PIME’s Analysis and Proposal for Amendment to Michigan Constitution

Voters were misled in 2018 when they approved Proposition 18-3 and so-called “election reforms” to the Michigan Constitution.

PIME recommends a citizen initiative to amend the Michigan Constitution regarding election law. Here is what happened and what needs to be fixed:

The Constitutional Amendment 18-3 eroded election integrity in five key areas.

1. Voters may register to vote and obtain a ballot up to and including on Election Day. Same day voting makes it impossible for clerks to verify residency, let alone citizenship. (Though unrelated to 18-3, it is important to note that voters, especially students, may register to vote in multiple states. In a time of ever-increasing mobility, no one is checking, removing, or prosecuting double voters.)

2. Voters may obtain an Absentee Ballot without giving a reason.

Because residents may apply for absentee ballots online, it is now possible for a voter to register and vote without ever seeing a human being.

3. Applicants for Driver’s Licenses and state IDs are automatically registered to vote when interacting with the Secretary of State’s office, unless the person specifically declines.

Clerks make continual changes to the Qualified Voter File (QVF), so it’s very fluid. The cleansing of the Secretary-of-State-maintained QVF has only occurred twice in the past ten years: Ruth Johnson in 2013 and Jocelyn Benson in January 2021 after the 2020 election.

SOS Jocelyn Benson sent out a voter registration card before the 2020 election. Those who DID NOT RESPOND WERE AUTOMATICALLY REGISTERED TO VOTE. Analysts suspect this created a slush fund for fraudsters to mail in or drop box absentee ballots in the names of unlikely voters.

4. Applicants may register to vote by mailing a completed application on or before the fifteenth (15th) day before that election to an election official authorized to receive voter registration applications

Of import also is the fact that SOS Benson illegally reduced voter signature-check requirements. By the time the courts ruled against her, the election had been certified for months. Legislators have subsequently introduced a bill to require absentee ballot applicants to submit copies of their drivers’ licenses with their mail-in applications. This clause is likely to be struck under pressure from groups  claiming “voter suppression.”  

Also, even if a voter hasn’t voted for the past 8 years, they are not removed from the QVF. All they have to do is vote. and their registration status is reactivated. This might explain why people aged 127 years old continue to vote.

Here’s what needs to happen:

AMEND THE CONSTITUTION

Whereas clerks, representatives, senators, and citizens will testify that, after sailing to voter approval on the currents of the marijuana initiative, 2018’s Proposal 3 amendment to the Michigan Constitution has wrought devastating effects on our state’s election integrity; 

Whereas petition signers are just as likely pen their names to two petitions as to one on the issue of election integrity;

Whereas the petitions would not conflict since the legislative petition would go back to the legislature, and the ballot petition would go onto the ballot; and 

Whereas voters are fired up and public confidence in election integrity weighs in the balance;

Therefore, a ballot initiative to amend Michigan’s constitution is warranted and likely to succeed. 

Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections recommends reversing 18-3’s damages via achieving the following Constitutional amendments: 

1.   End  same-day voter registration 

2.   End no-reason absentee voting 

3.   End online and mail-in voter registrations

4.   End automatic voter registration when signing up for drivers’ licenses and State IDs.

5.   Mandate a forensic audit of any county that averages more than two percent (2%) out of balance during an election. Out of balance counties should be overseen by a state election committee as appointed by the legislature for the next two cycles.

6. All counties should be required to conform to the same standards and processes. No exceptions. Equal numbers of Republican and Democrat workers, inspectors, and challengers should be required and subject to review and approval by the two major parties.

6.   Protect Michigan’s rights under the US Constitution and our legislature’s rights and responsibilities; to guarantee free speech and curtail the power of social media companies to choose whose voices are heard, and to ensure civic appreciation for our constitutional republic. 

The chart below shows the changes that occurred to Michigan’s Constitution due to Proposition 18-3. The column on the right itemizes PIME’s recommendations:

PolicyUntil 2018After 2018’s Proposition 3PIME’s Recommendations for a 2022 Ballot Initiative
Secret ballot Constitution requires legislature to enact laws for secret ballots Constitution provides a right to use secret ballots No change
Military / overseas ballots Statute provides that military members and overseas voters receive an absentee ballot at least 45 days before the election Constitution provides that military members and overseas voters receive an absentee ballot at least 45 days before the election  No change
Register-to-vote by mail deadline Statute provides that eligible persons can register to vote by mail until 30 days before an election Constitution provides that eligible persons can register to vote by mail until 15 days before an election REPEAL 18-3 and restore to 2018 guidelines  
Register-to-vote in person deadline Statute provides that eligible persons can register to vote in person at a clerk’s office until 30 days before an election Constitution provides that eligible persons can register to vote in person at a clerk’s office during the final 14 days before an election and at the polls on election dayREPEAL 18-3 and restore to prior guidelines as follows: 
1)   Only citizens of the United States and residents of Michigan may vote and be counted one time in federal, state, county, city and township, village and school elections.
2)   Residency and citizenship will be verified. 
3)   Applicants and registrants who fail verification as citizens will be immediately removed from the qualified voter file (QVF). 
4)   Registrants will register to vote in person only. Mail-in applications are prohibited. 
6)   Wet, verified signatures are required. 
Straight-party ticket voting No straight-ticket voting Constitution provides voters with straight-ticket voting option No change
Automatic voter registration No automatic voter registration Constitution provides for the automatic voter registration of eligible persons when interacting with the state regarding driver’s license or state ID card, unless the person declinesREPEAL. Applicants will be asked at the time of the state agency transaction, such as the application for a driver’s license, whether they would like to register to vote. Citizenship must be proven if registering to vote.Under-aged pre-registrants must request to be added to the pre-registration list.
Absentee voting Statute provides that specific criteria be met to vote absentee, including at least one of the following: (a) 60 years old or older;(b) unable to vote without assistance at the polls; (c) expected to be out-of-town on election day; (d) in jail awaiting arraignment or trial; (e) unable to attend the polls for religious reasons; or (f) appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of the inspector’s home precinct Constitution provides that any voter can vote using an absentee ballot (no-excuse absentee voting) during the 40 days before an electionREPEAL 18-3 and restore b, c, d, e and f: A voter may vote absentee if (a) unable to vote without assistance at the polls; (b) expected to be out-of-town on election day; (c) in jail awaiting arraignment or trial; (d) unable to attend the polls for religious reasons; or (e) appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of the inspector’s home precinct
Election results auditing Statute provides for the auditing of election results Constitution provides for the auditing of election resultsAMEND: If a county’s voting precincts are out of balance by 2%, then a firm, mutually agreed upon by the two state parties, will conduct a countywide forensic audit, to include, but not limited to, review of paper ballots with observers from both major parties and workers within readable proximity. The out-of-balance county will pay the costs of the audit.Thereafter, for the next two election cycles, the administration of the off-balance county will transfer to an independent, bipartisan election commission.The independent, bipartisan election commission will be composed in equal parts of two representatives selected by each of the two major parties.
Constitutional and Civic Protections  ADD: To protect Michigan’s rights under the US Constitution and its legislature’s rights and responsibilities; to guarantee free speech and curtail the power of social media companies to choose whose voices are heard; and to ensure civic appreciation for our constitutional republic.
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