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GOP-led Senate panel holds hearing on election bills, blasted by Nessell, Benson

a voters booth
Paulette Parker
Michigan Radio
A Michigan Senate committee pressed ahead with hearings on proposed changes to voting laws

A state Senate committee listened to hours of often-passionate testimony Wednesday on potential changes to election laws, including absentee ballots and voter IDs. The proposals and the reactions reflect continued battling over last year’s election.

The Senate Elections Committee is Senator Ruth Johnson (R)- a former Republican Secretary of State.

“All we’re trying to do is make sure that we have systems in place that people can count on that there will be integrity in our elections,” Johnson said.

There’s no evidence there was widespread fraud or illegal voting.

In a separate news conference, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says the bigger problem is the continued questioning that last year’s election wasn’t fair and accurate.

“If any voter has lost faith in that, it’s not because the system is flawed,” she said. “It’s because leaders have deceived them into thinking that it is, and then allowed those lies to be spread and be repeated and amplified.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel, at the same news conference, said the Senate bills would discourage voter participation.

“If some of this gets through – certainly if all of this gets through -- there will be some very valid constitutional challenges,” she said.

But a legal challenge would be unlikely since Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, would have to sign the bills first.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.