Chang Legislation Addresses Voting Rights, Language Access

Michigan would better serve residents under bills
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LANSING — State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) has introduced two bills giving Michigan residents greater access to the voting booth and giving non-English speakers easier access to state services. House Bill 4599 would require the Michigan Secretary of State to accept county-and municipal-issued photo identification cards as valid forms of voter identification. House Bill 4619, introduced today, would require state departments to take reasonable steps to provide equal language access to clients who are English language learners/limited English proficient (LEP).

“Michigan is a diverse state with a large and growing immigrant population, and we must ensure that all Michiganders have access to state services,” said Chang. “My language bill expands on our 2013 law ensuring that our state courts provide language services for LEP persons and will provide these same language services to people needing services from state departments or agencies.”

Chang’s bill would cover oral language services and/or translating vital documents into languages spoken by LEP populations. Translation of vital documents would be required if LEP residents make up at least 3 percent of the population in a certain geographic area or 1,000 or more people served by that local office.

Chang also recently introduced House Bill 4599, which allows county-and municipal-issued photo identification as valid for voter identification.

“Michigan law asks for a photo ID in order to cast a vote, so my bill adds these local government-issued ID cards to the acceptable list of voter identification documents,” said Chang. “Any government-issued photo ID should be trustworthy and acceptable for voting. This is a common-sense bill that I hope all of my colleagues will support.”