LANSING – With just three weeks left before Michiganders head to the polls for the August 5th primary, Senator Jim Ananich is set to introduce another measure tomorrow to help make it easier to vote. This bill would help Michigan workers who want to vote but find it difficult or impossible because of their work schedule.
“Workers should not be forced to choose between taking a hit to their paycheck or making their choice in the voting booth,” said Ananich. “Providing Election Day leave is just one of the many common sense reforms we should consider to ensure the right to vote is protected for everyone.”
The new legislation would amend Michigan law to allow employees to request a paid leave of up to three hours to vote in an election. More than thirty other states and Puerto Rico already provide some type of guaranteed Election Day leave. Ananich and others have also sponsored additional voting reforms such as early voting (SB 849), no reason absentee voting (SB 124), online voter registration (SB 28), and broadening the acceptable forms of voter ID (SB 467). Republicans in the majority in the House and Senate have yet to allow a hearing on any of these despite the Secretary of State and several other officials claiming they would support some of the reforms.
Just over a year ago, the US Supreme Court severely weakened the Voting Rights Act and the result has been a number of states pursuing measures to make it more difficult to cast a ballot. In addition, earlier this month students in North Carolina filed a lawsuit claiming that voter ID laws discriminate based on age and violate the 26th Amendment.
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