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Path to gather signatures cleared for voter ID petition

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Joe Shlabotni
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The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of a petition Monday that would require a partial social security number to register to vote.

An initiative to add new restrictions to Michigan’s voter I-D policies has cleared a last hurdle before signature gathering begins.

The Board of State Canvassers Monday approved the form of a petition from the group, Secure My Vote, that would require a partial social security number to register to vote.

The measure would no longer allow voters without an I-D to vote by signing an affidavit. It would also bar officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

Jeff Litten is Secure My Vote executive director.

“I think just even one case of fraud is a problem no matter what happens. If there’s one case of fraud, that’s an issue,” Litten said.

Experts and election officials have repeatedly said voter fraud was not an issue in the 2020 general election.

The measure echoes efforts in the G-O-P-led legislature to make the state’s election laws stricter.

If the group behind the petition gathers at least 340-thousand signatures, the legislature could adopt the measure into law without the Democratic governor’s approval. In that scenario, the initiative would never reach the November 2022 ballot.

As expected, the Board of State Canvassers approved the form of the petition by a 3-0 vote. Vice chair Julie Matuzak was not in attendance Monday.

Despite voting to approve the form, Matuzak’s fellow Democratic board member, Jeannette Bradshaw said she disagrees with the petition’s premise.

“I just don’t feel that this petition is necessary. I think it actually hinders voting instead of promoting voting,” Bradshaw said.

The meeting is a follow up to one held last week when the board delayed form approval due to several typos on the petition.

Bradshaw said, going forward, she will not vote to approve any forms without seeing the final version.

“We don’t have promulgated rules for the board. So just having policy of how we’re going to proceed. I think that’s important for us,” Bradshaw said.

While signature gathering could technically begin without the board’s approval, Monday’s vote is an insurance step to reduce legal challenges down the road.

Petition backers say they plan to begin signature collection within two weeks.