We all can play a role.
Michigan lawmakers are fulfilling the promise of democracy by passing laws needed to expand access to the ballot box and guarantee elections remain fair. Now, it is up to the rest of us to help move that mandate forward by learning how to engage with local election officials to support city and county clerks as they work to implement Michigan’s newly won voting rights.
With strong backing from the ACLU and the broad coalition it helped bring together, Michigan’s election process made a major leap forward in 2018. That’s when Michiganders, by a margin of 2-1, passed Promote the Vote 2018, an amendment to the state constitution that both strengthened election security and broadened access to voting, especially for communities that have been traditionally marginalized.
Building on that success, voters, again by overwhelming numbers, supported a second constitutional amendment in 2022 that further enhanced the ability of people across the state to have their voices heard at election time.
To fulfill the promise of both amendments, the state Legislature needed to pass a host of supporting laws that spell out how they should be implemented. That happened following the 2018 implementation and is happening again now. A package of bills that would put into place the changes voters called for last year is currently working its way through the Legislature.
The bills, among other things, seek to:
- Implement nine days of early, in-person voting for statewide elections;
- Allow voters to be added to a list that would automatically send them absentee ballots for every election;
- Require state-funded postage for absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications;
- Expand permissible options for photo identity used in voting-related purposes; and
- Require each municipality in Michigan to have at least one accessible absent voter ballot drop box for every 15,000 registered voters in the area.
Passing these bills will reduce barriers to the ballot and increase access to voting. That is crucial. For a democracy to be robust, every eligible voter must be able to have their voice heard. Passing these bills will help achieve that.
But that is only part of the process.
What you can do
For elections to run smoothly, local election officials must be able to do their jobs. And they need the help of people like you.
Join us for a virtual event to learn how you can help protect democracy in your community – and build on our victories to expand voting rights in Michigan.
Southeast Michigan: Tuesday, June 20th, from 6:00 to 7:30pm
West Michigan: Thursday, June 22nd, from 6:30 to 8:00pm
Central Michigan: Monday, June 20th, from 6:00 to 7:30pm
While incredible inroads have been made at the state level to advance democracy, threats to the democratic process are shifting to local jurisdictions. Unprecedented amounts of misinformation is being used to sow doubt about the outcome of fair elections. Local election officials are on the front lines in defending our democracy against these attacks.
To provide city and county clerks with the support they need, we, along with coalition partners All Voting is Local, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Michigan Voices, need supporters like you to help ensure that all eligible voters have access to the ballot box, including historically disenfranchised communities, including Black and Brown people, rural residents, people with disabilities, young people, and people with low incomes.
To help fend off attempts to undermine our democracy, we and our coalition partners are excited to continue our “Protecting Democracy 2024” program with virtual events throughout the state. We know that threats to democracy continue across Michigan and the nation, but together we can fight back in our local communities.
Please join us in this crucial effort by signing up for one of our virtual regional convenings.
Jessica Ayoub is Field Director for the ACLU of Michigan.