Proposal for Voters Right Amendment Introduced in Michigan

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Contributor

Michigan advocacy and civil rights groups are petitioning for a constitutional amendment to make voting easier for residents in the state.

The "Promote the Vote" campaign is aiming to give members of the military more time to vote, automatically register those residents who conduct businesses at a Secretary of State office, as well as allow absentee voting without having to provide a reason. Furthermore, it would allow same-day voting registration.

Currently, Michigan state residents are required to be registered to vote at least 30 days before voting. And according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, overseas military members are supposed to send in their absentee ballot 35 days prior to an election.

This proposal is targeted for next November's election. For constitutional amendments to be put into action, the proposed amendment makes it through Congress, it then must be ratified by at least three-fourths of the states. The league, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP are backing the proposal. Additionally, the Board of State Canvassers has approved the petition language.

“We just want voting to be accessible, convenient and everyone’s vote to be counted and secure,” said Judy Karandjeff, the president of the League of Women Voters. 

According to Karandjeff, many of the ideas have been proposed in the Legislature, but have yet to be enacted. She also says the groups hope to increase voter's trust in the election system with implementing these changes.

However, the Secretary of State's office is confident with the current voting process and claims it allows voters to "have their voices heard."

When it comes to allowing same-day registration, only 15 states and the District of Columbia participate. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, there is evidence that same registration increases voter turnout.

Along with the Promote the Vote campaign, another group of activists introduced an amendment proposal called "Voters Not Politicians" after the 2016 presidential election. This proposal aims to establish an independent commission to oversee the drawing of Michigan's electoral district. 

Supporters of the Promote the Vote proposal must get 315,654 registered voters to sign the proposal in order to make the November ballot.

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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