State Rep. Ann Bollin, chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, this week helped advance several reforms to ensure free, fair and reliable elections in Michigan.
Bollin and the Michigan House approved measures to help guard against potential hacking of voting machines, explicitly prohibit outside groups from accessing the state’s qualified voter file, and standardize the retention period for election-related materials.
“I’m listening to the people and drawing from my experience as a clerk to make common-sense changes like these to strengthen our elections,” said Bollin, of Brighton Township. “Clearly defining established best practices in statute will advance democracy, instill voter confidence and protect the vote.”
The improvements to the system are contained in three separate measures approved by the House.
House Bill 4838 would put into state law a practice prohibiting voting machines and electronic pollbooks from being connected to the internet from the time polls open until votes from the precinct are tabulated. The measure is designed to lessen the chances of potential hacking or efforts to change vote counts.
House Bill 4837 would clarify that election officials are prohibited from allowing outside organizations and advocacy groups access to the qualified voter file. The QVF is the official database for Michigan’s voter registration records.
House Bill 4840 would make sure election records are kept for a uniform, consistent time period by municipalities across the state. This would include a requirement that ballots be kept for 22 months related to state and federal elections.
The legislation gained broad bipartisan support and was backed by the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. The Michigan Secretary of State took a neutral stance on the bills.
All three measures now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
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