Runestad introduces legislation to improve election integrity

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad introduced legislation Wednesday to help safeguard secure elections in the state and give every voter confidence in the results.

Runestad’s measures are part of a comprehensive, 39-bill package introduced in the Senate to ensure election access and integrity in Michigan and to restore trust in a system vital to democracy in the state.

“Without transparent, secure and fair elections, our representative republic crumbles,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “The bills I introduced today are an important step to helping ensure access for all eligible voters and protecting this critical aspect of our experiment in liberty.”

The measures include bills covering a wide variety of issues dealing with processes before, during and after an election, such as protecting ballot security in drop boxes, ensuring proper management of the state’s Qualified Voter File, requiring training of poll challengers, ensuring audits are bipartisan and open to the public, and requiring early voting to be available 10 days before Election Day.

Runestad sponsored Senate Bills 275 and 276.

SB 275 would make audits more open and bipartisan and permit observers to record the audit on their own personal device; and SB 276 would allow video and audio recording wherever votes are being tabulated and during audit proceedings, so long as they do not take video or photographs of voters or their personal information.

“Voters have every right to monitor the election process and have confidence in the system,” Runestad said. “These measures will help ensure elections are accessible to the public.”

Some of the other reforms included in the election package include:
• Requiring voters to present or attach a photo ID (actual or copy) when submitting their absentee voter ballot application.
• Prohibiting the use of third-party money for election activities.
• Requiring challengers to be properly identified as representing a campaign or political party and listing their names, the entities they are with, and the precincts in which they are allowed to be present.
• Increasing security requirements for ballot drop boxes.

SBs 273-311 have been referred to the Senate Elections Committee for consideration.