Michigan Activists Aim to Counter GOP Voting Rules With Constitutional Amendment

A new ballot initiative has been filed in Michigan aimed to improve both security and access to polls.

The "Promote the Vote 2022" ballot initiative would amend the state constitution creating a new early voting system that would give voters nine days of early, in-person voting. The initiative would also provide state funding for prepaid postage on absentee ballots.

Mail-In Ballot
A 95-year-old World War II veteran stated two of his mail-in ballots were denied because of incomplete voter registration. However, he is unable to register online in his home state of Texas, and as a result, may miss out on voting in the upcoming election for the first time in his life. Pictured, an envelope with an "I Voted Today" sticker. iStock/Getty

"Michigan voters have been clear: They want accessible and secure elections, which means being able to make their voices heard at the ballot box and being confident that their vote will be counted," Christina Schlitt, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, said according to Michigan Advance. "This proposal takes great steps toward modernizing our elections and protecting our freedom to vote. And importantly, this proposal will ensure that elections will be determined solely by the voters of Michigan."

Promote the Vote will also allow voters to request absentee ballots be mailed to them for all future elections without having to submit the request each time, as long as the voter is qualified to vote. The initiative would also permit voters to continue to vote without identification as long as they sign an affidavit to verify their identity.

The initiative would ensure the outcome of Michigan elections is determined solely by the votes cast by Michigan voters by directing the state Board of Canvassers to certify election results and clearly establishing that the Board of Canvassers is the entity certifying the results of elections.

"This initiative is to ensure that our elections are secure and accessible and that voters can vote free from harassment, intimidation and interference," said Khalilah Spencer, president of Promote the Vote according to MLive. "Voter freedom and power are critical to the success of our state and our country. We must create a voting system that provides secure options for voters, equitable access to the polls, and ensures all our voices are heard when it comes time to vote."

The Promote the Vote ballot initiative comes after a Republican-backed petition, "Secure MI Vote" which would make election rules stricter in Michigan. If that petition collects its roughly 340,000 signature goal, the state's Republican-controlled legislature could adopt proposed laws and bypass veto from Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The Secure MI Vote petition could reduce the number of polling places, limiting clerks from utilizing nonprofit properties, like churches. The initiative would also toughen in-person ID rules. If a voter forgets their ID or doesn't have one, they'll cast a provisional ballot that would not be counted on Election Day. The voter would have to return to their clerk's office with a valid form of ID within six days to have their vote counted.