GOP Efforts to Make Voting Harder Underway in Michigan

Republicans have introduced legislation that include voter suppression measures, and a petition initiative is organizing to circumvent Gov. Whitmer.

The nationwide effort to make voting harder after the November election has come to Michigan. GOP lawmakers in the state Senate have proposed a series of changes to elections in Michigan. And Republican officials say they’re also planning a statewide petition initiative. That effort, if successful, would allow the GOP-controlled Legislature to approve those bills without requiring Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature. The governor would also not be able to veto that measure.

“A lot of non-solutions chasing non-problems because a lot of lies and conspiracy theories were allowed to perpetuate about the November election.” –Merissa Kovach, ACLU of Michigan

Republicans are proposing sweeping election changes in 43 states, which target people of color and other groups more likely to vote for Democrats. That’s after Democrats won the White House and the U.S. Senate amid record voter participation across the United States in November. GOP lawmakers and officials claim the efforts are meant to “restore confidence” in elections. However, elections experts and officials of all parties across the country agree that the November election was the most well-run and most secure election in history

Listen: ACLU of Michigan policy strategist Merissa Kovach talks about new GOP bills to make voting harder in Michigan.


Merissa Kovach is a policy strategist with ACLU of Michigan. She has been studying the new legislation in the state Senate closely, and says many of them are based on falsehoods and misinformation.

“A lot of non-solutions chasing non-problems because a lot of lies and conspiracy theories were allowed to perpetuate about the November election,” says Kovach.

In 2018, ACLU of Michigan helped lead the way to put Proposal 3 on the statewide ballot, which significantly expanded voting rights in Michigan. It passed overwhelmingly, 67 to 33%. 

A number of bills in the package do have bipartisan support. But Kovach says many of them are clearly part of nationwide efforts to suppress Democratic votes. For example, there are bills in the state Senate that would make Michigan’s voter ID laws more strict.

“There are many people who don’t have access to ID, either because it can be expensive or cost prohibitive,” Kovach says. “You have to hunt down certain documents that might be hard to find, you have to find transportation.”

“For folks that do have ID, what if you lose your ID right before the election?” she continues. “You shouldn’t lose your right to vote or use your voice just because you lose your government ID.”

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