Michigan GOP Accuses Gretchen Whitmer of 'Grandstanding' After She Vetoes Election Bills

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two voting bills on Sunday night and shut down accusations of an unfair 2020 election, the Associated Press reported.

Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed the two Republican-sponsored bills that would limit electronic poll books and voting systems from being connected to the internet and limiting access to the Michigan voter database, saying the bills would have encouraged beliefs of an unfair 2020 presidential election and made it more difficult for people in apartment communities and senior living facilities to vote in the future.

The bills implied that the electronic poll books and databases that were connected to the internet could be easily accessed by outside parties, though Whitmer said that was not true.

"She's more interested in grandstanding and pandering rather than strengthening the security of our elections," state GOP spokesman Gustavo Portela said.

Whitmer has vowed to veto similar bills in the future, disagreeing with the idea of requiring absentee voters to provide photo identification with applications, or driver's license number or other identification numbers to vote.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accused of "grandstanding"
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was accused of "grandstanding" by the state GOP after vetoing two election bills. Above, Whitmer speaks during the Detroit Branch NAACP's 66th Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit on October 3, 2021. Nic Antaya/Associated Press

She also blocked a measure that would have expanded the types of buildings that can be polling places to include private conference centers and recreation clubhouses. It included a provision to let municipalities put polling places at senior facilities and apartment complexes with at least 150 residents, as they can now, but only if public buildings like schools were "not reasonably available for use or convenient to use."

Whitmer vetoed the legislation Sunday night at the NAACP Detroit branch's annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner. The bills, she said, "attempt to suppress the vote or perpetuate the 'Big Lie'—the calculated disinformation campaign to discredit the 2020 election. I will have no part in any effort that grants an ounce of credence to this deception, so injurious to our democracy."

A nationwide campaign by the GOP, fueled in part by the false narrative of widespread fraud in last year's presidential election, has led to a wave of new voting laws across the U.S. that will tighten access to the ballot for millions of Americans. The restrictions especially target voting methods that have been rising in popularity across the country, such as mail balloting and early voting.

Whitmer on Sunday also nixed a bill that would have required election challengers to attend training offered by the secretary of state and each clerk in the 90-day period before an election and boost training for election inspectors about challengers' role. She expressed openness to the measure but said there must be funding.

The Legislature approved the measures last week, with Republicans contending they would bolster election integrity. While Senate Democrats were opposed, at least two-dozen House Democrats supported some bills.