It’s Time to Make Voting More Accessible and Secure in Michigan

Recently, I visited Alabama with the Faith and Politics Institute for Congressman John Lewis’ Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. We visited civil rights monuments in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, before heading to Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday. As we reflected on the rights that were so bravely fought for on that Sunday decades ago, we recognized that the fight continues on across the country. In Michigan, we’re taking the fight to the ballot and aiming to ensure all can vote. We want to make voting more accessible, secure, and fair for all Michiganders.

Earlier this year, the ACLU of Michigan, along with the NAACP and League of Women Voters, launched the Promote the Vote, a ballot measure campaign that would secure the right to vote for all eligible voters in Michigan. This initiative would amend the state constitution to allow voters to register at any time — up to and including on Election Day; automatically register voters; require post-election audits; expand access to absentee ballots; allow for straight-ticket party voting; and ensure those in the military get their ballots with enough time to vote. Our goal is to put the amendment on the ballot this November.

For too long Michigan has lagged behind other states in knocking down the unnecessary road blocks voters encounter when trying to exercise their right. Working families have to face long lines, travel long distances to their polling place, and take time off work to vote. Military service members overseas aren’t always sure they’re going to get their ballot in time. This needs to change.

We know making it easier to register to vote means more people will vote. In the 15 states that allow people to register up to and on Election Day, voter turnout has increased by an average of about five percent. Automatic voter registration has the potential to do the same.

The policy ensures those eligible to vote will be registered, unless they decline, after any interaction with the secretary of state’s office. This includes getting a driver’s license or a permit. It makes registering to vote more efficient and saves localities from having to process paper registrations. Nine states already have this in place with an additional 15 state considering adopting the policy for this election year.

Michigan makes it hard for individuals who can’t vote on Election Day to vote by absentee ballot. Our Promote the Vote measure would amend this. For a single working mom like Angela Willson of Grosse Pointe Park, easier access to an absentee ballot means she does not have to take off time from her two jobs to vote. Almost 30 states do not require a reason to vote absentee, so this ballot initiative would bring Michigan in line with the majority of the country.

All these updates would make voting more of a sure thing in Michigan, guaranteeing a fair and accessible process. Following in the footsteps of civil rights leaders, we’re continuing their work today. We want every eligible person who can vote to vote, and we want to ensure that every vote will count.

We’re off to a strong start to collecting signatures from Michigan residents to qualify for the November ballot. You can join our effort at Promote the Vote: https://promotethevotemi.com/.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

They need to make Election Day a national holiday like Memorial Day, Labor Day etc. that way people will be unimpeded in their attempts to vote and make voting a joyous occasion like Christmas.

Sharon

Great idea! I also think that in a national election, we should all vote in the very same way, be it a machine, or whatever is secure enough to count! Never again leave it to the electoral college! Investigate whether the EC is still relevant.

Anonymous

Note: The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by states changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.
Candidates, as in other elections, would allocate their time, money, polling, organizing, and ad buys roughly in proportion to the population

Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
No more distorting, crude, and divisive and red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes, that don’t represent any minority party voters within each state.

The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes among all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

The bill was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
Since 2006, the bill has passed 35 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 261 electoral votes.
The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the way to guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate with the most popular votes in the country

NationalPopularVote

Anonymous

I'm all for this as long as nobody votes for a third party candidate . They aren't allowed in the presidential debates and they shouldn't be allowed to be on any ballots for any offices . We already have two parties and that is one too many . Keep up the good work ACLU .

Anonymous

If voter fraud is a concern, what would stop someone on election day from registering to vote in one jurisdiction (or another precinct within that jurisdiction) and voting then going to another jurisdiction, registering and voting there as well? How would you monitor that? There would be no real-time updates connecting jurisdictions across the State. Also, the 30-day registration deadline allows some 'vetting' of the voter - making sure the address is legit, that they aren't registered elsewhere in the State, etc.

James

Are you shitting me. So you want a single party system? Communism

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