Democracy Drumbeat: September 28, 2021
National Voter Registration Day
Today is National Voter Registration Day, a day of recognition and another reminder of the importance of making sure you are registered to vote! Michiganders can register online now to vote by visiting the Michigan Department of State website. Beginning October 19th, you’ll need to register at your local clerk’s office in order to vote in the November 2nd election. If you would prefer not to visit your polling place, you can also apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed to you. If you have already registered, make sure to double check your registration status, remind and help family and friends register, and check your polling place to make sure you are prepared ahead of Election Day!
You Can Vote Now In Municipal Elections Across the State
Ballots have begun to be mailed and 40 days of early voting kicked off September 23. Between absentee ballots and voting before Election Day at your clerk’s office or a satellite location, there’s no need to wait until November 2 to exercise your freedom to vote. Need help making your voting plan? Check out the Michigan Voter Information Center at mi.gov/vote.
As we use the historic expansion of voting freedoms that Michiganders overwhelmingly passed in 2018, it is important to remember that no matter what we look like or where we come from, Michiganders believe our voting rights should be respected and we all should have a voice in our democracy.
313 Votes Direct Voter Contact Back in Action
Last week marked the launch of the second wave of our direct voter contact program. Our team of 10 virtual canvassers will be calling and texting Detroit and Hamtramck voters to follow up on their absentee ballots, inform them about voting before Election Day at the clerk’s office or satellite locations, and make sure they know when and where to vote in person on Election Day.
Anti-Voter Petition Update
Last Thursday, the State Board of Canvassers met to consider the 100-word summary of the so-called “Secure MI Vote” ballot initiative proposed by GOP-backed groups, which takes aim at in-person and absentee voting rights. The ballot initiative is Republicans' latest attempt to pass anti-voter measures that would significantly impact our freedom to vote, especially the elderly, those with disabilities, and communities of color.
The Board of Canvassers ended up approving the 100-word summary with some changes to the language that removed some of the worst mischaracterizations of the initiative. They pushed the form approval to this Monday, September 27th as it was littered with typos. Yesterday, the Board gave the petition form approval, which means they can begin collecting signatures.
The DFA team continues its work to promote the importance of voting rights, the security of Michigan’s electoral system, and the danger that this ballot initiative and the anti-voter bills in Lansing pose to Michigan voters across our state.
Voting Rights Actions You Can Take:
Spread the word with your friends and family that the anti-voter petition negatively impacts Michiganders by:
- Taking Away Election Day Voting Options
- Making Absentee Voting Less Accessible
- Gutting Funding for Election Administration
- Preventing a vote of the people from overturning the law, further denying the people of Michigan a voice on this issue (This proposal includes an appropriation that, if approved by the legislature, would make it referendum proof).
If you have already registered, make sure to double check your registration status, remind and help family and friends register, and check your polling place to make sure you are prepared ahead of Election Day!
Redistricting: Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission set to finish first round of map drawing in coming days
The Commission has mapped over 90 State House Districts. The MICRC will be voting on the draft proposed maps either at the end of this week or next. Partisan fairness tests as well as a Voting Rights Analysis will be conducted before the Commission votes on draft proposed maps.
As a reminder, you have the right to submit a comment on the Commission’s draft maps and/or submit your own maps via the Commission’s website. Comments about how your community of interest would best be represented and ensuring a fair and transparent process is followed are particularly important at this time.
Second round of public hearings begins October 11th - Join in!
The next important opportunity to engage will come following the release of the proposed maps, scheduled for October 8. The public will then have the opportunity to speak (either in-person or virtually) at 9 public hearings that will be held across the state between October 11th and the 28th.
These public hearings are critical. The Commission needs to hear from us! Public engagement ensures the district maps are drawn accurately and also fairly represent the constituents of communities across Michigan.
Redistricting Actions You Can Take:
The DFA team will host a How to engage in Redistricting Public Hearings virtual event Oct 7, 2021 from 6pm to 7pm - We will be live on Zoom and via Facebook. Reserve your spot by registering here.
Submit a public comment through the online Public Comment Tool.
Meet the Commission! The MICRC is now holding in-person weekly meetings, rotating locations across the state. See the full schedule and more information on participating in the redistricting process here.
If you would like to watch the meetings or learn more about the Commission please visit the MICRC website. After going to the website, you can click on Meeting Notices and Agenda. This will allow for you to sign up to attend remotely or virtual attendance and provide public comment to the Commission. If you would like additional detail, please email our redistricting lead Mark Payne at [email protected].