Let’s just dispense with the euphemisms. Republicans are poised to ram through bills that will make it harder to vote in Michigan.
Here’s where we are. Michigan already had a voter ID law, but this new legislation toughens up the process. Currently, if you don’t have your ID when you vote, you sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot. Your vote is counted in the tally.
But this proposed law would set aside your vote. And it requires you to go back to your local clerk’s office and produce your ID within 10 days –– or your vote doesn’t count at all.
Laws are traditionally proposed in response to a problem. In this case, you would expect that problem to be a rash of voter fraud cases in Michigan. After all, the bills were introduced after the Nov. 8 election, just in time for the frenzied Lame Duck session in the run-up to the holidays (when voters conveniently aren’t paying attention).
You would be wrong.
I have yet to see any documented cases of voter fraud in Michigan in the 2016 election. The Washington Post has only found four cases in the entire country. To put this in perspective, 135 million ballots were cast in this election.
That’s why Republican former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema and I both agreed in a Michigan Radio interview on Friday that these voter ID bills aren’t necessary.
“There’s very little documentation of voter fraud in Michigan,” Sikkema said. “Some legislator … or some party activist dreamed this up and said, well, Michigan ought to do this, other states do it, but in my opinion, they’re not necessary.”