Sen. Johnson comments on Senate approval of voter ID reforms

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Elections Committee Chair Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, issued the following statement after the Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Senate Bills 285, 303 and 304 to strengthen ID requirements for voting on the same day that legislation was introduced to make is easier for residents to get a free state personal identification card:

“Recent polls have shown strong bipartisan support among Michigan voters for requiring individuals to verify their identity with an ID when voting to protect the integrity of our elections.

“During the committee process, we removed the requirement for absentee voters to make a photocopy of their license or ID, making it much easier for voters. Someone applying for an absentee ballot can simply write down their driver’s license or state ID number or the last four digits of their social security number on their absentee ballot application to verify their identity — just like voters in others states, such as Ohio.

“Changes made by Proposal 3 of 2018 made Michigan’s system more vulnerable. These include allowing people to register and vote without ever being seen in-person and enabling same-day registration and voting despite having no real-time system to check if someone is eligible or has voted in multiple places.

“The vast majority of Michigan residents already have a driver’s license or state ID and the state already provides free state IDs to seniors, veterans, the homeless, legally blind residents, and anyone receiving state aid. We are committed to ensuring access to an ID for anyone who needs one, not only to vote but for many other everyday activities such as opening a back account or traveling by airplane.”

A statewide poll from the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Glengariff Group Inc. conducted in late May this year showed that 79.7% of Michigan registered voters support requiring “every voter coming to the polls present a government-issued identification to cast their ballot.” That includes 100% of strong Republican voters, 83.4% of Independent voters, and 58.4% of strong Democratic voters.

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