Michigan Republicans — October 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Republican-led voting registration restrictions finally come to Michigan


I think in our heart of hearts, all of us progressives in Michigan knew this was coming.

Senate Bill 754 is one of a series of bills introduced this year with the purpose of making it harder for people to register to vote, and harder for the nonprofit organizations that perform the service of helping them to register to vote.

The Michigan bill was introduced last week and is pending in Committee on Local Government and Elections.

First, SB 754 requires people trying to register at a government agency to bring state-issued photo ID with them. If they do not, their application will be treated like a mail registration.

Second, the bill creates numerous burdensome and irrelevant bureaucratic rules for nonprofit organizations engaged in voter registration efforts in Michigan. For example, a group would have to register with the Department of State and provide voluminous information, including the name and address of every agent of the organization who is helping to register voters in Michigan. Any changes in the information they submit must be reported promptly to the Department of State as well.


Finally, any voter registration form collected by the organization within seven days of an election must be turned in to the election authorities within one business day. The combined effect of these requirements is that small nonprofits that help to register voters—such as religious organizations, civic groups, and the League of Women Voters—are forced to spend valuable staff time keeping up with onerous paperwork requirements and complying with unreasonable deadlines instead.

As Think Progress points out, these measures go beyond what’s being done even in states like Florida.

On the last provision, Michigan would go even further than Florida’s new onerous restrictions, where people conducting voter registration drives are now allowed just 48 hours to turn in completed forms. Estelle Rogers of Project Vote told ThinkProgress that Michigan’s proposed 24-hour submission window is “the worst turnaround time we’ve ever seen.”

My only question, really, is what took them so long.

[H/T @wavingcrosser via Twitter]