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Voters Not Politicians

In 2018, Michiganders voted to pass Proposal 2, a redistricting amendment that would create an independent commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. Voters Not Politicians, the nonprofit organization that collected signatures to get the amendment on the ballot, is now taking steps to form that commission.

Prior to Prop 2, whichever party was in control in Lansing was responsible for drawing district maps.

Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This year, more than 7 million Michigan residents are registered to vote, and midterm election turnout is expected to be the highest in years.

But what should you expect on Election Day?

"Vote here" sign
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Wayne County is switching up the way it will report real-time results for Tuesday’s election. Officials say the county will bypass its usual website because of performance concerns.

The Grand Rapids-based company ElectionSource has hosted Wayne County’s interactive election reporting website since 2017.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In a letter to clerks across the state, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan urged them to make sure voters and poll workers understand that picture identification is not required to cast a ballot.

The civil liberties group says it regularly receives complaints from registered voters who have been incorrectly informed they must have picture ID to vote, and this misinformation can deter or prevent their voting.

Ballots
Flicker / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's voting system needs to be improved to ensure that overseas military ballots are received on time and counted, according to Jocelyn Benson, Democratic candidate for Michigan Secretary of State.

Benson unveiled her military voting plan Tuesday, as part of her pledge "to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers heard what went wrong with the county’s election results website last Tuesday, as questions and concerns linger about problems with the Aug. 7 primary election.

hand holding I VOTED sticker
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michiganders flocked to the polls Tuesday in numbers that haven’t been matched in recent decades.

It’s primary Election Day in Michigan.

The races for governor, Congress, and the state Legislature all saw tough and divisive battles among candidates on both sides of the aisle. 

To see how voting is going around the state, we talked to a few of the people on the front lines: county clerks.

political yard signs
Scorpians and Centaurs / Flickr

Next Tuesday is primary election day in Michigan. That means come Wednesday, it’s time for general election campaigns.

But, how does a candidate actually win? What strategy will get them from primary winner to governor or attorney general or county drain commissioner?

An absentee ballot in an envelope.
Nadya Peek / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Replacement absentee ballots were sent out to hundreds of voters in Kalamazoo County this week after a mistake was discovered on the original forms.

MLive reported that ballots sent to voters in four Schoolcraft Township precincts and one Portage precinct listed candidates running for Michigan’s 63rd House of Representatives district race instead of the 61st district.

Vote Here sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michigan's primary election is Tuesday, and already this year's vote has garnered a lot of attention.

Ballots
Flicker / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


Last week, two more business organizations formally launched challenges to proposals headed for the ballot this November. 

 

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

There is just over a month to go before Michigan’s primary elections on August 7th. 

Polling place
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

 


The Pew Research Center recently released a report on midterm voting that found more voters are engaged earlier this election year.

“Compared with recent midterms, more voters say their view of the president – positive or negative – will influence their vote for Congress," the report said. “A 60 percent majority say they consider their midterm vote as essentially a vote either for Donald Trump (26 percent) or against him (34 percent). These are among the highest shares saying their view of the president would be a factor in their vote in any midterm in more than three decades.”

justgrimes / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Voters’ rights groups are gathering signatures for a constitutional amendment to make registering to vote easier in Michigan. The “Promote the Vote” campaign is being backed by several groups including the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It may soon be easier to register to vote in Michigan.

Nine in ten people eligible to vote in Michigan are already registered. Most registered when they got a driver’s license or state identification card.

Nevertheless, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson wants to allow people to register to vote online through the state’s existing Express SOS software program.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A ballot campaign will begin collecting signatures to add a voting rights amendment to the state constitution.

The effort is backed by the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, and the Detroit branch of the NAACP.

The ACLU’s Kary Moss says the proposal would allow early voting and make it easier for people to vote absentee.

“If somebody wants to vote absentee, they have to be over 60 years old, they have to have an excuse," Moss said. "This proposal would allow for no-excuse absentee voting.”

Vote Here sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A petition drive hopes to put a voters’ rights amendment to the state constitution on the November ballot.

The amendment would let people vote absentee without giving a reason. It would allow early voting. And it would guarantee the right to vote a party-line ticket with one mark on the ballot. 

“We need to make sure that voting is accessible to all citizens and that everyone’s vote gets counted,” said Judy Karendjeff with the League of Women Voters.

Will voters overcome their politicians?

Aug 18, 2017

For months, a dedicated group of citizens calling themselves Voters, not Politicians, has struggled to come up with a way to give control of drawing legislative districts back to the people. The idea is to ensure fair, sensible and competitive representation to everyone.

That may sound like arcane political science babble, but it is not. Most of us are being effectively denied choices because of gross partisan gerrymandering done to ensure continuous Republican control of government.

someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court alleges Detroit’s city clerk violated election law.

Detroiter Anita Belle says she was trying to challenge the legitimacy of potentially more than a thousand absentee ballots. She says there are voters registered at addresses that are actually vacant lots owned by the Detroit Land Bank. Belle had hoped to challenge any ballots from those addresses. But she says she wasn’t allowed to.

A "vote here" sign
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

"Power to the people."

That slogan so widely used in the 1960s is the driving force behind a push to change the way Michigan draws its legislative and Congressional districts.

The group Voters Not Politicians has firmed up language for a voter petition to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for November 2018.

The amendment would overhaul Michigan's redistricting process.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

President Trump's voter fraud commission has requested voter registration data from all 50 states, and many Secretaries of State are refusing, in full or in part.

But the commission will apparently get the information that is public from Michigan.

someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit unveiled new digital voting machines to volunteers this weekend after years of faulty machines that slowed down the voting process.

The machines are a part of a statewide effort to replace all voting systems by 2018. Voting machines in Michigan have not been replaced in over a decade.

Detroit ordered 700 new machines, which will be installed before the August primaries.

Could a super achiever fix an underperforming system?

Mar 23, 2017

Jocelyn Benson stood in line for two hours waiting to vote last November, holding her five-month-old son Aiden all the while. “I had to put him down and change his diaper twice,” she told me, smiling. Benson lives and votes in Detroit, where there are often too few voting places and machines for large turnout elections.

Courtesy of Sandra Stahl

The Next Idea

 

When Sandra Stahl works on civic engagement in Detroit, there’s one question she hears again and again.

“Where are all the young people?”

 

 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Michigan School Reform/Redesign Office recently released its latest list of schools that are under-performing. There are 38 schools on this year's list that could be closed, mostly in Detroit. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Detroit's school district would be able to survive such a large round of closures.

They also discuss what role U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy Devos plays in the state's school closure discussion, concerns over President Donald Trump's order to freeze all grant programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a move to bring new voting machines to Michigan.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

State senators are making voting laws an issue this year. A mostly Democratic group of senators has introduced a set of bills they say will make voting easier for everyone.

One of the bills would allow people to preregister to vote when they turn 16 – as long as they have a driver’s license or a state ID card.

Democratic Senator Steve Bieda is a bill sponsor. Calling the legislation innovative, he said the state needs to keep up with modern times when it comes to voting. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than a decade since Michigan last replaced its voting machines, the state is spending up to $82 million on new voting machines over the next two years.

“You know, they’re computers, right?” says Chris Thomas, the Michigan elections director. “And like any kind of hardware and software, they’ve got a shelf life.

“It’s pretty standard across the country that 10 years is when you start reaching that outer limit and start seeing a few more problems on Election Day and whatnot.”

A Minute with Mike
Vic Reyes

Hello, my fellow Michiganeers, it’s your friendly neighbor-radio hood Mike Blank. Just in case you’ve been trapped in an abandoned copper mine in the Upper Peninsula since November and you haven’t heard, we’re about to get a new president.

I try not to focus on political issues during our brief time together. However, the one thing that stood out about this election to me was the staggering number of people who did not vote. Roughly 47% of registered voters stayed away from their local school gymnasium, church, or community center on Election Day. And it wasn’t because of the funky smell.

According to Halderman, pink counties have a paper trail. Blue counties do not.
Image courtesy of J. Alex Halderman

A blog post in New York Magazine has been sweeping around the internet because it calls into question the results of the 2016 presidential election.

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