ALPENA, Mich. — Michigan Republicans have proposed to pass a string of election reform laws that critics across the aisle have called voter suppression.
There are over 30 bills proposed in a series of laws that Republicans say are intended to create a safe and secure election. The proposals include closing ballot drop boxes for absentee voters at 5 p.m., force absentee voters to supply a drivers license- which impacts city residents, where driving is not a necessity, and force voters to pay for the postage on their mail-in ballots.
“They are designed to restrict certain demographics ability to exercise the right to vote,” said Jamie White, a Michigan attorney from White Law PLLC. “How does someone having to spend money to send their ballot in create a safer election? There’s only one purpose, and that is to create barriers for people to have access to the ballot.”
Last week, Georgia’s Republican governor signed a wave of reform bills into law. These proposals may face more of a battle in Michigan, according to White.
“Collecting 340,000 valid signatures will be a challenge,” White said. “There is a requirement put in by the Republican party that only 15 percent of the signatures can come from one Congressional District. They have to be spread out over the state.” White also says the proposals would meet legal challenges upon passing, if the GOP is successful.
Following the 2020 election, Republicans nationwide pushed the theory that the election had been stolen from former President Donald Trump. Even after that claim has been deemed untrue by courts around the country– including the U.S Supreme Court– it is being used to justify election reform laws proposed in 43 states.
“This is an ongoing saga from the presidential election,” White said. “The former President got people worked up suggesting the election was stolen from him. For whatever reason, the Michigan Republicans are continuing down that path.”