Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good day for students' voting rights

The Michigan House just passed a Democratic package of bills that would, among other things, make it easier for college students to vote.

The most important bills here are HB 4447 and 4448, sponsored by Ann Arbor's freshman Rep. Rebekah Warren. They would effectively overturn "Rogers's Law," which requires people to vote at the precinct for the address on their driver's license.

(That law makes it harder for students to vote while on campus -- they have to either drive home on Election Day or have the Secretary of State change their permanent address to their campus address, which is inconvenient for students who move year-to-year. Also, there have been reports of students being told at Secretary of State offices that changing their permanent address would remove them from their parents' insurance coverage. Students and other observers have long speculated that Mike Rogers, the Republican U.S. congressman who sponsored that bill, used it to depress the mostly Democratic student vote in his Lansing district.)

Democrats say they expect to pass another bill soon that would allow voters to get absentee ballots without meeting one of six qualifications. That's also helpful, although I suspect few students want to use absentee ballots.

The bills to repeal Rogers's Law passed mostly along party lines, and the Republican secretary of state still opposes them. So it's not clear that they'll get through the Republican-controlled Senate. Still, this is encouraging, and it's good to see that Warren is following through on her promises to bring student issues to Lansing.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Nice post. If it doesn't get by the senate, at least it will after 08 when we get a majority in both houses.