Be careful what you wish for … you just might get it. Jill Stein didn’t get the recount she wanted in Michigan, but she did get the state to take vote-integrity issues seriously. Meeting in its lame-duck session, the state House of Representatives passed a tough voter-ID bill that includes $3 million for funding of free state identification and birth certificates after over 18,000 voters cast ballots without identification in the presidential election:
Michigan’s Republican-led House on Wednesday night approved a strict voter identification proposal over strenuous objections from Democrats who argued the plan could disenfranchise properly registered voters.
Michigan voters without photo identification could still cast a provisional ballot under the controversial legislation, but they would have to bring an ID to their local clerk’s office within 10 days of an election in order for their vote to count.
Current law requires a photo ID too, but also allows for voters to sign an affidavit under oath that attests to their identity and eligibility. The House might have had ample reason to wonder about abuse under that system when looking at the distribution of the practice. The Detroit News’ Jonathan Oostling reports that almost half of all such votes took place in heavily Democratic Wayne County, and almost 6,000 in the city of Detroit alone. That seems oddly disproportional, given that Wayne County accounted for just 16% of the state’s total.
It’s worth noting that Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes, well below that total of non-ID ballots. That might tend to bolster Stein’s general complaint about potential voter fraud, but a recount wouldn’t be able to determine whether those ballots were cast fraudulently anyway. Ballots are cast secretly, so they do not contain any identifying marks. Once cast, a ballot from an ineligible voter is indistinguishable from legitimate ballots, and a recount would count them again, too. If the recount is about integrity and not the outcome, then Stein and her allies should be cheering this change in the statute, assuming it passes the state Senate.