DETROIT, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed three Republican election bills on Sunday evening, saying they perpetuate a lie that Michigan’s elections aren’t secure already and because she believes they restrict access to voting.
Whitmer vetoed House Bills 4492, 4528, 4837, and 4838 during the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Detroit. The Republican-led Legislature approved all three bills nearly along party lines with only one Democrat in the State Senate voting in favor.
“I will always protect our civil rights and stand up for our democracy that countless Americans have fought to preserve,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I vetoed legislation that would have perpetuated the ‘Big Lie’ or made it harder for Michiganders to vote.”
The bills that passed the Legislature on Thursday would address where polling locations can be placed, limit who can access the state voter file, prevent voting equipment from being connected to the internet and require election challengers to receive training. Republicans said it is good to codify existing practices.
“It’s clear Gretchen Whitmer isn’t interested in protecting democracy. She’s more interested in grand standing and pandering rather than strengthening the security of our elections,” said Gustavo Portela, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party.
Whitmer pointed out the following concerns with the bills:
“Right now, Michigan Republicans are participating in a coordinated, national attack on voting rights that is designed to undermine confidence in our election system and systematically disenfranchise Black voters, communities of color, older voters, and college students,” Whitmer said. “I will have no part in any effort that grants an ounce of credence to this deception, so harmful to our democracy.”
A group already is working to enact those changes through a citizen initiative, which would prevent a veto from Whitmer. The Secure MI Vote group received approval from the Michigan Board of State Canvassers last week to begin circulating petitions.
The group is seeking to strengthen voter ID requirements at the polls or to obtain absentee ballots, ban unsolicited mailings of absentee voter applications, prohibit third parties from returning absentee ballots and ban political interest groups from holding private voter registration drives.
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