By Ellen Lafferty, Chair of the League of Women Voters of Livingston County
Voting is our foremost democratic process. Many people throughout history have fought for decades for the right of specific groups to vote.
A citizen-led proposal in Michigan threatens to derail decades of progress. Secure MI Vote has received approval of its petition by our state’s Board of Canvassers to enact legislation that would take away Election Day voting options, make absentee voting less accessible and gut funding for election administration in Michigan.
In short, it would make voting harder for many people.
The League of Women Voters of Livingston County, along with other local Leagues and the League of Women Voters of Michigan are working hard to educate voters on the security of our elections.
Here is what we know:
• The proposal comes after the 2020 election, when we heard claims of fraud and that the presidential election results are unfair or incorrect. However, we know those claims are false because multiple audits, court cases and a report by the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee has affirmed our election was fair and secure.
• In Michigan, registered voters who don’t have their photo ID at the polls can verify their identity at their polling location by taking an oath and signing an affidavit. Thanks to this security feature in current Michigan’s voter identification law, more than 30,000 registered voters who did not have their photo ID at their polling place were able to perform their civic duty and vote in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
The proposal eliminates this option and others that make voting more accessible to all, particularly Black and brown communities, seniors, youth, people with disabilities and rural voters.
• The proposal also includes an appropriation that, if approved by the Michigan Legislature, would prevent a vote of the people from overturning the law, further denying voters of Michigan a voice on this issue.
We know what voters want because they told us in 2018 when they overwhelmingly approved Proposal 3 providing the constitutional amendment to enhance the voting opportunities yet maintain the integrity, widely expanding voter access with the creation of no reason absentee voting, among other measures that made voting more accessible to eligible voters.
Our state already has safeguards for elections. Not only is the proposal unnecessary, it disenfranchises voters from participating in the democratic process, for which so many people have fought. We cannot go backwards and silence the voices of voters in Michigan.
Ellen Lafferty is the chair of the League of Women Voters of Livingston County