Jun 8, 2010

Despite widespread voter support, Senate Republicans continue to block voting reform

A statewide poll sponsored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters and the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks found a whopping 70 percent of Michigan voters believe the Legislature should pass bills to make it easier for them to cast ballots,but the bottleneck, as usual, continues to be Senate Republicans.

No reason absentee voting and early voting have widespread and bipartisan support, including Republican Secretary of State Terri Land. The telephone survey of 600 representative people found support for both reforms did not drop below 55 percent in any of the poll’s 29 demographic segments — whether it be gender, partisan affiliation,age, geography, ethnicity, frequency of absentee voting, occupation or the presence of children in the household, according to a story in the Downriver News Herald.

Still, Senate Republicans continue to block any type of voter reform that will increase voter turnout and make it easier to vote.

The Democratically-controlled House passed no reason absentee voting with bipartisan support in April of last year, but the Senate has refused to take up the bill the last two sessions. In fact, they have not even held a single committee hearing on any voting reform measure.

The House approved early voting in December of 2008 that would allow the polls to be open on Friday, Saturday and Monday before each election. Guess where that bill died?

The House also approved House Bill 4261 in May 2009 with a bipartisan vote of 92-19 that would allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote when they get their first driver’s license, but it has sat in the Senate without a hearing for more than a year.

Enough is enough. Call or email your state Senator, and tell them to support the will of the people and move these common sense reforms.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization with more than 150,000 members and supporters nationwide that has fought since 1920 to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. Its simple mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The purpose of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks is to promote, enhance and encourage the professional development and standing of municipal clerks; encourage improvement of methods and procedures of duties performed by clerks; and to address legislative matters relating to their responsibilities.

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