LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed legislation that would have required voter registration applications to include a statement that the applicant understands it is a felony to try to vote more than once in the same election.
Her office announced the veto late Friday, after business hours, saying the bill was part of a larger package of election measures that was not negotiated and aims “to restrict or chill access to the ballot.”
The Democratic governor has blocked a number of Republican-sponsored election bills over the past seven months, saying they would have perpetuated falsehoods to discredit the 2020 presidential election or made it harder to vote.
Michigan’s voter registration application must include information such as the person’s name, address, date of birth and, if available, driver’s license or state ID number. It also must include provisions including that the elector is a U.S. citizen, will be 18 by next election and will have established residence for at least 30 days in the city or township. The applicant signs and certifies to the truth of the statements on the application, attesting that they may be fined or jailed for providing false information.
The bill was approved by mostly party-line votes in the GOP-controlled Legislature, with some Democrats in support.
The sponsor, Republican Sen. Kim LaSata of Niles, said clerks who administer elections supported her legislation.
It “would simply require individuals registering to vote to confirm they understand there are consequences if they break the law,” she said Monday. “This legislation in no way shape or form prevented someone from, or even slightly hindered someone, from voting.”
Whitmer said she would sign bills to establish a permanent absentee voter list, let voters serving overseas and their spouses vote electronically, and give clerks sufficient time to process absentee ballots before Election Day.
Two days after vetoing the bill, the governor directed state department and agency leaders to identify and assess potential opportunities to expand people’s ability to register to vote and access voting information. Reports are due within 60 days, after which Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will review if state offices that provide public assistance or offer services to disabled people are providing voter registration services in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act.
“To the extent that the Department of State recommends additional offices be designated as voter registration agencies to comply with the NVRA, I expect to take appropriate action expeditiously,” she wrote in the directive that was issued Sunday.