LANSING –Legislation to strengthen campaign finance laws and penalties, improve election efficiency and ensure fairness and accountability in elections was approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Darwin Booher.
“Open, free and fair elections are vital to our democratic republic. That is why it is critical to make sure elections are not open to fraud,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Voter fraud and campaign finance cheating erode the democratic process and cannot be tolerated. These reforms are designed to protect voter rights and ensure that individuals caught violating election and campaign finance laws are severely punished.”
Senate Bills 750-754 and 803 focus on increasing penalties for campaign finance violations and reducing voter fraud. SBs 823-825 reform the state’s campaign finance law as well as increase the protections of voter rights, provide additional transparency and streamline the election process.
Booher’s bill, SB 803, would require registered voters to sign a form indicating they are U.S. citizens prior to voting in person or by absent voter ballot. A person refusing or failing to answer the citizenship question at the polls would be denied a ballot. Absentee voters would be issued ballots, which would not be counted unless the voter answers the question by Election Day.
“Only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in U.S. elections, but Michigan currently does not ask voters if they are citizens,” Booher said. “By requiring officials to ask this basic question before handing someone a ballot, my bill will help ensure the integrity of our elections.”
Booher noted that the Michigan Secretary of State office has discovered instances of noncitizens inadvertently registering to vote when they applied for other materials, such as a driver’s license.
SBs 750-754, 803 and 823-825 have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.