Republicans launch Secure MI vote to tighten election law; critics call it obstructionist

After months of claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and intense investigations into the process, Michigan's Senate Oversight Committee said it loud and clear -there was no evidence of fraud.

But now Republicans are pushing a package of bills that would tighten requirements for voters.

"We can make changes to make elections more secure that make it easier to vote - and harder to cheat," said Jamie Roe.

Roe is a longtime Republican political strategist and is working with Secure Michigan Vote.

He says organizers are in the process of launching a petition drive. If enough signatures are collected, the legislature can vote into law without the governor's approval.

The new requirements would force voters to have a valid photo ID with up-to-date information and applications for absentee ballots would not be mailed out automatically or unsolicited from the Secretary of State. 

If the absentee ballots did not have a driver's license number or last four digits of Social Security Number - they wouldn't be counted unless they provided proper ID.

FOX 2:  "Isn't that making it tougher for people to vote?"

"It's not making it tougher for anyone to vote, because what we are doing right now - also in this law - is we're allocating $3 million to create a fund to get you a state-issued ID if you can't afford to buy one."

In 2018 voters already approved a proposal that expanded voter access. Republicans feel these laws provide a security mechanism.

Democrats like Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-Michigan) are calling it one more barrier for seniors, the disabled, and first-time voters.

"We lived through a part of the country where every step of the way there was an obstacle, an effort to block it," she said. "Yes I am sensitive to this. And I think it is wrong and unfortunate the Republican Party finds this a priority.

And just like the Unlock Michigan petition that stripped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of extended emergency powers, Whitmer would not have a say.

"So now the Republicans are saying we are going to do a petition and not allow the governor - who was elected by the people - to use her power to veto or sign it if she chooses," Lawrence said. "It is overstepping the rights and the choice of the people."

Secure MI Vote hopes to start collecting the 340,000 needed signatures in October. 

Click here for more information about the petition language.