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Senate approves MacDonald’s election integrity bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Michael D. MacDonald’s legislation to ensure that the state’s Qualified Voter File is consistently and continuously updated with current voter information.

“It is critical for the people to have confidence that our elections are conducted fairly and honestly and that the results accurately reflect the will of the voters,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “This reform is the result of listening to our local clerks about how to improve the integrity of our elections. It would reduce opportunities for fraud by ensuring our voter lists are regularly updated to remove people who have died.”

Senate Bill 277 would outline the process between county clerks and local clerks to remove deceased voters from the Qualified Voter File. Under the bill, county clerks would be required to update the QVF at least once a month to cancel the registrations of voters in the county who have died. After each update, the secretary of state would notify the local clerk, who would then complete the cancellation of deceased voters in their township or city.

The county clerk would need to update the QVF weekly beginning 45 days prior to an election and every day for the last 15 days before the election.

MacDonald’s bill was one of four election reforms approved on Thursday.

SB 311, sponsored by Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, would require the state to establish a secure process for active duty military members, who are away from the U.S. and unable to return home in time to cast their vote, to electronically return their ballots using a U.S. Department of Defense verified electronic signature. SB 8, sponsored by Sen. Paul Wojno, D-Warren, would define “verified electronic signature” as the certificate-based digital identification code issued to qualified personnel by the DOD as the Common Access Card.

SB 302, sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township, would require a voter to acknowledge on their voter registration form they understand it is a felony to vote more than once in the same election, whether in the same or a different location, such as a second residence.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.