May 4, 2009
No reason absentee voting approved with bipartisan support
LANSING -- The Michigan House of Representatives struck a blow for voters Thursday by approving no reason absentee voting with bipartisan support.
The House approved House Bill 4367 by a vote of 79-30 with 12 Republicans joining the entire Democratic caucus in approving the bill.
Under current Michigan law, there are only six reasons for A/B 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. If the Republican-controlled Senate approves the bill, Michigan will join 28 other states that allow no reason A/B voting. However, they killed a similar bill last session by refusing to even allow a vote on it.
The bill will certainly increase Michigan’s abysmal average 25 percent voter turnout. A recent U.S. Census survey said more than 7.5 million people said they did not vote because of “logistical reasons.
Republicans have been against the measure for many years, and their reason is strictly political. The drumming they have taken in the last few elections and the recent defections from the GOP, such as Sen. Arlen Specter, its not surprisingly they are against it.
Among the many groups supporting no reason A/B voting are The Michigan Election Reform Alliance, The Michigan Election Coalition, The League of Women Voters, The Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, The Michigan Municipal League, The Michigan Campaign Finance Network, The Michigan Association of County Clerks, The Michigan Townships Association, Common Cause Michigan and The Michigan Nonprofit Association.
The only one is really against it except, apparently, the 30 Republicans who voted against it. The GOP claims they are against it because of voter fraud, but that simply isn’t true. If that were the case, then why are The Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks and the Michigan Association of County Clerks supporting it? If fraud was a problem, why are they supporting it? They would see the alleged fraud before anyone else.
It’s funny to see how the GOP is falling apart. The official unofficial GOP blog - wrong Michigan - attacked the 12 Republicans who voted for the bill. One of the 12 was my state Representative, Rep. Cindy Denby, R-Handy Township.
I don’t agree with her on a lot of issues, but I know her from covering the township for three different newspapers and she is above reproach. The reason she supported it may be that she was the township clerk responsible for running elections, and then she was the Township Supervisor.