State Watch

Michigan Senate passes voter ID mandate

The GOP-controlled Michigan state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would mandate a photo ID in order to vote in person and add further requirements on voting by mail.

Currently, Michigan residents who lack a photo ID can cast a ballot after signing an affidavit at their polling place. The new legislation would allow voters to cast a provisional ballot but would require that they verify their identity within six days, The Associated Press reports.

Voters who want to vote by mail in the Wolverine State are required to sign an application that is then matched to a signature on their voter file. Under the new legislation, applicants for mail-in ballots would have to include a copy of their photo ID, driver's license number or Social Security number.

The bill passed along a 19-16 vote, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to veto it. However, the AP notes that the Michigan GOP lawmakers may sidestep her veto by enacting a citizen-initiated ballot proposal.

The AP notes that the legislation has been criticized by both clerks and voting rights activists. Michigan Democrats have lambasted the bill as creating a "poll tax" that will make it harder for people to vote.

"Trump lied. You believe the big lie. Now you want to change the rules because you realize the demographics of America are changing and your base it out of control," said Michigan state Sen. Sylvia Santana, the AP reported.

"Now you want to change the rules and add rules so that people who look like me get frustrated and decide not to vote," Santana added.

This legislation is one of multiple bills that have advanced in Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country after the 2020 presidential election.

In late May, the Texas Senate passed a sweeping voting restriction bill that imposed heavy penalties on election officials who offered mail-in ballots to voters who didn't request them and gave courts the power to overturn elections if the number of "votes illegally cast" is enough to change to election's outcome.

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