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Gov. Whitmer Vetoes GOP Election-Reform Bills

'This legislation was not partisan, but the governor and secretary of state have chosen to make everything partisan...'

(Scott McClallen, The Center Square) Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two GOP elections bills last week.

The first-term Democrat has said she would reject any bills that she perceives as suppressing voting rights.

SB 280 aimed to require the Board of State Canvassers to complete the canvass of an initiative petition within 100 days after the petition was filed with the Secretary of State.

Former Secretary of State and current Rep. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, criticized the veto.

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“This legislation was not partisan, but the governor and secretary of state have chosen to make everything partisan,” Johnson said in a statement.

“I personally didn’t agree with many parts of Proposal 3 of 2018 when I was secretary of state, but I made sure we processed those petitions in 53 days because that was my responsibility to the people of Michigan,” she continued. “One hundred days is a reasonable timeframe. This veto is not about good public policy, it is about partisan politics.”

SB 277 aimed to require county clerks to update the qualified voter file to cancel the registration of deceased electors in their counties at least monthly.

The bills were part of a roughly 40-bill package that the GOP claimed would secure election integrity.

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Some GOP lawmakers have rejected any connection between former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss and the bill package, saying the bills were a priority before then.

“Every citizen of Michigan has the constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote and deserves to exercise that right in safe and secure elections,” Whitmer wrote in a veto letter. “Enrolled Senate Bills 277 and 280 are the latest in a series of election bills arriving on my desk that fail to advance those goals.”

Whitmer said the two vetoed bills “[W]ould divert key resources away from ensuring that every qualified Michigan resident can cast a secure ballot in our elections. SB 277 in particular disregards the state’s successful process for maintaining the Qualified Voter File by adding burdensome requirements that would distract from core election administration responsibilities.”

Whitmer said she would work together on legislation to ease overseas voting for military families, establishing a permanent absent voter list, allowing more time for preprocessing of absentee ballots, and allowing county clerks to flag dead voters 15 days before an election.

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