In another blatant show of contempt for voters, Republicans in Michigan have killed an attempt by Democrats to make absentee voting open to everyone in the state, not just the aged, those who need assistance voting, or those who are to be out of town on election day.
There’s no excuse for this one. Republicans are trying to cite “possible election fraud” as the reason for more study being needed. Election fraud is how they win most of their elections!
Article archived here.Democrats’ attempt to address absentee voting this year fails in Senate
December 1, 2004, 6:13 PM
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democrats’ attempts to push a bill that would let voters cast absentee ballots for any reason failed Wednesday in the state Legislature, with Republicans in the Senate saying the issue needs more consideration next year.
Senate Democrats tried to discharge the bill from a GOP-controlled committee without the panel’s approval. The Republican-controlled Senate voted down the measure 22-15.
“Equal access to democracy can’t wait,” said Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor.
Republicans in the Senate, however, accused Democrats of acting solely for political purposes. They said the bill should be debated during the normal legislative process.
“We have not heard all the arguments,” said Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, noting that he would likely support no-reason absentee voting in the future.
The issue recently gained more attention when Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, citing record turnout in the November election, said she would lobby the Legislature next year to remove restrictions on absentee voting.
Under current law, the only people who can ask for an absentee ballot are those 60 and older, or anyone who will be out of town, is in jail, has religious reasons for not voting on Election Day or needs assistance at the polls.
The bill’s supporters say many voters have trouble getting to the polls because they work long hours or have young children at home. They also note the legislation has bipartisan backing — half of its sponsors in the Senate are Republican.
But some Senate Republicans said Wednesday that concerns about his costs, suspicions of fraud and other forms of early voting should be considered along with the no-reason absentee proposal.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, said the chamber would take a comprehensive look at early voting in the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 1.
House Democrats tried to discharge a similar, no-excuse absentee voting bill from the House Local Government and Urban Policy Committee but were stopped by the Republican majority. The motion was gaveled down and never put up for a vote.
House Local Government and Urban Policy Committee Chairman Chris Ward, R-Brighton, said he planned a hearing on the issue next week.
The no-reason absentee voting bill is Senate Bill 40 and House Bill 4981.
On the Net:
Michigan Legislature: http://www.michiganlegislature.org