A new law moving through the Michigan legislature would make it harder for groups to hold voter registration drives, unregister voters who haven’t recently voted and require voters to show identification at the polls.
Does the new legislation in Michigan make it easier to vote? No. As part of a trend seen across the nation, Republican controlled legislatures are passing new and more restrictive voting laws. In each case, the legislation makes it more likely that a citizen would be prevented from casting a ballot.
The move in Michigan comes at a time when the Republican presidential nominee, Gov. Mitt Romney, wants to compete in his home state where his father George Romney was Governor.
It would be an uphill climb. A recent Rasmussen poll showed President Obama ahead in Michigan by 8 points against Romney. Though the race in the state is getting closer, in the President crushed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), by 17 points in 2008. Further, Michigan is over 14% African American.
Michigan is about to become the latest in a popular legislative trend over the last two years with regard to voting with less than 5 months to a major election. The Michigan House and Senate is controlled by Republicans. The Governor of Michigan is Rick Snyder, a Republican.
In 2011, voter ID laws passed in Kansas, Rhode Island and Wisconsin as Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas made voter ID laws already in existence even more restrictive.
The legislation that has been proposed and is likely to pass is opposed by The League of Women Voters and Project Vote. The National Urban League’s Occupy the Vote initiative and the NAACP’s 1-866-MYVOTE effort are attempts to answer the new voter ID and voter suppression laws and educate voters before November.
Speaking on Rachel Maddow’s show, Michigan Reverend David Bullock said, “this legislation restricts voter behavior. We should be making it easier for people to vote and participate in the process, not harder.”
The Associated Press quoted Michigan House Democratic Rep. Woodrow Stanley as saying that the, “legislation… could turn back the clock in terms of making sure that all of our citizens have free and unobstructed access to the right to vote.’ Stanley made the point that there was no evidence of voter fraud.
What eliminating early voting has anything to do with fraud is unclear. No evidence of widespread voter fraud was presented by Michigan’s Secretary of State, who presented the new legislation.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She is heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Washington DC. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter at @crewof42.
— Managing Editor Charles D. Ellison also contributed to this report