New Proposal 2 voting laws pass Michigan Legislature

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - When Michigan voters head to the polls next year, they can expect a few changes.

The passing of Proposal 2 by Michigan voters in November brought with it a new set of rules that give people more options for casting their ballots. Some Mid-Michigan clerks are eager to put them into action.

“Almost everything in it I like,” said Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope. “Some of it is going to create more work for local clerks, but that’s fine, because it’s a tradeoff of more rights for our voters.”

The newly passed House and Senate bills will make at least one absentee ballot drop box a mandatory fixture for all communities, or one drop box for every 15,000 voters in larger populations.

Background: Michigan Senate advances Proposal 2 for expanded voter access

Voters will also be allotted nine extra days to vote. The City of East Lansing is planning to set up two early voting centers: one on Michigan State University’s campus, and another at the Hannah Community Center. Officials are hoping it leads to stronger voter turnout.

“To actually have the ability to see it go through the tabulator, I think maybe a game changer,” said East Lansing Interim City Clerk Marie Wicks. “And it may draw people in to take advantage of that early voting.”

While supporters of Proposal 2 say these changes are paving the way for better access to voting, some lawmakers see it as an obstacle to voters.

With the option for city and county clerks now have the opportunity to enter agreements that would place early voting centers in the control of the county, Rep. Ann Bollin, (R)-Brighton Township, is concerned.

“There’s a push to enter into these county clerk agreements, and what that does is, the early voting center in some of our rural areas is going to be much further if it’s handled by a county clerk,” she said. “And some people don’t have access to transportation.”

Other key changes included in the bills include the acceptance of government-issued state I.D.’s for election purposes, the allowance of registered voters to receive absentee ballots for every future election, and the ability to print individual paper ballots on-site.

Michigan clerks are waiting for guidance from the state on how to roll the changes out. Whether they’ll inspire more Mid-Michigan voters to have their voices heard remains to be seen until the next major election.

For now, the laws will soon be on their way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for signing.

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