LANSING, Mich. (April 19, 2023) — Today, the Michigan Senate Democrats passed the first piece of election reform legislation related to Proposal 2 of 2022, passing Sen. Paul Wojno’s (D-Warren) legislation (Senate Bill 259) to allow for absentee voter ballots from military members, their spouses and voting-age dependents to still be counted if they are signed and dated by Election Day and received up to six days after the election. The bill has the support of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of State, associations representing county and municipal clerks and voting advocates. 


While our men and women of the military are serving overseas to uphold our freedom, democracy, and safety, it’s only right that we do what we can to ensure their votes are counted and they have a say in their representation back home, said Sen. Wojno, a longtime advocate for Michigan veterans and voting rights. “This is the flexibility and consideration our servicemembers have been asking for, and this is a direct execution of the will of the Michigan people this past November. 


This is the first bill to pass out of the Senate to implement Proposal 2’s election reforms, with additional legislation to follow soon. Senate Elections and Ethics Committee Chair Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is working on an extensive bill package to implement a number of the other changes passed by the voters this fall.  In addition to requiring that military and overseas ballots postmarked by election day are counted, Proposal 2 added the following policies to the state constitution:

    • Creating a nine-day early voting period;  

    • Requiring voters to present photo identification or sign an affidavit when voting in person or applying for an absentee ballot; 

    • Providing eligible voters the right to a single application to vote absentee in all elections; 

    • Requiring the state to fund prepaid stamps and a tracking system for absentee ballots; 

    • Requiring the state to fund a number of absentee ballot dropboxes; 

    • Providing that local governments can accept charitable and in-kind donations to assist with running elections as long as donations are disclosed and aren’t from foreign entities; and 

    • Providing that election officials are responsible for election audits, requiring election audits to be conducted in public, and requiring election results to be certified based on votes cast. 

Dedicated voting rights advocacy groups called for election improvements for years and the citizens of Michigan successfully enacted these major reforms with the passage of Proposal 2 in 2022,” said Sen. Moss. “My committee will usher through the implementation of these new changes that make it easier for Michiganders to access their ballots and cast their votes. This work starts today with bipartisan passage of SB 259 through the full Senate. We will continue to follow the will of the people with action on additional legislation in the weeks to come.” 


“I’m grateful for the work that Senators Wojno and Moss and so many of their colleagues are doing to support the will of Michigan citizens by expanding their voting rights, and I look forward to continuing to work with legislative leaders to protect and strengthen the voting rights of all Michigan’s military service members and eligible citizens,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.