GRAND RAPIDS — Voting advocates who backed successful election reform initiatives in 2018 announced a new ballot initiative Monday, with officials saying it will make voting more accessible for Michiganders.
Promote the Vote 2022 would allow for voters to either provide a form of ID or sign an affidavit to vote (currently the standard procedure), require the state to provide funding for local election administrators to pay for postage for absentee ballots, require a secure dropbox for absentee ballots for every 15,000 voters in a municipality and allow local governments to accept funding from publicly disclosed sources to pay for election costs.
Other initiatives in Promote the Vote 2022 include extending time for early voting to nine days before the election, allotting more time for military and overseas ballots to be counted, allowing voters to request absentee ballots for future elections instead of once per election, “make clear” the Michigan Legislature does not have a role in the certification of votes and ban non-election officials from participating in post-election audits.
The initiative is spearheaded by Promote the Vote, with backing from the League of Women Voters of Michigan, All Voting is Local, the ACLU of Michigan and Voters Not Politicians.
Some of the measures included in Promote the Vote 2022 would counter those included in the Secure MI Vote petition initiative. Secure MI Vote would eliminate the option for in-person voters to sign an affidavit instead of presenting ID, prevent election officials from issuing absentee ballots on their own and prevent election officials from accepting money from private donors.
Secure MI Vote is a petition initiative, meaning if organizers can obtain around 340,000 signatures, the measures would go to the Legislature for approval. Many of the measures included in Secure MI Vote were previously included in Republican-backed bills that passed the Legislature but were vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.
Backers for Promote the Vote 2022 said the proposal will be on the Nov. 2022 ballot for Michigan voters to decide on.
“Michigan voters have been clear they want accessible and secure elections, which means being able to make their voice heard at the ballot box and being confident that their vote will be counted,” said Christina Schlitt, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “This proposal takes a great step towards modernizing our elections and protecting our freedom to vote.”
Khalilah Spencer, board president of Promote the Vote, said the initiative had been filed with the Michigan Secretary of State’s office Monday.
Promote the Vote backed Proposal 3 in 2018. Prop 3 allowed for no-reason absentee voting in Michigan, and passed with 67 percent of the vote statewide.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Promote the Vote launches new ballot initiative for November election