State inches closer to voter ID requirement

Opponents call it a "poll tax" and vow to fight it in the courts.

Just seven months after an election that observers called the most secure in U.S. history, state lawmakers are hoping to pass new rules they say would fix security loopholes. Opponents say it’s a blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters.

Much of the argument surrounds three bills that would require voters to show ID in order to cast their ballots. Those proposals were passed out of committee Wednesday on a partisan vote and now go before the full Senate.

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At the moment voters are asked to show ID when voting in person, but can sign an affidavit if they lack identification. That’s how the current voter ID law managed to pass a challenge before the State Supreme Court in 2007.

Critics of the legislation say some people can’t get identification due to a lack of documentation or access to service locations. That’s especially true of low-income residents and minorities.

They allege state Republicans who are pushing the bills are simply trying to restrict voting access after their presidential candidate lost the election last fall.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has promised to veto the legislation if it reaches her desk, which is why state Republicans are also initiating a petition drive. That would allow lawmakers to pass the new rules without the governor’s approval.

If that comes to fruition, state Democrats say they’ll challenge the rules in court. They say the voter ID requirement is unconstitutional.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.