Petition won’t improve balloting

Robert Anderson

On Sept. 27, a controversial petition to restrict voting access called Secure MI Vote gained state approval as to form-only–giving its sponsors the green light to start collecting signatures.

Most election clerks don’t like it. All voting rights groups don’t like it. Here’s why you shouldn’t sign it, even if you believe the 2020 elections were mucked in fraud.

First, Secure MI Vote has nothing to do with election security. Rather, it’s part of the blatant partisan scheme sweeping the country, fueled with dark money and the false lie of election fraud, to restrict the right to vote.

Make no mistake, those leading this petition are Lansing political operatives and lawmakers whose true intent is to depress the turnout of those they do not want to vote so that they can stay in office.

They know Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will veto their anti-voter proposals and the electorate will not approve measures that make it harder for them to vote if placed on a statewide ballot.

Rather, these political operatives plan to pass them using Michigan’s “indirect initiative” petition loophole. All they need is the signatures of just 340,047 voters–only 3.4%–on petitions and pass it through the legislature they control.

Regardless of your affiliation, don’t be duped into signing. First, an indirect initiative of this kind will never reach a statewide ballot for all voters to decide as direct initiatives do. If just 340,047 people sign this, it will go to our gerrymandered legislature controlled by the same political operatives who will be able to pass its anti-voter legislation on their own steam–without the governor’s consent.

This end-run maneuver is minority action antithetical to democracy. Major law changes like this should never be snuck in the backdoor but rather should be enacted by voter approval on statewide ballot or through usual approval by both the legislature and governor.

Second, the petition’s voting restrictions will make it harder for everyone including yourself to vote. It has nothing to do with election security because Michigan elections are already secure. Its anti-voter proposals are based on the “big lie” of election fraud–a fallacy dispelled by our own Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah) in his Michigan Senate Oversight Committee report, finding no evidence of fraud despite a lengthy examination. 

Without including measures to protect identity theft, Secure MI Vote’s petition imposes new strict disclosure rules of your sensitive social security, photo IDs and other personal information as a condition for registration and voting; and these strict rules will discourage voting, create an unreasonable risk of identity theft and make it harder for election officials to run elections.

The longtime right to sign an affidavit of identity at polling places when one doesn’t have a photo ID handy will be gone. The constitutional right to vote absentee is further restricted by banning easy access to absentee ballot applications and limiting drop box hours.

Clerks will be discouraged from expanding voting access because outside funding that they once received will be banned.

Michigan clerks agree that Michigan already has a strong voter ID law on the books and that these proposals add nothing to election security. [Michigan Bridge]. “Why fix something that isn’t broke,” explains Chocolay Township Clerk Max Engle. 

Nonpartisan Voters Not Politicians reminds us that in 2018 “Michigan voters passed a constitutional amendment by a huge margin–67% to 33% — to expand voting access across the state.”

But now, our freedom to vote the way we want to vote is under threat. VNP plans to send its volunteers to farmers markets and door-to-door to bring home its message of protecting full access to the right to vote.

Even if you want to restrict the voting of those different from you, think twice about signing the petition because its proposals will inhibit your voting access and expose your personal sensitive data to increased risks of identity theft.

Keep in mind that the right to vote is the life blood of democracy. It is constitutionally protected and any restriction or barrier to its exercise should be opposed.

Be part of the solution to ending the internal political war surrounding election laws being waged in American.

Editor’s note: Robert Anderson is an attorney and volunteer with VNP. 


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today