Skubick: Easing absentee voting process facing fight

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – There is legislation pending in a House committee to make it easier to vote via the absentee ballot, but there are some concerns that some Republicans may oppose the measure because it might help Democrats at the polls.

As with the other Secretary of States before her, Ruth Johnson wants every voter to have access to an absentee ballot. “People have busy life styles and can’t always show up at the polls,” said Johnson.

But the Elections Committee did not vote the measure to the floor. In the past this bill has failed in part because some Republicans are afraid if you make it easier to vote, since Michigan is a blue state, more Democrats will vote.

Ken Siekema, the former Senate GOP leader, is aware if that fear. He says, “I was trying to describe that in more general terms. There’s a concern about the political impact on elections.”

“I don’t see it that way,” responds St. Rep. Kurt Heise. “We’ve heard rumblings of that but the issue is really about integrity and the identification of voters.”

The Secretary of State reports the voter files have been purged of dead and other ineligible voters. “We’ve taken off 354,000 who were dead, 10,000 who moved to other states and 660 who were non citizens off the rolls.”

There may be the votes to send this to the floor but Democrat State Representative Jeff Irwin argues some Republicans won’t support it there. “There are some on the conservative side that it’s anathema to making it easier to vote,” claims Rep. Irwin.

We could all soon find out. A vote could come next week.

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