Election reform package bound for governor’s desk

Election reform package bound for governor’s desk

LANSING—Legislation that will increase accountability in Michigan’s elections was approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday, said Dave Robertson, chairman of the Local Government and Elections Committee.

“This package preserves the integrity of the elections process to ensure that every vote counts and is only counted once,” said Robertson, R-Grand Blanc Township. “It increases accountability by requiring candidates to file accurate and timely reports or risk more servere consequences.”

Robertson is the primary sponsor of four bills in the nine bill package and a co-sponsor of the rest of the bills. The legation includes measures that will:

• Increase penalties for inaccurate or missing campaign finance statements;
• Crack down on voter registration fraud by adding identification requirements and training for third-party registration groups;
• Require a voter to indicate that he is a U.S. citizen prior to voting in person or by absentee ballot;
• Prevent non-citizens who have been inadvertently added to voter rolls from accidently voting and getting into legal trouble;
• Require the secretary of state to post the most recent ballot petition language online; and
• Create a misdemeanor if an individual solicits or receives compensation to support or oppose a candidate, political committee or political party.

“Unfortunately, there is a potential for fraud in elections,” Robertson said. “However, this legislation addresses a number of loopholes in our current system that need to be closed. It will discourage political tricks and increase penalties for those who try to skirt the law. I look forward to these bills becoming law.”

Senate Bills 750-754, 803 and 823-825 now head to the governor to be signed into law.