Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday vetoed four bills designed to be the lead attempts to change the state’s election laws.
Speaking during the Detroit NAACP’s For for Freedom Fund Dinner at TCF Center, she said vetoing the measures, sent to her last week by the GOP-controlled Senate, was the right thing to do.
“The intent as we have seen across the country is to suppress our votes and perpetuate the Big Lie. And as long as I’m governor they will meet my veto when they get passed.” —Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“The intent as we have seen across the country is to suppress our votes and perpetuate the Big Lie. And as long as I’m governor they will meet my veto when they get passed. I will stand tall to protect civil rights,” she said.
In two bills — one that limited access to the qualified voter file, and another that prohibited connecting voting equipment to the internet — Democrats said were redundant because neither actually happens. Republicans who perpetuated lies about the 2020 president alleged both happened to change the outcome in favor of Joe Biden.
She also blocked a measure that would have expanded the types of buildings that can be polling places to include private conference centers and recreation clubhouses. It included a provision to let municipalities put polling places at senior facilities and apartment complexes with at least 150 residents, as they can now, but only if public buildings like schools were “not reasonably available for use or convenient to use.”
Whitmer also nixed a bill that would have required election challengers to attend training offered by the secretary of state and each clerk in the 90-day period before an election and boost training for election inspectors about challengers’ role. Whitmer expressed openness to the measure but said there must be funding.
Addressing the hundreds gathered at TCF Center for the event, Whitmer issued a call to action to protect voting rights.
“To beat back voter suppression, we have to decline to sign petitions as they’re out collecting signatures. We have to lobby our congressional leaders to pass comprehensive voting reform in D.C. We have to stand up and take an active role in this. It is on every one of us to protect our vote,” she said.
Two of the bills — one that requires training for poll workers, and another that would allow privately-owned buildings to serve as polling locations — found bipartisan support in the state House.
Under the guise of securing elections against nonexistent systemic fraud, GOP-led legislatures across the country have been enacting laws to curb voting access 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.