Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Democracy Drumbeat: May 24, 2022

Redistricting District Map Comparison - southwest MI

Redistricting Updates

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 Benton Harbor/Kalamazoo 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 be accessed here.

Starting May 11, the Secretary of State began 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, that was the last time those old district maps will be used. 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 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 10 AM up 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 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

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 at MichiganVoting.org. 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.

Know Your Rights Guides

Have questions about voting that we haven’t answered in our Q&A section? Check out the MichiganVoting.org Know Your Rights Guide!

The Know Your Rights Guide is a nonpartisan resource designed to help voters navigate Michigan’s voting laws and ensure we can all successfully cast our ballots. It is available in four languages (English, Spanish, Arabic, and Bengali) and contains answers to commonly-asked questions.

You can view or download the Guide at MichiganVoting.org.

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:

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

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 we all participate.

Voting Rights Actions You Can Take:

Democracy All-Stars: Oscar Castañeda

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 Oscar Castañeda!

Oscar Castañeda has worked as a Community Organizer at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC) for almost two years. Before that, he worked with another grassroots organization in Lansing, focusing on civil rights for immigrants. Oscar was born in Guatemala, where he grew up, migrating to the United States twenty-seven years ago.

What compelled you to get involved in voting rights/systems change/democracy work?

I started to get involved in these issues because of my own struggles with the immigration system, which is flawed and unfair, and is deeply connected to the whole system that was created to favor only some members of this society.

There are many important issues today among the immigrant community. Specifically in Michigan, we are fighting for driver licenses for all. From a long-term perspective, we need to learn that the struggle (of the immigrant community) is part of a larger one that affects many communities, so we need to learn to work united. I am very proud of playing an important part in organizing the largest rally that has happened in Lansing in many years, when the last administration started to separate families at the border.

Thank you, Oscar, for your amazing work!

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 Susan from Northern Michigan. I hear so much about voting and want to take a crack at working the polls. Can you let me know the process for that?

A: Hey Susan, you can sign up to be an elections worker on the Secretary of State’s Democracy MVP website where you’ll be able to see the FAQ, the sign up form and training materials. For this position you must be a registered voter if you are 18+. To apply click on the election worker form to submit information on your background including address, party affiliation and if you’ve had training for the position before. Once picked, training will take place before the election your community will be voting on. - Nina Wimberley, Voting Rights Organizer

Submit a question for the Democracy For All team!

Do you have questions for us? We want to hear from you!

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!