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MI House Jams “Democracy-proof” Voter Suppression Bill Into Lame Duck Session

image via The Nation

image via The Nation

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Michigan Republicans are working overtime to ram home very troubling legislation during the final days of the lame duck session. Despite swirling controversy around the election results, the legislature had the gall this week to move voter suppression legislation – in the form of HB 6066, HB 6067, and HB6068 – through the House:

Current state law allows registered voters to cast a ballot without photo identification if they sign an affidavit affirming their identity under threat of perjury. But the state’s Republican-led House on Wednesday night approved a measure in a three-bill package during the lame-duck session that would force voters lacking that to bring an ID to their local clerk’s office within 10 days of an election for their vote to count.

These types of restrictive voter ID laws disproportionally affect poor and minority voters, and the party knows this. They also create confusion and long lines in large, urban population centers, which is ultimately an added hindrance even for those voters with photo ID:

Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin is on the House Elections committee. He said the legislation disenfranchises voters, particularly the disabled and impoverished.

“These voter ID laws are going to turn valid voters away from the polls,” he said.  “And in a state like Michigan where we need more voices in the mix, we need more voices as part of our democracy. It makes no sense to me to take people who are obviously valid voters and turn them away.”

Adding insult to injury, Michigan Republicans want to make these bills “Democracy-proof,” according to Eclectablog. Typically, if Michigan voters don’t like a law, they can petition for a referendum to repeal it via ballot measure. Unless an appropriation is attached, that is. This is exactly the approach the party took, attaching a $10 million appropriation dedicated to the implementation of this very voter suppression law:

That $10 million appropriate makes the legislation referendum-proof (or as I like to call it, “Democracy-proof”), immune from being overturned by the citizens of Michigan through our referendum process.

[…] To put this very bluntly, Republicans do NOT want the citizens of this state interfering with their complete and total consolidation of political power in Michigan.

Why pass voter ID in the first place? To cut down on voter fraud in Michigan, of course. The catch? In order to discredit the election recount in the state, Michigan courts claimed this week that voter fraud does not exist. It’s almost graceful in its blindingly undemocratic, partisan hypocrisy. Sad, really.

The Senate has three days left to vote on the legislation.


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