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Michigan bill would criminalize requesting absentee ballot for others

Election 2020: Voter registration and absentee ballot deadlines for each state
Posted at 6:17 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 06:17:36-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would make it a felony to request an absentee ballot under someone else’s name, as the state prepares for a presidential election in which a record number of people are expected to vote by mail.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t said whether she intends to sign or veto the measure, which now has cleared both houses of the Republican-led Legislature.

The legislation criminalizes using another person’s name on an absentee ballot application, purposefully making a false statement, or filling out an application to receive multiple ballots. Violations would be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.

State Sen. Kevin Daley, a Republican sponsor of the legislation, said in a media release that he is trying to combat fraud and protect the integrity of elections.

“Our government is based on the notion that people get to choose their elected voices in the capital,” Daley said. “People need to have confidence that their elections are being conducted honestly, and that they can trust the results.”

Despite the concerns, studies have shown that voter fraud has proved exceedingly rare.