Support Documents for Priority Legislation

Legislative Priority #001 Proposal 2022-08-25

  • Intent is to guide our legislature in the fulfillment of their constitutional duty to enact laws “ …to preserve the purity of elections, to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, to guard against abuses of the elective franchise…”

Priority #001: Disqualify participation in ERIC because of the (election law violating and circumventing) burdens it places on the state.

Priority 1 PIME Policy Statement:

PIME recognizes that multi-state programs for voter list maintenance may be beneficial to the member states, Until inter-state voter registry cooperation is mandated by federal legislation – similar to that introduced in H.R. 2115 by former Michigan Representative Candace Miller, programs such as ERIC may be needed to coordinate voter lists impacted by inter-state relocation.

Unfortunately, some programs fail to operate with transparency to the citizens of the states they claim to serve. Minor changes to existing statutes would disqualify participation in such secretive programs.

Additionally, some programs prominently promote in their bylaws the facilitation of ‘targeted’ registration of new voters. They follow through on this promise by compelling the state to contact their list of ‘targeted’ residents to register to vote – under threat of expulsion from the program.

This agreement appears to blatantly circumvent the intent behind statutes giving authority to local clerks to operate registration ‘programs’ – but only when the programs are evenly applied to the entire jurisdiction of the clerk. This is precisely the opposite of ‘targeted’ voter registration promoted and mandated by ERIC. Minor amendments to existing statute should be implemented to more explicitly constrain the secretary of state to the same restrictions placed on local clerks, when the secretary is exercising authority specifically extended to local clerks.

Priority 1 Statute Amendments (168.509o, 168.509dd, boldface italics indicates proposed changes):

168.509o Qualified voter file; establishment and maintenance; individuals considered registered voters; signed application; development and use of process to update qualified voter file; availability of canceled voter registration information; participation in multistate programs or services; limitations.

Sec. 509o. (1) The secretary of state shall direct and supervise the establishment and maintenance of a statewide qualified voter file. The secretary of state shall establish the technology to implement the qualified voter file. The qualified voter file is the official file for the conduct of all elections held in this state. The secretary of state may direct that all or any part of the city or township registration files must be used in conjunction with the qualified voter file at the first state primary and election held after the creation of the qualified voter file.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, an individual who appears to vote in an election and whose name appears in the qualified voter file for that city, township, or school district is considered a registered voter of that city, township, or school district under this act.

(3) The secretary of state, a designated voter registration agency, or a county, city, or township clerk shall not place a name of an individual into the qualified voter file unless that individual signs an application as prescribed in section 509r(3). The secretary of state or a designated voter registration agency shall not allow an individual to indicate a different address than the address in either the secretary of state’s or designated voter registration agency’s files to be placed in the qualified voter file.

(4) The secretary of state shall develop and utilize a process by which information obtained through the United States Social Security Administration’s death master file that is used to cancel an operator’s or chauffeur’s license issued under the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, or an official state personal identification card issued under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, of a deceased resident of this state is also used at least once a month to update the qualified voter file to cancel the voter registration of any elector determined to be deceased. The secretary of state shall make the canceled voter registration information under this subsection available to the clerk of each city or township to assist with the clerk’s obligations under section 510.

(5) Subject to this subsection, the secretary of state shall participate with other states in 1 or more recognized multistate programs or services, if available, to assist in the verification of the current residence and voter registration status of electors. The secretary of state shall not participate in any recognized multistate program or service described in this subsection that requires this state to promote or adopt legislation as a condition of participation in that program or service. The secretary of state shall not initiate, and shall immediately terminate participation in any service or multistate program for which there are any formal or informal contracts, agreements or practices that prohibit or discourage or restrict any public disclosure of any information it provides to or receives from the state. In addition, the secretary of state shall not participate in any recognized multistate program or service described in this subsection if the secretary of state determines that data of that program or service are not being adequately secured or protected. The secretary of state shall follow the procedures under section 509aa(5) with regard to any electors affected by information obtained through any multistate program or service.

168.509dd Program to register voters or remove names.

Sec. 509dd. (1) A clerk may conduct a program to register or contact qualified electors for the purpose of voter registration or to remove names of registered voters who are no longer qualified to vote in the city or township from the registration records of that city or township. A clerk who conducts a program to register or contact qualified electorsvoters for the purpose of voter registration or to remove names under this section shall administer the program in a uniform manner to the entire city or township. All election officials and assistants or subcontractors participating in any aspect of a program to register or contact qualified electors for the purpose of voter registrations or remove names of registered voters, including the secretary of state and assistants or subcontractors to the secretary of state, shall ensure that such program is applied to all jurisdictions of all participating election officials or their offices, in a uniform manner. The clerkAll election officials and their assistants or subcontractors involved in any aspect of the program shall use nondiscriminatory procedures that comply with the requirements of the voting rights act of 1965, Public Law 89-110, 79 Stat. 437.

(2) The clerk or election official shall complete any program to remove names conducted under this section 90 days or more before the date of a federal election. The 90-day deadline under this subsection does not apply to the removal of names from the registration records of a city or township under 1 of the following circumstances:

(a) At the request or authorization of a voter.

(b) Upon the death of a voter.

(c) Upon notice that a voter has moved from the city or township and has completed an application at the new address.

(3) Subject to the requirements of this section, a clerk or election official may use 1 or more of the following to conduct a program to register voters or remove names under this section:

(a) A house-to-house canvass.

(b) A general mailing to voters for address verifications.

(c) Participation in the national change of address program established by the postal service.

(d) Other means the clerk or election official considers appropriate.

ERIC’s Unlawful Purpose – In its Own Words.

Below are excerpts from the ERIC website (https://ericstates.org/) and its attached bylaws that provide evidence its stated mission and secrecy policy violate the letter and intent of MI and federal election laws.. 

It is important to note that MCL 168.509gg(5) gives authorization to the secretary of state to:

“(5) Subject to this subsection, the secretary of state shall participate with other states in 1 or more recognized multistate programs or services, if available, to assist in the verification of the current residence and voter registration status of electors.”

There is no authority given to the state to participate in programs whose stated purpose is to promote ‘voter registration for all eligible citizens’ – particularly when public scrutiny of the information used to identify the ‘eligible citizens’ is strictly forbidden by agreements between the state and participating ‘service.’ Rather, current statute authorizes participation only in programs that verify the residence and registration status of electors – meaning those individuals that are currently registered as documented in the QVF. MCL 168.509dd extends explicit authority to clerks to administer voter registration programs – but only if those programs are administered ‘uniformly’ to the entire jurisdiction of the clerk.

ERIC Compels the State to Withhold QVF Maintenance Data, in Violation of the NVRA

The ERIC bylaws excerpt below compels the member states to work in direct opposition of their citizens’ interest through blanket denial of FOIA requests for information exchanged with ERIC – even if the state knows it is legally obligated to comply with such requests.

(page 15)

This seems to violate provisions of NVRA SEC. 8.(i), which requires states to share all voter registration program records with their citizens.

(i) PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF VOTER REGISTRATION ACTIVITIES .—

(1) Each State shall maintain for at least 2 years and shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records relate to a declination to register to vote or to the identity of a voter registration agency through which any particular voter is registered.

ERIC Requires Members to Circumvent MI Statutes for ‘Voter Registration Uniformity.’

Here, ERIC cleverly and perhaps deviously, requires its member states to circumvent implicit restrictions per MCL168.509dd. This statute requires clerks to administer any voter registration programs ‘uniformly’ to their entire jurisdiction. Under threat of expulsion from membership, ERIC is directing the state to register ‘targeted’ residents, but narrowly steers around explicit violation of the statute by specifically requiring the state to ‘contact’ the potential registrant for the purpose of voter registration, and not to explicitly ‘register’ them.

(page 16)

(page 17)

MCL 168.509dd (full text cited above), explicitly gives clerks the authority to initiate programs that serve as ‘voter registration drives,’ but only when those programs are administered “in a uniform manner to the entire city or township.” Not only is ERIC demanding the state to appropriate authority reserved to the clerks, but to do so in a manner inconsistent with explicit statutory requirements.

– Louis Avallone, 2022-08-25

PIME / MFE Legislative Priority #002 Proposal 2022-08-25

  • Intent is to guide our legislature in the fulfillment of their constitutional duty to enact laws “ …to preserve the purity of elections, to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, to guard against abuses of the elective franchise…”

Priority #002: Address non-citizen registrations – as a matter of preserving voting rights for citizens and  protecting resident non-citizens from legal jeopardy.

Priority 2 PIME Policy Statement:

PIME is concerned that the constitutional right of citizens to ‘automatic voter registration’ has been implemented in a manner that subjects our resident non-citizens to felony risk per MCL 168.519 and 168.493a(5). Although it is reasonable to expect that most cases of incidental non-citizen voter registrations are innocent and unintentional, prosecutor’s discretion is a wildcard that can put one’s desire to attain citizenship or to remain in the country at risk. Automatic registration followed by widespread distribution of absentee ballot applications may lead some (unqualified) voters to cast ballots due in part to consecutive errors by the state.

To avoid ensnaring non-citizens in such voter-registration ‘traps,’ a mechanism should be put in place to utilize existing state and/or federal databases to quickly resolve all unintentional non-citizen voter registrations. PIME suggests this can be accomplished without revealing individual private citizenship status.

To further ensure that the secretary of state adequately protects non-citizen residents from prosecution for election law infractions, the secretary should be required to self-report relevant metrics to the Legislature. PIME understands that documentation sufficient for citizenship verification already exist in the Driver’s License File (DLF), and may be accessed in ‘real-time’ by the secretary and the secretary’s subordinates. Similar mechanisms have been fully implemented to access and compare information stored in the DLF and QVF for the purpose of identity verification, as exercised for online voter registration and address changes.

Additionally, per MCL 168.493a(3): “The secretary of state shall not automatically register to vote an individual who indicates on the operator’s or chauffeur’s license application, official state personal identification card application, enhanced driver license application, enhanced official state personal identification card application, or change of address application that he or she declines to use the application as a voter registration application.

It is PIME’s belief that some of the named forms indicated in this statute no longer provide a ‘checkbox’ which reminds and allows a person the option to use the form for its primary purpose and to decline to register to vote (i.e., the combined voter registration and change of address form found at https://www.michigan.gov/-/media/Project/Websites/sos/01mcalpine/1_MIVoterRegistration.pdf?rev=4c0bcfed8fe24ff8ae8fbfedaa2eacb9). These forms should be considered invalid for the purpose of voter registration if they do not provide the applicant with conspicuous means to decline voter registration, as is required per the NVRA and MI statute.

Priority 1 Statute Amendments (168.509o, 168.509q, 168.509n, 168.493a, boldface italics indicates proposed changes):

168.509o Qualified voter file; establishment and maintenance; individuals considered registered voters; signed application; development and use of process to update qualified voter file; availability of canceled voter registration information; participation in multistate programs or services; limitations.

Sec. 509o. (1) The secretary of state shall direct and supervise the establishment and maintenance of a statewide qualified voter file. The secretary of state shall establish the technology to implement the qualified voter file. The qualified voter file is the official file for the conduct of all elections held in this state. The secretary of state may direct that all or any part of the city or township registration files must be used in conjunction with the qualified voter file at the first state primary and election held after the creation of the qualified voter file.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, an individual who appears to vote in an election and whose name appears in the qualified voter file for that city, township, or school district is considered a registered voter of that city, township, or school district under this act.

(3) The secretary of state, a designated voter registration agency, or a county, city, or township clerk shall not place a name of an individual into the qualified voter file unless that individual signs an application as prescribed in section 509r(3). The secretary of state or a designated voter registration agency shall not allow an individual to indicate a different address than the address in either the secretary of state’s or designated voter registration agency’s files to be placed in the qualified voter file.

(4) The secretary of state shall develop and utilize a process by which information obtained through the United States Social Security Administration’s death master file that is used to cancel an operator’s or chauffeur’s license issued under the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, or an official state personal identification card issued under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, of a deceased resident of this state is also used at least once a month to update the qualified voter file to cancel the voter registration of any elector determined to be deceased. The secretary of state shall make the canceled voter registration information under this subsection available to the clerk of each city or township to assist with the clerk’s obligations under section 510.

(5) Subject to this subsection, the secretary of state shall participate with other states in 1 or more recognized multistate programs or services, if available, to assist in the verification of the current residence and voter registration status of electors. The secretary of state shall not participate in any recognized multistate program or service described in this subsection that requires this state to promote or adopt legislation as a condition of participation in that program or service. In addition, the secretary of state shall not participate in any recognized multistate program or service described in this subsection if the secretary of state determines that data of that program or service are not being adequately secured or protected. The secretary of state shall follow the procedures under section 509aa(5) with regard to any electors affected by information obtained through any multistate program or service.

(6) The secretary of state or authorized subordinates shall positively and accurately verify the U.S. citizenship status of all qualified voters, and retain an accurate indication of the completion of such verification activity in the QVF. The verification process shall make use of information contained within the state maintained QVF and DLF (Driver’s License File), if available, as well asrecords maintained by the Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security (i.e., S.A.V.E. or E-verify databases), or other state or federal agencies that retain verified records of a person’s U.S. citizenship status.

168.509q Qualified voter file; information to be contained for each voter.

Sec. 509q. The qualified voter file shall contain all of the following information for each qualified voter:

(a) The name; residence address including house number and street name or rural route and box number, and the apartment number, if any; city; state; zip code; and date of birth.

(b) The driver’s license number or state personal identification card number or similar number issued by a designated voter registration agency.

(c) Jurisdictional information including county and city or township; village, if any; metropolitan district, if any; and school district.

(d) Precinct numbers and ward numbers, if any.

(e) Any other information that the secretary of state determines is necessary to assess the eligibility of qualified electors or to administer voter registration or other aspects of the election process.

(f) Voting history for a 5-year period.

(g) The most recent digitized signature of an elector if captured or reproduced by the secretary of state or a county, city, or township clerk from a voter registration application pursuant to section 509hh, or captured or reproduced by the secretary of state pursuant to section 307 of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.307.

(h) A data field that indicates one of the following two states: (1)the qualified voter’s U.S. citizenship status has been positively verified; or (0)the qualified voter’s U.S. citizen status has not been positively verified.

(i) A data field that indicates the most recent date on which a qualified voter’s U.S. citizenship status was positively verified.

168.509n Secretary of state; duties.

Sec. 509n. The secretary of state is responsible for the coordination of the requirements imposed under this chapter, the national voter registration act of 1993, and the help America vote act of 2002. The secretary of state shall do all of the following:

(a) Develop a mail registration form and make the form available for distribution through governmental and private entities, with special emphasis on making the form available to voter registration programs established for the purpose of registering citizens of this state to vote.

(b) Instruct designated voter registration agencies and county, city, township, and village clerks about the voter registration procedures and requirements imposed by law.

(c) By June 15 of each odd numbered year, submit to each member of the committees of the senate and house of representatives with primary responsibility for election matters a report on the qualified voter file. The report shall include, but need not be limited to, both of the following:

(i) Information on the efficiency and effectiveness of the qualified voter file as a voter registration system.

(ii) Recommendations of the secretary of state for amendments to this act to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the qualified voter file as a voter registration system.

(iii) The number of qualified voters for which U.S. citizenship status was not positively verified and documented per sections 509o(6) and 509q(h-i), on the day of the most recent general election that included federal offices.

168.493a Automatic voter registration; qualifications; option to opt-out; information added to

qualified voter file; erroneous registration not a violation.

Sec. 493a. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the secretary of state shall automatically register to vote

each individual who meets the qualifications of an elector under section 492 and who submits an application for an operator’s or chauffeur’s license issued under the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, an official state personal identification card issued under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, or an enhanced driver license or enhanced official state personal identification card issued under the enhanced driver license and enhanced official state personal identification card act, 2008 PA 23, MCL 28.301 to 28.308. In addition, subject to subsections (2) and (3), the secretary of state shall automatically register to vote each individual who meets the qualifications of an elector under section 492 and who submits a change of address application for an operator’s or chauffeur’s license issued under the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923, an official state personal identification card issued under 1972 PA 222, MCL 28.291 to 28.300, or an enhanced driver license or enhanced official state personal identification card issued under the enhanced driver license and enhanced official state personal identification card act, 2008 PA 23, MCL 28.301 to 28.308.

(2) For purposes of subsection (1), the secretary of state shall only automatically register to vote an individual who indicates on his or her operator’s or chauffeur’s license application, official state personal

identification card application, or change of address application that he or she is a citizen of the United States.

(3) The secretary of state shall not automatically register to vote an individual who indicates on the

operator’s or chauffeur’s license application, official state personal identification card application, enhanced driver license application, enhanced official state personal identification card application, or change of address application, or any other form or application used to initiate voter registrations, that he or she declines to use the application as a voter registration application. The secretary of state shall not automatically register to vote any individual who submits an aforementioned form or application unless that form or application includes a prominently displayed selection box with accompanying text that informs and provides a convenient means by which the applicant may decline to register to vote and still use the form or application for its primary purpose per NVRA SEC. 5.(c)(2)(D)(ii), SEC, 7.(a)(6)(B)(iii), and NVRA SEC. 9.(b)(4)(ii). The secretary of state shall not transmit any information to the qualified voter file regarding any individual who declines to use an application described in this section as a voter registration application.

(4) The secretary of state shall add any information required under section 509q to the qualified voter file

for each elector registered under subsection (1) and shall forward the name of each elector registered under this section to the clerk of the city or township in which each elector registered resides.

(5) An individual who is not eligible to vote and who, without intending to register to vote, becomes

registered to vote through human or mechanical error is not considered to have knowingly intended to register to vote in violation of section 519.

Unlawful ‘Automatic’ Voter Registration of Non-Citizens is not Hypothetical

The legitimacy of this issue was captured in MI Senate records per an exchange between Sen. Ruth Johnson and Adam Reames, Michigan Department of State (i.e., roughly from timestamp 24:00 – 29:00, https://cloud.castus.tv/vod/misenate/video/61f3065bd48d55e44ec8dd80?page=HOME). The example that Sen. Johnson documents is not the only one in recent history. Each of the non-citizen residents and guests that are caught in the trap caused by sloppy administration of the automatic registration provisions of our constitution are put at risk of not being able to participate as future naturalized citizens. Compelling the state to positively verify citizenship of all registered voters using information that in most cases is already documented and available to the state, seems like a simple and obvious solution.

– Louis Avallone 2022-08-25

PIME / MFE Legislative Priority #001 Proposal 2022-08-25

  • Intent is to guide our legislature in the fulfillment of their constitutional duty to enact laws “ …to preserve the purity of elections, to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, to guard against abuses of the elective franchise…”

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