The Senate Elections Committee also advanced four bills later Wednesday that deal with state election law. One of them, Senate Bill 277, would in part authorize county clerks to flag, but not remove, the registration record of a deceased voter. A different bill in the broader package, SB 282, would require a more stringent removal process for potential deaths — though that proposal has not yet passed through the committee.
Another measure advanced by the committee on Wednesday would require that voters declare on their registration applications that they don’t claim the right to vote in another state or territory, while two others adjust Michigan law to streamline the process for military voters through an electronic system.
Lavora Barnes, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, said the bills were passed Wednesday as part of a GOP strategy to get fewer people to vote.
“Today’s actions in the State Senate were deplorable, racist, and quite frankly shameful,” she said in a statement. “Michigan’s 2020 elections were safe and secure. But that has not stopped the Republicans from launching an all-out attack on our right to vote.”
Ron Weiser, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, said in a statement provided to CNN later Wednesday that “the steps taken today by Republicans will make it easier to vote, and harder to cheat.”
And more Republican-controlled state legislatures have joined the march to limit access to the ballot box, motivated by former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that voter fraud contributed to his White House loss in 2020.
Most of the new laws make it harder to vote absentee and by mail, after a record number of Americans voted by mail in November.
This story has been updated with comments from the chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.
CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.