Lansing— Citizens would be required to show a photo ID when registering to vote under a package of bills that passed the Senate on Tuesday over Democrats' objections.
The package also would require volunteers to complete training before working on voter registration drives and require voter applicants to affirm they are U.S. citizens.
"The aim is to respect the integrity of our elections, and maintain proper means of transparency, all of the things that are at the heart of the public's trust in the election process," said Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, chairman of the Local Government and Elections Committee. "We don't ask much of (voters) — (only that) they register and be who they say they are."
Michigan is among 30 states considering voter ID legislation this year, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. Among those, 13 are considering new voter ID laws, and 10 — like Michigan — are considering strengthening existing voter ID laws.
Most of the bills in the Senate package were recommended last year by Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson as part of her Secure and Fair Elections initiative.
Democrats argue the requirements would make it harder for people to register.
Johnson spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau noted voters already are required to show picture ID at the polls, but those without ID can instead sign an "affidavit of identity." No birth certificate or other proof is required. The Senate bills offer the same option, she said.
"Some folks have raised concern that some communities don't have photo ID and we are very cognizant of that," Gendreau said.
David Rohde, a professor of political science at Duke University, said such reforms benefit Republicans.
"Low-turnout elections benefit Republicans and high-turnout elections benefit Democrats," Rohde said. "(Democrats) tend to vote more sporadically."
Most of the bills passed 26-12 along party lines, with all of the Democrats voting in opposition.
Critics, including the Michigan League of Women voters, AARP Michigan and the American Civil Liberties Union, said the bills would discourage voter participation. Similar legislation adopted in Florida is under review by the Department of Justice to determine if it violates the Voter Rights Act, said Wayne State University constitutional law professor Jocelyn Benson.
"This is a sad day for democracy — it's something that's happening nationwide and has now come to Michigan with these bills," said Benson, who ran against Johnson as the Democratic candidate in the 2010 secretary of state race. Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, said the requirements will discourage people from organizing voter registration drives and reduce the number who register to vote.
"We are missing an extraordinary opportunity to make our voting system simpler and better," Young said following voting on the reforms. "This is a package of bills that thrusts government over the people."
The package also contains campaign finance reforms and bans on public employee payroll deductions for contributions to political action committees and campaign committees.
Most of the bills are headed to the House for consideration.
Link to original article Detroit News
In November, Michiganders voted the state's undemocratic Emergency Financial Manager law out of existence. But that didn't keep Snyder and legislators from claiming control of Motor City.
As of today, Detroit is under the control of a governor-appointed emergency financial manager. The Motor City is the largest district in the nation to have its voters and elected officials sidelined by this new experiment in "crisis management."
Michigan residents might be wondering how this EFM got appointed. Didn’t they roundly reject financial managers in a statewide referendum in November? Michigan residents voted to...
Harriet Rowan | PR Watch 28 Mar 2013 Hits:280 Michigan
On Thursday an emergency manager was named for Detroit, Kevyn Orr, a partner in the Jones Day law firm.
MICHAEL STAMPFLER, [email] Available for a limited number of interviews with major media, Stampfler is former emergency manager of Pontiac, Michigan. He said: “I do not believe emergency managers can be successful — they abrogate the civic structure of the community for a period of years then return it virtually dismantled for the community to attempt to somehow make a go of it. The program provides no...
Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) 15 Mar 2013 Hits:545 Michigan
Teachers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, say that new paycheck cuts are leaving them with so little pay they qualify for food stamps. The teachers, working without a contract, have been hit by a 2011 state law that limited the amount public employers can pay for workers'health insurance. That's now being applied retroactively to these teachers, cutting as much as $300 from each paycheck.
"I am a five-year teacher who brings home $555.39 for two weeks and who currently qualifies for a Bridge Card," Ratliff told the school board Monday to loud...
Laura Clawson | Daily Kos 06 Mar 2013 Hits:494 Michigan
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared the city of Detroit in a state of "fiscal emergency" on Friday afternoon and announced he would appoint a emergency financial manager (EFM) for the city.
Neil Munshi reported in the Financial Times that the emergency manager "would have relatively broad powers to handle the city’s dire financial situation."
In a blog post on the decision, Snyder writes: "Working together in partnership, we can more quickly and efficiently reform the finances in the city." But the EFM role is not one of ...
Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams 02 Mar 2013 Hits:388 Michigan
On the heels of a lawsuit filed recently in the Ingham County District Court challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s new Right to Work law, a coalition of unions has filed a similar lawsuit in federal court. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit and assigned to Judge Stephen Murphy, claims that the law violates the rights of private sector union members who are covered under federal law rather than the laws of the state of Michigan:
The Michigan AFL-CIO, the Building and Trades Council, the Teamsters, SEIU, United Farm...
Eclecta Blog 16 Feb 2013 Hits:917 Michigan
Michigan’s so-called lame duck legislature passed a remarkable 232 bills in its last week of business. Only one bill, SB 0116 (2011), the so-called Right to Work Bill, passed on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday were busy days with 100 and 117 bills respectively passing and Friday was a short day with 14 bills passing before the 2011-2012 legislature adjourned for the last time.
I was standing outside the east wall of the Capitol Building below the House chamber windows chanting “Kill the bill!” when the one unthinkable happened; bill SB 0116...
Ernie Whiteside | Vine Street Report 30 Dec 2012 Hits:346 Michigan
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature approved sweeping legislation on Tuesday that vastly reduces the power of organized labor in a state that has been a symbol of union dominance and served as an incubator for union activity over decades of modern American labor history.
The two bills, approved by the House of Representatives over the shouts of thousands of angry union protesters who gathered on the lawn outside the Capitol building, will among other things, bar both public and private sector workers from being...
Monica Davey | The New York Times 11 Dec 2012 Hits:430 Michigan
Newly elected Rep. Dave Curson moved into his spacious, sun-drenched Capitol Hill office three weeks ago, eager to savor every minute of his congressional career.
And relish it he must: In four more weeks, it’ll all be over.
The Michigan Democrat just won his first congressional race, but in a twist of redistricting he’s already a lame duck. He was elected to a mere seven-week stint, ending on Jan. 2, to finish out Republican former Rep. Thad McCotter’s term.
(PHOTOS: Thad McCotter's career)
So Curson is spending his final...
Seung Min Kim | Politico 07 Dec 2012 Hits:697 Michigan
Lansing, MI – Many concerned worker gathered in Lansing today as Republican legislators scrambled to move forward two bills that had been dormant in their committees for most of the last two years. Today was the last day for this lame duck legislature to move forward a bill in one chamber and still have time to act on the same bill in the other chamber.
As the day began, House Bill 4054 and Senate Bill 116 were identical bills that would allow local units of government to establish so-called right-to-work zones....
Ernie Whiteside 07 Dec 2012 Hits:471 Michigan
WASHINGTON — Driving from Michigan in his Ford F150 pickup truck, David Curson arrived in Washington a week ago. He set up an office last Sunday, was sworn in as a congressman on Tuesday and by Friday had logged his first votes and given his first floor speech – one that stretched a bit past the one minute he'd been allotted.
The 64-year-old Democrat has no time to waste. In six weeks, he'll be gone.
In Congress' packed lame-duck session, Curson is a curiosity.
He was one of four...
Henry C. Jackson | Huffington Post 17 Nov 2012 Hits:501 Michigan
Four congressional aides to Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter have been indicted for falsifying nominating petitions for McCotter's 2012 re-election bid, Michigan’s Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday.
"The investigation conducted by this division [Michigan Attorney General Criminal Division] revealed that the petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass," the AG's August 9 investigative report said. "Staffers functioned in a culture completely indifferent to the requirements of law, and with...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 10 Aug 2012 Hits:542 Michigan
The ballot initiative to repeal Michigan's onerous, anti-democratic Emergency Manager law will go on the November ballot, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday. The repeal campaign had collected enough signatures, only to be faced with a challenge to the font size on the petitions. The State Board of Canvassers was deadlocked along partisan lines over the font size question, but at the Supreme Court, one Republican joined Democrats in voting to approve the measure's inclusion on the ballot, though on different grounds (whichEclectablog analyzes).
Four justices agreed to direct...
Laura Clawson | DailyKos Labor 07 Aug 2012 Hits:528 Michigan
In its first major action on righting the city's finances, Detroit's financial advisory board approved Mayor Dave Bing's plans Thursday for $100 million in cuts to the city's unionized workforce that his administration is expected to impose without negotiations.
Included are a 10% pay decrease, higher out-of-pocket health care costs and limits on overtime.
• Detroit Mayor Dave Bing tells crowd that change is on the way
The wage reduction would apply to police and firefighters, a cut that Bing long has sought. In addition, workers would move...
Matt Helms and Suzette Hackney | Detroit Free Press 15 Jul 2012 Hits:587 Michigan
Women’s health care should never be a political game. And yet, any time there is a contentious election around the corner, that is exactly what it becomes. Never has that been more true than right now in Michigan.
As a woman, a mother and a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, I watched with horror as people who want to restrict access to women’s health care options attempted to fast track a package of anti-abortion bills through the state Legislature in the past month. A...
Lisa Brown State Representative (Mich.) | National Partnership for Women and Families 29 Jun 2012 Hits:426 Michigan
Planned Parenthood's mascot, "Pillamina," is expected to be present Wednesday during a protest outside Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's fundraiser at the Troy Marriott hotel. Credit Planned Parenthood of Michigan
Protestors will march from the Troy Community Center to the fundraiser at the Troy Marriott hotel Wednesday afternoon.
While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney prepares to attend two private fundraisers in Michigan on Wednesday – including a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Rick Snyder at the Troy Marriott hotel – opponents of Romney are planning to protest the former Massachusetts governor's visit to...
Jen Anesi | Troy Patch 21 Jun 2012 Hits:612 Michigan
What good is knowledge, if no one has access to it? That was the underlying question in Troy, Michigan where Tea Party activists sought to thwart a …
There has been much talk recently about the war on women, and for good reason — the onslaught of anti-choice legislation authored, sponsored, and voted into law…
In what the ACLU of Michigan has called the "greatest assault on reproductive rights" in the state's history, Michigan lawmakers are pushing a slew of anti-abortion measures they've…
Digital justice organizers work to move beyond questions of Internet access and work to bring control of media production and distribution to underserved communities.
Until very recently, the…
Benton Harbor, Mich., is a town of nearly 11,000 people, about 90 percent of whom are African American. It is a catalogue of the misery of the industrial…
DETROIT – Thousands of marchers, many of them Black youth, union members and church leaders, occupied the streets of downtown Detroit for several hours April 25 outside General Electric’s …
Working closely with local groups and Occupy, United Auto Workers Local 600 has been an integral part of actions that have succeeded in blocking evictions.
"The time it takes us lawyers…
Michigan State Senate Bill 619 was passed by the Senate last October and has found its way to the floor of the House with substitutions (read the Legislative…
In another midwestern state, a confrontation is peaking between a GOP governor and the fate of a major city's public employees.
On Tuesday, while President Obama was railing against the latest…
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