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Voting without an ID? Not a big problem in most of Michigan

Adams Township Clerk Stephanie Scott was stripped of her ability to run next week’s election after refusing to allow a vendor to perform maintenance on election equipment.

Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect action on this legislation that occurred after publication.

The Michigan House last week approved a bill that would make it more difficult to vote without photo identification.

(The Senate dropped the bill this week and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof said it will not be considered during the balance of the current lame-duck session.)

Proponents say the measure, which requires voters to present identification at the ballot or vote but return within 10 days with proper ID, is necessary to “maintain the integrity” of elections.

Sounds like Michigan has a serious problem, no?

More than 4.87 million people voted Nov. 8 in Michigan. Just over 18,000 showed up at the polls without an ID. They voted after signing an affidavit that they were who they claimed to be. That's one in every 265 voters, or 0.27 percent. If you exclude Wayne County, it's one every 365 voters. In Detroit, however, one in 43 voters, or 2.3 percent of all city voters, showed up without identfication.

Critics say the measure unfairly targets minority voters, who typically have voted for Democrats; the bill has wide support among Republicans. A new study by University of California at San Diego researchers concludes that black voter turnout falls by nearly 13 percentage points in states with strict photo-ID laws and that Democratic turnout drops nearly 8 percentage points compared to a 4.6 point drop for Republican voters.

The Rev. Dr. Wendelll Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, condemned the bills and called for a Lansing protest on Dec. 13.

Other studies, including one from the U.S. Government Accountability Office have said there is no impact on turnout by race.

By far, the voters most likely not to have ID lived in counties and cities with larger minority populations: 30 percent of all voters statewide without ID voted in Detroit; 39 percent were in Wayne County (which comprises just 17 percent of all active registered voters in the state).

Indeed, in those counties where ID-less voters were greatest tended to support the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican and now-president-elect Donald Trump.

Click on the counties to see how many voters in each didn't have ID and how that county voted Nov. 8. Below the map is a list of each city and township were statistics were available.

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