Mar 4, 2009
GOP SOS candidates keep up roadblock to voters
LANSING – You would think the job of the Michigan Secretary of State is to increase vote turnout and make it easier for people to vote, but not Republican SOS candidates Cameron Brown and Michele McManus.
On Wednesday, the Senate Democratic Caucus forced a vote on a tie-bar of no reason absentee voting to a bill by Sen. Tony Stamas, R- Midland, intended to provide relief for incorrect nominating petition info from SOS. The bill was defeated along party lines, including Brown and McManus. Apparently, McManus’s only objection to the bill is that Democrats favor it; telling the official mouthpiece of the state GOP, “rightMichigan,”
“Anything the Democrats want so badly, I am naturally suspicious of and almost always opposed to. I get a little nervous when I hear people start talking about some of these "voter convenience" issues, like no-reason absentee voting.”
The Senate Republicans have pulled out all the stops to defeat it in the past. The House approved it last session.
No-reason absentee voting has widespread support, including from the Michigan Municipal Clerks Association (MMCA) and numerous other groups. Twenty-eight states currently have no reason absentee voting legislation, with three additional states permitting in person voting prior to Election Day. Among the many groups and people in support of his common sense measure is Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, perhaps the most partisan SOS in Michigan history.
“Democracy is not a partisan issue, and any discussion of election reform or voting equity should include No Reason Absentee Voting,” said Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, the sponsor of Senate Bill 97 that enacts no reason A/B. “If we’re willing to amend the Michigan Election Law as it relates to certain candidates for judicial offices, why wouldn’t we also undertake efforts to make voting more accessible for all residents.”
Current Michigan law says the are only six reasons for absentee ballot voting: 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.