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Reforms introduced to improve state’s elections

Sen. Lana Theis on Wednesday introduced two bills included in a package of sweeping reforms to improve voting access in Michigan, ensure election integrity and restore trust in the outcome of an essential part of our representative republic.

“Everyone should have faith in the integrity of our state’s elections,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “But as a member of the Senate Oversight Committee, through hours of testimony over many months, I have heard firsthand accounts that people’s faith has eroded. The reforms introduced today seek to make Michigan’s elections more secure, more accurate and trustworthy, while at the same time streamlining participation in the elections process.”

The 39-bill election reform package would make improvements in five areas ­— making it easier to vote, protecting the vote, election day operations, increased transparency, and absentee voting.

Theis’ bills would make acquiring an absentee ballot more secure and make ballots easier to understand.

Senate Bill 285 would require voters to present their state-issued photo identification when applying for an absentee ballot. Voters who are unable to do so at the time would be issued a provisional ballot.

SB 307 would require the full text of any ballot initiative or proposed constitutional amendment to be provided with both in-person and absentee ballots.

“Under current law, Michigan voters only get a 100-word summary for ballot proposals that are oftentimes thousands and thousands of words long. Not only do we need to make our elections more secure, we should also do what we can to help people be better informed about what they are voting on,” Theis said. “My bills will help accomplish that.”

The legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Elections for consideration.



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