Michigan Republicans moved to prevent the secretary of state’s office from mailing out absentee-ballot applications to every state resident.
The proposal is included within the GOPs budget bill, which passed a subcommittee on Tuesday and now heads to the appropriations committee for approval.
However, even though Republicans control both the state House and state Senate, Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has the power to strip portions of the legislation before she signs it into law.
Republican state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom dismissed Democrats’ arguments that the voting proposal is political and said it was only introduced to clear up confusion.
“The budget is always an important place to focus on government efficiency,” VanWoerkom said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Despite its nonpartisan nature, the bill sought to address the overreach by radical leftists who usurped authority ordinarily designated to local officials under state law while dubiously claiming the pandemic as their pretense.
“Local clerks have always had responsibility for sending out absentee ballot applications,” VanWoerkom said.
“The secretary of state’s office created confusion among the public and press by sending out a mass mailing last year,” he continued. “This eliminates confusion, makes the process simpler to understand, and keeps the exact same level of service and access for voters.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson faced criticism from former president Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party for sending absentee ballot applications en masse during the 2020 election cycle, despite the increased risk of vote fraud.
A judge eventually rebuked Benson, determining that her actions in loosening the election policies had violated state law.
However, the ruling came too late to sway the outcome. Suspicious ballots flooded Detroit and other blue-dominated parts of the battleground state, helping clinch it for Joe Biden after a 4 a.m. vertical jump in votes on Nov. 4 moved him to the lead.
In a statement, Benson’s office pushed back on Republicans’ attempts to rein in her power.
Benson spokesman Jake Rollow ironically accused the legislature of exceeding its authority while claiming the provisions had little to do with the state budget.
“They are … another attempt by state legislators—notably the most nakedly partisan branch of our state government—to overstep their authority in an effort to control our elections and undermine our democracy,” Rollow said.
“It shows the lengths they will go to promote the proposals in their anti-democratic, un-American, ill-informed and unfunded package to roll back the successes of last year’s elections and silence the voices of Michigan’s electorate,” he added. “It’s a shameful and embarrassing misuse of their authority.”