The House Bills 4097 and 4367 were referred to Committee on Ethics and Elections. These two bills were structured around the "No Reason" Absentee Ballots issue. Both bills are said to be identical, and would amend the Michigan Election Law to give voters the option of requesting an absentee without giving a reason. Currently the law has the person requesting an absentee to have one of the 6 criteria; has a physical disability and requires assistance when attending the polls, has religious tenets that prohibit attendence at the polls, is an elections precinct inspector in another precinct, is 60 years of age or older, will be absent from home on election day, or cannot attend the polls because of being in jail awaiting arraignment or trial. The bills would eliminate those criteria.
These bills are to address a few of the problems when it comes to an election. It's difficult for many voters to get to the polls. Some of these individuals are stay-at-home parents with no childcare, leaving town on short notice, those working long shifts, and other similar situations. When these individuals go to ask for an absentee, people have stretched the truth of one of the 6 criteria.
People in favor of this legislation say that given that individuals "stretch the truth" this would levitate those actions. Additionally, there are large lines on Election Day and not everyone has the time available to them to go to the polls. They have cited that people pay taxes through the mail, and that voting should be the same. Lastly, they stated that with our fast-paced lives that we spend more time at work, caring for children and helping the elderly parents.
Opponents of this bill say that this will increase voter fraud, could cause more spoiled ballots, and decrease turnout on Election Day because of the decreased mobilization aimed at getting voters out. They also say that less people will vote because individuals will ask for the ballot ahead of time and then forget to send it in the mail.