By: State Representative Leslie Love
Earlier this year, we talked about all the ways ballot proposal 18-3 was going to make it easier for Michiganders to exercise their right to vote. This month I would like to share with you some work my colleagues and I have been doing to build on the foundation of Prop 3.
In light of these reforms and the expected high turnout, our county clerks asked the Legislature for help to get them the tools they need and approve new protocols so they could continue to provide us with the best election support. My colleague state Rep. Kara Hope and I answered that call with a four-bill package to ensure our clerks and election workers have the resources they need to report the results efficiently and accurately. So what happened in Iowa doesn’t happen here. I also reached out to our local clerks to get their feedback and introduced this legislation with their support.
Our bills would:
• Allow clerks and election inspectors to begin processing absentee ballots the Monday before an election;
• Provide $3 million in additional funding to local governments to purchase high-speed tabulators and other equipment to be used for the increase in absentee ballots;
• Allow election workers to work in shifts; and
• Allocate $1.5 million to increase the pay for current election workers or hire new election workers.
Michigan is perfectly positioned to set the standard for improving our ballot-counting process. Prop 3 laid the
groundwork and took some excellent first steps toward putting the power of government back into the hands of the people. Now we have a responsibility to modernize the counting process, so our election workers are equipped to meet the new demands. We need these reforms so that those voting for the first time – or the first time in a long time are not discouraged from making their voices heard.
We need these reforms so that our election workers know that we value them and their service, and we can encourage more people to get involved with this vital work.
I hope that these bills will be taken up soon so we can implement these necessary changes as quickly as possible, and provide the people of Michigan with the truly representative democracy they deserve.