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Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Absentee voting for any reason: Jeff Irwin takes 2nd shot at getting bill through Michigan House

By Ryan J. Stanton

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said he's hoping Gov. Rick Snyder meant it when he issued a call for election reform in last week's State of the State address.

Among the reforms Snyder voiced support for is no-reason absentee voting — something Irwin has been pushing for since he took office two years ago.

"He says he agrees with me," Irwin said, hopeful the Republican governor will get behind legislation Irwin has re-introduced to allow absentee voting in Michigan for any reason.


Jeff Irwin

Ryan J. Stanton | file photo

Irwin and Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, both have reintroduced legislation they argue would make it easier for Michigan residents to vote.

Irwin introduced no-reason absentee voting legislation at the start of the 2011-12 legislative session, but it never went anywhere in the state House.

He's expecting more pushback from House Republicans who have argued easing the rules around absentee voting could increase the potential for voter fraud.

"You never give up hope and you keep trying to work these things," Irwin said. "The fact of the matter is this is a common-sense reform that's been introduced in a lot of states."

Ari Adler, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said Bolger is keeping an open mind about any ideas brought forward involving election reform.

"He believes we need to do all we can to protect the ballot and, therefore, the value of everyone's vote, but we also need to address maintaining access to the ballot for all voters," he said.

"I'm fairly certain the bills won't go through," Irwin said. "The speaker is extremely partisan. I don't think we're going to see anything positive in terms of expanding citizens opportunities to vote."

Under Michigan law, voters can vote absentee — by mail or in person — if they meet any one of the following criteria: 60 years of age or older, expecting to be out of town on election day, physically unable to vote at the polls without assistance, unable to attend because of religious beliefs, appointed as a poll worker in a precinct other than their own or in jail awaiting trial or arraignment.

Irwin's bill, House Bill 4058, would get rid of those restrictions and allow anyone to vote absentee without having to provide justification.

Stanley's bill, House Bill 4103, would establish early voting in Michigan after the November election saw some Michigan voters waiting in line for hours to cast their ballot. Michigan would join more than 30 other states that offer early voting if the legislation becomes law.

"Voting is among our most fundamental civil rights, and the bedrock of our system of government," Stanley said. "We can ease cities' burden of counting absentee ballots, and more time to vote means more voter participation. That's something we should all embrace."

Thousands of voters filtered through the Ann Arbor city clerk's office in the days before the November general election to cast absentee ballots. The clerk's office set up special absentee voting booths in the hallway outside its second-floor offices to accommodate the strong demand.

Local election clerks have said they wished Michigan allowed early voting or absentee voting for any reason because they believe it would make it more convenient for people to vote, make election day less chaotic, shorten lines at polls, and increase voter turnout at the same time.

County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum told in November he agrees anyone who wants to vote absentee should be allowed.

Irwin said he's encouraged that both Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson seem supportive of instituting no-reason absentee voting. With that kind of bipartisan support, he said he's holding onto hope there could be action on his bill this year.

"I think it's a good time to at least try to get people excited about this idea that apparently we all agree on," Irwin said. "These are improvements that I think are meaningful to citizens."

Representatives in the Michigan House this week received committee assignments for the 2013-14 legislative session.

Irwin will serve on the new Financial Liability Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, will serve on the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, will serve on the Commerce Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, will serve on the Local Government Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Eh, what's next, voting via Twitter? (unfortunately, that's coming sooner than anyone can imagine today) No stopping this - it'll either be voting based on the number of Twitter followers or electing the candidate with the most Facebook "likes." The true meaning of Lincoln's government of, for and by the people is about to be revealed. Lotsa luck.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

BAD Idea! Really bad idea!!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

I really hope that this bill goes through..probably won't right now. Maybe if it doesn't pass, try again in 2014 when everything changes in the Michigan House and Senate


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

To state the obvious, all voter suppression efforts are wrong. Fraud used to be rampant - do a quick search on Chicago around the time of the Kennedy election as a start. But it is rare now. Irwin's bill makes all kinds of sense and should be passed. But to be fair, both sides love this kind of stuff. Do a search on Gore's efforts in Florida on military voters. Check out who has been fighting efforts in Ohio to make it easier for active duty military to vote. Irwin has it right, it should be passed, but both sides play these ugly games.


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 8:35 a.m.

You forgot the Democrats in Florida that threw out enough votes to give the election to W. Oh, that's right, it was the Republicans that did that! You also forgot the Speaker of the Pa. House that said their voter ID laws would give the state to Romney. You also forgot about the voter ID laws that were thrown out by the courts in Ohio and Pa.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Low information voters who really aren't involved at all in politics (can't tell you who the VP is for example), and don't really care, will be used by whatever party goes out and gets them to vote. Is this how those who take the voting process seriously, PAY THE BILLS OF THIS COUNTRY, and do their homework want to have elections decided? That's exactly what will happen.............This is a bad idea even assuming there is no fraud.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

dsponini, I never even addressed the issue. I'm simply amused by the left's sheepish, Pavlovian copy-pasting of the talking points given to them by those who think for them.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

johnnya2 - so you are perfectly fine with people who are totally uninformed casting their vote for whoever someone tells them to vote ofr (or suggests)? That seems like the way to build a strong country to me. It's no wonder we are losing the respect of nations around the world and they think we are becoming a joke. We're broke (borrowing .46 of every dollar we spend), getting our buts kicked by China financially, more people on welfare than ever before, more people on disability that even before, about ready to become a socialized country with socialized medicine (unless you get a waiver), considering giving up our gun rights, schools that are failing, 70% of black children born out of wedlock, families falling apart, many Americans underemployed or quit looking, inlation numbers that do not include food or energy, 12 million illegal immigrants........I guess I'm seeing your point that we really need to seek out the votes of those who would continue to grow the country in this direction and don't have a clue................


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

Thank you, dsponini!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

@ Unusual...still trying to deny the Koch Bros involvement. How about these 40 people they PAID FOR TO BE ELECTED. You think they aren't pulling the strings? /2012/01/20/405463/meet-the-40 -members-of-the-congressional -koch-caucus/?mobile=nc THE KOCH CAUCUS REPRESENTATIVE KOCH CASH Akin, Todd (R-MO) $2000 Amash, Justin (R-MI) $2500 Brooks, Mo (R-AL) $0 Buerkle, Ann Marie (R-NY) $1250 Burton, Dan (R-IN) $0 Chabot, Steve (R-OH) $21000 Chaffetz, Jason (R-UT) $2500 Coffman, Mike (R-CO) $0 Flake, Jeff (R-AZ) $12300 Fleming, John (R-LA) $0 Franks, Trent (R-AZ) $7500 Garrett, Scott (R-NJ) $23000 Gowdy, Trey (R-SC) $7000 Graves, Tom (R-GA) $7500 Harris, Andy (R-MD) $15000 Herger, Wally (R-CA) $6000 Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS) $15900 Huizenga, Bill (R-MI) $2500 Jordan, Jim (R-OH) $5000 Labrador, Raul (R-ID) $3500 REPRESENTATIVE KOCH CASH Lamborn, Doug (R-CO) $20000 Landry, Jeff (R-LA) $0 Lummis, Cynthia (R-WY) $7500 Manzullo, Donald (R-IL) $0 Marchant, Kenny (R-TX) $19000 McClintock, Tom (R-CA) $1000 McHenry, Patrick (R-NC) $2500 Mulvaney, Mick (R-SC) $7000 Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX) $24000 Pence, Mike (R-IN) $20750 Quayle, Benjamin (R-AZ) $6000 Ribble, Reid (R-WI) $10000 Ross, Dennis (R-FL) $12500 Schmidt, Jean (R-OH) $0 Schweikert, Dave (R-AZ) $10000 Southerland, Steve (R-FL) $5000 Stutzman, Marlin (R-IN) $2500 Walberg, Tim (R-MI) $27000 Walsh, Joe (R-IL) $0 Wilson, Joe (R-SC) $1000 All U.S. Representatives who were given perfect records from Americans For Prosperity for their 2011 votes. Lifetime Koch Industries political contributions, from Center for Responsive Politics data.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Low information voters are still citizens, I guess you only think the most informed should be allowed RIGHTS granted by the constitution? Of course we had YOUR idea before. We stopped blacks from voting in the south and didn't allow women or people under 21 to vote. If you can prove that the decisions politicians make do not effect them, then you can have your way, otherwise you are just scared the GOP will continually lose.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Oh, yeah, the old Fox News bit. You sure you don't also want to add something about the Koch brothers or Halliburton?


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Low information voters already get their information from FOX News, so no...they are no help to democrats! 2013/01/low-information-voters- show-their-stuff-completely-make -up-stuff-about-obamas- inauguration-video/ tag/low-information-voters/

An Arborigine

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

I wonder if Irwin with vote for House Bill 4058 as an absentee?

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

Here are some other bills Rep. Irwin has re-introduced: • Joint Resolution B: This resolution creates a constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax. • House Bill 4059: This bill passed by the House in 2009 with a 105-3 vote and would allow property tax exemptions for energy conversion devices, such as wind and solar. • House Bill 4060: This bill would allow for second-parent adoption for those parents that chose not to or cannot marry. • House Bill 4061: This bill would require companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," in order to obtain a permit from the state. • House Bill 4062: This bill would allow structures used for the measurement of wind speed in agricultural zones. • House Bill 4063: This bill would require the secretary of state to specifically ask whether driver license applicant wishes to participate in organ donor registry.


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

These are an interesting group of bills being reintroduced. One particularly good bill is House Bill 4060, the one allowing second-parent adoption. Many of our families continue to be stressed by the fact that the second parent would have no legal parental rights over their child in the event of the death of the "official" adoptive parent. That child then could be taken away from the only parent he/she has ever know and loved, and be made a ward of the state. This bill could alleviate that particular form of child abuse.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:34 p.m.

Then write an article and title it as such.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

While you may not be interested, I would bet other people reading this story are interested in knowing what legislation their representative is working on in Lansing.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

And what relevance is this information to the story? Are you shilling for Irwin?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

"Ari Adler, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said Bolger is keeping an open mind about any ideas brought forward involving election reform." That Jase Bolger? Yes.

Claude Kershner

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

This is a great proposal. I support it enthusiastically provided it was linked to a voter ID bill which says all voters must have a photo ID to vote either on election day or absentee ballot. This should satisfy both party's. But it won't.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

The ballot is mailed to your house. You mail it back. Am I supposed to show my mail carrier my photo ID? People have voted via mail for years.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

I agree. I challenge you to look at your circle of friends of voting age and find one that is incapable of producing an ID.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

You can request an absentee ballot if you are "expecting to be out of town on election day" Almost everyone can request a ballot based on that. Say you have an elderly Grandmother who is sometimes ill? Well, if you may be required to care for her if she becomes ill on election day, then you would be unable to reach your polling place. Out of town visiting relatives or friends? If there is any chance that work might send you out of town - any chance at all - then get a ballot. Etc.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Take it one step further, like other states do, and make mail-in ballots the norm. Everyone gets them. Get rid of all the lines, all the parking and weather hassles, the time off from work. The racing to get the kids, to get to the polling place, etc. Get rid of the electioneering near a polling place. Your ballot is automatically mailed to you. You have plenty of time to read the ballot, look up the candidates, study the issues. Ask questions. "Some people" think this gives poor working people, especially those struggling with multiple jobs, easier access to the polls. So they don't like it when "those people" get to vote.

Middle America

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

The whole "Obama phone" thing is not true, "Ricardo Queso". So much for pretending that you are somehow more intelligent and informed than the "great unwashed".


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Ricardo, "The unwashed masses" have as much right to vote as ANYBODY ELSE. This notion that only those that are highly informed deserve to vote and those that are not as informed is what used to be called a poll tax. Is your solution to have people pass some test to be able to vote? Allowing me to learn in my living room about a candidate allows better research. I could not tell you what my county drain commissioner believes, and I am a pretty informed voter. If I had my ballot in front of me in my home I could look at the candidates and decide which one believes more like me.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Sorry, Bob. But postal voting is already a fact. There is nothing wrong with discussing the issues and the candidates before making your secret decision. The idea that voters must stand in a booth, often seeing a lengthy ballot for the first time, with long lines of people impatiently waiting behind them. With countless obscure candidates for obscure positions, with zero information. That is just absurd. Can you tell me the bios of each Umich Regent candidate? There are a lot of people who cannot stand for more than a few minutes at a time. Telling them to wait in long lines to vote is unacceptable. A lot of them already vote absentee - oh the horror! Even when I do vote in a booth, I have already obtained a sample ballot. I fill that sample ballot out days or weeks in advance. And in the booth, I am simply copying the decisions already made. I'm not puzzling over the obscure names for some obscure deputy drainwater supervisor position, or whatever.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Then we could have ballot days at church, union hall, or pool hall so we could have all citizens doing joint candidate research. Hope it works out as well as you think it might, but there is a reason we have secret voting in person all on the same day. And it's not simply about suppressing votes.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Yes, by all means make it even easier for the uninformed. This is not American Idol we're talking about! The lack of knowledge by many voters is sad. The great unwashed now consider "The View" as a legitimate news source. If anything, voting should require a simple test to determine if the individual is minimally informed of the issues and not voting for free phones.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

The other thing is, implementing such a change would be easy because there are plenty of other states' laws and election rules we could simply borrow. It isn't like Michigan would need to figure out how to do this. There plenty of working models out there. Pick one.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Good job Jeff Irwin. You are a sensible person!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I wish we could vote via a secure internet website!


Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Yes, I will echo that this is a long way off -- even though I would like to see this, too. And, worrying about hackers is indeed a different beast.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

Long way off? In what world are you living in. It actually was done in the last election. Military personel were allowed to vote via email as were many people displaced by Hurricane Sandy. It will likely happen int he next 8-12 years. Worrying about hackers is no different than any other potential fraud in the system. The military has a pretty good computer system that has not been hacked to launch missles or blow up the planet. It CAN be done, it is just that some (GOP) do not want it.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

whoops, it cut off part of the link, I'll try again


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4 p.m.

that's a long way off. There isn't a secure enough system for it now. The government did a test of a potential online voting system and som U of M hackers took it down pretty quickly


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Jase Bolger is a FRAUD. Didn't he invent fake democratic candidates to run against? Another GOP cheater. Hey GOP....Are there any more districts to gerrymander?


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Duuhhh. I have voted absentee for the last several election. I just check that I will be out of town. I am out of town at work. I have never been check on to see if I am out of town. Why would the state waste their time (and money) to check this.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Because people should not have to SWEAR UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY , that they will be out of town. I voted absentee because i actually WAS out of town. They are not going to check on it, BUT, let's say the election comes down to a few votes like say Gore V Bush. Do you think the opposition party would not be above throwing out absentee ballots because of the person saying they were going to be out of town committed perjury? I will also point out that it is discriminatory in nature since it allows age discrimination in voting, which should ONLY be for those under 18.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

If you travel even once a year, there is a chance it will be on election day. I've missed elections because I didn't request an absentee ballot and then was called out of town on an emergency. To plan ahead and request an absentee ballot does not make me a liar.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

So people don't have to lie.....


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1 p.m.

It's a really bad idea. No excuses absentee ballots effectively means the end of the secret ballot and it opens the door for vote selling and other kinds of abuses. In religiously conservative households, for example, would you find it difficult to imagine some husbands demanding to see their wives ballots (or even mark them themselves)? In fact, I do know of a person whose father ordered an absentee ballot for his wife and filled it out and sent it in because, "It was an important election and he knew she'd vote the wrong way".


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

So you are saying, it happens now, so it will continue to happen? If a husband is willing to commit that crime NOW, how would the new law change this?

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

"Absentee voting for any reason" For example, if you're an illegal alien. Oh, excuse me - an "undocumented Democrat."


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

You still would have to apply for the absentee ballot just as it has been and if you are not a registered voter you would not get a ballot.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

I would support this if they also remove the straight ticket box. Already half of the voters use straight ticket voting because they have no idea who they are voting for. I could see this increasing as people who are too lazy to go to the polls are the same people too lazy to research candidates' positions, character, integrity, and ability to work with others.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

I would agree with this concept, but take it even further. The state should not pay for party primaries. In the last election cycle all those that can gather enough ssignatures to appear on the ballot can. Bachman, Gingrich. Romney., Obama, Santorum, Huntsman. We give people two weeks to vote., Most votes wins.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

I'm for that. I don't see anything in our Constitutional foundation that provides political parties. If the parties want to supply only one person to the ballot, that's fine, and I'm fine with any person having an indicator of their party affiliation (or lack of). But I don't think the function of our ballot should cater to them (i.e, straight party vote).

Hesh Breakstone

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Irwin has it right and voting IS a right and as such every effort should always be made to facilitate citizen entitlement to vote. But... with today's republicans still sore over wasting four years where as none of the people's business got done because of the GOP obsession with making Obama a one term POTUS... don't look for any measures, no matter how logical to even be considered... Not to mention the NEED for Michigan's over paid and clearly under worked legislature to actually take up a measure to provide Michigan with what MOST states already have - a part time legislature, the people's business including voter access to the polls simply can't compete with the GOP vendetta against everyone and anyone who didn't vote for them... I'm also not forgetting Bolger's involvement with putting forth "fake democrat" candidates, which was and remains criminal by the way..., and we expect this guy, Bolger, to support measures that would make voting easier to accomplish.... Not holding my breath here. But you know as the core of the GOP, white, middle aged or older men, continue to become the minority that "we" truly are and the majority of Americans of all colors, genders, etc. continue to see the GOP as NOT representing their point of view what else can the GOP do but continue to attempt to obstruct voting. So shame on the rest of us for not voting for these poor, lonely, republicans with their binders full of women.... It's not easy being a republican these days....

Hesh Breakstone

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Actually I am not a pro-any-political party and if I had my way Citizens United would be nixed, all money, including special interest money would be out of politics, and maybe, just maybe "other" parties might have a chance.... But on balance... if I had to compare the dems to the republicans republican so-called solutions and useless vendettas such as McConnell's unrealized desire to make Obama a one term POTUS are nothing short of shameful..... Not to mention the republican response to 20 dead little kids - more guns.... And then there is Todd Aiken and his belief that women can shut something down when it comes to reproductive health - unbelievably stupid on Aiken's part... WMD that never existed, attacking the wrong country... being asleep at the switch on 9/11, and a partridge in a pear tree. So if I seem to have more of an affinity with the dems, of which I clearly do, perhaps it's because the other primary choice in America has in the last decade or so clearly become the party of the ignorant, selfish, racist, not to mention folks who can't even dance.... ;) So with this said... who wants to be a republican....


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

Let me guess, you're pro-Democrat, right? The problem with pro-Democrats is: they're convinced that the other party is evil while staunchly convinced that the Democratic Party is full of virtue -- while completely missing the fact that BOTH parties are evil. Evil political parties: are those which routinely use deceptive claims and work on people's unreasoning predilections through propaganda.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

I do disagree with you on one thing; the part time legislature. Michigan is unique in that and it should stay that way. Lawmaking is not a part time job, so a part time legislature will not cut it. Just look at Texas, a state with only a four month window(January to early May in the odd numbered year) to pass laws during a two year term. Is this what you want for our legislature. I don't think so.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

How can you protect against fraud? What prevents "pulpit to ballot" voter intimidation? Why is it so hard to actually make it to the polls? Now that the Dem's are loosing their union slush funds they move on to massive fraud.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Ricardo I'm retired now and almost 43 years that I did work was unionized. To me union meant safety on the job and decent wages and I didn't work in the auto industry, I worked in the chemical industry and to me safety was much more important than the money I made and by the way I do like money. From your post I take it you don't like unions but why? Like it or not most union workers work hard and is educated more than you think, other than making different chemicals I even owned a computer repair business but had to let that go because of health and I stayed with what paid my bills. Did you ever think that many people can't be out in public or mostly around a lot of people due to having leukemia or something else that kills the immune system? I personally don't like being around large groups of people so being able to vote absentee would be best.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

It probably won't go through. The Republican party is working on a number of proposals in different states to shrink the number of voters and this bill would increase the vote. The only actual allegations of voter fraud in the 2012 elections involved Republicans. Only 3 instances. It's not that Republicans engage in widespread voter fraud, it's that it isn't a real problem in the last several decades. But whether to make it less effort to voter or harder to vote is a realtime political issue. As long as the Republicans control the house, no proposal to try and increase the number of voters will passs.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

That's right bobr! In states that Obama carried in November but which have Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures, GOP moves are afoot to modify state laws that now give the winner of a state's popular vote all of its Electoral College votes. The changes being considered would award electoral votes proportionately, based on which candidate wins in each congressional district rather than on a statewide winner-take-all basis. Such moves are under way in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Maine and Nebraska already have such laws. Republican party chief Reince Priebus endorsed the idea this week, saying it "gives more local control" to the states. In Virginia, such a GOP-backed bill advanced this week in the state Senate although it still faces major hurdles. Democrats see the efforts as an election-rigging tactic benefitting Republicans by giving more clout to sparsely populated rural districts, which generally lean Republican, at the expense of densely packed urban districts that tend to vote Democratic.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Exactly correct. ALEC told them to do it, and the GOP are coming up with ways to effectively cheat It was quite obvious after the last elections that the GOP is in big trouble. I wouldn't be surprised if most GOP candidates lose their seats come next election


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

I'm now 60 but when I wanted to be able to research candidates on line, I simply told them I would be out of town. And sometime during that day.... I was.


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 8:11 a.m.

It's sad you have to lie to get an absentee ballot.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Can anyone site an occourance of voter fraud, in Michigan, that was actually prosecuted? Not an alligation, but actual voting fraud that someone or grop of people were charged with a crime or went to trial.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Here's another fraud case, involving a Republican...big shocker! Roxanne Rubin, Nevada Republican, Accepts Plea Deal After Committing Voter Fraud /346172/28/Woman-accused-of-trying-to-vote-twice


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

"Of course the right wing has no interest in justice anyway, so I am not surprised by their take on this." Yet another piece of stunning logic from Johnya2


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

@ Mike, Your drug analogy is a good one. Do we CONVICT or arrest people who use drugs without PROOF? Unless there is a PROVEN case, voter fraud is one of the perils of living in a free society. If 1000 extra people get to vote and it means 1 of them is illegal, then it is still a worthy goal. The same as allowing one possible drug user to go free rather than locking up an innocent person. Of course the right wing has no interest in justice anyway, so I am not surprised by their take on this.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

@ Mike... A few extra??!! "Of the 1800 signatures turned in on ballot petitions, only 244 were determined to be valid. 1000 were needed to secure a ballot slot."


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Can anyone site me an example of illegal drug dealing where the perpetrator was not caught and was prosecuted? What kind of convoluted argument is that? Just because someone is not caught doesn't mean it didn't happen. The legal system is not going to waste the resources to go after those who commit fraud by stuffing a few extra ballots in the box................I could see either side of our dysfunctional lawmakers trying to do this. We need to make it more difficult not less difficult to cheat.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

How come Republicans always try to block the vote by citing non-existent rampant voter fraud, when it's almost always Republicans who are indicted for that particular crime? Perhaps you remember Thaddeus "Thad" McCotter. He is the former US Representative from Michigan's 11th congressional district. A top ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the five-term Republican incumbent resigned his seat precipitously in July. Just last year, McCotter was a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in the 2012 election. He later scrapped his presidential bid and decided to run again for his seat in Congress. The discovery of massive fraud disqualified him from running for his seat when it was discovered that 85% of his ballot petition signatures were invalid. Failing to garner the requisite number of signatures, four of McCotter's staffers pasted signatures from old ballots and proceeded to photocopy those patchwork forms – repeatedly. In light of the results of the investigation that ensued, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette described the former Congressman as being "asleep at the switch" in overseeing the collection and submission of signatures. This was not simply Keystone Kops run amok. Serious criminal acts were committed. Of the 1800 signatures turned in on ballot petitions, only 244 were determined to be valid. 1000 were needed to secure a ballot slot. Many of the signatures were determined to be outright forgeries. Others were pasted in from old ballots and the forms were photocopied. Four McCotter staffers were indicted. One was charged with a misdemeanor for signing petition form that she did not circulate. The others were charged with felony election fraud violations, including forgery and conspiracy on ballot petitions. They are now getting off with probation, a slap on the wrist.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Yep good ol Thaddeus McCotter was caught cheating and now his staffers that did his dirty bidding are getting off lightly with only probation. Ol Thad cost the state a ton of money, and the people guilty of it are only getting a slap on the wrist. Republican FRAUD NEWS01/308160222/More-fake-petitions- for-Thaddeus-McCotter-discovered Conspiracy-charges-dropped- against-Thaddeus-McCotter- staffers/-/1719418/ 18186786/-/134l4jwz/-/index.html


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Maybe I'm answering my original question, wasn't Thaddeus McCotter accused of wrong doing (or member of his staff), that forced him to resign? I can't exactly recall what he allegations were about.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Hesh - help us better understand how the debate regarding gun control ties into voter fraud and/or absentee ballots?


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

@ Hesh...with the craziness in Lansing these days and the "freedom gun act" or whatever that garbage they are trying to push...I wouldn't put it past them!


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Can anyone site an occurrence, when a Republican said the answer to voter fraud was more guns? Thought not. Pure ignorant comment.

Hesh Breakstone

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Well said! You know what the republican answer to the voter fraud problem that does not exist in reality is? More guns....


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

I don't understand the argument against this proposal.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9 p.m.

johnnya2 - I will agree with you that two weeks to vote would be better....................


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

@ Mike, You need to explain it with PROOF. An absentee ballot would be LESS likely to be made with fraud in mind, since it has more time to be validated or invalidated. The fact that this country uses a SINGLE day to hold a vote is ridiculous. Every election should be open for two weeks prior to a specified date. Of course, your thinking goes with the entire right wing mentality. GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. Unless you PROVE voter fraud it has not happened. You rather convict an innocent person than allow a guilty one to go free, which is the antithesis of the American system.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

The argument against a proposal like this is that the opportunity for voter fraud would increase tremendously................I can't believe I actually have to explain this.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

"So if you can't win an election fairly"..........start a recall petition, lol

Hesh Breakstone

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

The argument from the GOP perspective is that the more voters who are entitled to vote, not voter fraud..., who the GOP cannot continue to obstruct from voting the more folks who will likely not vote for republicans. So if you can't win an election fairly - cheat. It's the GOP way....