Michigan Republicans passed three bills yesterday to make voting harder. In particular, the legislation makes it harder to run a voter-registration drive.
As has been their custom this year, House Republicans passed the legislation under immediate effect over the objections of the minority Democrats. That means the legislation could become law this year instead of waiting until 2013. Using immediate effect, Republicans could make it harder to vote in the November election. Under the state Constitution, immediate effect requires a two-thirds super-majority – in the House, that’s 73 votes.
Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin forwarded the cellphone video above from one of the votes, on Senate Bill 0754. As you can see from the House website, it passed with 66 votes, well shy of 73.
In the video, Irwin says, you can see Democrats trying three different ways to get recognized for a roll call vote on the motion for immediate effect, which would make Republicans prove they have enough votes. The state Constitution requires a roll call vote, if requested by one-fifth of the members present (22 if everyone’s there). In the video, the Democratic floor leader is standing at the podium in a purple jacket with her hand raised, asking to be recognized. Several members of the Democratic caucus are standing with their hands raised. And off to the side, another Democrat – I think the woman in the rose-colored jacket – is trying to hand the Republican Speaker a letter from the caucus requesting a roll call vote.
Seconds later, purporting to have counted 73 yes votes in a room that passed the measure with only 66, the Speaker gavels in immediate effect. The legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Also today in Michigan, the House is expected to vote on sweeping anti-abortion legislation. We’ll keep you posted.