Michigan Enshrines Early And Mail-In Voting With New Laws

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Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed eight bills  Tuesday enshrining mail-in and early voting into law.

The bipartisan legislation, which resulted from voter-approved Proposal 2 in November 2022, will require at least nine days of early voting before each statewide and federal election, according to The Associated Press (AP). In addition, the law will establish a website that will enable voters to track when their ballots are received and allow voters to fix clerical errors on their ballots. Voters will also be able to use U.S. passports, tribal photo ID cards, military ID cards, or student ID cards in place of a driver’s license when they cast their ballots, the outlet reported.

“Voting is the cornerstone of our system of government,” Whitmer stated of the signing. “Michiganders spoke with a clear, united voice last November when they voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposal 2, expanding voting rights. Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan legislation implementing the will of the people, ensuring they can make their voices heard in every election,” she added.

Prior to this legislation, Michigan voters cast their ballots on Election Day at polling places or used absentee ballots which weren’t tallied until after Election Day. (RELATED: Vermont’s Republican Governor Signs Legislation Expanding Mail-In Voting)

Called the “biggest change in how we vote in a generation” the new law will allow clerks to provide in-person voting as early as 29 days prior to an election. In addition, clerks can provide joint sites where ballots can be filled out and fed into tabulators before Election Day, The Detroit News reported.

In addition to early voting in-person access, the new law requires each municipality to provide at least one secure drop box for absentee ballots or at least one drop box for every 15,000 registered voters in areas with more than that many registered voters, The AP reported.

While the new law was lauded by some, it was criticized by others with Republican House Minority Leader Matt Hall arguing it will weaken election integrity within the state. “This uncalled-for overhaul will undermine our elections and create new risks for fraud,” he stated, according to The Detroit News.