LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Voter suppression is anti-democratic

Sparked by false claims of fraud, Michigan’s Republican Legislators have introduced multiple anti-voting rights bills. These bills would enact new voter ID requirements, reduce drop-box locations and drop-off times for absentee ballots, eliminate a clerk’s ability to provide pre-paid postage for absentee ballots, and prohibit SOS Jocelyn Benson from mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.

However, Republican legislators are now worried that their anti-voting rights bills won’t pass in Michigan’s normal legislative process because it requires the governor to sign bills into law. Instead, our Republican lawmakers appear to be considering a loophole known as “Citizen led Legislation” that allows them to bypass the governor.  Michigan law allows citizen(s) or lawmaker(s) that collect (340,000) petition signatures to place any initiative (including ones focused on anti-voting) on the ballot for voters to decide.

But wait! Even before a voter ballot occurs, the Legislature could bypass the ballot and enact a petition initiative into law without the governor’s signature or voter ballot simply by legislative decree. Just nine other initiatives have become law this way in the last 58 years.

In response to Georgia’s legislation, Delta Air Lines and The Coca Cola Company criticized the law as unacceptable and Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star game from Atlanta.  Now Michigan is starting to face similar backlash as 37 of its larger employers (including GM, Ford, Blue Cross, Quicken Loans) are urging our legislature to avoid approving bills that disenfranchise voters and are calling for bipartisan election administration.  Does Michigan really want to deal with the same company pushback that Georgia has received?

Call your State Legislators and indicate that these new bills will only create unnecessary barriers to voting.  We want them to help make it easier to vote not harder. Tell them that bypassing the governor and the Voters to push anti-voting initiatives into law is not Democratic.  They should vote “no” on these bills.

Kenneth Peterson

Buchanan

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