Republicans haven't missed an opportunity to push voter ID restrictions into law before the November elections. So early this month when Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, a Republican, refused to sign two measures that would have placed harsher ID requirements on the state's voters, it came as a political surprise to many.
Snyder did sign a host of other bills aimed at election changes, but he stopped short of the measure that would require voters to present identification before obtaining an absentee ballot. He also refused to sign a bill that would have required voters to check a citizenship box before receiving a ballot. Snyder's actions stand in contrast to many in his party who have been aggressively pushing similar laws throughout the country.
For now, Michigan will not join the 33 others states that have adopted some form of voter ID legislation. Some Republicans have already expressed their disappointment. Take the state's Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, who released a statement saying that he was "deeply disappointed in the vetoes."
It's no shock that Snyder's decision has been met with mixed emotions. His actions make him the first Republican governor to veto a voter ID measure in two years. But it's unclear whether Snyder is positioning himself as a voice of reason within the Republican party.
Some Democratic pundits have applauded his actions on voter ID. But bloggers covering the development have urged against viewing Snyder as an ally of the African-American community. He continues to support PC4 (Michigan's emergency manager laws), which stand to drastically affect economic and democratic processes in low-income and Black neighborhoods. So the jury's out on what's motivating the governor's commitment to protecting voting rights.
Voter ID laws stand to disenfranchise millions of African Americans, people living in rural areas, elderly folks and other gruops on the margins. And while Gov. Synder's stance is significant in the midst of widespread Republican efforts to keep eligible voters away from the polls, the fight is far from over.
ColorOfChange members know how much is at stake for people of color.