Michigan voters gain greater election integrity, transparency with signing of election reform bills

JULY 3, 2012

Johnson thanks lawmakers for acting on her SAFE Initiative

LANSING, Mich. - Secretary of State Ruth Johnson applauded state lawmakers today for their work to move much-needed election reforms forward in the state.

"To me there is nothing more sacred to democracy than integrity in our elections - safeguarding the principle of one citizen, one vote," Johnson said. "Our system is the best in the world and I encourage every voter who can do so to register and vote to have their voice heard on Election Day. These measures, such as electronic pollbooks and post-election audits, will work together to ensure integrity in the process."

Key lawmakers praised the legislation that was signed today.

"I'm grateful for the cooperative efforts that achieved these positive changes for voters," said Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, chair of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee. "Together, we have improved elections in Michigan."

"These reforms will strengthen our elections system and further promote election integrity," said Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chair of the House Redistricting and Elections Committee."

The legislation makes Johnson's proposals in her Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Initiative last fall a reality. Included in the reform package signed by Snyder today are bills that would:

Toughen campaign finance laws, including creation of felony charges and possible forfeiture of funds for the worst offenders.

Prevent stealth efforts, such as the fake Tea Party, by requiring organizations to file campaign finance reports so voters know who is really behind those efforts.

Create new election night policies so errors and issues can be immediately detected by election workers once the polls close.

Promote election transparency by requiring ballot question and political action committees file campaign statements more often. Ballot question committees also must file earlier.

Stop candidates from using campaign money to pay for legal expenses unrelated to their campaigns.

Johnson said that while she is disappointed the governor chose to not sign parts of the package - all parts of which drew bipartisan support - she will continue to work for election reform.

"The fact remains that the citizenship checkbox has prevented unqualified voters from casting ballots," Johnson said, adding she will continue to require that ballot application forms have the citizenship checkbox.

For more information about Secretary of State programs and services, visit www.Michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/michsos and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/michigansos. Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).


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