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Last day for Shirkey to support military voting rights

Today is the last day for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to support the voting rights of Michigan service members and their spouses who are serving overseas.

Senate Bill 117 would give these Michigan citizens the ability to return their absentee ballots electronically via a secure portal, ensuring that the U.S. Postal Service does not delay their vote beyond when it can be counted on Election Day.

The bill passed both the state House and Senate in September by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, and yet Sen. Shirkey has since unilaterally refused to deliver it for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to sign into law.

“Michigan service members and their spouses sacrifice so much to serve our country overseas. Sen. Shirkey has one last day to do the right thing and ensure their voices and votes are included in our democracy, and I hope he does so,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “By unilaterally holding up this bill without reason, Sen. Shirkey threatens to disenfranchise each and every one of our overseas service members and their spouses.”

Secretary Benson has advocated for such legislation for years. When her husband served in Afghanistan with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade in 2012, he mailed his ballot only to have the U.S. Postal Service return it to their home address as undeliverable after the election.

The Michigan House passed SB 117 by a vote of 88-17 on September 24. The Senate passed the bill on the same day by a vote of 31-6. Sen. Shirkey was among those who voted in support of the bill. 

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