Justice

Groups mobilize to beat back voting restrictions

With redistricting battles over, Voters Not Politicians is training its sights on voting rights.

State Republican legislators are in the midst of an unprecedented push to restrict voting rights in Michigan. But they can’t do it the usual way – through passing laws – because Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer would almost certainly veto them.

Instead, the plan is to bypass the governor entirely using a quirk of Michigan’s ballot petition rules.

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The “Secure MI Vote” ballot initiative would tighten voter ID rules, make absentee voting harder, and bar private election funding. If the petition gains enough signatures to make it on the ballot, the GOP-led legislature could sign it into law without the governor’s approval.

But several Michigan groups are mobilizing to encourage people to “decline to sign” the petition when it comes around. One such group has a track record of success.

Voters Not Politicians organized four years ago around the issue of election redistricting in Michigan. It successfully put forward a ballot proposal in 2018 to change the way the state draws voting lines. Now the group wants to fight proposed GOP voting rules.

Executive Director Nancy Wang told Bridge Michigan they will do “whatever we need to do to protect our voting rights.”

That includes recruiting volunteers to dissuade voters from signing the petition. Should that fail, the group is looking at its own ballot initiative in 2022.

Secure MI Vote plans to begin circulating petitions next month.

[Bridge Michigan]

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