Bills would make fraudulently filling out absentee application a felony
State Rep. Ann Bollin today testified in support of her plan to help deter voter fraud in Michigan by making it a felony to knowingly fill out an absentee ballot application with another person’s information.
Bollin, of Brighton Township, said the combination of the passage of Proposal 3 providing for no-reason absentee voting in Michigan and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the number of voters submitting requests or applications to obtain an AV ballot. Earlier this year, the Secretary of State conducted a mass mailing of absent voter ballot applications. Many of these applications were delivered to households where the addressee no longer lived. Some had moved away, and others were deceased. Additionally, local clerks, political and advocacy groups sent AV applications creating confusion and possible opportunity for fraudulent activities.
The plan Bollin is sponsoring alongside Rep. Pauline Wendzel and Sen. Kevin Daley would provide additional protections to prevent fraud.
“At a time when we are inundated with noise about our elections, especially absentee or mail in voting, these bills will serve as a deterrent for potential shenanigans in our election process and enhance voter confidence,” Bollin said. “As a former clerk, I believe protecting the integrity of the ballot and the process is of utmost importance.”
State law currently classifies making a false statement on an absent voter application as a misdemeanor. Under House Bill 5880, a person who knowingly submits an absent voter application using another person’s name or personal identification information would be guilty of a felony. It would also be a felony to complete applications with the intent to receive multiple ballots. House Bill 5881 would add the sentencing guidelines for the felonies created under HB 5880. These felonies would be Class E felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.
State Rep. Ann Bollin today issued the following statement after Gov. Whitmer vetoed House Bill 5881 and Senate Bill 977, legislation Bollin helped sponsor to protect the integrity of Michigan’s absentee voting system by making it a felony to knowingly fill out an absentee ballot application with another person’s information.