Sen. Johnson comments on governor’s veto of voter ID reform, free state ID bill

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Elections Committee Chair Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, on Friday issued the following statement in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoing Senate Bills 303 and 304 and House Bill 5007, which would have strengthened ID requirements for voting and made it easier for residents to get a free state ID card:

“By vetoing these measures, the governor is rejecting nearly 80% of Michigan voters who support requiring every voter coming to the polls to present a government-issued ID to cast their ballot — including over 58% of voters in her own party.

“Proposal 3 made changes that weakened the integrity of our election system by allowing people to register and vote without ever being seen in-person. It also allows people to register and vote on Election Day without showing an ID and with no real-time system to check if they are eligible or have voted in another location. In the November 2020 election, over 20,000 people registered to vote in the 14 days before or on Election Day without presenting a Michigan driver’s license or personal identification card.”

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A statewide poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Glengariff Group in May 2021 showed that 79.7% of Michigan voters support requiring “every voter coming to the polls present a government-issued identification to cast their ballot.” That included 100% of strong Republicans, 83.4% of Independents, and 58.4% of strong Democrats.

Senate Bill 303 would have required voters to show proper ID when voting in person and required absentee voters to write their Michigan driver’s license number or state ID card number on their absentee ballot application to verify their identity. Voters could also have written the last four digits of their social security number on their application or presented their ID to their clerk to get an absentee ballot.

SB 303 would have also prohibited the use of third-party money for elections administration in Michigan and banned the secretary of state or other government officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters.

House Bill 5007 would have made getting or renewing an official state personal ID card free of charge to Michigan residents. SB 304 would have allowed in-person voters without proper ID and absentee voters who fail to fill in the identifying information to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election to verify their identity so that their vote can be counted.