VanderWall supports election reforms increasing ID requirements, expanding ID access

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would strengthen ID requirements when voting in Michigan.

“Recent polling data has shown us that people support the idea that voters prove who they are prior to casting their vote,” said Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington. “The bills we approved this afternoon will strengthen ID verification for both absentee voters and in-person voting. These measures aim to increase confidence in election results by making our elections more secure and less susceptible to cheating.”

The Senate voted to approve Senate Bills 285, 303 and 304, which would require anyone applying for an absentee ballot with the secretary of state or local clerk to provide either an official Michigan driver’s license number or personal identification card number, the last four digits of their social security number, or a photocopy of their identification or present to a clerk in person proper identification in order to verify their identity and receive their AV ballot.

The bills would also allow a voter who shows up in person to vote without proper identification to cast a provisional ballot and return to their local clerk within six days after the election with ID so that their vote can be counted.

“Changes made by Proposal 3 of 2018 made Michigan’s system more vulnerable and open to fraudulent activity,” VanderWall said. “The proposal opened the door for numerous issues of concern, including allowing people to register and vote without ever being seen in-person, enabling same-day registration and voting despite having no timely system to check if someone has voted in multiple places.

“Voters deserve a system that provides them the opportunity to vote, but also one that gives them confidence in the results.”

In conjunction with SBs 285, 303 and 304, lawmakers introduced SBs 544-546, which would assist residents with accessing a photo ID in order to ensure that no Michigan individuals’ civic duties are interfered with.

The bills would assist individuals who do not currently have a photo ID by removing all financial barriers to accessing state identification. This change would make it easier for individuals to obtain an ID card, which would allow them to more easily navigate both state and local government and manage the many other day-to-day activities that require photo ID.

“These bills together are a great step forward for not only the security and integrity of Michigan’s elections, but also for residents who have suffered the burden of not having a state ID,” VanderWall said.

SBs 285, 303 and 304 were approved by the Senate and sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration, while SBs 544-546 were introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Families Seniors and Veterans.