House Committee Passes Legislation To Tighten Up Voter Identification

Sandra Svoboda/WDET

Stricter voting identification bills are on their way to the state House floor for a full vote. The legislation passed through the House Elections Committee Thursday.

The bills would require voters to prove their identity within 10 days of casting a provisional ballot if they don’t have a photo ID with them at the polls.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) is on the House Elections Committee. He said the legislation disenfranchises voters, particularly the disabled and impoverished.

These voter ID laws are going to turn valid voters away from the polls,” he said.  “And in a state like Michigan where we need more voices in the mix, we need more voices as part of our democracy. It makes no sense to me to take people who are obviously valid voters and turn them away.”

Bill sponsor, state Rep. Lisa Lyons (R-Alto) says the legislation ensures integrity in our voting system by raising the bar instead of creating barriers.

I think now is a very good time to be having the conversation and be doing everything we can to ensure secure elections and the integrity of our process,” she said.

But Irwin disagreed saying, “I think if we’re worried about election fraud, we need to watch the elected officials and politicians and worry less about trying to prevent voters from accessing the polls.”

Right now, voters without a photo ID on hand sign an affidavit and the clerks check to see if they are registered before their vote is counted.

The passed legislation includes a $10 million appropriation from the general fund for voter education, election modernization and implementing voter ID provisions. This means that the legislation would be immune to a referendum challenge.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

Cheyna Roth


Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.   Follow @Cheyna_R

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