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New legislation would make vote-by-mail fraud a felony

Phil Romans

Legislation passed out of the state senate would make it a felony to submit an absentee ballot under someone else’s name.

Submitting an absentee ballot under a different name is already a crime, but the legislation would move it from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Republican State Senator Kevin Daley introduced the legislation. He said as Michigan moves to increase absentee ballot applications the penalties for fraud should be increased.

“We just have to make sure the teeth are in the law so if anyone does play with it we have the ability to go after them.”

Daley said there is some question about the legality of sending every state resident an absentee ballot. But, he said, he’ll at least be more comfortable if the process dissuades fraudsters.

“If they know they are going to get into deep trouble maybe it will discourage them from trying that.”

A spokesperson for the Secretary fo State’s office said they are in support of the legislation.

But, they noted, there has only been one case of vote-by-mail fraud in Michigan over the last eight years.

The legislation has passed out of the Senate and is waiting to be taken up in the House.