LANSING, Mich., March 16, 2022 — Members of the House Democratic Caucus announced today another round of bills that protect the right to vote and take down unnecessary barriers between Michiganders and their franchise.
“These bills are the antidote to the toxic, anti-democratic push to put up more barriers between you and your right to vote,” said state Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford). “If we don’t put a firm stop to these attempts to limit our democracy, we’ll be stripping away not only our voting rights but those of generations of Michiganders to come. We must take a stand. Our hard-working election officials need more resources and time, not arbitrary restrictions that make both their job and voting unnecessarily difficult.
“My bill in the package would fine those who intentionally use misinformation to prevent people from voting. In 2020, we saw how misinformation campaigns can erode public trust in our institutions. Restoring that trust starts with punishing the bad actors who would sacrifice our democracy for their own personal gain and introducing legislation that protects our right to vote, not takes it away.”
The eight-bill package follows a previous package of bills introduced in November. Included in that package are bills that would require clerks to send out absentee ballot applications, allow absentee ballots to be processed up to seven days before Election Day, require at least one ballot drop box per 20,000 people in a municipality and more.
The bills in the new package would:
- Require nine days of early in-person voting with polls open eight hours a day.
- Prohibit firearms from being inside a polling location or within 100 feet of a polling location entrance, with an exception for uniformed law enforcement officers.
- Create a process for clerks to notify voters if their signature doesn’t match the one on an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot return envelope.
- Allow voters to request email or text updates to track their absentee ballot.
- Codify the ability to request an absentee ballot on the Secretary of State’s website.
- Prohibit information on pre-registered voters in the Qualified Voter File from being accessed through the Freedom of Information Act until they turn 18.
- Require the state to reimburse municipalities for the costs of legislative special elections.
- Prohibit petition signature gatherers from making intentional misstatements to convince a voter to sign a petition.
- Creates a civil fine for individuals who intentionally spread misinformation about elections with the intention to stop people from voting.