By Jon King /

Michigan Republicans, including a local lawmaker, proposed a slew of election bills Wednesday that would require voters to submit a photo ID, prohibit the unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and restrict the hours in which people could drop their ballot in curbside boxes.

GOP senators, citing a surge in absentee voting in 2020, said changes are needed to ensure election integrity. The 39-bill package would let 16- and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote and create an “early voting” day 10 days before Election Day.

Two of the bills were sponsored by State Sen. Lana Theis of Brighton Township. Senate Bill 285 would require voters to present their state-issued photo identification when applying for an absentee ballot, while SB 307 would require the full text of any ballot initiative or proposed constitutional amendment to be provided with both in-person and absentee ballots.

“Under current law, Michigan voters only get a 100-word summary for ballot proposals that are oftentimes thousands and thousands of words long. Not only do we need to make our elections more secure, we should also do what we can to help people be better informed about what they are voting on,” Theis said. “My bills will help accomplish that.”

The proposed ID requirement is sure to be fiercely opposed, though. Michigan now lets people without ID sign an affidavit and vote. Under Theis’ proposed legislation, they would instead be given a provisional ballot and have to verify their identity with the local clerk within six days. Voters applying for an absentee ballot also would have to attach a copy of their ID.

Theis, however, said the reforms were introduced "to make Michigan’s elections more secure, more accurate and trustworthy, while at the same time streamlining participation in the elections process.”

Democrats said the legislation would suppress voting, months after some GOP lawmakers falsely claimed the election was stolen from President Donald Trump despite his 154,000-vote, or 2.8-percentage point, loss to Joe Biden in the battleground state.

Theis was among 11 Michigan Republican senators who signed a letter in January asking that Congress "pursue every available option" to examine claims of wrongdoing in the election, despite dozens of failed lawsuits and a lack of credible evidence of mass voter fraud.

Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued a statement after the package was introduced, also concluding that many of the bills in the package will make it harder for citizens to vote. "Rather than introducing bills based on disproven lies and copied from other states, lawmakers should be codifying what worked in 2020. Michigan voters demonstrated they want our elections to be accessible in 2018 when they enshrined new voting rights in our state constitution, and again in 2020 when millions exercised those new rights. Everything we do should be based on protecting the right to vote, and too many of these bills would do the opposite.”

Some measures appear destined to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, while others may find bipartisan support. The election reform package was referred to the Senate Elections Committee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.