LANSING, Mich., May 16, 2023 — State Reps. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing), Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City), Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) introduced a package of legislation to lift barriers that prevent individuals from exercising their right to vote and to encourage voter registration.
“Voting should be efficient, secure and accessible,” said Tsernoglou, chair of the House Elections Committee. “Michigan has become a leading state in turning out our young voters. By continuing to remove unnecessary obstacles and promoting voter registration, we will continue to lead the nation in youth voter turnout. Additionally, removing transportation barriers will go a long way in making elections more accessible to rural communities, as well as citizens who lack reliable transportation.”
House Bill 4567, sponsored by Tsernoglou, would remove the challenged ballot requirement, which makes a ballot challenged if an individual registers to vote on Election Day, even if they have identification and proof of residence. House Bill 4568, reintroduced by Whitsett, would lift the current prohibition on paid rides to the polls to make voting more widely accessible. House Bill 4569, introduced by Coffia, would allow individuals between the ages of 16-17 ½ to pre-register to vote so they would be able to exercise their voting rights upon turning 18. House Bill 4570, introduced by Rogers, would codify current policy of the Secretary of State into statute to allow an elector to apply for an absent voter (AV) ballot online through the Secretary of State portal for AV applications.
“This package of bills is full of simple, but effective, fixes that make a huge difference in the lives of Michigan voters, especially those in my district,” Whitsett said. “The legislation helps remove unnecessary barriers to voting, like my bill which lifts the prohibition on paying for rides to the polls and changes the game for those who don’t have easy access to transportation. I am proud to see this package being reintroduced and look forward to getting this legislation across the finish line this session.”
“Ensuring individuals can exercise their right to no-reason absentee voting, which received overwhelming support from the people of Michigan under Proposal 3 in 2018, is vital,” Rogers said. “My bill puts into state law the current policy of the Secretary of State to allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot online. Doing so will make sure this option remains available for voters well into the future.”
“The right to vote is fundamental to the spirit of our nation, though more work is needed to increase participation in our democratic institutions,” Coffia said. “These bills represent an opportunity to address this need in a meaningful way, including allowing young people to have the option to register to vote at an age where most have just taken courses on civics and the intricacies of government. By permitting young people to direct a newfound enthusiasm for civic engagement toward planning to vote once they become of age, we are supporting increased voter participation and making Michigan a pro-democracy state.”