Democracy Drumbeat: May 10, 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 city of Midland/Saginaw area 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 accessed here.
Starting May 11, the Secretary of State will begin updating the Qualified Voter File (QVF) Street Index for communities that had a May 3 election. If you live in a community that had a May 3 special election, this was the last time voting occurred under old district maps. 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 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 10 AM. To learn more or to sign up to speak, please visit the Commission’s website.
- Review the newly uploaded 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
Election Certification and Vote Count 101 Panel
Our partners All Voting Is Local and the League of Women Voters are hosting an Election Certification and Vote Count 101 panel on May 11 at 6 PM. You can check out the Facebook event page or register here.
Michigan’s elections are free, fair and accessible, but the spread of misinformation about the execution and integrity of our elections by those who seek to restrict the freedom to vote persists. Join our amazing partners tomorrow to hear from a bipartisan panel about our election process, why it continues to be safe, and how you can get involved in election administration!
The panel will feature:
- Aghogho Edevbie, State Director of All Voting Is Local Michigan
- Christina Schlitt, Co-President of League of Women Voters of Michigan
- Justin Roebuck, Ottawa County Clerk
- Joel Hondorp, Grand Rapids City Clerk
- Jonathan Kinloch, Former Wayne County Canvasser
We hope you will join us for this amazing event!
Grow Detroit’s Young Talent
On Saturday, May 7, our team participated in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Career Connections Fair! Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) is a citywide summer jobs program that trains and employs young adults between the ages of 14 and 24, providing young people in the greater Detroit community opportunities to learn new skills and gain professional experience.
For several years, the Michigan LCV Education Fund and the Democracy For All team have brought GDYT interns into the fold, providing amazing experiences working in the pro-democracy space! Last weekend we were able to interview many motivated youth and will have six interns temporarily join our team this July. Keep an eye out for appearances by them in our summer issues!
Voting Rights Actions You Can Take:
- Register for All Voting is Local and the League of Women Voters’ Election Certification and Vote Count 101 panel on May 11 at 6:00PM and share what you learn.
- Visit the Michigan Voter Information Center to 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: Dessa Cosma
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 Dessa Cosma!
Dessa is the founding director of Detroit Disability Power, which organizes disabled people and allies around issues like accessible, affordable housing; access to healthcare, transit, and education; and voting rights. Dessa has spent the last 20 years organizing for reproductive, economic, racial justice and disability justice and holds a masters degree in social justice.
What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?
I originally got involved in voting rights and democracy work through my reproductive justice organizing efforts as a young person. It quickly became clear that for women to have adequate and holistic healthcare, we needed to vote and elect people who would support our rights. For two decades now I've worked on dozens of electoral campaigns.
Then in 2018, I encountered a barrier to my right to vote because of an inaccessible polling location. Later that evening, I was on a conference call with about a dozen other disabled activists and shared my story. To my dismay, every other person on that call had a similar experience. That's when I realized just how pervasive the problems of inaccessible polling locations and disability-unaware poll workers are.
Research from the 2020 cycle shows that 11% of voters with disabilities (1.95 million people) had some type of difficulty voting! Not only is this disenfranchisement unfair and illegal, it also has ripple effects in every part of our society, as disabled Americans desperately need elected officials who understand our community and prioritize our needs.
This is why one of the core issues Detroit Disability Power organizes around is voting rights and access. There is tremendous opportunity to improve quality of life for millions of disabled Michiganders, but it requires that we can access the Democratic process.
For more information about how to ensure accessible elections or to get involved in DDP's voting rights work, please check out our collection of voting resources on our website!
Thank you, Dessa, 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].
Election Season in Michigan - Key Dates
With election season underway, here are a few important dates to keep in mind as elections approach and folks begin making their plans to vote over the next several months:
- May 4, 2022: Last date precinct boundary alterations made for 2022 election cycle can go into effect
- 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 poll workers
- August 2, 2022: Statewide primary election
Ahead of the August primary election, 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 everyone can make their voices heard.
Questions & Answer:
Q: Hey my name is Earl from West Michigan. I get a lot of spam calls about voting. How do they get my information?
A: Hey Earl, thanks for your question! For any phone bank you initially gave consent to be contacted and this can be removed at any time by requesting to be removed from the list. Your information is given to certain non profit organizations that aren’t pushing agendas nor trying to sell you anything. These organizations make sure you’re informed about voting in Michigan. - Nina Wimberley, Voting Rights Organizer
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If you have questions about the Democracy For All team’s work or topics covered in the Democracy Drumbeat, you can submit your question using this form.
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!