Media Contact

Dana Chicklas,

October 22, 2021

ACLU denounces proposed voter suppression legislation, specifically Senate Bills 303, 304, and House Bill 5007  

DETROIT – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer supporting a veto of an anti-voter bill package passed by the Michigan legislature. The ACLU denounces this proposed legislation designed to make it harder for Michiganders to vote. 
“This proposed anti-voter legislation is intended to gut the progress Michiganders have made to modernize our election system so that it is more secure and accessible,” said Merissa Kovach, ACLU of Michigan policy strategist. “The record voter turnout last November is proof of how far our state has come, along with the 250 audits conducted afterward which confirmed the security and integrity of our election system. This deeply flawed legislation is a coordinated effort with the so-called group, “Secure MI Vote,” that recently launched a statewide anti-voter petition drive. These efforts are intended to make voting harder, especially for Black and Brown people. Protecting the right to vote is paramount, and these bills do the opposite.”   
Specifically, Senate Bills 303, 304, and House Bill 5007 would add barriers to eligible voters casting their ballots in Michigan, by: 

Disenfranchising tens of thousands of eligible and registered Michigan voters from casting their ballots due to the costs, administrative, and transportation burdens of getting a qualifying ID if they do not already have one. The legislation would eliminate the option for an eligible voter to sign a legally binding affidavit at the polls if they do not have an ID on them. In the 2016 General Election, more than 18,000 voters relied on the affidavit option to cast their ballots. 

Prohibiting in-kind contributions to help fund elections, which would prohibit places of worship and nursing homes from donating their space for polling places, as well as prohibit federal election funding to cities and townships, and prevent citizens from volunteering their time to assist with elections. 

No longer allowing the Department of State and local clerks to proactively mail an absentee ballot application to registered Michigan voters. 

“The impact of this legislation is clear: this is voter suppression that targets Black, Brown, and low-income Michiganders, seniors, people with disabilities, and those who live in rural communities by placing barriers between them and their ability to cast their ballot,” said Kovach. “We applaud Gov. Whitmer for continuing to stand strong against voter disenfranchisement and urge a veto of this legislation to prevent our state’s election system from spiraling decades backwards and silencing the voices of historically disenfranchised Michiganders.”