As we approach the 17th anniversary of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), we have the opportunity to think about the bold bipartisan action in Congress that sought to restore faith in our democracy shaken after the 2000 election. Almost two decades later, we find ourselves with lots of work left to do to further shore up our election security and protect its integrity.
In late July, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the Russian government’s attacks on America’s election infrastructure. The report explicitly noted the urgent need to secure our voting systems. Among the two most important recommendations made were that states should:
- Replace outdated and vulnerable voting systems with, at a minimum, a voter-verified paper trail
- Adopt statistically-sound audits
While we have made great strides in Michigan following approval of Proposal 3 in 2018 that instituted sweeping reforms to help citizens vote, which provides audits to ensure accuracy of results, we must remain vigilant in constantly defending and improving our democratic process.
As a past state representative from 2011 to 2014, I was an early advocate for the critical redistricting reforms that ultimately became the law of the land following a groundbreaking grassroots effort leading to the approval of Proposal 2 last year. Now, we must ensure that the promise of all these reforms are realized in time to have the greatest impact on the future of our state.
I am committed to working hard to protect your vote — and voice — in the 2020 election and beyond. Not only am I striving to defend the changes approved by Michigan voters in the last election, I am also championing solutions to another problem that threatens our democracy: the flood of money in campaigns.
In the spirit of HAVA, both parties must come together to ensure that our elections are protected from the interference of big money from domestic and foreign influences. My proposed legislation, Senate Bill 411, would cut campaign contribution limits in half and get rid of the provision of allowing them to automatically increase by the rate of inflation.
Participating in our democracy, and making the decision of who will lead and decide the direction of this country, is one of the most important responsibilities we have as American citizens.
As a state senator, my greatest responsibility is to make sure we have taken every action that we can to make sure voters are confident that their vote is counted and their voices are heard — and I won’t rest until this happens.