Senate Bills 275, 276, 296 & 297 introduce partisan oversight & undermine election integrity
LANSING – The Michigan League of Conservation Voters issued the following statement regarding Senate Bills 275, 276, 296, 297, and 299 which are expected to be taken up by the Senate Elections Committee today.
- Senate Bill 275 would allow poll challengers from each party to record video of the audit process at selected precincts, increasing the risk of undermining the right to a secret ballot.
- Senate Bill 276 would allow election inspectors, poll challengers and poll watchers to record video of the tabulation of ballots at any precinct or absentee counting board, opening the door for partisan intimidation.
- Senate Bill 296 would base the size of Boards of County Canvassers on the population of counties, allowing some counties to have six or eight board members instead of four for each county. Not only would this complicate configuration for quorum and votes, but violates equal protection by enabling counties to have different approval processes and by injecting unnecessary partisanship.
- Senate Bill 297 would require one member from each political party to be present during the canvassing process without any mechanism to enforce attendance, enabling partisan representatives to stop or veto the process by not attending while also giving Board of County Canvassers improper authority to approve or deny clerk staff hired to assist throughout the process.
- Senate Bill 299 would require election results to be submitted by 12 PM the day after Election Day, regardless of whether every valid ballot has been counted. This would create an impossible deadline for local clerks, who have a legal obligation to count and report every eligible ballot, as well as put entire Michigan communities at risk of being disenfranchised if they fail to meet the deadline.
“Senate Bills 275 and 276 present massive risks to our electoral process, undermining the right of every Michigan voter to a secret ballot and increasing the risk of intimidation, while Senate Bills 296 and 297 introduce decidedly partisan elements to an existing canvassing process that has been proven to be effective for a long time. Senate Bill 299 puts an arbitrary deadline on clerks for reporting election results, valuing speed over accuracy,” said Clare Allenson, Democracy For All Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “These bills threaten the integrity of our elections and the freedom to vote for Michiganders. No one should ever face intimidation while casting or tabulating ballots and the election procedures we know to work effectively and fairly should not be subject to the control of political parties or partisan agendas.”