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Whitmer vetoes voter fraud bill, cites redundancy, confusion


David Eggert  |  Associated Press

Lansing – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed bills that would have made it a felony to knowingly try to apply for multiple absentee ballots or to fill out an application for others 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.

“Any suggestion that the filing of a second absentee ballot application is criminal behavior creates needless confusion and fearmongering around the absentee voting process,” Whitmer wrote. “It is bad for voters and bad for our elections.

The main bill was passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate on bipartisan 77-26 and 32-6 votes, with some Democrats opposed.

The vetoes drew criticism from one of the sponsors, Republican Rep. Ann Bollin of Brighton Township, who said the bills would have deterred fraud and enhanced voters’ confidence in elections amid “noise” about mail-in voting.