As voters across the country prepare for the upcoming midterm elections, many will contend with a whole new set of election rules from lawmakers who ushered in major changes in the wake of 2020. But in Michigan, the landscape remains largely unchanged.
Divided government in the state killed Republican proposals enacted elsewhere as Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer repeatedly wielded her veto pen to strike down GOP-sponsored bills, including strict voter ID requirements and a ban on private donations for election offices.
But even changes favored by lawmakers and election officials from both parties were sidelined by the governor or stalled in the state Legislature ahead of the August primary.
Clerks who administer elections have pushed for changes they say will improve voter access and confidence such as time to process ballots before Election Day, training requirements for election challengers and allowing military voters to return ballots electronically. But inaction has left election officials scratching their heads.
“Both sides are saying we want to make commonsense voting reforms,” said Harrison Township Clerk Adam Wit, a Republican who was recently elected as president of Michigan’s municipal clerks association.
“Everyone’s saying they want the same thing. They want to improve elections and I don’t think there’s been a meaningful piece of legislation that’s passed,” Wit said.