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Group forms to urge voters to "decline to sign" petitions seeking to change Michigan election law

person signing a petition while another holds a clipboard
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Democratic group urges voters not to sign an election law petition they say would suppress the vote

A group sponsored by the Michigan Democratic Party has formed to urge voters not to sign a petition that seeks to make changes to Michigan election law.

Michael Gilmore is the spokesman for Empower MI Vote. He said the petition being circulated by a group called Secure Mi Vote is a veiled attempt at voter suppression.

"You should decline to sign that petition," said Gilmore. "Any petition that is designed to suppress the vote, you should say 'no thank you,' and walk away."

Gilmore says the petition circulators only need to get valid signatures equal to about 4% of the votes cast in the last election. The petition would then go before the Republican-controlled state legislature, which they could then adopt, rather than placing it on the ballot for the full electorate to decide.

"(They would) rubber stamp it into law - and it will become veto-proof, by our Governor," he said.

The petition would change Michigan election law to forbid elections officials from sending absentee voter applications to all registered voters. Each voter would have to request one.

Voters would have to include a state id number or the last four digits of their Social Security number in order to get an absentee voter application.

Non-profit groups would also be banned from making contributions to help election officials run elections.

Supporters of the petition say it will increase trust in election security.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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