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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

Michigan’s Legislature, after years of lackluster movement on voting rights, finally stepped up this past year and began implementing the pro-voter policies that Michigan voters overwhelmingly voted to support in the “Promote the Vote” ballot initiatives passed during the 2018 and 2022 general elections. Because of the significant positive changes seen this year, especially after a slew of anti-voter legislation introduced last year in the Legislature, Michigan is one of only three states to receive an A+, our highest grade possible, on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Michigan Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Partial AVR
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Michigan as of 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states. Last year, Michigan was considered a top tier state.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 27th
  • EPI Score (2020): 7th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 9/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): MEDIUM

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

After the Legislature introduced dozens of anti-voter bills during the 2022 session, this past year the Legislature reversed course and introduced dozens of pro-voter reforms that focused on implementing the “Promote the Vote” ballot initiatives.

  • H 4983 updates the existing automatic voter registration system to streamline registrations for individuals that have documented proof of citizenship and expands automatic registration to additional state agencies beyond the DMV.
  • H 4569 allows 16 year olds to preregister to vote.
  • S 367 establishes a nine-day early voting period before all federal and statewide elections and requires sites to be open for at least 8 hours each day from the second Saturday before the election through the Sunday before the election. Starting in 2026, early voting could be extended an additional day to the Monday before the election.
  • S 370 establishes a cure process for missing and mismatched signatures and gives voters until 5pm three days after the election to cure defects. Voters would also be allowed to cure signature defects on absentee ballot applications up to four days before the election.
  • S 373 expands the list of acceptable voter ID to include student photo IDs and photo IDs issued by local governments.
  • S 339 requires the secretary of state to establish an online ballot tracking system for voters to track the status of their mail ballot applications and ballots. The tracking system must include details on the reason for a ballot rejection and information on how to cure the problem.
  • S 259 allows military and overseas voters to have their mail ballots counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within six days after the election.
  • H 4697 requires each municipality to establish at least one drop box in their city and one box for every additional 15,000+ voters for voters to deposit both ballots and mail ballot applications. Boxes must be accessible starting 40 days before the election for 24 hours a day through the close of polls on Election Day.
  • H 4699 establishes a permanent mail voter list. Voters can only be removed from the list if they request to be removed, move without updating their voter registration info, they are no longer qualified to vote, or if they fail to vote for six consecutive years.
  • H 4437, the state budget bill, authorizes the Department of State to award “incentive grants to counties to coordinate the implementation of early voting by local governments within their jurisdiction.”
  • H 4568 repeals an archaic law that criminalized hiring transportation to take voters to the polls.
  • H 4567 ensures that a voter that gets a mail ballot in person by signing an affidavit instead of showing ID will no longer have their ballot treated as a challenged ballot.
  • H 4570 requires the secretary of state to establish an online absent voter ballot application system that allows voters to request their mail ballot online.
  • S 594 expands online voter registration options by allowing individuals to register to vote using the last four digits of their social security number.

Executive Action

  • During this past session, both Governor Whitmer and Secretary of State Benson were incredible pro-democracy partners to the Legislature and helped move a substantial package of pro-voter legislation through the process to become law.