Oct 27, 2022 - Politics

Michigan is getting passed in voter accessibility

Data: Schraufnagel, et al., 2022, β€œCost of Voting in the American States: 2022”; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Michigan voters face greater barriers to casting their ballot than over half the country, according to the nonpartisan 2022 Cost of Voting Index (COVI).

Why it matters: Promote the Vote, the coalition behind Prop 2, calls itself bipartisan, but faces opposition from Republicans.

  • Scot Schraufnagel, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University and an author of the study, tells Axios that its passage would make it easier for residents to vote, adding that there's no partisan advantage to having more accessible elections.

Details: Michigan ranks 27th in the country for voting access this year.

  • Registration deadlines, ease of voter registration and the availability of early voting, both in person and by mail, were the most heavily weighted factors in the study, Schraufnagel said.

Flashback: Michigan voters passed Prop 3 in 2018, adding straight-ticket voting, absentee voting for any reason, automatic registration and allowing registration as late as Election Day.

  • Prior to its passage, Michigan ranked 45th in the country in the 2016 COVI.

What they're saying: "Michigan still hangs onto that photo ID law, the state gets dinged there," Schraufnagel said.

Zoom in: Secure MI Vote, a Republican-backed petition that failed to make the ballot this year, proposed doing away with a law that allows voters to sign an affidavit if they're unable to provide an ID.

  • On the ballot, however, is Prop 2, which would codify the right to use the affidavit for voters without an ID, while keeping the ID requirement.
  • Prop 2 is opposed by Republicans who say they're concerned the provisions in the proposal would lead to voter fraud.

The big picture: Michigan fell from 13th on the 2020 Index this year, but our drop-off isn't because it's become harder to vote β€” 25 states have passed laws over the last two years that made aspects of their elections more accessible.

The bottom line: "There's no relationship between making voting easier and more fraud, or making voting harder and less fraud," Schraufnagel said. "When states have either restricted voting a lot or made it a lot easier, either way, we don't see the corresponding change in fraud numbers, going back a long period of time."


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