People For the American Way Foundation

UPDATE: Voter suppression package arrives on Michigan Governor’s desk

UPDATE: Though July 1 has now passed, Governor Rick Snyderstill has yet to sign the voter suppression package. The Michigan chapter of the National Action Network is planning a march from Detroit to Lansing on July 23-27 to protest these and other measures, should the Governor come down on the wrong side of civil rights. Chapter president Rev. Charles Williams II, a supporter of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, says that the bill’s proponents are "playing games" and "we’re standing against it."

A series of voter suppression bills, whose ALEC ties include Representative Dave Agema and Senators David Robertson and Darwin Booher, have now made their way to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Supporters claim that the legislation is necessary to combat voter fraud, but there is a reason the Right Wing has been so eager to invent such a problem and then offer gratuitous solutions: to disenfranchise the voters least likely to back conservative politicians.

The Michigan Daily editorialized:

There is no reason the government should be intervening to further diminish voter turnout as only 40 to 60 percent of American citizens vote in national elections. Strict voter ID laws shouldn’t be established to turn even more Americans away from the polls each year. Instead, the government should be working to increase voter turnout, so that as many American citizens as possible can vote and become part of our nation’s future.

While the Governor has been quiet on whether he will give his veto pen a workout, community opposition against the legislation has not. Earlier this week he was confronted by the council of Baptist Pastors. Detroit Free Press:

"That partnership will be difficult to achieve," said Rev. Bertram Marks, legal counsel for the pastors, "if Snyder signs the voting registration bills."

"These are issues that our ancestors fought very hard to achieve," Marks said. "We feel there is a national movement to curtail people’s ability to vote to impact the presidential election. If you sign these bills into law, it will have great ramification for any cooperation you’re looking to have with Detroit."

Snyder said he’s reviewing the bills, which would require more identification to register to vote and to cast a ballot. He acknowledged that some of the bills presented challenges.

"I don’t want to have legislation that would disenfranchise people," he said.

With July 1 the effective date of SB 754, action by the Governor is imminent.

In the meantime, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box , a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.


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