Democracy Drumbeat: August 3, 2021
Michigan communities across the state are holding municipal primary elections today and the Democracy For All team has been hard at work engaging and educating voters, especially in Detroit, about all of the voting options at their disposal. As Michiganders vote today, please know that polls close at 8pm. Remember, if you are in line by the close of polls, you can still vote and make your voice heard!
If you still have your absentee ballot at home, make sure to sign it and return it to your nearest dropbox or clerk’s office (check locations at mi.gov/vote) by 8pm tonight!
Not registered to vote? No problem. Michigan now has same day voter registration, so make sure to check www.mi.gov/vote to find your local clerk’s office or satellite locations where you can register and vote all in one trip!
Democracy for All Team Updates
Our team works hard to drive voter engagement every election, and this year is no exception. Our 313 Votes program engages voters in Detroit and Hamtramck, partnering with community groups such as Sobriety House. Our canvassers ensure that voters — especially new or infrequent voters — know their options to make voting fit their schedule. In addition, our team, along with partners, continues to engage with clerks and their staff to improve voter access, including 24/7 dropboxes in convenient locations, sufficient poll worker staff and timely turnaround of absentee ballot applications.
One recent story from the field comes from Talice Saxton, one of our 313 Votes Canvassers. When calling voters, Talice spoke with a Detroit resident, Cheryl, who said she did not have any idea that there was a primary coming up. Cheryl, who is over 70 and not as mobile as she used to be, was extremely grateful that Talice was able to make her aware of the upcoming primary, as well as the options available to her when going to cast her ballot. She made a plan to vote and is having her grandson take her to the polls today.
Our team also continues to spread the word about Detroit satellite locations. We visited the East Warren Farmers Market on Thursday, July 22 where we set up a table and connected with community members to let them know that satellite locations were open to vote before Election Day and where they could find their closest one.
Our Summer Grow Detroit Young Talent Interns
We recently welcomed and trained a new cohort of interns from Grow Detroit Young Talent, an organization in the city that provides meaningful summer employment opportunities for Detroit youth, ages 14 to 24.
Our seven new interns, Shayla Harber, Mar’nesha Wiseman, Caoilfhionn Davis, Rose Abou Assaly, Destiny Thompson, Raniyah Trusty, and Katrina Mathis, will be working with our Democracy For All Team in Detroit through the end of August!
Protecting Our Freedom to Vote
In several states across the country, including Michigan, Republican lawmakers continue to actively threaten our democracy by attempting to pass legislation that will undermine our freedom to vote.
With the Legislature on recess until the middle of August, these dangerous anti-voter bills are on hold. We expect that this legislation will pass and Gov. Whitmer will veto the bills if and when they reach her desk. This, however, is not the end of the story. There are plans in the works to organize a citizen-driven ballot initiative that could be adopted by a simple majority in our legislature bypassing the governor’s veto to put these dangerous voter suppression measures on the ballot in 2022. Rest assured, our team will continue to work to oppose these developments and keep you updated as things continue to move.
- In collaboration with a coalition of partner organizations across the state, our team has been working to organize a series of events to build support for voting rights and spread the word about these dangerous threats to our democracy. Here are the details:
- Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, our friends at Michigan United and PROACTIVE Grand Rapids among other partners are hosting an event at 5 p.m. at the Boston Soul Cafe in Grand Rapids, MI.
- Next Monday, August 9, 2021, our friends at Oakland Forward and other partners are hosting an event at 11 a.m. at the Bowens Senior Center in Pontiac, MI.
- On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, Michigan LCV Ed Fund’s Democracy For All team, Michigan Voices, and other partners are hosting an event at 6 p.m. at the plaza at New Center One in Detroit, MI.
These events are free to attend and we hope to see you there!
Redistricting: Putting People First in Our New Independent Mapping Process
Michigan’s first-ever citizen-driven redistricting process got started back in May with a series of public hearings that gave citizens and communities of interest the opportunity to voice how the state’s new legislative districts should be drawn. Now, even though the first set of public hearings have concluded, the next steps in the process are extremely important.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has begun the process of actually drawing the maps of new legislative districts, with the commissioners beginning to use the web-based program, MyRedistricting. The Commission is also in the process of setting up a desktop version of the program called Autobound Edge 2020. They will start with Senate districts and the mapping process will be based on regions around the state.
It is important to note that the Constitutional deadline for map publication is September 17th, which will allow 45 days of public comment prior to November 1, 2021. That being said, there is still an opportunity to make public comments about how the districts should look and make your voice heard! To submit your comment to the Commission, you can visit their website at www.michigan.gov.micrc. In addition to written comments, you can draw maps of theoretical districts and submit those to the Commission as well.
To learn more, check out the video below on how to submit your comment and maps!
How can you get involved?
Beyond today's primary elections, there are a number of ways that you can get involved with the Michigan LCV Education Fund and the Democracy For All team’s work on voter engagement, education, and voting rights.
Whether it is joining Democracy MVP and serving as a poll worker during the upcoming election in November, or sharing information with your friends and family about voting options or resources, we encourage and welcome you to reach out and get involved.
As another reminder, you can vote before Election Day every election! Check out www.313votes.org and www.mi.gov/vote for information on clerk’s offices and satellite locations and make sure to cast your ballot this fall!
We also encourage you to submit a public comment and encourage your network to do the same as the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission continues its work to complete Michigan’s redistricting process!