Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Democracy Drumbeat: April 12, 2022

Redistricting District Map Comparison - DFA Newsletter

Redistricting Updates

On March 28, 2022, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new districts for the State House of Representatives (110 districts), Michigan Senate (38 Districts) and the House of Representatives (13 Districts) became law.

This important milestone means that communities across Michigan will have new or altered districts that will be in effect for the next decade, and the 2022 election cycle will be the first time these new maps are used.

Above is a comparison of old and new district maps for the city of Detroit which serves as an example of changes Michiganders could see to their districts under the new maps.

While the new district maps will only mean slight changes for some communities, others will change more dramatically. It is important to understand what these changes mean – including who your candidates and elected representatives are based on new district maps – before heading to the polls for the August primary and ultimately the general election in November.

Starting May 11, the Secretary of State will begin updating the Qualified Voter File (QVF) Street Index for communities that have a May 3 election and have not yet been updated. If you live in a community that has a May 3 election, this will be the last time the old district maps will be used.

Redistricting Actions You Can Take:

  • Attend the next MICRC meeting, which will be April 14, 2022 at 10:00 AM at Cadillac Place Detroit, Michigan. To sign up to speak or attend virtually, visit the Commission’s website.

  • The filing deadline for candidates to run for office in Michigan’s new districts in the 2022 election is April 19th.

Voting Rights Updates

Event Reminder: A Snapshot of the Michigan Ballot Initiatives

The League of Women Voters Detroit and the Detroit Public Library are partnering to host events promoting voter education and tools for action. Today at 6 pm they will host an online discussion entitled “A Snapshot of the Michigan Ballot Initiatives."

Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan will review the current status of petitions already being circulated in Michigan, as well as the intended purposes of petitions still being developed to help inform voters about the petitions. Michigan’s November ballot will include multiple proposals, both from petitions currently circulating and from others still being developed.

Track Your Absentee Ballot and Application

For communities that have a May Election, Election Day is only three weeks away. You can use the Michigan Voter Information Center (MVIC) to track your ballot and application. All you need to do is click on “your voter information” and enter the required information.

Voters can use this online tool to see if:

  • Your application was processed by their city or township clerk

  • Your absentee ballot was mailed to them

  • Your completed absentee ballot was received by their city or township clerk

If a particular step is complete (for example, if the application was processed by the city or township clerk) MVIC will show the date that it was completed. If there’s no date under a particular step, it means that step is not yet complete.

Vote Early In-Person

Want to vote early in the May Election but haven’t requested your ballot yet? You can vote absentee in person by doing the following:

  • Complete an application for an absentee ballot and submit it to the staff

  • Complete the ballot, place it in the envelope provided, sign the outside of the envelope with your official signature, and submit it to the staff

The deadline for voting an absentee ballot in person depends on your registration status:

  • For those who are already registered to vote where they live, the deadline to vote an absentee ballot in person is the Monday before Election Day (May 2 for the May election) at 4 p.m.

  • For those who still need to register to vote or to update their registration address, the deadline to register and then vote an absentee ballot at your city or township clerk’s office is 8 p.m. on Election Day (May 3).

Voting Rights Actions You Can Take:

Attend the League of Women Voters Detroit and the Detroit Public Library’s event, “A Snapshot of the Michigan Ballot Initiatives.”

Check the Michigan Voter Information Center to see if you have an election on May 3, track your ballot and application, check your voter registration status, and apply to be on the permanent absentee list.

Encourage your friends and family to subscribe to the Democracy Drumbeat so they can also stay up to date on our work to protect voting rights and democracy.

Democracy All-Stars: Gwendolyn Winston

Our “Democracy All-Stars” spotlight features champions working on the frontlines to protect our freedom to vote, engage voters and ensure our democracy works for everyone.

This week’s Democracy All-Star is Gwendolyn Winston.

Gwendolyn Winston, a lifelong Detroiter, is one of the co-founders of the Wisdom Institute that had its beginning in 1999 when first generation students at Lewis College of Business (a former HBCU in Detroit) formed Sister2Sister, a support group that morphed into a mentoring program guiding pregnant and parenting teens toward high school graduation and college enrollment. She is now a co-director of Wisdom, a nonprofit organization that models healing and gender justice practices visually communicated by art to build a base for enfranchised power. Winston has held executive roles within government and the nonprofit sector; owns an organization development consultant facilitation business and is an instructor at Wayne County Community College in its grant writing and nonprofit management certification programs.

What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?

My advocacy work began as a Commerce High School student assigned to work as a secretary at a local church that was heavily engaged in the civil rights movement. I could take shorthand at 200 words per minute and type 100 words per minute and had grand opportunities to participate in strategic systems change and democracy work. This experience opened doors to movement building in racial equity, housing, voting and women’s rights arenas on local, state, regional and national fronts.

What democracy issues do you think are most important in your community?

Most important for my community is reconnecting voting with a decolonized consciousness, thought and belief of why and how amassing collective electoral power is relational to health, wealth and nation building.

What is one of your proudest moments while working in the democracy space?

As a member of the National Political Congress of Black Women Detroit led by Annette Rainwater, my mentor, I am most proud of the opportunities to learn directly from and support NPCBW’s founder, the Honorable Shirley Chisholm. During Congress’ formative years, we met and worked with African American women across the nation who were challenging and winning their political campaigns, breaking the stronghold of white and black men as the only viable candidates for office.

Thank you, Gwendolyn, for your hard work and dedication to helping everyone exercise their freedom to vote!

Do you know someone in your community who is a Democracy All-Star? The Democracy For All team is looking for more Democracy All-Stars, and would love to highlight them and their work fighting for democracy for all. You can send a submission for a Democracy All-Star in your community to [email protected].

Question & Answer

Q: Hey, this is Gale from the 616 area. How do I find out what is going to be on the ballot before I go to the polls?

A: Hey Gale you can visit the Michigan Voter Information page at Michigan Voter Information Center (state.mi.us). Here you can see sample ballot for the upcoming election, contact information for your local officials and track your absentee ballot. - Nina Wimberely, Voting Rights Organizer

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We will review your questions and pick one to answer in the next issue of the Democracy Drumbeat!

Thanks for reading and have a great week!