Friday, May 25, 2012

Michiganders Protest Voter Suppression Legislation



In the Redistricting and Elections Committee on May 22, 2012, four Republican Representatives introduced what they called "technical" amendments to SB 751 and 752, but couldn't explain what those amendments actually did. This was the crowd reaction after the bills were passed out of committee. 

The goal of SB 751 is to purge voters from the roles and to make it harder to vote for low income and elderly people because there is no real cost savings or it is minimal from doing so. These groups typically vote Democratic. Here are the parts in question:

The secretary of state shall create an inactive voter file.  If a voter is sent a notice under section 509aa to confirm the voter's residence information or if a voter does not   vote for 6 consecutive years, the secretary of state shall place the registration record of that voter in the inactive voter file and the registration record of that voter shall remain in the inactive voter file until the voter votes at an election.  While the registration record of a voter is in the inactive voter file, the voter remains eligible to vote and his or her name shall appear on the precinct voter registration list. If the registration record of a voter is in the inactive voter file and that voter votes at an election by absent voter ballot that absent voter ballot shall be prepared as a challenged ballot as provided in section 727.

If the department of state receives notice that a registered voter has moved out of state by receiving a   surrendered Michigan driver license of that registered voter, the secretary of state shall send by forwardable mail all of the following to the voter:  
(a) A notice that the secretary of state has received    information indicating that the voter has moved his or her residence to another state.  
(b) A postage prepaid and preaddressed return card on which the voter may verify or correct the address information.
(c) A notice providing that if the address information is  incorrect and the voter has not moved to another state and wishes   to remain registered to vote, the voter should complete and   return the card to the secretary of state with a postmark of 30 days or more before the date of the next election. If the card is not completed and returned with a postmark of 30 days or more before the date of the next election, the voter may be required to affirm his or her current address before being permitted to vote. Further, if the voter does not vote in an election within the period beginning on the date of the notice and ending on the first business day immediately following the second November   general election that is held after the date on the notice, the registration of the voter will be canceled and his or her name will be removed from the qualified voter file.

If an elector obtains his or her absent voter ballot in person from the clerk of the city, township, or village in which he or she is registered, the clerk of the city, township, or village shall not provide an absent voter ballot to that elector until the elector identifies himself or herself to the clerk by presenting an official state identification card issued to that  elector under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, an operator's or chauffeur's license issued to that elector under the Michigan  vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, or other  generally recognized picture identification card. If an elector  does not have an official state identification card, operator's  or chauffeur's license, or other generally recognized picture  identification card, the elector may sign an affidavit to that  effect before the clerk of the city, township, or village and be allowed to obtain his or her absent voter ballot in person from  the clerk. However, if an elector obtains his or her absent voter  ballot in person from the clerk and votes by absent voter ballot without providing the identification required under this subsection, the absent voter ballot of that elector shall be  prepared as a challenged ballot as provided in section 727.  Sec. 764c. If a city, township, or village has access to the ballot tracker program provided by the state, the clerk of that city, township, or village shall utilize the ballot tracker.

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