National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, a New Round of Endorsements, and the 104th House District
Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the September 3rd edition of Three Things Thursday. Can you believe it’s September? I canNOT. Only 61 days left until Election Day 2020. In some ways, it can’t get here soon enough.
In any case, I hope this message finds each and every one of you safe and healthy. This week’s Three Things covers poll workers and why they are SO important; our 4th round of candidate endorsements; and a great event we did with the candidate for House District 104, Dan O’Neil.
1. National Poll Worker Recruitment Day
The last 12 months have been anything but predictable. Between the global COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing racial violence resulting in increasingly collective, consistent and intense responses, and a very unique Presidential campaign cycle (at this time last year there were over 20 Democrats in the race!) prominently featuring our current occupant of the White House who has systematically attempted to dismantle our environmental protections and civil liberties during his tenure, I am sure we have all had moments of “how the heck did we get here?!” and “how do we get out?!”
Throughout all of this, and perhaps because of it, I continue to have hope. Not “pie-in-the-sky” kind of hope; but hope based upon the core values found within so many Americans, especially those of us who identify as Michiganders. I believe that the pain impacting this nation as a result of COVID-19, and the healthy rage, grief and outrage spilling over in our communities in response to the ongoing racial violence, provides an opportunity for us to achieve something monumental this fall. Grounded in values and priorities like clean, safe drinking water for our families, equity, justice, kindness, compassion and fairness, we have a chance to turn this nation around. And, it all starts right here in the Mitten State.
September 1st was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Not a day recognized by many, but let me tell you, the Michigan LCV Education Fund team celebrated big time! Given the challenges identified during our August 4th primary, we have taken on a lead role (within the NGO community) in the recruitment of poll workers, so we were downright delighted when our partners at Power the Polls — an initiative aimed at recruiting poll workers to ensure a fair and safe election, specifically when it comes to in-person voting — spearheaded a national recruitment day.
In case you didn’t know, there is a nationwide shortage of poll workers due to COVID-19 and poll workers, in our book, are essential workers. They are the first responders for democracy.
In Michigan — the eye of the storm in 2020 — more than 5,000 poll workers are still needed to ensure a fair and safe election, more than half of whom are needed in the city of Detroit alone!
Helping to facilitate the election process, which often includes assisting the elderly, those with disabilities, and individuals who need language assistance, poll workers often go unnoticed and have historically been under-appreciated. On September 1st, we used our social media platforms and contacted our supporters to emphasize the importance of signing up to be a poll worker. If you, your friends, or family members are in a position to sign up, you can do so by visiting MichiganVoting.org. The position is paid, and the deadline is October 13th. Please don’t delay!
2. Our Fourth Round of Endorsements!
Yesterday, we were excited to announce our fourth round of endorsements, which focused on candidates running for Oakland County Commissioner and Oakland County Executive.
Michigan LCV endorsements are awarded to candidates who demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting the health of Michigan’s communities including, but is not limited to, cleaning up toxic contamination in our water; addressing the climate crisis; addressing inequities in our communities around air quality and access to clean water; and protecting our natural resources.
And, importantly, all of our endorsements are decided through a thorough vetting process that includes completion of a questionnaire and an in-person interview. Our decision to focus on candidates at the county level is related to the intentional and effective issues-based work executed by our team in Oakland County, in particular, over the past 18+ months.
Our fourth round of endorsements included::
Oakland County Board of Commissioners:
- Kristen Nelson (D-5)
- Gwen Markham (D-9)
- Kelly Dillaha (D-12)
- Melanie Hartman (D-15)
- Penny Luebs (D-16)
- Charlie Cavell (D-18)
Oakland County Executive:
- Dave Coulter (D)
For a full list of Michigan LCV’s 2020 endorsements, please visit our website.
3. A Terrific Virtual Event with Dan O’Neil
Last Thursday, we were privileged to host a virtual event in support of Michigan LCV PAC featuring State House candidate Dan O’Neil.
This election is vitally important for our health, our drinking water, the air we breathe, our public lands and our Great Lakes. The 104th State House District in Grand Traverse County truly sits at the cross-section of these issues. Fortunately, we have a strong environmental champion running for the seat– Dan O’Neil, a long-time resident of the area, an attorney, and –yes– a Michigan LCV-endorsee.
Our event last week featured a number of speakers from our organization, including myself, Emily Magner, our Political and Outreach Manager and Kaitlin Flynn, our Northern Michigan Regional Coordinator, as well as candidate O’Neil. Collectively, we addressed how we are, without a doubt, approaching the most critical election in our lifetime. Each of us emphasized the need for all hands on deck to ensure we put conservation/environmental champions in office who will work to protect our drinking water and address the climate crisis.
Here’s a little bit about Dan and why we chose to endorse him:
Dan is running his campaign with a distinct focus on environmental protection and holding polluters accountable. From tackling PFAS contamination to shutting down Line 5, Dan understands that addressing these problems is the key to a liveable future for our children and grandchildren.
Dan spoke eloquently and passionately about all of this during the event. I think what really struck attendees, and what I personally find so admirable about Dan, is that he fundamentally believes that growing a long-term sustainable movement is more important than a singular ballot victory. Don’t get me wrong: Dan is intent on winning! But, he knows that winning in other parts of the state and up and down the ballot by galvanizing voters and keeping folks involved is essential for the long haul.
The road to victory is not easy for candidates like Dan O’Neil, especially in historically red districts like Grand Traverse County. That’s why every volunteer and every dollar counts. We all deserve elected officials who listen and will work to hold corporate polluters accountable for their actions. The 104th House District is ready for real, authentic representation. I invite you to join us in our work to get Dan O’Neil elected to office, by contributing to our the Michigan LCV PAC and/or by supporting Dan directly. If you’d like to volunteer (virtually, of course), please send an email to Kaitlin at [email protected]
As I say every week, thank you so much for your belief in our work. We are determined to WIN for the people of Michigan in November!
P.S. — Check out our amazing Southeast Michigan Field Organizer Grover Easterling III’s recent interview on the Speaking of Resilience podcast hosted by the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and the Michigan Climate Action Network!
Grover spoke with host Kate Madigan, Director of the Michigan Climate Action Network and Marnese Jackson of Mothers Out Front, a climate action organization, about the importance of affecting meaningful change in the fight against climate change and the “Turn Oakland County Green” campaign.
You can watch or listen here: https://www.groundworkcenter.org/projects/speaking-of-resilience-podcast/