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Let’s keep high voter turnouts going

During last Thursday’s press conference, President Biden referred to the efforts going on in 43 state legislatures to change voting procedures as “sick” and “un-American.” He said that actions that make it hard for people to cast ballots are “despicable attempts to undermine democracy.” (Friday, March 26, 2021, The Alpena News, page 6A)

I hope that is not true of the 39 bills currently being considered by Michigan’s legislators.

Our state constitution was amended in 2018 to allow any registered voter who so chose to apply for and use an absentee ballot. Before that change three years ago, only certain conditions were authorized for absentee voting. The 2020 election was the first time most folks in Michigan had the option of using an absentee ballot. And it was a resounding success.

More than 5.5 million people voted in Michigan’s presidential election – the most ever.

Unfortunately, there were some sore losers when Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes. They challenged Secretary of State Benson’s decision to mail absentee ballot application forms to all Michigan voters who were not already on permanent lists to receive those ballots. They lost. Her actions were upheld in court. (Thursday, March 25, 2021, The Alpena News, Page 3A “Michigan Republicans propose slew of election changes”)

Remember, the 2020 election was the first presidential contest since the Michigan Constitution was amended to open absentee ballots to all registered voters. Secretary Benson said it was a way to encourage safe voting during the pandemic. She was right.

The November 2020 election saw the highest percentage of voting-age residents cast a ballot in 60 years. Congratulations to Michigan for record-setting voter participation. Let’s keep on doing it.

PAUL LANCE,

Alpena

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