Ballot initiatives launched for November
HOUGHTON — With nine months to go before the November midterm elections, ballot initiatives are already being filed with the Secretary of State’s office and by election day, there may be more than a dozen voters will decide. Among them is “The Michigan Voting Rights Amendment,” which will appear on the ballot in Michigan as an initiated constitutional amendment on Nov. 8. According to the League of Women Voters of Michigan (LWV), who backs the initiative, the Board of State Canvassers approved the initiative Monday.
The initiative would amend the Michigan Constitution to provide voters with the right to vote without harassment, interference, or intimidation. It would also guarantee that military and overseas ballots postmarked by election day are counted. It would require a photo ID or a signed affidavit to vote. It would authorize voters to drop off absentee ballots at drop boxes. It would allow nine days of early voting and require public disclosure of donations from private entities that were used to pay for elections or audits.
A public statement from the “https://my.lwv.org/michigan/dearborn-dearborn-heights/article/league-women-voters-michigan-applauds-approval-promote-vote-2022-ballot-initiative”>League of Women Voters of Michigan (LWV), released on Feb. 14, stated: “The Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative will improve the accessibility and security of Michigan’s elections by providing voters with more secure options for casting their ballots,” said Christina Schlitt, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan on the LWV website. “The League of Women Voters will support the advancement of this initiative now that the Board of State Canvassers has given its formal approval. We know Michigan voters want more secure and accessible elections, and this ballot initiative provides those two important measures for ensuring all eligible voters can participate.”
“https://promotethevote2022.com/”>Promote the Vote’s website states the organization is a “coalition of organizations and individuals committed to ensuring Michigan has a voting system that works for all of us.” According to its website, its supporters are:
– ACLU of Michigan
– AFT Michigan
– APIA Vote – Michigan
– Detroit Action
– Detroit Disability Power
– Equality Michigan
– Fair Elections Center
– Grand Rapids PROACTIVE
– League of Women Voters of Michigan
– LGBT Detroit
– MOSES Michigan
– Rise Free
– Voters Not Politicians
According to “https://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Voting_Rights_Amendment_(2022)”>Ballotpedia, Khalilah Spencer, president of Promote the Vote, said, “This initiative is to ensure that our elections are secure and accessible and that voters can vote free from harassment, intimidation and interference. Voter freedom and power are critical to the success of our state and our country. We must create a voting system that provides secure options for voters, equitable access to the polls, and ensures all our voices are heard when it comes time to vote.”
Promote the Vote 2022 would allow for voters to either provide a form of ID or sign an affidavit to vote (currently the standard procedure), require the state to provide funding for local election administrators to pay for postage for absentee ballots, require a secure dropbox for absentee ballots for every 15,000 voters in a municipality and allow local governments to accept funding from publicly disclosed sources to pay for election costs, the “http://(https://www.hollandsentinel.com/story/news/politics/government/2022/01/31/promote-vote-launches-new-ballot-initiative-november-election/9282727002/”>Holland Sentinel reported on Jan. 31, 2022. Other initiatives in Promote the Vote 2022 include extending time for early voting to nine days before the election, allotting more time for military and overseas ballots to be counted, allowing voters to request absentee ballots for future elections instead of once per election, “make clear” the Michigan Legislature does not have a role in the certification of votes and ban non-election officials from participating in post-election audits.
Some of the measures included in Promote the Vote 2022 would counter those included in the Secure MI Vote petition initiative. Secure MI Vote would eliminate the option for in-person voters to sign an affidavit instead of presenting ID, prevent election officials from issuing absentee ballots on their own and prevent election officials from accepting money from private donors, the Sentinel went on to say.
The initiative is in response to a Republican-backed petition that would make election rules stricter in the state, MLive on Feb. 1. Should that petition gather enough signatures, Michigan’s Republican-controlled state Legislature could adopt the proposed laws without needing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval.
Promote the Vote is the same group behind the successful effort to pass Proposal 3 in 2018, which gave Michigan voters no-reason absentee and same-day voter registration, MLive stated. The group said it is picking up where Prop 3 left off “by taking the extra steps necessary to create a voting system that works for everyone and making sure that voting is a fundamental right enshrined in our state constitution.”
The proposal would use public funding for resources such as secure ballot drop boxes, postage for absentee ballots and ballot tracking. The initiative will also preserve the authority of local governments to accept funding from publicly disclosed sources.
In the 2020 cycle, coronavirus concerns led private donors to dole out money directly to township and village election clerks to spend on a wide variety of apolitical election needs.