House adopts voter ID bills, sends it to Whitmer for likely veto
The GOP-led state House gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would require people to show a photo I-D to vote, sending it to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and a near-certain veto.
Democrats opposed the bill as an unnecessary obstacle to voting and would actually discourage participation in elections.
Representative Amos O’Neal, a Democrat from Saginaw, said it’s an insult to people who fought for voting rights.
“My vote is my voice,” he said, before intoning twice more. “My vote is my voice. My vote is my voice.”
Democratic Representative Helena Scott of Detroit said the bills needlessly cast doubt on the fairness of elections and the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“The answer to the problem is to stop misleading our people and to stop stripping the rights of our American citizens away,” she said.
“I can assure you we do have checks and balances in our elections, but I can also stand here and tell you there’s room for improvement,” said Republican Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton, who chairs the House Elections and Ethics Committee.
Republican Representative Steve Johnson of Wayland said showing an ID is a fact of modern life.
“Somehow that’s going to suppress the vote,” he said, “but yet you need an ID to get a loan, to rent an apartment, get a hunting license, get a fishing license, you want to buy a drink. In fact, if you want to buy cold medicine, you need an ID to do that. You want to fly in a plane? You need an ID.”
The debate was interrupted a couple of times by protests from the House gallery. House security removed the demonstrators.
The package also includes a bill that would eliminate fees to get or renew a state-issued ID. Also, to would also ban mass mailings of absentee ballot applications and to forbid allowing outside parties to help pay for election-related activities.
The bills now go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Vetoes are expected.
Republicans are also backing a petition drive to initiate a law to enact many of the same rules that would be immune to a veto by the governor.