Bills will infringe on Michiganders’ constitutional freedom to vote
LANSING, Mich., Oct. 14, 2021 — House Democrats spoke out today against a package of bills that will create barriers to voting. Senate Bills 303 and 304, and House Bill 5007 alter Michigan’s current voter ID statute and could lead to tens of thousands of Michiganders who follow the law being denied their freedom to vote.
“Contrary to what you might have heard, Michigan has a voter ID law, and it works. I know, because I have personally voted under the conditions this Legislature is trying to dismantle today,” said state Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), Democratic vice chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee. “There is no right in our democracy more critical and more sacred than the right to vote. Anyone who tries to deny that right and calls themselves a patriot is forgetting the rights our country was founded on.”
Today’s passage of the bills —supported by only the Republican caucus, whose membership includes no Black or brown members — comes just days after a rally of election conspiracy theorists, attended by at least one sitting legislator wearing a QAnon pin, took place at the state Capitol. Those taken in by the Big Lie have vowed to go door-to-door to try to intimidate and harass voters, all under the guise of finding election fraud, despite a complete lack of evidence that any exists.
“Make no mistake — these bills are a distraction from the vigilantism being supported by the former president and his radical followers. But we will not be taken in by this smokescreen. It’s simply another tactic to discourage free and fair elections,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “The language of leadership matters. Elected officials on the Republican side are blessing these voter intimidation techniques and continuing to spread misinformation. My Democratic colleagues and I are committed to delivering on the promise of every eligible citizen voting in every election, every time.”
More than 11,000 voters used the provisions of the current voter ID law to cast legitimate ballots in the 2020 election. Volunteer election workers with no training would be charged with enforcing the provision of SBs 303 and 304, potentially affecting seniors, people with disabilities, injured veterans and college students. In addition, while Detroit accounts for 6% of Michigan’s population, it cast 25% of the votes under Michigan’s current voter ID system.
“While thousands of voters could get caught in this unnecessary and immoral net, it’s very clear who the targets of these bills are: Black and brown voters,” said state Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit). “The supporters of the losing candidate in the last election are not trying to appeal to more voters; they are changing the rules of the game to make fewer people vote. We are only a few decades removed from the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, and we will not stand for any attack on the fundamental freedoms that our parents and grandparents fought and died for.”