Proposals increase transparency, ban unsolicited absentee ballot applications
State Rep. Julie Calley today led the Michigan House in approving two measures to improve the integrity of elections in Michigan.
Calley, of Portland, said the legislation adds transparency and accountability by allowing trained poll challengers to observe activities in the offices of clerks on Election Day. A second bill protects against fraud by prohibiting election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications.
“These are two areas where our state election laws should be strengthened to protect against fraud and improve public trust,” said Calley, a member of the House Elections and Ethics Committee.
When Proposal 3 was approved by Michigan voters in 2018, it allowed same-day registration of voters – meaning that a voter can now register to vote and cast their ballot on Election Day. Anyone wishing to do so must register and vote at the clerk’s office, not the polling place.
“Poll challengers should be allowed anywhere voters are casting ballots,” Calley said. “Now that same-day registration and voting is occurring in local clerks’ offices, we must make sure that challengers are allowed to observe this process.”
House Bill 4897 makes it clear that challengers are allowed at clerks’ offices and satellite offices that register voters and dispense ballots.
Calley said House Bill 5268 was introduced to clarify state law after Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson took the unprecedented step of sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications in 2020, creating confusion among voters and local clerks.
“This was a poor decision that led to applications addressed to people who had moved or even passed away,” Calley said. “It eroded the public’s trust.
“The legislation recognizes the expertise of local clerks and cements their authority to distribute requested absentee ballot applications. No one is better equipped.”
House Bills 4897 and 5268 now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
Thank you for granting me this opportunity to serve you the last six years. You have inspired me with your strength, determination, collaboration, sincerity, and compassion. I have met so many fantastic servant leaders in Barry and Ionia counties. I appreciate your partnership, and I will benefit from your example for years to come.
Calley, of Portland, said the Open Meetings Act is frequently referenced by public bodies, the people who serve on them, and the public – yet it currently includes confusing language and complicated legal terminology that can inspire more questions instead of providing clear-cut answers. The solution Calley is offering rewrites the Open Meetings Act using plain language.
State Rep. Julie Calley, center, recently welcomed a Hastings family to the state Capitol, where they shadowed her as “Representatives for a Day.” Dr. Paul DeWitt and his wife Jennie won the opportunity through the 2020 fundraiser auction benefitting Green Gables Haven, a nonprofit organization in Hastings that serves people impacted by domestic violence. They were accompanied by their grandchildren, Christian and Lily Haire.
© 2009 - 2023 Michigan House Republicans. All Rights Reserved.