Democracy Drumbeat: July 5, 2022
Voting Season is Underway
Absentee ballots are now available for the August 2 Primary Election! You can apply for an absentee ballot and track its progress using the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.mi.gov/vote.
You can also now vote absentee in person at your local clerk’s office. You can find their location and hours via the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.mi.gov/vote.
For Detroit voters, satellite offices will open July 11 and will operate Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Department of Elections website has a complete list of satellite offices and dropbox locations.
You can check out step by step instructions for how to vote at home or in-person before election day at the MichiganVoting.org website.
866 Our Vote Hotline
If you have any questions about voting in the August primary or experience any problems accessing your clerk's office or absentee ballot, you can call the nonpartisan election protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or one of the language specific hotlines:
- Spanish - 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
- Asian Languages - 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683)
- Arabic - 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)
Sign Up to Be a Poll Challenger
The August 2 primary election is around the corner and the Democracy for All team is working hard to protect and defend the right to vote. One of the ways that we’re doing this is by participating in the state’s nonpartisan rapid response program, which is designed to address misinformation and voter suppression whenever and wherever it occurs.
Nonpartisan election challengers are a crucial part of this program and you can sign up to get involved and serve your community!
Nonpartisan election challengers:
- Monitor the election process at the polls, at clerks’ and satellite offices, and at absent voter counting boards
- May challenge poll worker actions if the challenger does not believe that the poll worker is following Michigan’s election law
- Must be registered to vote in Michigan and receive training and credentials
If you’ve never volunteered as an election challenger before, and don’t know much (or anything!) about Michigan’s election law – no problem! In the weeks leading up to Election Day, our partner Promote the Vote will provide all challengers with comprehensive training on their rights and responsibilities, and on Michigan’s election law.
Challengers are needed throughout the state on Election Day (August 2), both at the polls and at absentee ballot counting boards. While challengers are encouraged to volunteer the entire day, if possible, shorter shifts are also available.
Challengers may also be needed before Election Day (at clerk and satellite offices) and immediately after Election Day at larger absentee ballot counting boards. We strongly encourage those who are interested in serving as challengers during the November general election to sign up to volunteer in August as well, so that they can gain valuable experience before the general election.
Election Season in Michigan - Key Dates
As we get closer to the August primary, here are a few important dates to keep in mind as you begin making your plan to vote over the next several months:
- June 23, 2022: In-Person Absentee Voting Began - Absent voter ballots must be available for issuance to voters
- July 1, 2022: Deadline for clerks to set satellite polling locations, dates, and times
- July 12, 2022: Regular appointment deadline for poll workers
- August 2, 2022: Statewide primary election
Prior to Election Day, it is important to be aware of all of the voting options available to you and to make a plan about how you are going to vote. Whether it be absentee ballots, voting in-person ahead of Election Day, or casting your ballot at a satellite polling location or secure drop box in your community, Michigan voters have an array of accessible voting options to choose from. Once you make your voting plan, help your friends and family make their own plans! Our democracy functions best when we all participate.
Voting Rights Actions You Can Take:
- Sign up here to volunteer as a nonpartisan election challenger for the August 2 primary election.
- Check out our 313 Votes and 616 Votes websites for important election information and voting options in Metro Detroit and West Michigan.
- Download the Know Your Rights Guide - a nonpartisan resource designed to help voters navigate Michigan’s voting laws and ensure we can all successfully cast our ballots - in English, Spanish, Arabic, or Bengali.
- Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center to check your voter registration status, find your new districts, and apply for your absentee ballot and 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.
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 Melissa Baker-Boosamra!
Melissa Baker-Boosamra is a visionary, collaborative and action-oriented leader who is passionate about inspiring and organizing people to build community and make the world a better place for all. She currently serves as Associate Director for Student Life at Grand Valley State University where she leads community and democratic engagement work in partnership with student leaders. Prior to this role, she worked in the nonprofit sector and as a faculty member doing international and domestic community engaged learning around issues of social and environmental justice.
Melissa is active in her community and has four children, who she loves beyond measure. Melissa enjoys swimming, biking, dancing, traveling, playing pickleball and spending time with family and friends.
What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?
Over the years I have witnessed and learned about the myriad inequities and injustices that are built into our economic and political systems and the vast and personal impacts of inequity and injustice on the lives of ordinary people. I have learned many lessons from those most impacted - labor organizers, migrant farmworkers, mothers of the “disappeared,” immigrants, victims of gun violence, those involved in the criminal justice system, and young people - about the many ways that interlocking systems of oppression shape the lives and experiences of marginalized groups. I have always been deeply inspired by leaders, across time and culture, who, despite facing tall odds and danger to their very lives, are deeply committed to making our communities and our world more just, equitable and vibrant – for all people.
As Dr. Cornel West once famously said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” I aim to live my life in a way that demonstrates love and respect for all people and to do that, I am committed to working for justice and equity for all people. I aim to use the privilege that I have been afforded to benefit the greater good.
What democracy issues do you think are most important in your community?
Currently, we are facing a crisis of our democracy. Trust in each other and in our institutions is drastically eroding. In order for democracy to “work,” we have to be able to talk to one another, to be willing to listen and be curious about each other and our experiences and beliefs, to be committed to seeking understanding and solutions to shared challenges. Relationships of trust are the very fabric of democracy. Finding ways to repair and re-weave the fabric of relationships and trust across differences is, in my opinion, the most fundamental and important work that we can do today. If we want our democracy to survive – and to thrive – we need to be able to talk to each other and see the deep humanity in one another.
What is one of your proudest moments while working in the democracy space?
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to walk alongside and support passionate and committed student leaders at GVSU over the last several years. We have worked together to build a campus ethos that values civic engagement and specifically the importance of voting. At GVSU, despite the numerous challenges that college students face when voting – and in the midst of a global pandemic – since 2016, we have increased our student voting rate by 22% from 50.5% to 72.1%, which is 6% higher than the national average. GVSU President Philomena Mantella recently signed the President’s Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation. I am proud of what we have accomplished and excited for the work we have ahead to reach that goal!
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].
Questions & Answer:
Q: Hi, my name is Shiloh and I’m a college student in Michigan. I’m originally from out of state, but I’m staying on campus this summer and want to know if I’m eligible to vote here in the August primary.
A: Hi, Shiloh. Thanks for your question - it’s a common one for a lot of college students. There are a few options for Michigan students. Students, like you, who are not from Michigan but attend school in Michigan can register to vote at their school address in Michigan. Students from Michigan who attend school outside of Michigan can still register to vote at their home address in Michigan, and students from Michigan who attend school in Michigan can choose to register to vote at their school or home address. You can find a Voter Registration Application here. Just be sure to pick only one address! - Brooke Harris, Voting Rights Manager
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Thanks for reading and have a great week!