State Reps. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy), Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) and Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) introduced a package of bills this week that seek to strengthen election processes in Michigan for both voters and election administrators.

House Bill 6525, sponsored by Kuppa, would amend Michigan’s election law to:

  • Require local clerks to send out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in their community, with prepaid return postage;
  • Provide those that request an absentee ballot with a return envelope with prepaid postage;
  • Allow local clerks to tabulate absentee ballots up to 5 days prior to election day, while prohibiting any counting or results from being established before election day;
  • Create processes to both notify absentee voters of signature deficiency issues and cure said issues after Election Day;
  • Allow local clerks to not include registered voters who have opted onto the clerk’s permanent absentee voter list to be counted when establishing population limits for the number of precincts required in the municipality.

“In the past year, the people of Michigan have made their voices heard loud and clear with record participation and engagement, all in the face of a global pandemic that continues to upend our everyday lives,” said Kuppa. “As public servants, we have a duty to respond to the will of the very people who put us here in the first place, and they’ve called on us to step up, strengthen our voting processes and foster a healthy, 21st-century democracy.”

Collectively, the remaining bills would implement requirements for a permanent absent voter list along with establishing prohibitions and penalties for petition circulators intentionally making false or misleading statements about the contents of the petition to individuals they seek to sign the petitions. This legislation would subject individual violators to a civil fine of up to $1,000, with entities employing individuals violating these proposed prohibitions to face a misdemeanor and up to a $10,000 fine.