Party-line vote send polling place ride-share bill to Whitmer
Michigan doesn’t allow outside groups to offer free or discounted lifts to polling places. The bill lifts that ban.
A bill headed to Governor Gretchen Whitmer would clear the way for outside parties to pay for free or discounted rides to help voters get to the polls on Election Day.
The bill cleared the Michigan Senate on Tuesday on a 20-to-18 party-line vote.
Republicans say the bill might be well-intentioned. But they say it would leave too much room for abuse by groups trying to get in the last word before dropping voters off at polling places.
GOP Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) sits on the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee. He said the offer of a ride poses a risk that “such transportation to the polls provides for electioneering and possible intimidation of voters.”
He argued the bill would allow Republican - or Democratic -aligned organizations to use rides to make sure they get the last word before voters are dropped off at the polls.
“The potential for abuse in this situation continues to exist and is something we have long recognized in law: that providing opportunities for voter intimidation or manipulation is wrong,” he said.
But Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), who chairs the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee, said Michigan is one of only a few states that doesn’t allow ride-sharing services to offer free or discounted lifts to polling places. Also, he said, no one is looking over people’s shoulders as they decide who gets their vote.
“You’re going to go to the poll and make your choice in the privacy of the voting booth,” he said.
Moss said the cost of keeping the status quo would be failing to help more people vote.
Whitmer, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill.