Landmark Legislation Protects Elections, Expands Voting Access
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 6, 2024 — For the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained control of the Legislature and the governor’s office last year — with majority, they led a remarkably productive year, passing and signing into law a historic number of bills. A significant number of those laws go into effect on Feb. 13. In order to celebrate with and inform Michiganders, Dems are rolling out the Countdown to a Better Michigan project — each day leading up to Feb. 13, we will share about a different set of legislation soon becoming law. Included are laws to protect elections and expand voting access. We know a strong democracy matters to the people of Michigan, so we’ve made it a top priority.
Recent changes in the election system make the voting experience easier, strengthen election security and ensure the health of our democracy — such as Proposal 2, codified into law by Democrats, offering Michigan voters nine days of early voting, secure drop boxes, electronic tracking and streamlined absentee ballot processes, including a permanent mail voter list.
“I’m so proud to have been a part of these landmark victories for voters — from the many measures making it easier to get your ballot cast, to protecting voters from dishonest election ads. We were only successful in getting these changes made because everyone who worked on them believed that it’s our collective responsibility to uphold the democratic values that define us – that every voice matters, and that government works in service of the people,” said state Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing), Chair of the House Committee on Elections.
Among new legislation is a change to law that directs the state to automatically register people who are leaving incarceration to vote. Effective June 2025, this landmark legislation restores voting rights for historically disenfranchised people. Against a backdrop of historical disenfranchisement, Democrats stand as fervent advocates for voting rights, and will continue working to strengthen voting rights and accessibility for all Michiganders, especially Black voters.
“Most Black people my age grew up knowing stories of grandparents and great-grandparents, church folks, neighbors and friends who were denied and fought for the right to vote. The historical disenfranchisement, the marches for voting rights and the blood shed for our rights is etched into our memories and our souls. In the face of a political climate across the country where democracy for all is under pressure, Democrats in Michigan have used the majority to make voting rights more accessible to all,” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit).
Election officials across Michigan have faced threats of violence since the 2020 election, hindering efforts to fully staff elections. A new law protects poll workers against intimidation and threats, ensuring a safe environment for election workers, and another makes it a felony to prevent an elected official from performing their official duties in conducting an election.
“Elections can’t happen without election officials and poll workers. Their work is essential to our democracy. That’s why this new law is so important — it’ll allow these public servants to run elections without harassment, interference, or intimidation,” said state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt).
House Democrats have solidified Michigan’s commitment to accessible and secure elections with key bills, reflecting ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s democracy. The measures increase access to voting, safeguard the democratic rights of Michiganders and affirm Michigan as a place where every voice matters.
“Our legislature is truly helping to strengthen Michigan’s democracy. Their dedication to inclusivity and equity is helping safeguard the democratic rights of every citizen. These transformative laws acknowledge the importance of every voice, and are helping ensure our elections continue to be secure, accurate, and fair. My sincere thanks goes to all in our state who are working tirelessly on the ground to strengthen our electoral process,” said Lisa Brown, Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds. “It is so gratifying to see legislation that I and others before me championed over the years has finally become Michigan law.”
In the wake of these monumental legislative victories, Michigan stands poised for a new era of empowered voters and strengthened democratic values. The dedication of our lawmakers have made it easier for every voice to be heard at the ballot box. As these laws come into effect, Michiganders should know they live in a state where inclusivity, equity, and sacredness of every vote is being protected. For detailed information on these transformative policies, please go to HouseDems.com/countdown.