Trump-Backed Karamo Says Michigan’s ‘Promote the Vote’ Initiative Is Deceptive

Trump-Backed Karamo Says Michigan’s ‘Promote the Vote’ Initiative Is Deceptive
Kristina Karamo speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump near Washington, Mich., on April 2, 2022. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Steven Kovac

The Republican candidate for Michigan secretary of state is warning voters that a disarmingly worded ballot proposal to amend the elections section of the state constitution is really a cynical ruse to deceive voters into thinking they’re voting for elections to be more secure, although she says the opposite is true.

Kristina Karamo told reporters at an Aug. 10 press conference in suburban Detroit that, if adopted by voters in the November midterm elections, the liberal political action committee-backed “Promote the Vote” initiative would constitutionally mandate the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in every community in the state. As secretary of state, Karamo would be the state’s top elections official; she’s running against Democrat incumbent Jocelyn Benson.

According to the proposal, drop boxes must be accessible 24 hours per day, from 40 days prior to the election until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

A sign pointing in the direction of a ballot drop box at the Schmidt Community Center polling station in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign pointing in the direction of a ballot drop box at the Schmidt Community Center polling station in Lansing, Mich., on Nov. 3, 2020. (Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images)

To illustrate the potential for fraud, Karamo played a short video of a woman who, in broad daylight, is about to deposit a stack of absentee ballots into a drop box.

The woman suddenly notices that the outside of the envelopes hadn’t been signed, as required by law.

The woman then gets into the passenger-side front seat of a waiting car and proceeds to sign each envelope herself, using the dashboard as a writing surface, before dropping them into the drop box.

“That was not an isolated incident in 2020,” Karamo stated.

It’s illegal in Michigan for anyone but a small statutorily designated list of persons to have custody of someone else’s absentee ballot.

Dark Money

The Promote the Vote proposal would also amend the state constitution to permit municipalities holding elections to accept and use “publicly-disclosed charitable donations and in-kind contributions to conduct and administer elections.”

According to Karamo, private funding of public elections could result in private donors acquiring undue influence over the election process.

Promote the Vote is an initiative of the Count MI Vote-linked nonprofit Voters Not Politicians, which on its website lists as its partners the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, Liberal Leadership League, LGBT Detroit, NAACP, American Federation of Teachers, among others.
According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, one of Voters Not Politicians’ main dark money sources through 2018 has been the left-leaning 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund—headed by former President Bill Clinton’s aide Eric Kessler and linked to investment strategy firm Arabella Advisors.

Another change proposed by Promote the Vote would effectively do away with the current voter photo ID requirement and the requirement for those without an ID to vote on a provisional ballot.

Under Michigan law, a person without a photo ID can vote using a provisional ballot, which allows their vote to be counted, provided they appear in person before an election official no later than the sixth calendar day after Election Day with an acceptable piece of identification.

The proposed constitutional amendment by Promote the Vote would make the signing by the voter of an affidavit attesting to his identity as the only ID necessary.

The language reads, “A voter shall not be required to vote a provisional ballot solely because they executed an affidavit to prove their identity.”

Absolutely False

Michigan political consultant Jamie Roe. (Courtesy photo/Team Roe)
Michigan political consultant Jamie Roe. (Courtesy photo/Team Roe)

Political consultant Jamie Roe provided his analysis to The Epoch Times in an email interview: “Promote the Vote states that their proposal requires voter ID. That is absolutely false.

“It states—flat out—that if you don’t have an ID, you can vote by simply signing an affidavit and you can vote immediately.

“If it is later found that the vote was fraudulent, it cannot be retrieved and is counted along with legal votes.”

Roe said that efforts to disregard or weaken the requirement for voter ID is “out of step with 80 percent of Michigan voters” according to several statewide polls.

Another provision of the Promote the Vote ballot initiative would amend the Michigan Constitution to include the right of a person, once registered, to request an absent voter ballot be sent by mail before each election by submitting a single signed absent voter ballot application “covering all future elections.”

A voter may rescind his request in writing, or it may be stopped because he hasn’t voted for six consecutive years, has been disqualified to vote, or has moved without updating his registration records.

From State Budget

The Promote the Vote amendment would also require state-funded postage for absentee ballot applications and ballots.

The proposed amendment would set up early in-person voting sites that must be open eight hours each day for at least nine consecutive days beginning on the second Saturday before the election and ending on the Sunday before the election.

Additional days and hours of operation are permissible at the discretion of local election authorities.

The amendment allows a single early voting site to service more than one municipality within a county and up to six precincts per location.

“How are local election officials supposed to administer this?“ Karamo said. ”The more complicated the system is, the more potential to disenfranchise voters.”

She said government-funded postage would cost taxpayers a lot of money, and nine days of in-person early voting at sites located away from the main polling places and needing to be staffed would be a strain on the budgets of local governments.

Karamo noted that Michigan already allows for 40 days of absentee voting.

The Promote the Vote proposal also restricts the election audit process and liberalizes time restrictions for the mailing of absentee ballots by military personnel.

The Promote the Vote 2022 website doesn’t draw attention to any of these proposals. It only claims that the changes will “enhance the integrity and security of ... elections by modernizing” how elections are administered “to ensure [that] every vote counts.”

Roe said that if voters aren’t fully informed about the perils to election integrity hidden in the Promote the Vote proposal, it will be approved.

“If passed, Promote the Vote will constitutionally outlaw everything citizens’ groups around Michigan have been trying to do in election reform,” he said.