Good work, Michigan. It looks like we might have stopped Republican voter suppression efforts, at least for now.

trumpwinning2

If we’re to believe Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, it looks as though the Michigan Senate will not be voting on the controversial voter ID law that passed the House last week. According to Meekhof, Senate Republicans just didn’t have the time during the lame duck session, which adjourns for the year this Thursday. The following comes by way of a report just posted by the Detroit News.

…Meekhof hoped to discuss the voter ID package alongside other potential election reforms — including a secure form of no-reason absentee voting — with other Senate Republicans, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Michigan GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

But with three days left in the two-year legislative session, Meekhof said those discussions will have to wait until next year.

“We were intending to do some of that last week with Ronna and Ruth, but their schedules got jammed up” because of an unprecedented presidential recount, said Meekhof, R-West Olive. State and federal courts later halted the recount.

Strict voter ID laws have been ruled unconstitutional in some other states, but sponsoring Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, has said she modeled her bill on a 2005 Indiana law that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The package proposed making it easier for residents to obtain the kind of identification that would be required to vote, including mechanisms for low-income residents to obtain free government ID cards or birth certificates.

“We haven’t done real well in the courts on election law, so I want to make sure that if we’re going to do something, we’re able to march it right through,” Meekhof told reporters, alluding to a ban on straight-ticket voting overturned this year by federal courts…

While it sounds as though, to a large degree, this ambitious voter suppression initiative failed due to concerns among Republican Senators that HB 6066 wouldn’t survive a court challenge, I can’t help but think that our calls and letter played at least some part. And that’s a good thing. We needed a big win to build on. We needed a real, concrete example of what can happen when we work together to resist. And that’s what this is.

When HB 6066 came to the floor of the House, it just passed 57-50, with five Republicans crossing party lines to vote against the absolutely unnecessary and completely anti-democratic legislation. And that, I think, is significant. It demonstrates, at least to me, that there’s room for progress. Furthermore, it’s something that we can build on as we move forward. We pushed back, and we made a difference. Whether we deserve to take credit for this one or not, a win’s a win, and, now, for the first time in a long time, we’ve got a little momentum on our side. And, if we play our cards right, it’ll carry over to our next fight.

To paraphrase President-elect Trump, I want for us to have so much winning that we get tired of winning, and this is just the beginning.

So, good work, Michigan. Enjoy the victory. Because of you, HB 6066 didn’t pass, which means that, next year, when it comes election time, thousands of your fellow Michiganders won’t be turned away from the polls just because they lack state identification. No, they’ll be allowed to vote, just like they always have, after signing an affidavit attesting to their identity. And, if you picked up your phone to call your elected representatives, or shared information about this lame duck maneuver on the part of Republicans to build even higher barriers to keep the poor from voting with your friends on Facebook, letting them know what was happening, you helped make that happen. You did your part, and we were able to keep this from becoming law. This, my friends, is huge. But we can’t stop here. We need to keep moving forward, building networks, sharing information, and growing our capacity for resistance. If we’re going to survive the next several years, we’re going to need it.

[If you’re not familiar with what HB 6066 would have done if signed into law, or how it would have further disenfranchised a good number of our most vulnerable citizens, check out my post from several weeks ago, when all of this started.]

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9 Comments

  1. Morbid Larson
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    This is Trump Nation. If he has his way, there will only be one candidate on the ballot in 2020.

    King Trump will rule over all.

  2. jean henry
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    He’ll be impeached by 2020. Pence will get re-elected if we aren’t careful.

  3. Jcp2
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    What better way to build your brand as “in your face dominance” than to be kicked out by the establishment from the highest American political office? It’s a win win for Trump and the Republican Party.

  4. Max
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I think perhaps he’s pretty much a puppet and doesn’t know it. He’ll probably be used to set up an infrastructure that can’t easily be taken apart, then be driven out of office for refusal to step away from his businesses cleanly, allowing Pence to step up and perhaps be controlled by whatever old god crawls out of the void to pull the strings, be it some Dick Cheney-like monster or Cthulhu itself. My conspiracy theory of the day.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to know why the five a Republican Reps voted not to support these bills. Does anyone know?

  6. Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I heard (no idea if it is true) that some GOP UP state senators were strongly against the voter ID bill because it can be a 2-3 hour drive for people up north to get to the Secretary of State to update their license, so they don’t always have it up to date, especially if they don’t drive.

    This jives with the data; 2 of the 3 counties with relatively high “no ID” voters are in the UP:
    http://bridgemi.com/2016/12/voting-without-an-id-not-a-big-problem-in-most-of-michigan/

  7. Mr. X
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Makes sense, Scott. Do you happen to know if the House Republicans who voted against it were all from up north?

  8. dot dot dash
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Don”t get too comfortable. This will be back at the beginning of next term.

  9. Jennifer Schlicht
    Posted January 6, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Oh hell, here we go again. Thought this might happen (something that is slightly better, which means it’s still #votersuppression at heart as #VOTERFRAUDDOESNOTEXIST (31 examples in 1 billion votes. Fine, I rounded down.)

    “A bill up for a potential vote Thursday in the House Elections Committee would require those casting a provisional ballot to visit their clerk’s office no later than 10 days after the election to ensure it’s counted. They would have to present a photo ID with their current address or other documentation establishing their residency.”

    http://wwmt.com/news/state/bills-would-require-voters-without-photo-id-to-return-later-12-01-2016

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