No way out: Vetoing election bills will snare Whitmer in Michigan Republicans' trap

October 15, 2021, 10:55 AM

Gretchen Whitmer is caught in a political cage with no easy exit.

Party-line votes Thursday in the Michigan House gave final approval to three bills to ban unsolicited absentee ballot application mailings, stiffen identification rules for in-person voting and require absentee ballot applicants to include ID numbers. Democrats criticize the moves as Republican voter suppression attempts.

The governor intends to veto the legislation, as she did this year with other proposed changes to election rules. "Robust election protections [are] in place," including an ID law for in-person voting, Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy restated Thursday.

Her upcoming vetoes actually will be a make-our-day gift for political rivals, Jonathan Oosting explains at Bridge Michigan:

Michigan Republicans attempting to tighten voting and election laws are about to get exactly what they want. ... They’ve welcomed that [veto] possibility as they ask voters to sign a petition designed to enact the proposed reforms into law without her signature.

"I think it's a better argument for us that she does veto the legislation -- that she is ignoring the will of the people," then-Michigan Republican Party Executive Director Jason Roe told reporters in June. ... The GOP remains committed to the petition drive strategy that Chair Ron Weiser first unveiled in March as a way to circumvent a Whitmer veto. ...

A veto will show GOP activists "that this is the way that we have to do it," said Jamie Roe, a spokesperson for the Secure MI Vote [petition] initiative. "The Legislature on their own has tried to get this done, but this governor is not interested in anything that will secure the election."

The state constitution lets Republicans try to enact new ballot regulations by collecting just over 340,000 valid voter signatures -- roughly 8 percent of all voters in the 2018 election that Whitmer won with nearly 2.3 million votes.

Gretchen Whitmer (Photo: Fox News screenshot)

Ooosting quotes Nancy Wang, executive director of the Voters Not Politicians nonprofit, as criticizing the "plan to go around normal democratic processes."

Here's what Democrats said about the three bills they voted against Thursday in the House, via Twitter and Michigan Advance:

► 'Defame and dishonor:' "One political party continues to defame and dishonor our great American democracy." -- Rep. Helena Scott, Detroit

 Nonexistent problems: "These bills are creating more issues for voters They're solving problems that don't exist and ruining faith in our democracy. And we know that the negative effects of these bills would be felt most severely by communities that already struggle with representation." -- Rep. Darrin Camilleri, Brownstown Township

'Fundamental rights:' "We find ourselves back here, at the starting line of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” O’Neill said. “[The bills] are heinous, regressive, suppressive and discriminatory. … These bills chip away at the very foundation of our fundamental American rights." -- Rep. Amos O'Neal, Saginaw

'Voters you have duped:' "This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 1. Tell voters the election was stolen. 2. Repeat step 1 for 11 months, and double down when presented with evidence that you're lying. 3. Pass laws that rig future elections by suppressing votes, because the voters you have duped want it." -- Rep. Matt Koleszar, Plymouth Township

Read more:  Bridge Michigan

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