LANSING — On Tuesday Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a portion of the state's election reform legislation.
Snyder vetoed SB 754, which would have required a photo ID for voter registration and implemented new restrictive regulations on voter registration organizations; SB 803 which would have required individuals to attest to their citizenship when voting in person or by absentee ballot; and SB 5061 which would have required a photo ID for picking up absentee ballots in person. Snyder did not veto SB 751 which will create an inactive voter list and require absentee ballots from a class of voters on that list to be automatically challenged.
"I am concerned that this measure will prove harmful to voting, but appreciate the important vetoes of the other measures,” Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan's 14th Congressional District said.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said that while she is disappointed the governor chose to not sign parts of the package she will continue to work for election reform.
Included in the reform package are bills that would: Toughen campaign finance laws, including creation of felony charges and possible forfeiture of funds for the worst offenders; Prevent stealth efforts, such as the fake Tea Party, by requiring organizations to file campaign finance reports so voters know who is really behind those efforts; Create new election night policies so errors and issues can be immediately detected by election workers once the polls close; Promote election transparency by requiring ballot question and political action committees file campaign statements more often; Ballot question committees also must file earlier; Stop candidates from using campaign money to pay for legal expenses unrelated to their campaigns.
Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan's 14th Congressional District praised Snyder for vetoing some of the measures.
“I was strongly opposed to the voting measures passed by the Republican controlled State House, and I am pleased Governor Snyder did the right thing and vetoed three of the measures. Instead of making it more difficult to register to vote and to vote, we should be reducing barriers to the ballot box. There is no more fundamental right in our democracy than the right to vote. I hope that both parties can work together in Lansing, Washington and around the nation to facilitate this precious right,” Conyers said.
Key republican lawmakers are enthusiastic about a portion of the legislation being signed into law. “I’m grateful for the cooperative efforts that achieved these positive changes for voters,” said Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, chair of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. “Together, we have improved elections in Michigan.”
The governor signed 11 bills regarding election reform.
The legislation makes Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's proposals in her Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Initiative last fall a reality. Most of the bills are based on reforms proposed by Johnson.
“These reforms will strengthen our elections system and further promote election integrity,” said Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chair of the House Redistricting and Elections Committee.
Johnson said the measures, along with electronic poll books and post-election audits, will work together to ensure integrity in the process." For more information on the bills visit www.legislature.mi.gov.