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Some Michigan lawmakers want to make voting easier

Voters in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio
Voters in Ypsilanti, Mich.

State senators are making voting laws an issue this year. A mostly Democratic group of senators has introduced a set of bills they say will make voting easier for everyone.

One of the bills would allow people to preregister to vote when they turn 16 – as long as they have a driver’s license or a state ID card.

Democratic Senator Steve Bieda is a bill sponsor. Calling the legislation innovative, he said the state needs to keep up with modern times when it comes to voting. 

“It’s been used with some great success in a number of other states,” he said. “It would save money and frankly it would help encourage younger people, as a rite of passage, to register to vote.”

Another bill would allow for electronic filing of voter registration applications, and the other would allow no-reason absentee voting.

Bieda called them “common sense” reforms.

“We are a service industry,” he said. “We serve the public, and we serve at the public’s discretion. This is a way of allowing people to exercise their right to vote and register more easily.”

The State House of Representatives also unveiled a voting reform package two weeks ago. Spearheaded by Democrats, their package also includes no-reason absentee voting.

Bieda said the issue of making voting easier and accessible shouldn’t be a party issue.

“Philosophically what we believe in is that every citizen has a right to vote, every vote should be counted, and everybody has a right at the table to make their voice heard,” he said. “And they do that at the ballot box.”

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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