Michigan House Approves Strict New Voter ID Bill Over Dem Objections

AP

Michigan’s GOP-led House of Representatives approved a stringent voter ID proposal on Wednesday night that Democrats warn could disproportionately affect properly registered minority and low-income voters, the Detroit News reported.

Under the proposed legislation, Michigan voters who show up to the polls without photo ID can cast provisional ballots but must bring ID to their local clerk’s office within 10 days of an election for the vote to be counted.

This is a significant change from current state law, which allows registered voters to vote on Election Day without IDs as long as they sign an affidavit affirming their identity under threat of perjury. The Detroit News reported that some 18,388 state residents took advantage of that option in the Nov. 8 election, many of them in heavily Democratic Wayne County, where majority-black Detroit is the county seat.

Donald Trump’s margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in the Great Lake State was 10,704 votes.

GOP lawmakers promoting the proposal argue that they’re trying to weed out voter fraud, but a spokesman for the Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson told the Detroit News that the office is “not aware of fraud related to the affidavit.” The consensus among voting experts is that voter fraud in general is exceedingly rare.

Democrats who oppose the measure say it presents another barrier to voting access for Michigan residents, particularly lower-income and minority voters.

The measure, which passed 57-50, mostly along party lines, now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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