneuver to disenfranchise voters
LANSING – Senate Republicans used a sneaky procedure to block Senate Bill 12 that will allow people to vote with an absentee ballot for no reason and disenfranchising Michigan voters.
Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, made a motion to have her bill discharged from the Campaign and Election Oversight Committee to the floor Thursday, but the majority floor leader made a motion that was approved along party lines to pass the items for the day. Of course, this is the last session day until the Lame Duck session after next moth's General Election.
Democrats wanted the bill to be approved so voters can take advantage of the new law before the election when massive lines are expected at the polls next month.
"This means that the voters in Michigan will be at a disadvantage compared to the 28 other states that allow no reason absentee voting," Brater said. "We know that long lines at the polls will turn people way from voting, and the interest in the Presidential Election will increase turnout."
Last month the Michigan House passed House Bill 4048 that will allow Michigan voters to vote with an absentee ballot for no reason. Republicans continue to oppose it as part of their strategy to keep voter turnout low.
"The people of Michigan were outmaneuvered by the Senate today, and its' a sad day for voters," said Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods, Minority Vice-chair of the Campaign and Election Oversight Committee.
Current Michigan law allows people to vote A/B for only six reasons: age 60 years old or older, unable to vote without assistance at the polls, expecting to be out of town on election day, in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons or are appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence. Passage of HB 4048 and SB 12 will do away with that requirement.
The bill has widespread support. Those in support of the bills include the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, the Michigan Association of County Clerks, the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, the Michigan League of Women Voters and the Michigan Townships Association. Only the Republican Secretary of State is neutral on the bill.