Promote the Vote

Michigan
News
3/17/2018

Michigan should join 38 other states that register voters online

Published by Detroit Free Press

It is long past time that Michigan modernized its election system and do so smartly. Several bills voted out of the state Senate and pending before the House would allow online voter registration to be advanced by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. This is not revolutionary. More than 38 states and Washington D.C., already have this modern-day convenience.

Read the full article here.


3/15/2018

Black women stood strong – and now we can spread the voting power

By Yvonne White

In the blockbuster film “Black Panther,” the fictional African nation Wakanda is protected by the Dora Milaje, a fierce army of spear-bearing women warriors. In real life, the political interests of black Americans are guarded by another group of heroines: black women voters.

Black women have long been one of America’s most reliable voting blocs. In fact, black women voters outpaced every other race/gender subgroup in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Last fall, black women were largely credited with turning back Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore and driving black women such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell into office.

It should come as no surprise that black women take the vote seriously. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to remember how hard African American women fought for the right to vote. For example, in 1943 – 12 years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott – Rosa Parks endured the indignity of being forced to take three literacy tests to prove she was worthy to receive a ballot in Alabama.

When election officials realized that Parks would not be deterred by the tests, they charged her a hefty poll tax, thinking that would stop her from casting a ballot. It wasn’t the first or last time a determined black woman had been underestimated. Mrs. Parks paid the tax and never missed another election.

Because of the bravery and sacrifices of black women like Mrs. Parks, I feel a special obligation to protect the vote and expand access to it. That’s why I’m proud that the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP, which I lead, is supporting the Promote the Vote amendment. The amendment will help expand access to the vote by:

  • Automatically registering citizens to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines.
  • Allowing citizens to register to vote until 15 days before an election by mail or in person. After that, citizens may register to vote in person with proof of residency up to and on Election Day.
  • Providing all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason.

These measures are especially important for women who have pressing responsibilities at work and at home whose ability to vote can be stymied by inflexible registration deadlines and arbitrary voting rules.

Every day, hardworking Michigan women raise families, build careers and support their communities. We entrust women with so much. There’s no reason we shouldn’t give Michigan women – and all citizens – access to our most precious asset: democracy.


3/09/2018

Spotlight on the News: The campaign to "Promote the Vote" & the future of the MI. State Fairgrounds

Published by WXYZ Detroit

On Sunday, March 11, Spotlight on the News will look at "Promote the Vote", the petition drive campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution to make "voting more accessible, secure and fair," according to its supporters. Attorneys Kary Moss of the Michigan ACLU and Kahlilah Spencer of the NAACP will be our guests.

Read the full article here.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3/01/2018

VOTING REFORM CAMPAIGN SNAGS THREE KEY ENDORSEMENTS

Mayor Mike Duggan, former Sen. Carl Levin and former Wayne County Clerk Teola Hunter say voting needs to be accessible.

DETROIT, MI - Noting our democracy thrives when our voting system works for everyone, former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and former Wayne County Clerk Teola P. Hunter on Friday endorsed a comprehensive election reform initiative planned for the November ballot.

“Whether it’s a working mom who needs to vote absentee or a college student who’s away from home, we need to make sure that voting is accessible to all citizens and that everyone’s vote gets counted,” said Duggan. “That’s why I’m supporting Promote the Vote’s initiative to bring our voting system in line with 40 other states.”

Hunter said that having more access for voters through no reason absentee balloting “is overdue,” and Levin noted that our citizens deserve a system that’s secure.

“By making voting more accessible and secure, our democracy will better serve all Americans and our laws will better reflect the will of the people,” Levin said.

The State Board of canvassers on Feb. 13th approved Promote the Vote’s petition form to place on the November ballot an initiative to amend the state constitution. In addition to no reason absentee, the amendment would give military members more time to vote; let citizens register closer to Election Day; allow straight party voting, automatically register citizens when they do business at the Secretary of State’s office, protect a secret ballot and add audits for election results.

The Promote the Vote campaign is led by a broad coalition which includes the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of Michigan, the Michigan Municipal League for Public Policy and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP. The coalition has to collect approximately 316,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

“We’re grateful to have the support of these respected public servants for what we view as common sense reforms to our voting system,” said Judy Karandjeff, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

For more information, go to www.promotethevotemi.com.


2/28/2018

Column: A chance to build on a legacy

Published by The Detroit News

I’ve been thinking about Richard Austin, Michigan’s first African-American secretary of state – and the first in the United States to create a program that allowed people to register to vote when getting a driver’s license. I have been reflecting on Austin’s achievements recently because the ACLU of Michigan, with a coalition of diverse partners, recently launched a ballot initiative to amend the Michigan Constitution to bring much-needed reforms to our state’s voting system. I hope others will join me in this effort.

Read the full article here.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/20/2018

VOLUNTEERS WILL PARTY – AND WORK FOR ELECTION REFORM

Michigan petition drive will begin Wednesday in two dozen cities

The Promote the Vote campaign to make voting more secure and accessible will host launch parties with hundreds of volunteers in two dozen cities across Michigan on Wednesday, in an effort to jumpstart its petition drive to get an initiative on the November ballot.

The February 21 get-togethers are being led by grassroots organizers and will teach participants how to collect petition signatures. Among the Promote the Vote parties taking place on Wednesday:

  • Flint: Court Street Nonprofit-Doris Sain Community House, 727 East Street, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Detroit: TechTown, 440 Burroughs, at 6 p.m.
  • Grand Rapids: Wealthy Theater Annex, 1110 Wealthy Street, 5:30 p.m.
  • Lake Orion: 2605 Ottawa Dr., 5:45 p.m.

On February 13, the State Board of Canvassers approved Promote the Vote’s petition form, which seeks to amend the state Constitution to make voting more accessible. The amendment would:

  • Protect the right to vote a secret ballot.
  • Ensure military service members and overseas voters get their ballots in time for their votes to count.
  • Provide voters with the option to vote straight party.
  • Automatically register citizens at the Secretary of State's office unless the citizen declines.
  • Allow a citizen to register until 15 days before an election by mail or in person. After that, citizens may register to vote in person with proof of residency up to and on Election Day.
  • Provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason.
  • Ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results.

The coalition will soon begin collecting approximately 316,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. The campaign is led by a broad coalition that includes the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of Michigan, the Michigan League for Public Policy and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP.

The proposed reforms mirror election laws in 40 other states that allow for more time to either register or cast a ballot. For more information, go to https://promotethevotemi.com/.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/13/2018

Voting reform in Michigan marches forward

The Promote the Vote coalition’s effort to make voting in Michigan more secure and accessible has moved one step closer to getting on the November ballot as the State Board of Canvassers today approved the petition form. The board’s approval means the coalition will soon begin collecting approximately 316,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

“We need a voting system that works for everyone and today we are that much closer to making it happen,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director and Promote the Vote coalition member. “From working parents who struggle with long voting lines, far-away polling places and no time off work to vote, to people who frequently move for jobs or military service, we need a system that allows every eligible Michigander to vote and to have their vote count.”

The Promote the Vote campaign is led by a broad coalition that includes the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of Michigan and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP.

On Jan. 22, the group filed language with the Secretary of State’s Office for the initiative to amend the state Constitution to:

  • Protect the right to vote a secret ballot
  • Ensure military service members and overseas voters get their ballots in time for their votes to count
  • Provide voters with the option to vote straight party
  • Automatically register citizens to vote at the Secretary of State's office unless the citizen declines
  • Allow a citizen to register to vote until 15 days before an election by mail or in person. After that, citizens may register to vote in person with proof of residency up to and on Election Day.
  • Provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason
  • Ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results

Angela Willson, a Grosse Pointe Park nurse anesthetist, is among the busy moms who struggle to get to the polls on Election Day. The single mother of four wants no-reason absentee voting to make casting a ballot more accessible to her and all working parents.

Of the extra time for military to get in their ballots, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 9 President Paul Palazzolo, noted: “The people who put their lives on the line to protect our democracy should have as much chance as anyone else to participate in our democracy.”

The proposed reforms mirror election laws in 40 other states that allow for more time to either register or cast a ballot.

For more information, go to https://promotethevotemi.com/.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1/22/2018

Coalition launches campaign for comprehensive election reform

Amendment would make ballot more secure, accessible.

Between two jobs and four kids, Angela Willson has little time to spare. So Willson figures she should be able have the option of voting absentee in elections---without giving a reason.

“Allowing all registered voters to choose to vote absentee would make my life a whole lot easier,” said Willson, a nurse anesthetist from Grosse Pointe Park. “And it would help our state line up with 37 others that allow all registered voters to cast their ballots on or before Election Day.”

Willson made her comments Monday at the kickoff for Promote the Vote campaign, an effort to place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment to provide comprehensive election reform for Michigan. Citing the need for an accessible and secure ballot for all, a coalition which includes the League of Women Voters, the ACLU of Michigan and the state and Detroit branches of the NAACP filed ballot language Monday with the Secretary of State’s office, organizers announced.

In addition to no reason absentee, the amendment would give military members more time to vote; let citizens register closer to Election Day; allow straight party voting, automatically register citizens when they do business at the Secretary of State’s office, protect a secret ballot and add audits for election results. The group called the reforms “common sense” designed to give more individuals a secure and accessible ballot.

“We’re all better off when more Americans---Republicans, Democrats and independents---participate in our democracy,” said Judy Karandjeff, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “Providing a system that works for all isn’t hard; it just common sense.”

The changes mirror reforms enacted in 40 states that make voting more accessible. Once the ballot language is approved, the coalition has to collect approximately 316,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

“Putting voters first means making sure that our system is fair and has integrity,” said Ismael Ahmed, a longtime community activist. “Under this amendment, our votes would be protected because our elections could be audited.”

Updating the voter rolls and making the system more secure is good news to Michelle Mills, who had to cast a provisional ballot in 2017 because of inaccurate information at her polling site.

“We need a system that works for all,” she said.

For more information, go to https://promotethevotemi.com/.

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