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House Democrats start year with push for voter reform

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Some Michigan House Democrats are making voter reform a primary goal for the new session.

With only two session days of the year under their belt, several lawmakers have introduced legislation that would, among other things, allow no reason absentee voting and automatic voter registration.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, is a bill sponsor. He said these bills packages are long overdue.

“We are coming off of the elections and there was a lot of – there’s still a lot of talk regarding the elections, the lack of turnout,” he said. “And these bills would help improve turnout.”

House Republicans made a push in the final weeks of last year to pass voter identification laws that Democrats criticized as restricting voter rights.

Hammoud said he is passionate about voting rights, although this isn’t a direct response to the previous Republican efforts.

“I thought that was just an attack on voting rights and more than just an attack, you’re trying to add an additional layer of complexity to the election process,” he said.

Hammoud also introduced a bill to require a disclaimer on robocalls the 60 days before an election day. 

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Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R