Dickinson clerk backs Proposal 3

I am announcing my support for Proposal 3, a statewide ballot proposal designed to remove voting barriers for eligible voters and protect the integrity of Michigan elections.

If adopted, the proposal would:

— Protect the right to vote using a secret ballot.

— Ensure military service members and overseas voters get their ballots in on time.

— Provide voters with the option to vote straight party.

— Automatically register citizens to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines;.

— Allow a citizen to register to vote by mail or in person until 15 days before an election. After that, citizens may register to vote in person with proof of residency up to and on Election Day.

— Provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason.

— Ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results.

I am especially excited about the proposal’s extension of no-reason absentee voting to all eligible voters. Current state law only allows absentee voting for voters who fit a few narrow categories. No-reason absentee voting would be a boon for voters in this largely rural county, where poll distance and brutal weather can prevent people from voting in person.

Absentee voting also gives voters more time to study their ballots. When you’re sitting at your table at home, you can take your time and go through the ballot.

I’ve served as clerk of Dickinson County for 28 years. We should have had no-reason absentee voting a long time ago. It just doesn’t make any sense to me that anyone who wants to vote absentee shouldn’t be able to do it.