Since 2010, most newsworthy “splashes” emanating from state assemblies have been bill after bill restricting voter access to the polls. Proponents of voting rights across the country, however, gained new traction in their fight against such legislation Tuesday. On the eve of our national celebration of independence, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder lit the fireworks early, vetoing the latest attempt by a state assembly to restrict access to the polls, and becoming the first Republican governor to veto this type of legislation in the past two years.
At a time when many state legislatures have attempted to make voting harder, news like this is refreshing. Gov. Snyder vetoed proposals requiring voters to affirm their citizenship before receiving a ballot, and requiring voter registration groups to receive training from the secretary of state or local clerks before being able to register voters. His veto also prevented an expansion of existing photo ID requirements.
Gov. Snyder isn’t alone in his effort. He joins Democratic governors like New Hampshire’s John Lynch and North Carolina’s Beverly Perdue, among others, who have courageously vetoed their states’ attempts to implement voter restrictions. Elections should be an opportunity where everyone can have their voices heard, regardless of party, regardless of who they are. Gov. Snyder’s veto shows that voting accessibility can rise above politics and be a bipartisan ideal.
As Election Day nears, we can’t have any party changing the rules with campaigns in full swing. That only creates confusion. Rather, this veto makes clear that participation in the electoral process should be the most accessible activity. The true spirit of elections is inclusiveness, and voting should be made easier, not harder. While other states have implemented various restrictions on voting, Gov. Snyder bucked the trend and created some waves of his own.