Legislation cleans up voter rolls, improves training, adds accountability
State Rep. Ann Bollin and a group of three other former clerks this week announced a comprehensive plan to improve elections in Michigan.
Bollin, R-Brighton Township, is leading the effort to clean up voter rolls, close campaign finance loopholes, increase accountability, and establish training programs for people interested in serving as poll challengers.
“As a former clerk, I know how vital it is to maintain precise records and promote fairness and accountability through our election laws,” Bollin said. “Protecting the integrity of our elections is of utmost importance. Each vote represents the voice of a Michigander, and it is our duty to ensure that every citizen’s choice is respected and counted. By improving our standards with broadly supported, common-sense reforms, we can build trust in our elections and make sure all eligible voters can vote freely, secretly, independently, and securely.”
Other sponsors include Rep. Rachelle Smit, former Martin Township Clerk; Rep. Jay DeBoyer, former clerk and register of deeds for St. Clair County; and Rep. Pauline Wendzel, former deputy clerk of Bainbridge Township.
In total, the plan includes House Bills 4502-03 and 4870-76:
- HBs 4502-03, sponsored by Bollin, would establish a consistent training program for people throughout the state to become credentialed poll challengers. State law does not currently have any requirements for challengers to receive training.
- House Bill 4870, sponsored by Bollin, would close a campaign finance loophole by creating separate recall committees under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act for the purpose of raising and expending funds specifically for a recall election.
- House Bill 4871, sponsored by Bollin, would prohibit the Secretary of State from adopting a print-on-demand ballot system in Michigan. Moving to a ballot-on-demand system in Michigan would have profound consequences on recounts and re-tabulation, the recording of voted ballots, and auditing challenged ballots.
- HBs 4872, 4875 would create processes to update the qualified voter file after the completion of each federal census and remove outdated information from the qualified voter file when a person hasn’t voted in 20 or more years.
- HB 4873 would ensure county clerks notify the Secretary of State when a juror qualification questionnaire is returned as undeliverable, or if the individual provides a new address. The SOS must then send a notice to the individual, if they’re a registered voter, allowing them to verify or correct the address information. If the notice is not returned by the registered voter within a certain timeframe, their name would be removed from the qualified voter file.
- HB 4874 would create accountability for county and local clerks who do not complete required training by requiring the Secretary of State to post names of local clerks who have not completed the mandatory courses.
- HB 4876 would require the Secretary of State to make reports it receives from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) available to the Legislature. These reports would offer high-level details including the number of people moving from Michigan and those who are registered to vote in another state but live in Michigan. This bill was inspired by an amendment Bollin proposed during the budget process.
The measures have all been referred to the House Government Operations Committee.
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