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Voter Suppression Bills Spark Well-Deserved Backlash

Op Ed by Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan
 

Michiganders are ready to fight back against attacks on our voting rights

March 29, 2021: Despite a series of thorough audits showing that the 2020 election was safe, fair, and accurate, Michigan Republicans are working to undermine trust in our democracy and make it more difficult for eligible voters to cast their ballots. Progress Michigan strongly condemns the voter suppression bills introduced by Republican lawmakers.

Despite rampant disinformation and a pandemic, Michigan voters made use of the voting rights won under Proposal 3 and turned out in record numbers last year to chart a new path forward for our state.

“No matter how many bogus conspiracy theories right-wingers come up with, all the evidence points to the fact that Michigan elections are free, fair, and accurate. Our elected officials should be working to build on that momentum and further expand access to the ballot box but instead, they’re continuing their efforts to undermine public trust in our elections and using false claims of fraud as an excuse for blatant voter suppression.

Michiganders have come together time and time again to support our democracy, and we won’t stop fighting to ensure every eligible voter can make their voice heard. Mike Shirkey and his merry band of voter suppression supporting idiots may have a majority of the Michigan legislature, but their efforts don't have the support of the majority of Michiganders.”

Michiganders Are Done Waiting for FOIA Reform
Progress Michigan announces details of ballot initiative to expand FOIA 

This Sunshine Week, Progress Michigan is celebrating by rolling out the details of an upcoming ballot initiative to expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to cover the legislature and governor’s office. According to a recent poll, this measure is popular with Michiganders across the political spectrum, with 74 percent of respondents saying they support expanding FOIA while only 8 percent are opposed.

This initiative comes after several unsuccessful attempts by the legislature to create a second open records law called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA), which would subject the legislature to a lesser standard of transparency than is required by FOIA. LORA includes special carve-outs for the legislature and governor’s office that don’t exist for any other public body and requires that appeals of rejected records requests go to a board appointed by the legislature instead of allowing people to appeal in court. 

Conversely, the ballot initiative proposed by Progress Michigan would apply the full weight of FOIA to the legislature and governor’s office.

The LORA bills proposed in the legislature are what you would get if you ordered FOIA reform from Wish.com. The people of Michigan have already waited far too long for real FOIA reform—and we’re done waiting,   

 We don’t need more lip service to transparency from lawmakers who aren’t willing to back their words up with actions, and we don’t need half-measures like LORA that give the legislature special treatment instead of holding them to the same standards every other level of government is expected to follow. This Sunshine Week, we’re looking forward to bringing some much-needed transparency reform to Lansing and help create a government that is truly accountable to the people.

For more information about the proposal, visit CloseLansingLoopholes.com 

 

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