Democracy Drumbeat: March 29, 2022
Voting Rights Updates
Pro-Voting Bills Introduced in the House
On March 16, Michigan House Democrats announced nine election-related bills focused on increasing voter access. The bills would require nine days of early voting, ban firearms within 100 feet of polling locations, and prohibit petition signature gatherers from lying or misleading voters on what the petition does. The package also improves the absentee voting process by including an online application with ballot tracking and creating a process for clerks to notify voters if their absentee ballot signatures do not match what is on file.
Absentee Ballots Available for May 3 Elections
Absentee ballots for Michigan communities with elections on May 3 are now available at local clerk’s offices. You can apply for an absentee ballot online or by mail. You can also visit your clerk’s office in person to apply for and submit an absentee ballot. Voters on the permanent absent voter list will be mailed an application by your clerk.
You can find more information on elections, including a sample ballot, at Michigan.gov/Vote. Most of the elections taking place on May 3 are for millages or local-level elected positions, but four State House districts are also holding special elections to fill vacant seats:
- 15th in Wayne County
- 36th in Macomb County
- 43rd in Oakland County
- 74th in Kent County
As a reminder, candidates elected to serve these four districts in the State House will serve the remainder of the current terms for the seats through 2022. This will be the last time these districts hold elections based on Michigan’s old legislative districts.
Event Alert: 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. On Tuesday, April 12 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.
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, 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.
Michigan’s new legislative maps drawn by the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) became law on Monday, March 28, 2022.
After months of legal developments and some uncertainty, the Michigan State Supreme Court voted 5-2 on March 25th to dismiss the League of Women Voters v Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission lawsuit, clearing the final legal hurdle before Michigan’s new maps could become law. The Court’s decision came in an order saying it was not persuaded that the maps violated the criteria of not providing a disproportionate partisan advantage to one party
Now that the new maps have become law, the Qualified Voter File – a database that ties to the statewide registration file – must be updated to reflect the new districts. This process is underway. The filing deadline for candidates to run for office in Michigan’s new districts in the 2022 election is April 19th.
Be on the lookout for the next edition of the Democracy Drumbeat on April 12th for a look at how our new districts might impact you and your voter registration, as well as for resources you can use to make sure you are registered and ready to vote in your community this year.
Democracy All-Stars: Ashlee Moseley
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 Ashlee Moseley. Ashlee is a musician and business owner in Detroit and served as part of the 313 Votes Direct Voter Contact program in 2021.
What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?
I feel that there are too many people whose voices aren't heard, and who have a hard time navigating how and where to vote.
What democracy issues do you think are most important in your community?
Some issues that I believe are important in my community are the fact that over 80% of people I spoke to last year requested absentee ballots and did not receive them, many of whom were unable to leave their homes for various reasons.
What is one of your proudest moments while working in the democracy space?
My proudest moment was when I spoke at the redistricting hearing on behalf of my community.
Thank you, Ashlee Moseley, 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].
Questions & Answer:
Q: Hey my name is Eartha from Southfield. I heard an old wives tale that signing up to vote puts me on some list where I'm going to get called to be a juror, is it true?
A: Hey Eartha, I feel like I heard this a lot from my peers when I first became old enough to vote too, but it is not true. The jury pool for each court comes from a list of licensed drivers and state ID card holders in the court’s district. Those who have been convicted of felony crimes are not eligible for jury service. Registering to vote does not have an impact on when you will be summoned for jury service. - Nina Wimberely, Voting Rights Organizer
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