ACLU: Michigan voter ID bill and what you can do to help today/this weekend

Written by: Sarah Donnelly

Primary Source : Turtle Talk, December 9, 2016.

Friends,

As you are aware, a strict voter ID bill is currently being rammed through the Michigan legislature. It has passed the House and will be considered by the Senate next week. The bill will be before the Senate Elections Committee on Tuesday, and it could reach the Senate floor potentially as early as that day, or on Wednesday or Thursday (the last day of session). I am told that it would be most effective if pressure were applied directly to certain key Senators (listed below), through an avalanche of both e-mails and phone calls. Also, note that all State Senators in Michigan are up for reelection in 2018.

Michigan voter IDs are issued out of the SOS branch offices (https://services2.sos.state.mi.us/servicelocator/), not the DMV, and I am told that Senators from rural areas may be particularly moved by communications from constituents (or others) describing the difficulties of travelling to the remote SOS office especially if they are only open during limited hours. Of course, constituents and others should feel free to include any other argument against voter IDs, reminding them about the disproportionate impact that these laws have on racial minorities, including the fact that nearly half of the 18,000 votes cast by affidavit were from Wayne County, which is about 40% African American (compared to 14% statewide), or any other written materials about the disparate impact of voter ID laws. Note that the bill does not require ID for mail-in absentee ballots, and in Michigan anyone age 60 years or older or persons with disabilities (persons “unable to vote without assistance at the polls”) can vote absentee, but emphasizing the importance to many elderly persons or persons with disabilities of being able to cast a ballot in person may also be helpful.

Because the Senate Committee meeting has not been formally scheduled yet, written comments cannot yet be sent to the committee clerk for inclusion in the record (that probably will not happen until Monday at which point I can let folks know), but comments can of course be made directly to the Senators right now.

Senate Elections Committee

  • David Robertson (R) Committee Chair, 14th District, 517-373-1636, sendrobertson@senate.michigan.gov
  • Patrick Colbeck (R) Vice Chair, 7th District, 517-373-7350, senpcolbeck@senate.michigan.gov
  • Judy K Emmons (R) 33rd District, 517-373-3760, senjemmons@senate.michigan.gov
  • Mike Shirkey (R) 16th District, 517-373-5932, senmshirkey@senate.michigan.gov
  • Morris W Hood III (D) Minority Vice Chair, 3rd District, 517-373-0990, senmhood@senate.michigan.gov

Senators with rural districts (In order of priority)
District 38 – Tom Casperson, 517-373-7840, Sentcasperson@senate.michigan.gov
District 37 – Wayne Schmidt, 517-373-2413, senwschmidt@senate.michigan.gov
District 36 – Jim Stamas, 517-373-7946, senjstamas@senate.michigan.gov
District 35 – Darwin Booher, 517-373-1725, sendbooher@senate.michigan.gov
District 19 – Mike Nofs, 517-373-2426, senmnofs@senate.michigan.gov
District 26 – Tonya Schuitmaker, 517-373-0793, sentschuitmaker@senate.michigan.gov
District 34 – Goeff Hansen, 517-373-1635, senghansen@senate.michigan.gov
District 33 – Judy Emmons, 517-373-3760, senjemmons@senate.michigan.gov
District 31 – Mike Green, 517-373-1777, senmgreen@senate.michigan.gov
District 21 – John Proos, 517-373-6960, senjproos@senate.michigan.gov
District 25 – Phil Pavlov, 517-373-7708, senppavlov@senate.michigan.gov
District 16 – Mike Shirkey, 517-373-5932, senmshirkey@senate.michigan.gov
District 17 – Dale Zorn, 517-373-3543, sendzorn@senate.michigan.gov

Onward,
Voting Rights Project
ACLU

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Sarah Donnelly
Sarah Maev Donnelly is the Program Coordinator for the Indigenous Law & Policy Center at Michigan State University’s College of Law. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville before completing her Juris Doctor at Michigan State with a certificate in Indigenous Law.