Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the May 27, 2021 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week, the Michigan LCV team has been focused on tracking dangerous bills in Lansing and engaging residents and communities across Michigan. This edition of Three Things includes the latest on attempts by Michigan GOP lawmakers to pass anti-voter legislation, an important update on Michigan’s redistricting process, and hot news about Michigan LCV’s Digital Accountability Suite.
1. The latest on anti-voter legislation in Lansing
On Wednesday, the Senate Elections Committee held a hearing on the latest subset of anti-voter bills that stem from the 39-bill legislative package proposed by Michigan GOP leaders earlier this year. The package is a blatant attempt to restrict Michiganders’ freedom to vote by taking aim at our state’s long-standing, effective, and secure election system.
As we have seen in Georgia, Florida, and other states around the country, there have been widespread attempts to restrict voting rights and change elections laws in ways that threaten the integrity of our democracy. Many of Michigan’s top business leaders, including the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, have come out in steadfast opposition to the package, which would take Michigan down a similar path to what has happened elsewhere.
This week’s Senate Elections Committee hearing focused on the most restrictive and damaging subset of bills that have been discussed to date — Senate Bills 303, 304, and 285 — all of which aim to change Michigan’s standing voter ID laws and eliminate options for voters on Election Day.
Here’s a look at the specifics of what some of the worst bills being considered this week would do:
- Senate Bills 303 and 304: Would remove the option to vote by affidavit if you don’t have or forgot a suitable ID when voting in person on Election Day.
- Senate Bill 285: Would require voters to submit ID information when applying for an absentee ballot application.
It is important to note that Michigan already has a voter ID law on the books that allows voters to sign a sworn affidavit under penalty of perjury if they don’t have or forgot to bring a suitable photo ID. This system has proven to be secure and effective over many years.
The Michigan LCV and Michigan LCV Education Fund teams, specifically our Democracy For All team, were prepared for the hearing this week. As part of a strong coalition of pro-democracy organizations across Michigan, our teams have been fully present and engaged in the weekly legislative hearings, voicing clear opposition and standing up against Republicans’ attempts to create more and more barriers between Michigan voters and the ballot.
In response to Wednesday’s hearing, our team also swiftly issued a statement condemning the proposed legislation and made available an easy, one-step action that you can use to contact your Senator and voice your opposition to these dangerous, anti-voter bills. You can click HERE to take action and send a message to your Senator.
While the bill package has not yet been voted out of the Senate, our team will be closely monitoring developments and keeping an eye on the House where similar legislation is beginning to emerge.
2. Michigan’s Redistricting Process is underway: How you can get involved
I know many of you have been following the redistricting process closely even though it’s taking place fairly under the radar. This year, for the first time ever, an independent, randomly selected group of citizens has been tasked with drawing the lines for Michigan’s new legislative districts due the overwhelming passage of Voters Not Politicians’ Proposal 2 in 2018. The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, made up of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five Independents, has started the redistricting process and is seeking public input on how district lines should be drawn.
The Michigan LCV Ed Fund’s Democracy For All team has been engaged with the Commission since its inception, not only tracking every Commission meeting, but ensuring that residents are encouraged to make public comments during the Commission public hearings. Our team is fully aware that Michigan has a chance to draw new district lines that are representative of the communities they encompass and give Michiganders equal representation during our elections.
The Michigan LCV Communications Team put together a great video detailing the importance of the redistricting process and a tutorial on how to submit maps and public comment. Please check it out!
And, on May 6, we held a webinar that informed viewers about the Commission’s process and the Secretary of State’s Redistricting Tool, which allows people to submit public written comments, as well as drawn-out maps representing how community members think Michigan’s districts should look for the next ten years.
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will continue to hold public hearings throughout June, including tonight in Lansing at 6pm, followed by Flint and then Dearborn next week. With a total of 16 meetings scheduled, there are a number of opportunities to make a public comment, describe your vision for how Michigan’s new districts should be drawn, and make your voice heard about the issues that matter most to your community. If you are interested in participating (which I hope you are), please check out this list. The Commission is coming to a town near you very soon!
3. Michigan LCV’s Legislative Scorecard
As you know, the Michigan LCV team is dedicated to tracking and recording how our elected officials vote and take action (or don’t) on important issues relating to the protection of our land, air, water, public health, and democracy. Michigan LCV’s one-of-a-kind Accountability Suite is a one-stop-shop for all the information you need on the votes and track records of your elected officials, providing a clear view of how the folks representing us in Lansing are living up to the promises made on the campaign trail.
Our Accountability Suite consists of four different tools, each focused on a different facet of state government:
- Our Legislative Scorecard offers you a look at how your state House and Senate members have voted on issues relating to land, air, water, public health and democracy.
- Our How Green Is Your Governor? tool offers you insights on Gov. Whitmer’s track record.
- Our How Green Is Your Attorney General? tool gives you a glimpse of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s track record.
- And, finally, our Green Gavels tool provides an overview of how Michigan’s Supreme Court has ruled on important air/land/water/public health/democracy issues in the legal space, including how each Supreme Court Justice ruled on each case. We are currently updating this tool to fully integrate it in our accountability suite. You’ll be the first to know when the revamped Green Gavels is live!
Not only is our Accountability Suite integral to Michigan LCV’s work in holding elected officials accountable, but it’s a great way for voters all over the state to do the same!
If you are interested in a summary of the 2019-2020 legislative session scores, you can check them out here. Did your lawmaker make the environment and our democracy #1 priorities last session?
Finally, one of the most amazing parts about the Accountability Suite is that our team works to update the scores for lawmakers and elected officials in real time. This means that you can have in-the-moment insights and information at your fingertips when bills that might be detrimental to Michigan’s land, air, and water are being voted on in Lansing. We almost always also provide you a way to take action and make your voice heard. That said, please make sure to check our website periodically to keep yourself updated on how your lawmakers are voting on the issues that matter most to you, your family and friends, and your community.
In closing, here’s our May re-cap video, which provides you with a quick, fun summary of Michigan LCV/Michigan LCV Ed Fund’s work over the past 26 days. Reference to our legislative scorecard is included. Please check it out and let me know what you think!
As always, thank you for your support and trust. I’ll be in touch next week following the Memorial Day Weekend. I hope you have a long, glorious, safe, healthy three-day weekend, giving thanks to all who have served our country.
P.S. Please keep Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in your thoughts and prayers
Please keep Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in your thoughts and prayers as she recovers from a perforated ulcer. Those of you who know Congresswoman Dingell can imagine how challenging it must be for the Congresswoman to sit still in the hospital when there are so many critically important issues at play. And, yet, the best and most important way to get our tenacious Congresswoman “back on the field” is for her to rest and take care of herself. I know we sometimes think of our elected officials as superhuman and unstoppable, but they are just like you and me: they need support, kindness, healing thoughts and best wishes. Let’s send all of that and more to Congresswoman Dingell during this challenging time.