SAFE at Home?

Michigan’s Secretary of State called it SAFE, but for voters in poor neighborhoods, it was anything but.

The other piece of mischief in the bill (SB 751) is the mechanism for cleaning up the inactive files. This deserved a bit more explanation. As the law reads as passed, the Secretary of State sends out a card seeing if a person is at the address. If they don’t get it they are put in the challenged roll; if they don’t vote that November, they are removed from the roll entirely — deregistered. Even if they still live in the neighborhood. Functionally, how this works is that the SoS sends out the cards for the mid-term (gubernatorial) election, nobody’s home, and voila! the voter is removed from the poll book for the upcoming national election.

This seemingly neutral plan is functionally a direct attack on poor voters who often change residence, even if in a neighborhood. Add to it, that  the poor (and many others) do not bother to vote in the mid-term election, and one has the result where a person may think they’re registered and come November in a presidential year find that they are not. Of course, this can be addressed with strong voter registration drives, and here again the package of bills puts the barriers in place to make these drives more cumbersome and so less effective.

These structural measures are where the mischief lies and why it is entirely proper to think of them as stealth measures to cut the involvement of the poor in the electoral process.

The sharp edges are hidden in the text — that’s explained at Windmillin.’


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