by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive on Sunday ordering state agencies to spread information about how to register to vote.
On Friday, Whitmer vetoed a bill that aimed to notify potential voters on on an absentee ballot application that it is a felony to vote more than once in the same election.
“Every citizen of Michigan has a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and should be free to exercise this right without obstruction,” Whitmer wrote in the veto letter.
Whitmer said the bill sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles, aimed to “restrict or chill access to the ballot.”
The Senate Fiscal Agency says if enacted into law, LaSata’s bill wouldn’t have increased taxpayer cost.
The order signed by Whitmer directs agencies to find potential opportunities to explain to Michiganders how to register to vote, including public displays, printed material, online information, and social media posts.
State agencies must also consider helping register voters by distributing vote-by-mail applications, helping complete voter registration forms, and accepting applications for voter registration.
“Tonight, I was proud to join the NAACP to reaffirm our shared commitment to protect civil rights and ensure every American citizen can make their voice heard at the ballot box,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“Earlier today, I signed an executive directive instructing state departments and agencies to identify opportunities to help Michiganders register to vote at their facilities. Right now, we are up against a coordinated national attack on voting rights designed to undermine confidence in our elections and systematically disenfranchise communities of color, seniors, and young people.”
Departments must report their conclusions in a report within 60 days, listing any offices within that department or agency that provide any federal or state public assistance programs.
“Democracy is a team sport, and this directive sets a clear vision for state agencies to join our department in working to ensure every eligible voter is active and engaged in our democracy,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement. “At a time when many want to make it more difficult for us to have secure and accessible elections, I’m grateful to Governor Whitmer for working with us to expand voting access to every citizen in Michigan.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org.
Image “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer” by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.