Ballot initiative to expand voter access in Michigan gets required amount of signatures

Ballot initiative to expand voter access in Michigan gets required amount of signatures
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More than 430,000 signatures were submitted on Monday as part of an initiative to expand access to voting in Michigan, according to The Associated Press.

The news outlet reported on Monday that the initiative, known as Promote the Vote, is an effort to expand voting in the state by allowing absentee ballots to be cast for any reason and by also putting in place measures like same-day voter registration.

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"Democracy is most effective when the most possible people participate," American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss said during a news conference. "It is time that we had voting reforms in the state because people have died to win and exercise their right to vote. Voting should be easier, it should be accessible and it should be something that everybody can do."

The AP notes that the ACLU of Michigan, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP’s state and Detroit branches are organizers of the constitutional amendment initiative. The Promote the Vote initiative needs 316,000 valid signatures in order for the amendment to appear on the ballot this November. 

The proposed amendment, if passed, would allow people to vote absentee without having to give a reason, according to the AP. Currently, absentee voters in Michigan must be at least 60 years old, be out of town when the polls are open, or be unable to vote on Election Day because of a physical disability, religious tenets or incarceration. 

The AP notes that the amendment would also allow people to register by mail closer to Election Day and in person at any time. In addition, citizens would automatically be registered when they conduct business with the secretary of state when it comes to a driver's license or state ID card. 

Other parts of the amendment would also include guarantees for election audits and reinstatement of straight-ticket voting.

"We want everybody to vote," Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the NAACP's Detroit branch, said. "This is not just for us. We are promoting the vote for everybody in the state of Michigan."