LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan election board on Friday voted to put a question on the November ballot about whether the state should expand opportunities to vote, including through absentee and early voting, after the state Supreme Court ordered it to do so.
The court sided Thursday with supporters of Promote the Vote 2022, a coalition of organizations that submitted signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendment before voters.
The measure would require state-funded absentee ballot drop boxes, as well as postage for absentee ballots and applications, and allow voters to join a permanent list to have absentee ballots sent for every election. It also would allow Michigan voters to verify their identity with a signed statement or a photo ID, and it would require nine days of in-person early voting.
Promote the Vote 2022 has said that the initiative will help ensure that every state voter’s voice is heard.
Republicans oppose the measures, saying they would open the door to fraud. In Michigan and elsewhere, the GOP has pushed stricter rules around voting and repeated former President Donald Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Trump lost the state and the presidency to Joe Biden.
Promote the Vote asked the court to order a state elections board to certify the measure for the Nov. 8 ballot after the Board of State Canvassers voted along party lines on Aug. 31 not to do so. The four-member board’s two Democrats said the initiative should be on the ballot, while its two Republicans said it should not.
The Republican members and other opponents said some of the language on the petitions was unclear, and Michigan GOP spokesman Gus Portela called it “a dangerous proposition.”
Promote the Vote argued it submitted more than enough signatures to meet the 425,000-signature requirement to be certified, and called opponents' arguments against it “frivolous.”
All four board members voted Friday to put the measure on the ballot, following the Supreme Court's directive.
Burnett reported from Chicago.
Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.