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Whitmer signs voting rights bills

absentee ballot box outside of township building
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Tuesday to expand voting rights – including making it easier to vote by absentee ballot.

Whitmer said in a statement that the new laws will help enact the will of voters who overwhelmingly approved adding a new voting rights amendment to the Michigan Constitution.

“Michiganders spoke with a clear, united voice last November when they voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposal 2, expanding voting rights,” Whitmer said in a statement released by her office. “Today, I am proud to sign bipartisan legislation implementing the will of the people, ensuring they can make their voices heard in every election. Let’s keep fighting to expand the constitutional right to vote freely, fairly, and securely with commonsense reforms so we can build a government of the people that delivers for the people.”

The new laws will allow at least nine days of early voting in statewide elections. Also, people can sign up to have absentee ballots and pre-paid postage envelopes automatically sent to their homes. There will also be more ballot drop boxes. And people can sign up for text or e-mail messages on the status of their absentee ballots right up to delivery to be counted by clerks’ offices.

“We are ready to work with Michigan’s clerks to implement these new laws in time for next year’s elections,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement.

The bills were adopted by the Legislature on bipartisan votes, although some Republicans argued the legislation could enable ballot fraud.

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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