This article is from our friends at Promote the Vote:
Last week, the Governor signed a package of election-related bills into law, further solidifying Michigan’s role as a national leader when it comes to pro-voter reforms. These bills will provide for the pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, prohibit the intimidation and harassment of election workers, improve Michigan’s automatic voter registration process, and allow Michiganders to register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot online without a Michigan driver’s license or ID, among many other things. (See below for more details.)
These bills further build on the momentum–and in many ways are the direct result–of three successful statewide ballot initiatives: Proposals 2 and 3 of 2018 and Proposal 2 of 2022. These initiatives created an independent, citizen-led commission to draw more representative district maps and ensured that Michigan’s voting system is more secure and accessible than ever before. PTV is proud of the work we have done–alongside our partners, stakeholders, and legislators–to provide expertise, education and guidance to help implement each of these initiatives and to ensure that Michigan’s pro-voter bills were drafted effectively and moved smoothly through the legislature.
VOTING RIGHTS IN THE LEGISLATURE
Below are some of the key bills that the Governor signed into law last week:
- Election Official Intimidation: HB 4129 will protect election officials from threats intended to interfere with the performance of their election duties, and HB 4230 will provide for certain punishments if individuals engage in threatening or intimidating behavior against election officials.
- Secure AVR: HB 4983, HB 4984, HB 4985, and HB 4986 will make critical improvements to Michigan’s automatic voter registration process. These bills will also require MDOS and the Department of Corrections (DOC) to work together to ensure that all Michiganders are registered to vote upon their release from incarceration. Michigan is the first state in the nation to take this step. MDOS and DOC have until June 2025 to implement this provision.
- Preregistration: HB 4569 will allow eligible individuals to “pre-register” to vote starting at age 16 by submitting their voter registration information to election officials.
- Online Absentee Ballot Application: HB 4570 will codify Michigan’s online absentee ballot application in statute and allow voters to apply online even if they do not have a signature on file with the Michigan Department of State.
- Campaign AI and Deceptive Media in Elections: HBs 5141, 5143, 5144, and 5145will,among other things, require the disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence in political ads, prohibit the distribution of materially deceptive media without appropriate disclaimers, and establish criminal penalties for violations of these provisions.
- Contesting Post-Certification Election Results: SB 590 will establish a process for contesting the certification of an election.
- Require County Clerks to Appoint Designees to Conduct Audits: SB 570 provides language for a change to audit policies added to the constitution by Prop 2, namely that party officers cannot conduct audits and must appoint a designee. County clerks are included as members of their county’s party executive committee by statute, so this would apply to most county clerks.
- Expanded Online Voter Registration: SB 594 will allow voters to use the online voter registration application even if they do not have a Michigan driver’s license or state ID, and would also allow a voter to electronically submit a new or additional signature for voting purposes. MDOS has until June 2025 to implement these provisions.
- Federal Electoral Count Reform Act: SB 529 will align the state’s certification and appointment of presidential and vice presidential electors with federal law.
- Electronic Submission of Poll Worker Applications: SB 385 will allow individuals to submit a poll worker application electronically.