Jun 10, 2009
Land contradicts GOP Senate and supports voting measures
LANSING – Apparently, Secretary of State Terri Land is at odds with Senate Majority Mike Bishop and the Senate GOP caucus on election issues.
Land testified before the House Committee on Ethics and Elections on Wednesday and she supports measures the House Democrats have passed, but the Senate refuses to move.
The House approving no reason absentee voting with bipartisan support last month, but the Senate has refused to take up the bill the last two sessions. Committee member Kim Meltzer, R-Clinton Township, has been the leading GOP mouthpiece for opposing the common sense measure that will increase voter turnout, and she tried to get Land to buy into the GOP’s flimsily excuse that it increases voter fraud. Land refuse to bite, and she said there has been no prosecution of voter fraud during her almost eight year tenure. She also said reforms she supports, like an electronic poll book, will make voter verification easier.
Land referred to Chris Thomas, the Director of Elections for many years, who said there has been no cases of voter fraud in regard to A/B that he is aware of.
“Where we generally see fraud is when people get their ballots, and campaigners show up their porch, and voters feel they are being strong-armed,” he said.
Land said, in contrast to her GOP colleagues, she supports early voting and allowing 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote; something Meltzer objected to. Land said it’s much better than registering them to vote when age 18 by outside groups. Land said it would not be an issue with local clerks, and they would not see them on their voter file until age 18.
“I think it’s the best way to do it,” Land said. “They are already there with their birth certificate when they get their driver’s license.”
Committee Chair Rep. Kathy Angerer, D-Dundee, asked Land for her help in getting some movement on the bills she supports.
“We are having a terrible time moving these items with your colleagues in the Senate,” she said. “Would you be wiling to help in the Senate?”
Land said she would.
“It took 20 years to get election consolidation,” she said. “I sure hope it does not take another 20 years.”