State Rep. Ann Bollin today led the House in approving two additional solutions to improve election operations in Michigan.
Bollin, who chairs the House Elections and Ethics Committee, sponsored the legislation to help local communities that are struggling to find suitable locations to conduct elections and establish training programs for people interested in serving as poll challengers.
“My focus continues to be on making common-sense reforms that improve the way our elections operate in the future,” said Bollin, a former township clerk. “I was pleased to see both of these measures receive widespread, bipartisan support.”
Throughout the state, many schools and churches that previously served as polling locations are no longer interested in hosting elections, and local clerks are finding it more difficult to secure enough polling places.
Currently, school buildings, fire stations, police stations and other publicly owned buildings must be used as polling locations. If it is not possible or convenient to use a publicly owned building, a township or city may opt to use a building owned by a nonprofit entity.
House Bill 6071 would expand the options to include a privately owned building such as a banquet center or a recreation clubhouse, as long as the building is not owned by a candidate for office or someone who runs a political action committee. Bollin said this reform has long been a priority for Michigan’s municipal clerks.
“Our local clerks need to have a solution they can fall back on if they run into a situation where a school or a church can’t open its doors for an election,” Bollin said.
House Bill 6124 would establish a consistent training program for people throughout the state to become credentialed poll challengers. State law does not currently have any requirements for challengers to receive training.
“Challengers, like inspectors, play a very important role in our elections process,” Bollin said. “Just like clerks and election inspectors, it’s important for poll watchers and challengers to have proper training. This training will ensure everyone involved in our elections knows what can be challenged, whom to challenge, and how a challenge should be handled.”
Both measures now advance to the Senate for further consideration.
State Rep. Ann Bollin of Brighton Township said the new state budget signed by the governor today was carefully crafted by the Legislature to focus on paying down debt, limiting long-term liabilities, and leaving room for billions of dollars in potential tax relief.
State Rep. Ann Bollin, chair of the House Elections and Ethics Committee, today released the following statement after signatures were submitted for the Secure MI Vote initiative, a citizen-driven petition to enact several reforms to strengthen Michigan elections, including voter ID requirements: