Rep. Mark Huizenga of Walker this week voted to help make Michigan’s elections system more trustworthy, secure and accountable.
The measures approved by the Michigan House would remove outdated and uncertain information from the state’s qualified voter files, improve efficiency and effectiveness of counting absentee ballots, and expose local clerks who have not completed required training.
“We must have tighter regulations in our election system to help prevent mistakes – that’s crystal clear, and these reforms approved by the House are a good start toward that end,” Huizenga said. “We all want election results we can trust. We all want elections to be secure and accountable to the people, so the votes that should count are counted and improper votes aren’t counted. This reform package gets Michigan moving in the right direction.”
An audit of the state’s Bureau of Elections released in December 2019 highlighted the need for better procedures to remove or update information for voters with birthdates that indicate they are 120 years old. Outdated information in the state’s qualified voter file also caused a problem last year when the Secretary of State mailed absent voter applications to all voters in the file, and numerous households reported receiving applications for people who have been deceased for years.
The plan approved by the House would set up a procedure to update or remove records in the qualified voter file if an individual hasn’t voted since the 2000 November general election or if the individual has a placeholder – or unspecified — date of birth.
Other measures approved by the House would:
–Allow a city or township to expand the size of its election precincts to account for the drop-off in the number of people voting in person. Current law limits election precincts to 2,999 registered voters. The new reforms would allow precincts to contain up to 5,000 registered voters, freeing up more equipment and staff to process absentee ballots.
–Require any city or township with more than one precinct to establish an absent voter counting board.
–Require the Secretary of State to publish a list on its website of local clerks who are not up to date with their required continuing education or training.
–Adjust due dates and deadlines for reviewing certain types of campaign finance statements and lobby reports, providing Bureau of Election employees a reasonable amount of time to review the documents by the deadline in state law.
The bipartisan plan – contained in House Bills 4127-31, and House Bills 4134-35 — advances to the Senate for further consideration.