Michigan's voting laws should accommodate every eligible person who wants to cast a ballot. Restricting voting to a single day no longer serves the needs of modern society. Most voters must take time off work to vote, limiting participation among those who cannot afford to do so.
Early voting, whether no-reason absentee, or in person, has several benefits. Allowing voters to cast their ballot before Election Day decreases wait times and shortens lines on Election Day, as voting is spread out over a number of days. Fewer voters at one time leads to less crowded polling centers, reducing the burden on Election Day poll workers.
Early voting also helps increase voter turnout. Working class voters and single parents, in particular, have less flexible schedules. Early voting eases these burdens by providing people with more choices about when they can vote.
29 States offer "no excuse" absentee voting, allowing any registered voter to vote absentee without a reason, including neighbors: Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. In Michigan, voters under 60 are not allowed to vote by Absentee except for a limited list of reasons, which disqualifies most eligible voters from obtaining an absentee ballot.
As our next State Representative, I will support "No Excuse" Absentee Voting and Early Voting.
According to the Pew Research Center, the United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed countries. Our legislators, regardless of party, should support commonsense policies that keep our votes secure, yet increase participation by removing unnecessary barriers to voting.
- Online voter registration allows new voters to register and existing voters to update their information by submitting an online form to the Secretary of State. Paper registration forms would still be available for anyone who cannot register online.
- Arizona was the first country in the nation to implement paperless voter registration in 2002. Since going paperless, the cost to register an Arizona voter dropped from 83 cents per registration to 3 cents per online registration. Security for online voter registration is essential for online voter registration and there are several approaches that can be used to prevent fraud or breaches by hackers.
38 States, and the District of Columbia, have approved online voter registration. As the next Representative of District 1, I will support the House companion to SB 56.
HB 4037 creates automatic voter registration for Michiganians when they are issued a new driver’s license, or update their current information, unless they decide to opt-out. This smart policy will make it easier for eligible voters to register and will lead to cleaner voter registration rolls, making our elections more secure.
- Since first passing its own law, in 2015, Oregon has increased its voter registration rate by almost 10 points.
- The legislation also increased voter turnout. In Oregon’s 2016 Presidential Primary this year, voters who were registered automatically turned out at higher rates than those who registered through traditional means.
Six states and the District of Columbia have authorized automatic voter registration. As a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, I would support HB 4037.