Gretchen Whitmer on Government Reform



Expand voting rights, protect election workers

I'm looking at my daughters and thinking of all the young people in our state. They're smart, engaged, and fighting for their future--record turnout on campuses last November proved it. I know Secretary of State Benson will ensure their voices--and the voices of every Michigander--are heard in every election. Together, we are going to expand voting rights, protect election workers, and build on last year's bipartisan law to help military members and their families overseas have their votes counted.
Source: 2023 State of the State Address to the Michigan legislature , Jan 25, 2023

Oppose laws perpetuating "Big Lie" of rigged election

Summary by Gov. Whitmer (press release 10/4/21): House Bill 4838 claims to prohibit the electronic poll book at each election precinct or absent voter (AV) counting board from being connected to the internet after the polls open on election day & until the results have been tabulated for that precinct. However, this legislation addresses a non-existent problem because poll books currently are not connected to the internet [during] election day.

Legislative Outcome: Passed House 77-31-2 on Aug/17/21; passed Senate 21-15-0 on Sept/30/21; Vetoed Oct/3/21.

Veto message by Governor Gretchen Whitmer: Today I am returning several election-related bills [which] suppress the vote or perpetuate the "Big Lie": the calculated disinformation campaign to discredit the 2020 election. I will have no part in any effort that grants an ounce of credence to this deception, so injurious to our democracy.

Source: Michigan State Legislature voting records HB4838 , Oct 3, 2021

Encouraging people to vote by mail

We're encouraging people to vote by mail. Michigan's made great strides in terms of that ability just in the last couple of years. The people of our state said we want that right and so we amended our Constitution. We're really going to encourage everyone who can vote by mail to do that. We can't put off an election because of a pandemic, but we can take the appropriate steps to keep people safe so that they can exercise their right in this country of ours and stay safe in doing it.
Source: NBC Meet the Press interview for 2020 Veepstakes , Apr 26, 2020

Would be nice to have national strategy working with states

Q: Is that one of the problems here, that tests are being put out on the market, but you're not even being informed about it?

WHITMER: In some cases, yes, we will get tests into our health care providers, and we're dependent on them to let us know that that's happened. That's not a great way to run this system. It would be nice if we had a national strategy that was working with the states, so every state knew precisely what was coming in. But we governors are doing the best we can with what we have got. We could use some assistance, though, to make sure that those supply chain issues are addressed.

Source: CNN 2020 "State of the Union" on 2022 Michigan Governor race , Apr 19, 2020

Holding government accountable: Michigan Sunshine Plan

Michigan's lack of transparency and accountability earned us an F on a 2015 Center for Public Integrity's survey. Michigan is now dead last in the nation for state ethics and transparency laws.

My Michigan Sunshine Plan will rewrite the rules in Lansing to work for regular families by making state government more open, transparent, and accountable to taxpayers. It's time to get it done, so we can infuse integrity in Governance and earn back public confidence.

Source: 2022 Michigan Gubernatorial website GretchenWhitmer.com , Mar 24, 2020

Opposes gerrymandering; opposes voter ID

Q: Support Michigan's redistricting ballot initiative 2 to address charges of partisan gerrymandering?

Bill Schuette (R): Opposes initiative. Asked MI Supreme Court to reject for creating "a fourth branch of government."

Gretchen Whitmer (D): Yes. "Gerrymandering continues to disenfranchise voters in Michigan." Don't let partisan legislators draw political boundaries.

Q: Voting Rights: Support stricter or broader voting and registration rules?

Bill Schuette (R): Stricter. Supported end to straight-ticket voting.

Gretchen Whitmer (D): Opposes strict voter ID laws, supports straight-ticket, automatic registration, letting anyone vote absentee.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Michigan Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Disclose political donors; reverse Citizens United

Q: Require political ads to disclose largest funders? Support Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited political donations from corporations & unions?

Bill Schuette (R): Supports candidates releasing tax returns. Backed Americans for Prosperity not disclosing donors for their political ads.

Gretchen Whitmer (D): As of 2004 supported disclosure of ad sponsors. Reverse "Citizens United on steroids legislation" that lets Super PACS raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in Michigan."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Michigan Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Promote universal voter access

It is too hard to register and to vote in Michigan. Everyone who applies for a driver's license or state ID should be automatically registered to vote, and any registered voters should be able to vote absentee or by mail. As a legislator, I fought to ensure valid ballots from our service members overseas were counted, to prevent voters from being turned away at the polls, and to allow same-day voter registration.
Source: 2018 Michigan Gubernatorial website GretchenWhitmer.com , Nov 1, 2017

No photo ID for absentee voting

Legislative Summary:A person who applies in person to register to vote shall identify himself or herself by presenting an official state identification card issued to that person. The secretary of state shall develop a voter registration training program for third-party voter registration organizations that teaches the proper procedure for taking a voter registration application.

Veto Summary:SB754 precludes voter registration groups from receiving and delivering registration applications until at least one member of their organization has received training. While our current Secretary of State would be very proactive on offering training, it is important to ensure that future officials provide proper training. Voting rights are precious and we need to work especially hard to make it possible for people to vote.

Legislative Outcome:Sen. Whitmer voted NAY; \passed Senate 26-11-1, Feb. 14; passed House 66-43-1, June 12; vetoed by Gov., July 3

Source: Michigan Legislative voting records on SB751 & SB754 , Feb 14, 2012

Other governors on Government Reform: Gretchen Whitmer on other issues:
Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.State A.G. Daniel Cameron(R)

vs.Ambassador Kelly Craft(R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Jeff Landry(R)
vs.Shawn Wilson(D)
vs.John Schroder(R)
vs.Sharon Hewitt(R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R,withdrew)
vs.Brandon Presley(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2024:
DE: Gov. John Carney (D, term-limited);
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D)
vs. Matt Meyer (D)
IN: Gov. Eric Holcomb (R, term-limited);
Sen. Mike Braun (R)
vs. Suzanne Crouch (R)
vs. Jennifer McCormick (D)
MO: Gov. Mike Parson (R, term-limited):
Jay Ashcroft (R)
vs. Bill Eigel (R)
vs. Mike Kehoe (R)
vs. Crystal Quade (D)
MT: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R)
vs. Tanner Smith (R)
vs. Ryan Busse (D)
Gubernatorial Debates 2024 (continued):
NC: Gov. Roy Cooper (D, term-limited);
Dale Folwell (R)
vs. Michael Morgan (D)
vs. Mark Robinson (R)
vs. Josh Stein (D)
vs. Andy Wells (R)
ND: Gov. Doug Burgum (R)
vs. State Rep. Rick Becker (R)
NH: Gov. Chris Sununu (R, retiring)
vs. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
vs. Joyce Craig (D)
vs. Chuck Morse (R)
vs. Cinde Warmington (D)
UT: Gov. Spencer Cox (R)
vs. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R)
VT: Gov. Phil Scott (R) unopposed
WA: Gov. Jay Inslee (D, retiring);
Hilary Franz (D, withdrew)
vs. State Sen. Mark Mullet (D)
vs. County Chair Semi Bird (R)
vs. WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D)
WV: Gov. Jim Justice (R, term-limited);
vs. WV State Auditor JB McCuskey (R, withdrew)
vs. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R)
vs. State Del. Moore Capito (R)
vs. WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R)
vs. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D)
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