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Michigan Legislature Sends More Election Bills To Gov. Whitmer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Legislature sent more election-related bills to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday, this time to address inaccurate addresses and dates of birth in Michigan's voter file.

Republicans said the legislation would fix issues uncovered by 2019 and 2022 audits and ensure the database is accurate. The measures were opposed by Democrats including Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, however, making vetoes likely.

The bills would require the secretary of state in certain circumstances to remove voters who were given a "placeholder" date of birth — because the actual date is unknown and needs follow-up — or who have not voted since 2000.

If they did not respond to a notice seeking verification of their birthdate or address, their registration would be marked as challenged. The state would have to cancel the registration if they did not vote or engage in voting-related activity by the second November general election after the notice is sent.

One of the bill sponsors, Republican Rep. Julie Calley of Portland, said "leaving the names of dead and ineligible voters in our qualified voter file invites fraud and malfeasance."

Benson spokesperson Tracy Wimmer said the measures were initially drafted in coordination with the department, which supported them.

"But legislative leaders then took them behind closed doors and rewrote them in ways that would burden clerks and voters and prevent the bills from accomplishing their original purpose," she said. "Because of these significant changes, we now oppose the bills."

The Democratic governor last year vetoed a number of election bills, including one that would have toughened in-person voter identification rules and required people to include additional information like their driver's license number on absentee ballot applications.

Republicans say their efforts would protect the integrity of elections, while Democrats say it would suppress voting and perpetuate former President Donald Trump's "big lie" that the 2020 election was stolen.

© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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