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New year expected to bring more changes to state voting laws

Michigan SOS seeks millions for local election offices.

State lawmakers around the country introduced thousands of bills to change the way elections are run after former President Donald Trump falsely blamed his 2020 loss on voter fraud. Hundreds became law.

Even with proponents of Trump’s election lies roundly defeated during this year’s midterms, advocates on both sides of the voting debate are bracing for another round of election-related legislation. Republicans are eager to tighten election rules further while Democrats, who took control of two additional statehouses, will seek to make it easier to cast a ballot.

Jake Rollow, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of State, said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will likely ask lawmakers to allocate $100 million annually for local election offices and propose new measures against circulating election misinformation. A Democratic state lawmaker also proposed imposing penalties for people who pressure election workers, a key cause of Democrats in state legislatures after conspiracy theorists targeted voting officials after the 2020 presidential election.

Minnesota’s newly reelected Democratic secretary of state, Steve Simon, said he had spoken to several secretaries of state who are eager to push for changes in voting. Losses by election-denier candidates in top races have emboldened some Democrats to champion expansions of voting rights.

“Voters spoke loudly and clearly about what they wanted and didn’t want, both in regards to this office and all these other issues,” said Simon, who defeated a Republican challenger who parroted some of Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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