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Michigan Senate GOP puts kibosh on no-reason absentee voting

Jun 23, 2015

Credit Lars Plougmann

Republicans in the state Senate have put a damper on a legislative effort to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

A Republican-sponsored bill in the state House seems to have wide bipartisan support. But if the House approves the bill, it appears it won’t go any farther.

The Republican chair of the Senate Elections Committee, Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, says he doesn’t support House Bill 4724. And Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof agrees.

“I’ve generally not been supportive of that,” Meekhof, R-West Olive, told reporters. “I think it’s a responsibility of people to vote.”

“It’s a right that they get to vote. But they should be responsible enough to make sure that they can get to their polling place and vote. I think that’s the least we can ask.”

Meekhof and Robertson say they’re also concerned the measure could lead to voter fraud. That’s despite strong support from state elections officials such as Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who say there’s no evidence it would lead to fraud.

Michigan is in the minority of states that still set conditions on who can mail in their ballot before Election Day.

There’s also a campaign forming to put no-reason absentee voting on the 2016 ballot.