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Vote like your rights depend on it

OPINIONThis piece expresses the views of its author(s), separate from those of this publication.


Story and art by Mike Thompson, USA TODAY
RIGGED ELECTIONS ARE A HALLMARK OF UNDEMOCRATIC countries. IN THE U.S., we take it  FOR GRANTED THAT ELECTIONS ARE NON-PARTISAN  AND FAIR.
 BUT THAT PRESUMPTION IS NOW UNDER ATTACK ACROSS our COUNTRY.
IN 2021, AT LEAST 440 BILLS WERE INTRODUCED IN 49 STATES TO RESTRICT ACCESS TO VOTING under the guise OF PROTECTING ELECTION INTEGRITY.
IN MICHIGAN, Signatures are being collected FOR An INITIATIVE THAT WOULD CHANGE STATE ELECTION LAWS. PROPONENTS OF THE SECURE 'MI' VOTE initiative SAY IT WOULD REDUCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR VOTER FRAUD. OPPONENTS SAY ITS REAL INTENT IS TO GIVE REPUBLICANS AN ELECTION ADVANTAGE BY MAKING IT HARDER for some people to VOTE.

THE CHANGES proposed IN THE SECURE 'MI' VOTE PETITION include:
NEW RESTRICTIONS ON WHEN CLERKS CAN MAIL APPLICATIONS FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS.
NO LONGER ALLOWING INDIVIDUALS WITHOUT I.D. TO VOTE IF THEY SIGN AN AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY.
NEW RULES THAT WOULD REQUIRE ABSENTEE VOTERS TO INCLUDE THEIR DRIVERS LICENSE OR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WHEN THEY MAIL IN THEIR BALLOT.
NO ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF FUNDING IS INCLUDED IN THE PROVISION. 
 provisions that would PROHIBIT CHURCHES AND COMMUNITY CENTERS FROM DONATING SPACE FOR POLLING PLACES AND BAR THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDING FOR STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.
“IT'S BEING MISREPRESEnTED AS THOUGH THIS IS A PHOTO I.D. LAW, WHEN WE REALLY ALREADY HAVE PHOTO I.D. AND WE HAVE FOR YEARS.”
“SOME POLITICIANS WANT TO USE LIES TO RESTRICT VOTING BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT LOWER TURNOUT WILL WORK TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.”
SO WHY THE PUSH FOR THESE DRAMATIC CHANGES IN STATE ELECTION LAW?
REPEATED INVESTIGATIONS HAVE DISCOVERED NO EVIDENCE THAT ELECTIONS IN MICHIGAN HAVE BEEN DISTORTED BY FRAUD.
jamie lyons-eddy,
DEPUTY director of
voters, not politicians
IN 2020, REPUBLICANS ON A MICHIGAN SENATE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF VOTER FRAUD IN THE STATE.
municipal ELECTION OFFICIALS IN BOTH PARTIES OPPOSE THE  INITIATIVE.
under michigan law, SECURE 'MI' VOTE proponents need just 340,047 valid signatures to place their initiative on the November 2022 ballot. but the legislature, could preempt voters by adopting the measure itself, and  THE GOVERNOR WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO ISSUE A VETO.
we can stop UNDEMOCRATIC Changes to election law. by Using the lessons of the civil rights movement, we can vote and fight back through peaceful protest.
“THOSE WHO CONTINUE TO LIE ABOUT THE 2020 ELECTION, WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE, OFTEN DO SO USING CODED LANGUAGE, ATTEMPTING TO MASK THE FACT THAT THE MEASURES THEY’RE PUSHING WOULD WEAKEN OUR ELECTION INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAKE IT HARDER TO VOTE.”  
VOTer suppression EFFORTS LIKE THE ONE IN MICHIGAN ARE TAKING PLACE IN STATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. 
IT’S YOUR DEMOCRACY. FIGHT FOR IT OR LOSE IT.
MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF
STATE JOCELYN BENSON