WASHINGTON, D.C. — A study by Progress Michigan found that Michigan Republicans’ scheme to circumvent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) veto could eliminate one of every five polling locations in the state. Republicans are currently gathering signatures for the “Secure MI Vote” petition, a collection of voter restrictions such as a strict voter-ID law and a ban on sending out absentee ballot applications. If the petition gathers enough signatures, the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature would be able to enact voter restrictions without Whitmer’s approval.
Included in the petition is a ban on in-kind contributions to local election clerks, which would prohibit election clerks from using donated locations like churches as polling places. The Progress Michigan study found that if the ban goes into effect, 20% of polling locations could be eliminated. Voters in Genesee, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ottawa counties — home to 1.5 million Michiganders — could lose nearly half of their polling places. “I hope people are able to see the danger and impact of this proposal,” said Mary Clark, president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. “This would absolutely negatively impact legally registered voters in my jurisdiction and every jurisdiction in this state.”