March 26, 2021

Michigan Right-Wing Legislators Follow Georgia’s Lead and Attack Voting Rights

State legislatures are the current battleground in fight exposed during January 6th Capitol insurrection

This week, Michigan conservatives introduced a package of 39 separate bills as part of a coordinated national conservative effort to make it harder to vote. These bills add to anti-voter efforts taking place in states across the country: conservatives have introduced over 253 anti-voter bills in 43 states and the numbers, and egregious examples of racist voter suppression, continue to grow. Just last night, Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested and charged for knocking on the governor’s door while he signed an incredibly dangerous and intentionally racist voter suppression bill.

“Make no mistake, this is part of a national, coordinated, anti-democratic effort to strip away voting rights. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the state lawmakers who are fighting back. Michigan conservatives showed they want to take the state backward, making it harder to vote and creating unnecessary barriers for all voters, especially people of color, essential workers, and those who may be disabled,” said Carmen Lopez, SiX Senior Democracy Director. 

Notable examples from the Michigan bill package (SB 0273 - SB 0311) that mirror national GOP efforts include: 

  • Forcing drop boxes to lock at 5 pm, an unrealistic burden for most working people (SB 0286)
    • This echoes bills in GA and FL to also drop boxes make drop boxes less accessible for voters  
  • Preventing the Secretary of State from proactively sending absentee ballot applications to voters, a critical step taken during the pandemic (SB 0310)
  • Eliminating the option for voters, without a valid ID, to sign a legally binding affidavit and cast a regular ballot (SB 0303)
    • Similar bills in AR, MO, and TX
  • Requiring voters to request their absentee ballot with a specific photo ID or a copy of one (SB 0285)
    • Similar bills in GA, FL, IN, NH, and elsewhere

“It is nothing short of racial terrorism and an attempt to create voting apartheid,” said Michigan State Sen. Erika Geiss in a press release. 

Michigan conservative legislators’ anti-voter effort is fueled by dangerous election lies in response to record turnout by voters in 2020. The efforts continue despite hundreds of clean audits demonstrating that Michigan’s elections were safe, secure, and accurate. Michigan’s legislation, like its counterparts in other states, targets the Black and urban voters that turned out in 2020. Iowa was the first state this year to enact significant voter suppression legislation—cutting in-person voting hours, reducing early voting days, and limiting absentee voting and ballot return assistance. Continued efforts to enact new barriers to voting proceed in Georgia, Arizona, and dozens of other states. 

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