Michigan voters are being presented with a ballot measure in the upcoming midterm election that critics told Fox News Digital is being packaged by supporters as an election safeguard but in actuality is a measure that will effectively ban true voter ID laws and open the state up to voter fraud.
Voters will head to the polls in Michigan on Tuesday to determine the fate of Michigan Proposal 2, backed by the voting rights group Promote the Vote, which has described the measure as a constitutional amendment that will enshrine voter protections, including voter ID, into the state constitution and “recognize a fundamental right to vote without harassing conduct.”
Critics of the measure, including Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, told Fox News Digital that the measure will effectively ban photo ID requirements at polling places. Currently, Michigan voters are required by law to provide a photo ID or sign a sworn affidavit as to who they are. If that current law is incorporated into the state constitution, which Proposal 2 would do, critics say any law implementing mandatory photo ID would be unconstitutional, therefore effectively banned.
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“Promote the Vote is taking the existing law, which has a huge carveout with that affidavit standard that essentially swallows the rule so it’s an optional photo ID rather than a requirement to show photo ID, and they’re putting it into the constitution and that will prevent the legislature from ever actually requiring that,” Snead told Fox News Digital.
Hans Von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, told Fox News Digital he agrees with Snead’s conclusion that any future law mandating voters show a photo ID would be unconstitutional if the proposal passes.
“It guts the ID requirement by saying any voter can vote if he or she simply signs a form claiming they are who they say they are,” Von Spakovsky said. “The proposal is deceptively worded to make voters believe they are voting in favor of an ID requirement, with the sponsors hoping the voters won’t notice that it then says you can get around it with a signature.”
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Snead told Fox News Digital that legislation mandating photo IDs to vote, known as Secure MI Vote, is currently being debated in the state and if that legislation were to be approved, it would be blocked by the passage of Proposal 2.
“They’re looking for ways to stop that and Promote the Vote’s ballot measure would supersede and neutralize a significant chunk of Secure MI Vote, including bringing photo ID to all ballots,” Snead said.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Promote the Vote said their proposal is “a nonpartisan election reform proposal supported by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, local clerks, the League of Women Voters, faith leaders, business groups like the Detroit Regional Chamber and disability rights groups.”
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“It’s sad that special interest front groups from Washington, D.C., are spreading lies and misinformation about Proposal 2,” the group said. “The fact is Proposal 2 increases election security by enshrining Michigan’s current effective voter ID law into our state Constitution. According to Michigan Secretary of State data, 99.8% of Michigan voters currently show a photo ID when they go to vote in Michigan and that won’t change under Proposal 2.”
The group added that the proposal “specifically requires identity verification of each and every vote cast and every voter casting a ballot in person is asked to provide photo identification – a stringent requirement comparable to or stricter than 37 other states and D.C.”
“The truth is Proposal 2 will make voting more secure, more accessible for the elderly, rural voters, people with disabilities and working parents, and it will help ensure the votes of our military members serving overseas are counted.”
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Snead told Fox News Digital that Promote the Vote’s statement is a tacit admission that stringent voter ID will be effectively banned in the state.
“Promote the Vote does not deny that Proposal 2 bans the implementation of true photo ID requirements,” Snead said. “In fact, the statement all but admits that it does. Promote the Vote acknowledges they are enshrining current law in the constitution. That law specifically allows voting without showing ID, and if Proposal 2 is adopted, it would be unconstitutional to require anyone to show a photo ID when voting – in other words, photo ID requirements would be banned.”
Three former Michigan secretary of states have also joined the opposition to the ballot proposal, telling KTVI-TV late last month that the measure will strip election safeguards not limited to just voter ID.
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“That is a recipe for voter fraud,” Candice Miller, Michigan’s Republican secretary of state from 1995 to 2003, told the outlet.
“The TV commercials are the most deceptive I’ve ever seen,” Republican Michigan State Sen. Ruth Johnson said about the proposal. “They’ve spent a lot of money telling us that it’s going to put ID in our constitution but what they forget to tell you is that there is a little ‘or’… they name all these different IDs you can use or none at all.”
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Snead also pointed out that he cannot verify Promote the Vote’s claim that “99.8% of Michigan voters currently show a photo ID when they go vote” but said that even if true it is highly misleading.
“This figure can only apply to in-person voting since Michigan’s mail voting statute utilizes signature verification (and Proposal 2 enshrined signature verification for mail ballots in the constitution, as well),” Snead said via email. “Already this year, over 919,000 Michiganders have cast mail ballots – none of them were required to provide either a photocopy or a driver’s license or state ID number with their ballots. According to the EAC (p. 29), in 2020 almost half of Michigan voters cast a mail ballot.”
Snead added that over time, the share of mail-in voters will likely increase and Proposal 2 creates a “permanent mail voting list nudging more and more people toward mail voting.”
“Arizona, for example, had a Permanent Early Voting List for some time and in 2020 almost 87% of voters voted by mail per EAC data. Thus, 99.8% of in-person voters may continue to volunteer their IDs, but there will be fewer and fewer in-person voters over time.”
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Snead told Fox News Digital that Promote the Vote is very much a push by the far left to chip away at election integrity across the country and even though the group “says it’s fighting for voting rights” one needs to only “look at the agenda that they’re pushing” and “if you look at the funding sources behind it, promote the vote is very clearly a left-wing organization“