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Christopher Hutton, Technology Reporter


NextImg:Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs voting rights legislation for ex-cons and teens

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a series of measures allowing ex-convicts and teenagers new voting rights in the 2024 election.

Whitmer signed a package of bills on Thursday that provided additional people the ability to sign up to vote. The first will allow eligible individuals to vote in an upcoming election after they are released from prison. The second will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.

SWING STATE MUSLIM AMERICANS LAUNCH #ABANDONBIDEN CAMPAIGN

The package also criminalizes the intimidation of poll workers, regulates political advertisements that use artificial intelligence, and tightens the election certification process to ensure that former President Donald Trump or his supporters cannot disrupt it. The laws are the latest series of election reforms from Michigan Democrats after they took complete control of the state's government for the first time in four decades. The laws are considered an extension of Proposal 2, a statewide resolution that voters approved in 2022.

"Michiganders spoke clearly last year when they overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2, and now we are building on that effort. By banning deepfakes and AI in campaign advertisements, criminalizing violence towards election workers, and allowing souls to get to the polls, we are making sure every Michigander's vote is cast and counted."

GOP delegates opposed the changes to the law, arguing that they would compromise election security and increase administrative costs for state and local officials, according to Bridge Michigan.

Anyone who attempts to intimidate an election worker from performing their duties risks up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for the first offense.

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Political candidates in Michigan will also be required to attach disclaimers onto campaign ads that include political "deepfakes," or images used to mimic a politician.

Finally, the law governing election certification would align Michigan with the federal Electoral Count Reform Act, a bill passed with some GOP co-sponsors last year. The new Michigan law states that partisan election canvassers on the county and state level have a "ministerial, clerical, and nondiscretionary duty" to certify results gathered by local clerks. It also expedites the post-election canvass and states that only the governor can submit a list of presidential electors to Congress.