Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates and news from your state government.
Election Worker Protections Against Harassment and Intimidation Introduced
Yesterday, I introduced House Bill 5282, which would make it a misdemeanor to intimidate an election official, including a poll worker, or prevent an election official from performing their duties. Since the 2020 election, election officials from all over Michigan and of both parties have been threatened with violence. This intimidation has led many elections officials and poll workers to leave their jobs. We cannot afford to lose the professionals and temporary workers who make our elections work. This proposed legislation is supported by several organizations and elections officials, including Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks President Mary Clark.
House Passes Unnecessary Elections Bills
Yesterday, the House returned to Lansing. While much of the fiscal year 2021-22 budget remains incomplete, we did not take up any budget bills. Instead, we voted on three bills to purportedly make our elections more secure. In reality, these bills attempt to solve problems that don’t exist. I voted no on the following bills:
- House Bill 4837 specifies that only certain individuals and entities can have access to the Qualified Voter File (QVF). This practice is already required by the Secretary of State’s administrative rules. This bill is meant to reinforce the lie that unregistered and ineligible voters were able to vote in the last federal election because of third-party access to the QVF.
- House Bill 4838 would prohibit electronic poll books and electronic voting systems from being connected to the internet while the polls are open. Again, this is already prohibited. Neither electronic poll books nor tabulators are connected to the internet. This unnecessary bill derives from the conspiracy theory that voting machines were connected to the internet and were hacked.
- House Bill 4840 would require that ballots be retained for 22 months after an election. This is already required for federal elections. What’s more, this bill would require local jurisdictions to retain flash drives containing electronic poll books for a set period of time. This would make elections more expensive because a multitude of new flash drives would have to be purchased for every election. This bill does not include funding for this additional expense to local units of government.
No individual or entity has produced evidence that Michigan’s elections (or any other state’s elections, for that matter) suffered from fraud. In fact, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee produced a comprehensive report supporting this conclusion. Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr found no fraud, and the cybersecurity chief for the Department of Homeland Security declared the 2020 general election the “most secure in American history.” Here in Michigan, 1,300 Republican, Democratic and nonpartisan clerks conducted the most comprehensive audits of the 2020 general election, making it the most scrutinized election in Michigan history.
Federal UIA Programs Ending Soon
Federal unemployment programs, such as PUA, PEUC, PUC, and MEUC end on Sept. 4, 2021. All protests and adjudications that are pending as of Sept. 4 will continue through the process, and benefits will be paid to claimants who are determined to be eligible. Find more information and schedule an appointment with the Unemployment Insurance Agency at Michigan.gov/UIA.
Senior Citizen of the Year Recognized at Capitol
I had the honor of presenting a tribute to Delhi Township resident Gloria Kovnot, the winner of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Aging and Adult Services Agency’s Senior Citizen of the Year Award. Gloria is a founding member of the Delta Township Senior Council and serves as the council’s co-chair. She also serves on the Tri-County Office on Aging Advisory Council, the AARP Age-Friendly Task Force and the MSU AgeAlive! Board. In 2020, she served on the committee that worked to pass Ingham County’s first senior services millage. Her hard work and dedication to our community is unmatched, and it was wonderful to have her at the Capitol.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (517) 373-0587 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help.