Wants residents to be able to register to vote, cast a ballot during the same trip to the polls

LANSING, Mich., May 23, 2018 — Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) today continued his fight for same-day voter registration in Michigan. During Senate session, he introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 1012, sponsored by Sen. David Robertson (R–Grand Blanc), that tie-barred it to his legislation, meaning that Sen. Robertson’s bill would only take effect if Sen. Bieda’s bill also passed and takes effect. The amendment failed to pass, 11-25, with one member excused..

Senate Bill 977, sponsored by Sen. Bieda and introduced on May 3, would allow residents to register to vote and cast a ballot during the same trip to the polls, simplifying the election process by creating a one-stop shop for voters.

Currently, 15 states offer same-day voter registration and Michigan is one of only 12 remaining states that mandates a 30-day voter registration wait period. Same-day registration is proven to boost voter turnout by five percent on average, which would result in more than 240,000 additional votes being cast in Michigan.

“As citizens, we have a constitutional right to elect the people who we want to represent us in office,” Sen. Bieda said. “These overly burdensome processes and arbitrary timeframes disrupt that right and have prevented hundreds of thousands of ballots from being cast by eligible residents.”

Under current Michigan law, registering to vote is burdened by complicated processes and arbitrary timelines. Citizens who wish to vote are required to jump through five bureaucratic hoops listed on the Secretary of State website and make time to register at least 30 days in advance of an election to simply perform their civic duty.

Sen. Bieda’s bill seeks to streamline and eliminate inconveniences, and pulls voter registration in line with other established practices.

“When someone starts a new job, the government doesn’t wait 30 days to start taking taxes out of their paycheck,” Sen. Bieda said. “Why do we need such a delay between someone registering to vote and being able to cast a ballot? That’s taxation without representation!”

Same-day registration is as safe as the current registration process, yet can be taken care of in half the time. Technological advances have made this possible by cross-referencing statewide voter systems and e-poll books to offer real-time security checks. Prospective voters will be required to provide proof of identification and residency in order to cast a ballot.

Senate Bill 977 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform.

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