Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder won election in 2010 by running as a moderate. He pledged to rise above the partisan ideological warfare that for years has crippled his state's ability to govern itself.
But since he took office last year, Governor Snyder has given in too often to the hard right's social agenda. He has acquiesced in spiteful new laws against teachers' unions, and most cravenly, in a repeal of a state law that required motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
Last week, however, Mr. Snyder took a sensible step that shocked many of his fellow Republicans: He vetoed three GOP-sponsored election "reform" bills that could have intimidated some Michigan voters from going to the polls.
These included a silly law that would have required voters requesting absentee ballots to affirm that they are American citizens. A possibly unconstitutional bill would have required any group conducting a voter registration drive to register with the state and get "training."
Most important, the governor rejected a bill that would have required anyone requesting an absentee ballot to produce photo identification. A few years ago, GOP lawmakers got the state to require people voting on Election Day to show photo ID. Opponents noted that poorer and less-educated voters often lack driver's licenses or similar identification.
Mr. Snyder signed 11 more-benign election-reform bills. But he said he was concerned that the three he vetoed might have caused confusion among voters and reduced turnout on Election Day.
"Voting rights are precious, and we need to work especially hard to make it possible for people to vote," Mr. Snyder said in his veto message. Republicans who reacted with shock and anger would do well to remember the governor's words, and realize that the right and ability to vote are much of what this nation is all about.