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Voter Identification Bills Pass Through House

Voter ID
Wikipedia Media Commons

Bills creating stricter voter identification laws are quickly making their way through the Legislature.  

The State House passed three bills late Wednesday to make Michigan’s voter ID law stricter.  The legislation would require people who show up at the polls without a photo ID to cast a provisional ballot.  They would then have ten days to show up at the local clerk’s office and then prove their identity.

But Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin disagreed.  He said the legislation creates a burden on some voters.  

“I believe that they are straightforwardly unconstitutional,” he said.  “The right to vote is the most fundamental right that we have as Americans.  And the courts have said time and time again that you cannot have a poll tax.”

The votes were close with 57 in favor and 50 against.  Most Republicans supported the legislation, but Republican Representative Ed McBroom voted against the bills.  He said the current voter ID laws work well.  

McBroom explains, “I appreciate the effort here, but I really think that we are making a lot of additional problems for my clerks, for my voters, probably for myself.”

The package includes an $11 million appropriation, making it immune to a referendum challenge. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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