State Rep. Jay DeBoyer today criticized bills that remove common-sense provisions put into place to protect the integrity of Michigan’s elections.
The plans currently under consideration in the House Elections Committee, which DeBoyer serves on, remove crucial ballot challenging processes. They also allow people to be given rides to polling locations, create pre-registration for voting for individuals ages 16-17 ½ and establish online absent voter ballot applications through the Secretary of State.
“These bills would leave our elections process in Michigan ripe for abuse,” said DeBoyer, who served as clerk and register of deeds for St. Clair County for 11 years prior to becoming a state legislator. “Our most recent general election created many questions and concerns regarding process. These questions and concerns made it clear that we need a more effective and efficient system that gives more people trust in how things are administered and faith in the results.
“We should focus on these concerns instead of moving forward with new proposals that would likely create more questions and further water down our process.”
One bill in the package removes a requirement that makes a ballot challenged if an individual registers to vote on the same day and does not present identification. The requirement helps prevent people from voting multiple times, and DeBoyer said removing it would make things more difficult for those who oversee elections and work to deliver concise, accurate results.
DeBoyer pointed to logistics and costs associated with pre-registration legislation. Implementation of pre-registration in Colorado was estimated to be nearly $600,000 in 2013. Since pre-registered youth may move between that registration and their first chance to vote, information may frequently be no longer accurate or valid. Additional costs could be incurred having to notify these pre-registered voters once they turn 18 to confirm personal information – which also leads to security issues.
Additionally, DeBoyer took issue with the need for online absent voter ballot applications from a security standpoint.
“It’s undeniable that the internet is less safe than an in-person exchange when it comes to personal information,” DeBoyer said. “Now that we are out of the COVID-19 emergency, I don’t see the need for an online option. It creates additional risk for voter fraud and will jeopardize people’s personal information. I am for ease of voting, but it has to be secure.”
The plans are contained within House Bills 4567-70.
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