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GOP pushes dozens of bills aimed at election reform

They call it restoring faith in the process. Critics say it's voter suppression.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Wednesday, Michigan Senate Republicans introduced nearly 40 bills addressing elections and voting. They say the moves are to restore faith in the process. Critics call it voter suppression.

Some of the bills include requiring clerks to flag dead voters on rolls, though dead people voting was not a problem last year. Another would require a photo ID when applying for an absentee ballot. Another would increase the number of people on canvassing boards. A big one: unless specifically requested, the Secretary of State could not send absentee ballot applications directly to voters... like was done last year.

Ted Goodman, the communications director for the state Republican party said, "Republican leaders in Lansing are committed to restoring the public's confidence in our elections, and eliminating as many opportunities to commit fraud as possible while making sure every eligible Michigander can exercise their right to vote."

Democrats see it as an effort to simply restrict voting. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D) says, "I think there's a coordinated campaign from Republicans across the country to make it more difficult to vote. Because they're concerned that we had record turnout from communities of color, from Black voters in particular, and voters of color in the suburbs, and other places. They saw that led to Democrats winning the White House and Democrats winning in different places. And I think that's concerning to them. But, rather than trying to meet voters where they are, they want to prevent voters from voting. And that's not what our election laws should be about."

The Republican bills now go to the Senate Elections Committee. But even if they are eventually passed and sent to Governor Whitmer, a Democrat, would likely veto them.

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