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Election bills mostly clear Michigan Legislature

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Michigan’s new voting rights constitutional amendment is a step closer to implementation. That’s after lawmakers sent a series of bills to the governor Tuesday. One remains behind for the Senate to give a final OK to changes the House of Representatives made.

The bills spell out what the new changes mandated by the amendment, like a nine-day early voting period, would look like in practice. The legislation would allow communities to open that period for longer, up to 29 days before an election, if they choose.

Representative Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing) said the new policies outlined in Proposal 2 of last year, "are at the heart of our democracy.”

“When we ensure every voter has the freedom to exercise their right to vote and express their will at the ballot box, our democracy is stronger,” Tsernoglou said from the House floor.

But Representative Jay DeBoyer (R-Clay Twp) said the bills go beyond the amendment.

“I see that as a definitive way to erode the trust of this body, when we do things like this and when we represent that as just implementing Prop 2,” DeBoyer said during a speech.

The package would also expand absentee ballot pre-processing, implement a permanent absentee voter list, and give voters a chance to fix problems with a signature on their absentee ballot.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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