NEW: Fueled by Election Lies, GOP Candidates’ Focus on Stripping Voting Rights Makes Michigan One of the Frontline States Preserving Democracy

“The only thing that is preventing the rollback of voting rights in Michigan right now is the threat of my veto.” – Governor Whitmer

LANSING — Governors are now the last line of defense against “efforts by Republican-controlled legislatures to restrict voting rights,” according to new reporting from the New York Times. In Michigan, all 12 candidates running for governor have either used their pursuit of proving baseless election lies to justify their candidacies or have committed to support legislation that will make it harder for all Michiganders to vote. 

Republicans like James Craig, Garrett Soldano, and Tudor Dixon have all expressed support for an Arizona-style  “audit” in Michigan, despite the multi-million dollar sham exercise reinforcing the fact that there is no evidence of fraud and actually netting more votes for Biden than in the certified results. Ryan Kelley participated in the violent insurrection on January 6th as one of the thousands spurred on by the belief that the White House was stolen from former President Trump.

Meanwhile, Governor Whitmer recently vetoed several anti-voter bills that aimed to dismantle the democratic process, weaken voting rights, and suppress Michiganders’ vote. 

Read excerpts below from the New York Times on the “major new significance” of 2022 as Governor Whitmer fights Republican efforts to limit democratic freedoms and read the full report here.

New York Times: Why Democrats See 3 Governor’s Races as a Sea Wall for Fair Elections
By Reid Epstein and Nick Corasanti

In three critical battleground states, Democratic governors have blocked efforts by Republican-controlled legislatures to restrict voting rights and undermine the 2020 election.

Now, the 2022 races for governor in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — states that have long been vital to Democratic presidential victories, including Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s — are taking on major new significance.

At stake are how easy it is to vote, who controls the electoral system and, some Democrats worry, whether the results of federal, state and local elections will be accepted no matter which party wins.

That has left Govs. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania standing alone, in what is already expected to be a difficult year for their party, as what Democrats view as a sea wall against a rising Republican tide of voting restrictions and far-reaching election laws.

The question of who wins their seats in 2022 — Mr. Evers and Ms. Whitmer are running for re-election, while Mr. Wolf is term-limited — has become newly urgent in recent weeks as Republicans in all three states, spurred on by former President Donald J. Trump, make clearer than ever their intent to reshape elections should they take unified control.

Republicans have aggressively pursued partisan reviews of the 2020 election in each state. In Pennsylvania, G.O.P. lawmakers sought the personal information of every voter in the state last month. In Wisconsin, a conservative former State Supreme Court justice, who is investigating the 2020 election results on behalf of the State Assembly, issued subpoenas on Friday for voting-related documents from election officials. And in Michigan on Sunday night, Ms. Whitmer vetoed four election bills that she said “would have perpetuated the ‘big lie’ or made it harder for Michiganders to vote.” […]

And as Mr. Trump and his allies chisel away at confidence in American elections by making baseless allegations of voter fraud, it is no longer a stretch to imagine governors loyal to the former president taking previously unthinkable steps to alter future results.

Governors are required to submit to Congress a certificate of ascertainment of presidential electors. But what if a governor refused? […]

James Craig…has backed bills that would forbid the mass mailing of absentee ballot applications to voters who do not request them and that would enact a strict voter ID requirement. He declined to comment. […]

In Michigan, Ms. Whitmer, who has faced threats of an insurrection in her statehouse and a kidnapping plot, is now fighting a Republican attempt to work around her expected veto of a host of proposed voting restrictions.

“The only thing that is preventing the rollback of voting rights in Michigan right now is the threat of my veto,” she said in an interview.

Michigan was also home to one of the most forceful and arcane attempts at reversing the outcome in 2020, when Republican election officials, at Mr. Trump’s behest, tried to refuse to certify the results in Wayne County and stall the certification of the state’s overall results. That memory, combined with new voting bills and Republican attempts to review the state’s election results, makes Michigan’s election next year all the more important, Ms. Whitmer said. […]

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