The Michigan Senate passed a bill Wednesday requiring a voter requesting an absentee ballot to also submit a form of identification.
On a party-line 19-16 vote, senators sent SB 285 to the House, which would require a voter to also include one of the following:
- his or her driver license number or official state personal identification card number on the application, or
- the last 4 digits of his or her Social Security number on the application, or
- an original or a copy of identification for election purposes, or
- attach a copy of identification for election purposes to his or her application.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) is expected to veto it.
“Requiring voters to verify their identity is the best way to protect the one person, one vote standard,” state Sen. Ruth Johnson (R), a former secretary of state, said during debate, Mlive reported.
“The vast majority of Michigan residents already have drivers licenses or a state ID, and their state already offers free IDs to many residents, including individuals over 65 years of age, those who are legally blind, veterans, anyone who was homeless and anyone who receives state aid,” she added.
Strengthening voter ID laws is popular in Michigan.
A Strategic National survey in April said 72.1 percent of Michigan respondents supported showing photo identification prior to voting. Just 21.9 percent said they did not.
Fifty-eight percent of black respondents supported the concept. Just 32 percent said showing an ID “discriminated against some voters.”
“Senate Bill 285, which allows that a voter who chooses to vote absentee ballot to also have the option to submit a photocopy of their government issue ID with their ballot, makes it such that if that specific voter chooses that option, they must incur an additional cost in order to cast their ballot,” state Sen. Erika Geiss (D) said.
She argued it amounted to a “de facto poll tax.”
“Despite the lies and disinformation from the Democrat Party, a vast majority of Americans support photo ID to vote,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said in a statement.
“The steps taken today by Republicans will make it easier to vote, and harder to cheat.”
The party has floated a citizens initiative to pursue election reform laws as a means to avoid a likely Whitmer veto.