Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has vetoed a set of bills passed by his state’s Republican-controlled legislature, which aimed to crack down on alleged voter fraud. Snyder said in voiding the measures that they could cause confusion among voters.One measure would have required voters to reaffirm that they are U.S. citizens, and would have instituted photo-ID requirements for voters receiving an absentee ballot at a local government office. Another would have required training for people, companies and organizations participating in voter registration. The Grand Rapids Press reports that Republicans in the legislature argued that the measures were needed to combat voter fraud, while Democrats chargedÂ that the bills would unfairly target poor, minority and elderly people who favor the Democratic Party.
In his veto message, Snyder criticized the bills’ own mechanisms as confusing — that if a voter failed to check a specific citizenship box on their application, they would still be given a ballot, but it would not be counted unless they came back to affirm their eligibility.
Snyder declared: “Voting rights are precious and we need to work especially hard to make it possible for people to vote.”
Today I am returning to you Enrolled Senate Bills 754 and 803 without signature. Enrolled Senate Bill 754 precludes voter registration groups from receiving and delivering registration applications until at least on member of their organization has received training by the secretary of state or local clerk. I commend the Secretary of State for working with the legislature on improving our voter registration rules and I am supportive of the concept of training individuals involved in voter registration. The language in Enrolled Senate Bill 754 pertaining to the registration of third party voter registration organizations, and at the timing and training of those entities, may cause confusion with regard to ongoing voter registration efforts. While our current Secretary of State would be very proactive on offering training, it is important to ensure that future officials provide proper training.
Enrolled Senate Bill 803 requires voters to affirm their citizenship by checking a box before their ballot is counted. I am concerned that Enrolled Senate Bill 803 could create voter confusion among absentee voters. I appreciate the issue of ensuring that voters are properly qualified including the requirement that they are US citizens. An alternative would be to simply include US citizen in the voter’s opening declarative statement on the application.
Voting rights are precious and we need to work especially hard to make it possible for people to vote. I look forward to working with you and the Secretary of State to address the issues above so we can implement improvements to our system.