No shocker here, folks -- just a defense of democracy.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday vetoed three Republican-backed bills that she says would disproportionately harm communities of color with stricter identification requirements for in-person and absentee ballot voters. Critics called it attempted voter suppression.
"Voting restrictions that produce such a racially disparate impact must never become law in this state," she says in a message reported by The Detroit News and others.
The Democratic governor has vetoed other voting bills from the GOP-led Legislature in recent months.
Whitmer argued in her Friday veto letter that the legislation's elimination of an option for voters to submit an affidavit attesting to their identity instead of a state ID would disenfranchise about 18,000 voters who relied on affidavits in recent elections.
"To be clear, there is no evidence that use of affidavit ballots is related to voter fraud," Whitmer's letter said. "In fact, the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee recently concluded that the 2020 election produced no significant evidence of fraud."
A state Republican Party statement calls the vetoes "an irresponsible and solely partisan response to common-sense legislation that would protect our democratic system and is widely supported by Michiganders of all political stripes."
In contrast, here's how the ACLU's state chapter reacts:
“This proposed anti-voter legislation is intended to gut the progress Michiganders have made to modernize our election system which is now the most secure and accessible it’s ever been,” said @Mkovach217 policy strategist for the ACLU of Michigan.— ACLU of Michigan (@ACLUofMichigan) October 29, 2021
Lansing correspondent Beth LeBlanc of The News describes the blocked legislation:
The bills required in-person voters to show ID for their ballots to count, instead of the current practice in which individuals are able to vote without an ID if they fill out an affidavit attesting to their identity. More than 11,000 voters used provisional ballots in the 2020 election.
The legislation also required those without ID to cast a provisional ballot and show their ID to the local clerk within a week for their vote to count. A companion bill ... would waive certain fees associated with getting an ID from the Secretary of State's office.
The legislation also would have mandated that those voting absentee submit their driver's license number, state personal ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. Current law requires individuals to sign the absentee application certifying it as accurate. Those signatures are verified against signatures in the state's qualified voter file.