Whitmer vetoes GOP-backed voter ID measures

Whitmer vetoes GOP-backed voter ID measures
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Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerWhitmer leading possible GOP challengers in Michigan governor race: poll Whitmer isolating after husband's positive COVID-19 test Seven most vulnerable governors facing reelection in 2022 MORE (D) vetoed three GOP-backed bills on Friday aimed tightening voter ID laws.

The governor said that the legislation would have essentially eliminated the option for voters without ID to submit an affidavit to vote.

In a veto letter to lawmakers regarding two of the bills, Whitmer said they would have disenfranchised 18,000 voters who have relied on submitting affidavits to vote in recent elections. 

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“These bills would disproportionately harm communities of color,” she wrote. “Non-white voters were about five times more likely to lack access to ID on election day than white voters. Voter restrictions that produce such a racially disparate impact must never become law in this state.”  

Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 303, which would have removed an option for voters who do not have an identification to cast a ballot if they fill out an affidavit. She also vetoed Senate Bill 304 would have required those who vote by provisional ballot to establish their identities within six days after an election in order for their ballots to count. 

A third bill, House Bill 5007, would have removed certain fees for obtaining state identification cards except in certain circumstances.

The vetoes come as multiple GOP-led states advance or passes elections bills after November's vote, which former Presidents Trump and his allies have falsely asserted was stolen. Nineteen states have enacted 33 laws that would restrict access to the ballot box, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

More than 11,400 people in Michigan voted in the 2020 election by signing an affidavit, The Associated Press noted.  

Whitmer wrote in her letter that there is no evidence that affidavit ballots caused voter fraud. 

“To be clear, there is no evidence that use of affidavit ballots is related to voter fraud,” Whitmer wrote. “Nevertheless, I would be proud to sign common sense election reforms that would strengthen or democracy.