Democracy Drumbeat: June 7, 2022
Since the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new districts for State House, State Senate and Congress became law on March 28, 2022, we have been showcasing what the changes and differences between new and old districts look like for communities across Michigan.
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 Detroit area U.S. Congressional districts 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 and what district you’ll be voting in before heading to the polls for the August 2, 2022 Statewide Primary and ultimately the general election in November.
On May 5, 2022, the MICRC released the district maps for Congressional, State Senate and State House of Representatives. Maps can be accessed here.
For the statewide primary on August 2nd, voters will decide elections based on the new districts drawn by the MICRC.
Redistricting Actions You Can Take:
- Attend Commission meetings. Meetings will be virtually on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 10 AM until October. From October to December, the meetings will be held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month. To learn more or to sign up to speak, please visit the Commission’s website.
- Review the new interactive district maps on the Commission’s website and encourage your friends and family to get to know their new districts. Maps can be accessed here.
Voting Rights Updates
Direct Voter Contact 2022
During each election cycle over the past few years, the Democracy For All team has engaged voters and worked to get out the vote through our robust Direct Voter Contact (DVC) program. Our DVC program brings together individuals who share a passion for democracy, voting rights, and access to the ballot and centers around a core group of canvassers who log thousands of calls to ensure Michigan voters are aware of upcoming elections and voting options, helping people make a plan to vote and make sure their voices are heard.
Our 2022 DVC program commenced this week and will run through the August primary before pivoting to focus on the general election in November. In years past, our efforts have been focused on the Metro Detroit area under the banner of our 313 Votes brand, but this year marks the first time we are expanding to the western part of Michigan with 616 Votes. With the addition of the West Michigan-focused 616 Votes website, our DVC program will be stronger and allow us to engage more voters than ever before!
As our 2022 DVC program gets underway, stay tuned for updates as our amazing group of canvassers and democracy champions starts to work to educate and engage as many Michigan voters as possible!
Voting from Home for the August Primary Election
We are in a big election year in Michigan, and the August primary election will be here before we know it. As we all get prepared and make a plan to vote, it is important to be aware of all the voting options and resources available to Michigan voters.
All registered voters in Michigan can vote before Election Day using an absentee ballot. You don’t need an excuse or a reason, and online applications to vote from home are now available.
By filling out an absentee ballot application now, you will receive an absentee ballot for both the August 2 Primary and the November 8 General Election, saving you some time and stress!
You can find a step by step guide and links to the online and printable applications on the MichiganVoting.org site. Make sure you check the box to be added to the permanent absentee list. This will ensure you are sent an absentee ballot application before each election season.
If you have questions, or would like additional information, you can call 866-OUR-VOTE or one of the voter protection hotlines available in another language.
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 18, 2022: Clerks electronically transmit or mail (as requested) an absent voter ballot to uniformed services or overseas voters who applied for an absent voter ballot 45 days or more before the election
- June 23, 2022: In-Person Absentee Voting Begins - 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:
- 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 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 Rodney Austin!
Rodney is from Saginaw, MI, but his journey in the world of advocacy work began in Mt. Pleasant and has grown from his experiences working with and in the communities of Detroit. Rodney is now based out of Lansing, MI and works with Michigan LCV and the Michigan LCV Education Fund as a Virtual Canvasser, including as a leader with our Direct Voter Contact (DVC) program!
What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?
At the beginning of COVID there were (and still are) so many things challenging our communities. Figuring out the impact and being informed on many of the issues for what I do definitely compelled me to want to do more.
What democracy issues do you think are most important in your community?
Being informed on voting rights and the health of our environment plays a vital role in democracy issues and are key elements of the importance it has in the community.
What is one of your proudest moments while working in the democracy space?
Well I don’t have just one, the majority of my proudest moments consist of speaking with what I call “Gems & Jewels.” These are those people who have a long history in taking the initiative of doing their part to create history by simply voting and informing others about these opportunities.
Thank you, Rodney, for your hard work and dedication to democracy!
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: Hey, this is Hannah from Kalamazoo! I know you answered a question recently on absentee ballots, but I’ve been hearing about them everywhere now. On the news, on social media, even phone calls. Did something important just happen?
A: Hey there, Hannah, thanks for your question! The reason you’re hearing about absentee ballots more right now is that the applications for absentee ballots are currently being sent out. In order to receive an absentee ballot, you must fill the application first and one will be sent to you. You can apply for your absentee ballot on the Secretary of State’s website. - Nina Wimberley, 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!