Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Democracy Drumbeat: October 11, 2022

Democracy All-Stars: Emma Woelkers

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 Emma Woelkers!

Emma is a recent graduate of Northern Michigan University with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. She is passionate about the Great Lakes watershed, and has worked with Michigan LCV for a year in different capacities. Emma lives in Marquette with her husband and dog, Sully.

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

I wanted to get involved with democracy work because without equal, safe access to voting, it is challenging to make real changes especially when it comes to the environment and climate. Making sure that people are able to make their voices heard is an extremely rewarding experience!

What democracy issues do you think are most important in your community? 

Ensuring that there are enough polling locations and options across the state, so everyone is able to efficiently cast their ballot. Since Election Day is not considered a national holiday, it is important that people only have to take a short time to vote. This is especially true for working parents, who may have to go after work and wait in line for hours with their children.

What is one of your proudest moments while working in the democracy space?

I have really loved seeing the impact that our call team is making, especially in the 313 and 616 areas. Hearing stories from our team about the people we have helped at the end of every day is great, and extremely rewarding!

Thank you, Emma, for your hard work and dedication to our 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].

Democracy Updates

Sign up to be a Poll Challenger

With the November 8th general election right around the corner, the Democracy for All team is continuing our work to protect and defend our right to vote. One of the ways 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 a poll 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 (November 8), 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.

If you are interested in volunteering as a poll challenger, email Voting Rights Manager Brooke Harris at [email protected].

Spirit of Democracy Recap

Members of our Democracy for All team had a blast at the Spirit of Democracy event on Thursday, September 29. We were able to connect with partner organizations, chat with voters, and encourage folks to sign up for important election related roles, like election inspectors and poll challengers.

Michigan LCV Education Fund’s Rodney Austin helped run our table at the event and was excited about the conversations we were able to have with voters.

“Our democracy functions best when the community comes together to participate and get involved. With the November election right around the corner, there are countless opportunities to get involved, including serving as a poll worker or poll challenger or helping people in your community get to the polls. We all have a role to play.” – Rodney Austin, Democracy For All Organizer

Stay tuned for more democracy events in the month leading up to Election Day on November 8!

Ballot Issues: Term Limits, Reproductive Rights, and Voting Rights

The Detroit Public Library and the League of Women Voters Detroit are co-sponsoring a deeper dive tonight into the status of the three petitions that will be on our Michigan Ballot for the General Election, November 8.

Register for tonight’s virtual event here>>>

The event will center around a review of the three constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot by Eric Lupher of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. As there is a lot to understand about each of the three petitions and their possible impact if approved by the electorate to be put into the Michigan Constitution, this event is a great resource for people interested in learning more! Join them this evening at 6:00pm!

Democracy Actions You Can Take

Apply for your absentee ballot for the November 8th General Election:

  • Voters with a current Michigan driver's license or state ID can complete their application online at michigan.gov/vote.

  • Alternatively, voters can print and submit an application for an absentee ballot from michigan.gov/vote or they can call their city or township clerk and ask that an application be mailed to them.

  • Voters may also use any application for an absentee ballot provided to them by the Secretary of State, their clerk, a political party, or another organization.

Keep an eye out for you absentee ballot:

  • Absentee ballots have been mailed. If you've applied for an absentee ballot, keep an eye out for your ballot to arrive in the mail. You can track your ballot at the Michigan Voter Information Center michigan.gov/vote.

  • Once you receive your ballot, fill it out, place it in the envelope provided, and sign the outside of the envelope using your official signature (like your driver’s license signature).

  • Turn in your signed ballot by dropping it off at your clerk’s office, satellite, or dropbox as soon as you can and no later than the close of polls at 8pm on November 8, 2022.

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:

  • September 29, 2022: In-Person Absentee Voting Begins - Absent voter ballots must be available for issuance to voters

  • October 7, 2022: Deadline for clerks to set satellite polling locations, dates, and times

  • October 24, 2022: Last day to register in any manner other than in-person with the local clerk for the November general election

  • November 8, 2022: Statewide general election

Ahead of the November general 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’s 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.

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!