Outman sponsors bills as part of comprehensive election reform in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Rick Outman on Wednesday joined several lawmakers in introducing a comprehensive reform package to ensure transparency, integrity and confidence in Michigan’s election process.

“Last year, we experienced an election unlike any other,” said Outman, R-Six Lakes. “We were in the midst of a global pandemic and it was the first year that many new laws were in place, like same-day voter registration and no-reason AV ballots. The widespread concern and lack of confidence and trust that stemmed from the 2020 election was a warning sign that something needed to be done to restore and maintain faith in our system.”

Over 30 bills were introduced as part of the election integrity package that cover a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election.

The bills include numerous reforms, including improving security at ballot drop boxes, strengthening poll challenger and poll watcher rights, cleaning up outdated voter lists, and requiring photo identification for in-person voting and when submitting an AV ballot application. The reforms also would prohibit the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and increase transparency in the audit process by ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public.

Outman sponsored several bills in the package, many regarding the integrity of election day activities. Senate Bills 290-293 would create outline training, requirements and guidelines for election day challengers and establish penalties for those who violate the law. SB 294 would require partisan election inspectors in voting precincts to be as close to 1:1 as possible. If it is not possible to do so, the local clerk must submit a report to the secretary of state detailing what efforts they took to try and make the ratio 1:1.

“The integrity of our elections should be a priority of every resident, and ensuring that integrity is our responsibility as lawmakers,” Outman said. “Voting for your elected voices in government is the foundation of our system. People need to have confidence that elections are conducted fairly and securely. These bills help eliminate the possibility of fraud and ensure the integrity of our elections while making sure every Michigander can exercise their right to vote.”

The bills have been referred to the Senate Elections Committee for consideration.

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