By Tom Travis
Michigan State Senator Jim Ananich (D – 27th District) joined Flint Pastor Chris Martin of the Cathedral of Faith, community activists and other pastors in front of Berston Field House this morning to voice their opposition to 39 Michigan Republican bills being introduced this week in Lansing.
“We stand here today to say that this will not be tolerated,” Martin declared, referring to 39 Michigan State Republican-led voter suppression bills being introduced this week in Lansing.
Protest in Lansing tomorrow, April 13 at noon
It was announced at the press conference today that protestors will gather at noon tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13, in front of the State Capitol in Lansing. Martin announced that if anyone needs a ride to Lansing tomorrow to call (810) 955-4495.
“We encourage all that can to join us tomorrow with the leaders of the Michigan Democratic Party, the Michigan NAACP, protestors and civil rights groups as we converge on Lansing at 12 p.m. As we voice our opposition to a voter suppression system that is trying to take the vote from African-Americans.”
Michigan Senate Republican bills “reminiscent of Jim Crow 2.0”
“We believe that these bills are so very reminiscent of Jim Crow 2.0,” Martin said. The recent voter suppression laws passed in Georgia’s state legislature have been referred to by the name “Jim Crow 2.0.”
“We stand united today to voice our opposition to the 39 voter suppression bills that the Michigan republicans will be introducing into the senate and house this week. These 39 Michigan voter suppression laws that will be introduced will cover foolish ground.”
Some examples of the 39 bills to be introduced this week to the Michigan legislature include:
- Prohibit clerks from providing prepaid postage for absentee ballot return envelopes and prohibit the secretary of state from providing funding for prepaid postage. (SB 287) [SB = Senate Bill]
- Amend the criminal code to expand election-related felonies. (SB 291)
- Ramp up the state’s voter identification requirements. Right now, voters who do not have photo identification can sign an affidavit attesting to their identity. This bill would instead mandate that they be issued provisional ballots, subject to a separate process of counting and verification. (SB 303)
- Outline how voters who want their provisional ballots to count to verify their identity. The bill would require voters to prove their identity within six days of the election — if they present a government-issued ID that does not include an address, voters would also need to present a document such as a utility bill or bank statement verifying their address. (SB 304)
A complete list of the Michigan Republican State Senate bills can be viewed at the Michigan State Legislature link. The 38 bills are numbered 273 to 311.
“We know that in the last election people of color and primarily African-American people had a major impact on the elections not only in the state of Michigan but over this entire country,” Martin added.
He noted the press conference was taking place at Berston Field House, “which is a polling site, and places like these are under attack by these 39 bills.”
Easier to vote, harder to cheat – Michigan Republicans – “but there was no cheating” – Senator Ananich
“Last year, long before the election started, and all the way up to the present, President Trump and many Republicans claimed there was wide-spread fraud and cheating in the election. This lying continued through the election, after the election and up until the ‘deadly insurrection’ on the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6,” Ananich said.
Ananich contended Republicans continue to spread lies about voter fraud and cheating in the 2020 election adding, “but there was no cheating.
Ananich pointed out that the Michigan Republicans are “moving quickly” to pass the 39 bills.
“When it’s something that’s bad you have to move quickly so that people can’t organize around it and protest. I encourage members of the community to read these bills, to voice their opposition to them,” he said.
Ananich added that he didn’t know when the vote would take place in the Michigan legislature but it would likely be this week. He added, “the Michigan senate needs three Republicans to not vote in favor for the legislation to fail.
“I would encourage voters all across the area to call their state senators and state representatives to vote no on these bills,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Kildee statement read by Pastor Herbert Miller
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee sent a statement to be read at the press conference. Flint Pastor Herbert Miller of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, reading from his phone, offered Kildee’s statement.
It said in part, “I strongly oppose attempts in the Michigan Republican legislature to take away voting rights from Michiganders. especially people of color. Their efforts making it harder to vote are shameful and an attempt to rig the vote after failing to win at the ballot box in the 2020 elections.”
EVM Managing Editor, Tom Travis, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org