Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) vetoed legislation that would have made it a felony to attempt to apply for multiple absentee ballots or fill out an application for other individuals without their consent.
The Democratic governor said voter fraud — such as trying to vote more than once — already is a crime, and the Republican-sponsored legislation would “muddy the waters” and “likely confuse voters” about what conduct is criminal. In a letter to lawmakers Friday, she said it is impossible to get a second ballot without spoiling the first one and cautioned that people might submit multiple applications because of memory or error.
The main bill was passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate on bipartisan 77-26 and 32-6 votes, with some Democrats opposed.
“Any suggestion that the filing of a second absentee ballot application is criminal behavior creates needless confusion and fearmongering around the absentee voting process,” wrote Whitmer. “It is bad for voters and bad for our elections.”
State Rep. Ann Bollin, a Republican who sponsored the legislation, criticized Whitmer over the veto, arguing both bills were designed to deter fraud, while enhancing confidence as voters battle “noise” regarding mail-in voting.
“This legislation would have created a felony penalty for someone who fills out an application for another person in an attempt to commit fraud,” she said. “That’s not voter intimidation – it’s voter protection.”
President Donald Trump has repeatedly warned of potential issues stemming from voting by mail, saying voter fraud could lead to “the greatest election disaster in history.”
“They think they’re going to send hundreds of millions of ballots all over the United States and it’s gonna come out,” the president has said. “You won’t know the election results for weeks, months, maybe years after. Maybe you’ll never know the election result. And that’s what I’m concerned with.”