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Whitmer vetoes election bills; Republicans say this fight is not over

The Michigan Capitol building in Lansing, featuring a lamppost and the Gov. Blair statue.
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Capitol building in Lansing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed four election-related bills late Sunday, including some that had bipartisan support. Republicans say this fight is not over.

Whitmer said in her veto letter that her biggest complaint is the legislation perpetuates the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and the bills foment distrust in elections:

"I will have no part in any effort that grants an ounce of credence to this deception, so injurious to our democracy. The 2020 election was free, secure, and accurate. The results were certified and officially audited by trusted local election officials, as required by law. Judges appointed by both Republicans and Democrats rejected more than 60 lawsuits challenging the outcome."

Whitmer also said many of the practices defined in the bills are already used by election officials, like a ban on connecting voting machines to the internet.

Bills that had wide bipartisan support would’ve required more training for poll challengers. But they didn’t include funding to do that, which the governor cited in her veto letter. Another would’ve allowed voters to cast ballots in new types of polling locations.

“I’m not going to step back because the governor’s threatening to veto,” said Republican Representative Ann Bolin, who chairs the House Elections and Ethics committee. She says if election officials are using “best practices,” then it makes sense that they be enshrined in state law.

“It is a best practice not to be connected to the internet,” she said. “Why wouldn’t we want to put our best practices into statute to ensure that they’re not and to give our voters confidence in the system.”

Bolin said there are more bills in her committee pipeline that she intends to send to the House floor.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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