Detroit Evening Report: Michigan Legislature passes early voting bills, Republicans say they go too far

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Michigan voters will have at least nine days of in-person early voting by the time the 2024 presidential primary arrives in February.

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The State House and Senate election committees passed legislation earlier this week to allow municipal and county governments to decide how many days residents are allowed to have for early voting. The handful of bills are the result of Proposal 2 passing last November to expand voter access.

The Senate passed the legislation 22-16 while the House voted 56-53. Democrats control both chambers after winning the majority last November.

“These bills will expand the voting rights of the people in our state,” Rep. Erin Byrnes (D-Dearborn) told MLive. “They will help ensure that our state continues to be a bright light in the democratic process.”

Michigan GOP members say the bills go too far and threaten election integrity.

“I feel that the legislation goes well beyond the mandates of Proposal 2 and further weakens the integrity of our elections,” says Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Holly), a former Michigan Secretary of State. “The bills also allow the secretary of state to wield unprecedented power to set procedures for early voting without going through the formal rule-making process.”

The other bill being presented is a proposal to allow Michigan voters to place themselves on a permanent list to automatically receive an absentee ballot every election, mandate drop boxes and a tracking system for absentee ballots.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.