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Michigan House approves voting machine bills

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The state House voted Tuesday to outlaw hooking up voting machines up to the internet while ballots are being tabulated. The vote showed the stark difference in how Republicans and Democrats view election security.   

Election officials stressed in the leadup to House passage that election machines are not on the internet as people are voting and ballots are tallied. Thus, argued Democrats, the legislation is not needed.

Republican Representative Matt Hall said then, legislation won’t create a problem, either.

“If this bill doesn’t do anything because they’re not doing this, then what’s the big deal?” he asked.  

Hall led hearings last year on the election before the House Oversight Committee. Hall said the bill would reassure skeptics that Michigan elections aren’t being tampered with by hackers.

“In order to restore faith in our elections process, and ensure security in our elections, we should remove any doubt that an internet connection could be used for nefarious purposes,” he said.

The problem, said Democratic Representative Matt Koleszar, is the legislation helps peddle “the Big Lie” that the election was tampered with.

“Bills like these continue us down a destructive path in planting seeds of doubt about our election process,” said Koleszar. “…Donald Trump lost. It’s time to move on.”

Democrats said the legislation also sets the stage for future restrictions that would make it harder to vote under the guise of election security. It was one of three election-related bills adopted by the House Tuesday and sent to the Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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