Senate votes to improve voter ID verification

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate this week approved legislation that would improve the process of verifying voters’ identities in Michigan.

“Michiganders, no matter their background or beliefs, are accustomed to showing their IDs to prove who they are, whether it’s to get married, buy a house, receive health care or social services, and much, much more,” said Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton. “It only makes sense that we should have to show our IDs to participate in one of the most important and influential things we can do as citizens — voting. We must ensure every legal vote is counted, while making our elections less susceptible to cheating. This legislation will help accomplish that.”

Senate Bill 303 would require voters to show proper identification when voting in person. It would also require anyone applying for an absentee ballot with the secretary of state or a local clerk to provide either an official Michigan driver’s license number or personal identification card number, the last four digits of a social security number, a photocopy of such identification, or present proper identification to a clerk in person in order to verify their identity and receive an absentee voter ballot.

If a voter is unable to provide the required information, a provisional ballot would be issued, and the person would have up to six days after an election to prove their identity for the ballot to officially be tabulated. The bill would also provide clerks greater access to the secretary of state’s database to confirm the voter information provided, stop the secretary of state from mass-mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications, not allow any ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day to be tabulated, and keep nonpublic money out of election-related activities.

SB 304 was also approved and would allow an in-person voter without proper identification to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election to verify their identity so their vote can be counted.

House Bill 5007 would make it free for a Michigan resident to receive an official state identification card and require secretary of state branches to be open for walk-in services.

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