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Voter rights overhaul petition approved for circulation

Flickr User Ray Bouknight

A ballot campaign will begin gathering signatures to add a voting rights amendment to the state constitution.

The amendment would make it easier to cast an early ballot, or vote absentee. It would preserve the right to easily cast a straight-party ballot with a single mark.

The effort is backed by the ACLU, the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, and the League of Women Voters. Kary Moss is with the ACLU.

“We have been woefully behind other states. These are common sense reforms that the public really supports and wants.”

Moss says the proposal would allow early voting and make it easier for people to vote absentee.

“If somebody wants to vote absentee, they have to be over 60 years old, they have to have an excuse. This proposal would allow for no-excuse absentee voting.”

It is opposed by many Republicans. Sarah Anderson is with the Michigan Republican Party. She says the amendment is a wish list of voting rules favored by Democrats.

“This is not about modernizing voting, or good government. It’s a desperate attempt to rig the system by liberal Democrats who can’t win on Election Day.”

Ballot proposal organizers say the proposal would undo Republican efforts in the Legislature to make it harder for some voters to cast a ballot. 

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.