Those aren’t movie reviews. They’re reviews of the job done by Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in her first big test as the state’s elections chief.
What happened? Well, back in February Secretary Johnson added a citizenship checkbox to the ballot application, saying that it was only a matter of time before lawmakers approved her bill to make that change legal (it wasn’t, at the time). But then the change caused a lot of confusion and anger around the state, leading to Gov. Snyder vetoing the bill authorizing Secretary Johnson to make the change in the first place.
What did Johnson do? She left the citizenship checkbox on ballots anyway. It’s unnecessary because voters are already asked to swear they are citizens when they register to vote in the first place.
But that was just the start of her campaign of intimidation and misinformation. On Monday while preparing for yesterday’s elections, she told clerks that voters who refused to answer the citizenship question should not receive a ballot. Then at noon yesterday, after many voters had been turned away from the polls and some polls even opened late, her office issued a brief statement saying voters who refused to answer the citizenship question should receive ballots after all.
When Gov. Snyder vetoed HB 5061 and SB 803, his office issued a statement saying “he appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens, however this legislation could create voter confusion…” Yesterday’s embarrassing outcome only confirmed Gov. Snyder’s fears.
Michigan should be encouraging all eligible voters to have their say and cast a ballot, not making the process harder. Every eligible voter who goes through the correct process and wants to vote should not be turned away because of complicated rules.