LANSING, Mich. (June 18, 2024) — The Michigan Voting Rights Act took a significant step forward on Thursday, June 13 as the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee voted to favorably report the bill package, which now heads to the full Senate for additional deliberation.

The Michigan Voting Rights Act, Senate Bills 401404, aims to ensure voting rights are protected in state law and builds upon the legacy of the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is intended to provide avenues for voters of color and protected classes to defend their right to vote and access fair political representation. The act would prohibit a local government or state agency from imposing any law, practice, policy, or method of election that would lead to a disparity in voter participation between a protected class and other members of the electorate or that would impair the ability of a protected class to participate in the political process.

Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton), who led the bill package, and other bill sponsors Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), and Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), issued the following statements:

“Democracy is neither a finished product nor is it a given or natural right. All of us have to work at it, improve it, and protect it. And at this moment, it’s under attack like never before,” said Sen. Camilleri. “As Michigan’s elected leaders, we have a duty to protect the most basic function of democracy — the right to vote. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to protect voters against the anti-democratic forces attempting to infiltrate our election process and codify these protections to ensure all voters in Michigan will be protected — regardless of changes at the federal level.”

“Too many members from marginalized communities have faced discriminatory barriers when trying to exercise their most fundamental right as American citizens — their right to vote. Our committee heard exhaustive testimony about the need to secure access to the ballot box for all qualified voters. After working intently with voting rights advocates and election administrators, I’m proud that we have now moved the Michigan Voting Rights Act to the full Senate for consideration,” said Sen. Moss, chair of the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee. “The MVRA underscores our commitment to safeguarding the right of each Michigan voter to feel empowered to shape our state’s future — free from discrimination and intimidation.”

“As the sponsor of Senate Bill 404, I’m proud to see this critical bill package advance through the legislative process — particularly as forces across our country are actively working to disenfranchise voters,” said Sen. Geiss. “The movement of this legislation represents an important step forward in ensuring every Michigander has the right to fully participate in our democracy — and we’re showing the rest of the nation that here in Michigan, we do not take the safeguarding of our elections lightly.”

“Michigan is becoming a more diverse state, with more than a third of Michiganders being English Language Learners,” said Sen. Chang. “Ensuring that all voters, regardless of their ability to read or understand English, can accurately cast their ballot is critical to building an accessible and strong democracy. We are a better state when more voters of all backgrounds and abilities participate in elections. I am excited that the Michigan Voting Rights Act has been voted out of committee and look forward to action on the Senate floor.”