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Shelby Clerk Praises Snyder’s Call for No-Reason Absentee Voting, Online Registration

Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot was an early supporter of such measures, which he considers "common sense government reform."

When it comes to advocating no-reason absentee voting and online voter registration, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson can count on the support of Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot.

Nearly two months ago, Grot publicly endorsed these policies and reached out to the governor, secretary of state and state Rep. Pete Lund (R-District 36) to urge immediate implementation of these "common sense government reform(s)."

“I am extremely pleased that during his State of the State, Governor Rick Snyder called for in-person no-reason absentee voting,” Grot wrote in a statement. “With these issues being on his agenda I am confident that it is just a matter of time before no-reason absentee voting becomes reality.”

Having conducted three major elections last year, Grot said he witnessed first-hand the shortfalls of current absentee voting criteria.

Currently, there are six reasons listed on an application for an absent voter’s ballot. However, Grot said he does not believe these reasons are “sufficient to meet the busy schedules of the constituents we serve.” 

“I personally witnessed individuals trying to figure out which of these reasons fit their needs,” he wrote in a previous letter to Patch. “Often, none of the reasons fit their criteria for requesting an absentee ballot, consequently not voting at all.”

By offering no-reason absentee voting, Grot said he believes communities like Shelby Township will be able to increase their voter participation and eliminate the anxiety voters feel when forced to wait in line or miss work.

During his State of the State address Jan. 16, Snyder announced that he and the secretary of state would urge legislation allowing Michigan citizens to register to vote online and vote absentee without a reason, such as age or disability, up to 45 days before Election Day.

“I am also in favor and support online voter registration,” Grot wrote in a statement. “With today’s technology we can greatly improve the services we provide to our citizens in more expedient and efficient manner.”

Under the proposed no-reason absentee voting plan, registered voters would still be held to the state’s voter identification requirements. No-reason absentee voters would have to go in person to their local clerk's office up to 45 days before the election and show picture identification to receive a ballot. They could then vote the ballot there or take it home and mail it in.

Voting by mail would remain available to senior citizens and those previously permitted to vote absentee.

Should the legislature approve online voter registration, citizens would still be required to input the last four digits of their social security numbers and their driver’s license numbers. This is the same verification process used at Secretary of State branch offices.

As of Sept. 4, 2012, 27 states and the District of Columbia allow any qualified voter to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to the same source, 12 states have online voter registration, with three expected to soon pass laws permitting it.

Karen Blaisdell January 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Online voter registration leaves too much room to encourage even more fraud into an imperfect election process.
Jim January 25, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Agreed. I like the freeing up of voting in this proposal though as i.d. is a part of the equation. Those that say the requirement of providing i.d. keeps some voters from participating seem to be hindering only those that are lazy, or attempting to commit fraud. There was plenty of "help" in the last election by party organizers in getting people to the polls. They can just as assuredly get people to the SOS to get their i.d. and absentee ballot! I have not heard one valid argument against requiring i.d.
Matt Guarnieri January 25, 2013 at 03:28 PM
On line registration and no reason absantee make sense. ID at the poles and to aquire an absantee ballot makes sense also. We need to encourage people to vote by making it less of a hassle. ID is not a hassle. Use you Drivers License or state ID to register. It seems simple enough, only someone trying to encourage fraud would want less voters to participate.
Macomb Rocker January 26, 2013 at 08:13 AM
Mr. Grot, when you were appointed, I had my doubts about a career politican hired in. But you've turned out to be the smartest board member. I'd rather see you as Supervisor than the snake oil salesman Kwame Stathekis. Class act in buying Ron Churchill an orange hat too.

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