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VOTE BY MAIL- A SMART OPTION IN NOVEMBER
Any eligible Michigan voter can vote by mail - also known as voting by absentee ballot. Voters must first apply for an absentee ballot by filling out an application. Click here to learn more about absentee voting, the online option, and to download and print the application,   Until October 20, 2020, you may apply using the online options, but after October 20th, the completed application must be sent or delivered. To find your local clerk, click here.

When you receive your ballot, follow the instructions carefully. A large number of absentee ballots were 'spoiled' in the primary election because the voter failed to sign the envelope. If you have questions about your ballot, call your local clerk.

Voters should return their completed absentee ballot as soon as possible to their local clerk. The League urges you to HAND DELIVER your completed ballot to your local clerk or in your clerk's dropbox, instead of using the US Mail. Most Michigan cities and townships have drop boxes; click here to find your clerk's dropboxes.

VOTE411 non-partisan voter guide will be available in late september

The VOTE411 website, which the national League of Women Voters launched in 2006, serves as a "one-stop-shop" for nonpartisan election related information and responses to relevant questions for federal and state races and ballot proposals. Information for the November, 2020 election will be available on VOTE411.org  in late September. 

Click here to access the PRINT voter guide that will also be available in libraries in late September. 

BE AN MVP - sign up to be a poll worker in november
If you are 16 or 17, or a registered voter in Michigan, you can be a poll worker on November 3 and get paid for your work! "Democracy is a team sport, and now more than ever we need people to get in the game. Election workers are our most valuable players,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Sign up here to register.
INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING COMMISSION CHOSEN
August 17, 2020 was a historic day in Michigan. For the first time, 13 Michigan citizens were named to an Independent Redistricting Commission. Every 10 years after the census is completed, new political lines are drawn for federal, state, county and some local districts. The League of Women Voters of Michigan was instrumental in passing a constitutional amendment in 2018 that requires redistricting to be completed by an independent commission instead of the political party in power. Over 9,000 applications to be part of the Commission were received and the final 13 members were chosen at random by an independent accounting firm. “This is truly a historic day for Michigan, as we are among the first states in the nation to end gerrymandering with an independent citizens commission,” Heaster Wheeler, an assistant secretary of state, said after the names were drawn. For more information about the Commission, click here.
get involved!
On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, ending the long and hard-fought campaign to win women the right to vote. In 2020, we celebrate 100 years of women powering the vote. The ratification was the largest enfranchisement of voters in our nation’s history, and while today we are clear-eyed about its shortcomings— in particular, women of color were largely excluded from the movement that brought about the amendment— we commemorate this day and the foundation it has built for our modern democracy, where women not only cast ballots but see their names on the top of them. As the League of Women Voters celebrates 100 years, here are 100 ways to take action, get involved, and make a difference before Election Day! Everyone can do something— what will you do?
VOTER PURGE LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF DETROIT WITHDRAWN
Known for bringing multiple, voter-purge lawsuits against cities and counties across the country, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) asked a judge to dismiss its lawsuit against the City of Detroit on June 30, 2020. “This is a victory for the voters of Michigan,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, which joined the case on the city’s side in May. “The League of Women Voters has worked hard to register and educate eligible voters in the state, and PILF was trying to undo that work. The League stepped in to push back against PILF’s bullying tactics, and we won.” “From the start, we’ve said this lawsuit is without merit,” said Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “When pressed for evidence to support their allegations, PILF withdrew its case rather than try to prove it. It’s shameful that PILF made the City of Detroit spend time and money to defend against a case that should never have been brought in the first place.”    Read the case background HERE.

Read the complete LWV statement HERE.

LEAGUE JOINS EFFORT TO ENFORCE VOTER-APPROVED VOTING RIGHTS AMENDMENT

In June, 2020, LWVMI joined a lawsuit demanding that laws put in place by the 2018 passage of Proposal 3 be enforced, including counting votes made by absentee ballot if the ballot is postmarked on or before Election Day, requiring clerks to immediately process absentee ballot requests and having local clerks pay for postage for returning absentee ballots. Read the statement from LWVMI President, Christina Schlitt in Bridge Magazine.

UPDATE 7-14-20: The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled against the League in a decision on July 14, 2020. The League appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. On July 31, 2020, the Supreme Court voted 4-3 to decline hearing the case which means voters must return their ballots by 8 p.m. on Election Day for them to be counted. “The League is extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear our case, which would have allowed absentee votes to count if they were postmarked by Election Day,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “Our fight is not over. The League will continue to push to remove barriers to voting, to help ensure voting is accessible and convenient and every registered voter in Michigan can participate fully in our democracy."

UPDATE 8-17-20:  LWVMI has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider their decision.  “New information concerning projected post office delays in handing absentee ballots reinforces the importance of what we originally asked for –allowing absentee votes to be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day,” said Christina Schlitt, president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. “The Court’s decision could help prevent the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters in the November election and ensure voting is accessible and convenient for every registered voter in Michigan in November and beyond.” Read more here.

 

New voting rights for michigan citizens

The League of Women Voters supported Proposal 3, "Promote the Vote", which was passed by Michigan voters in the November, 2018 election. This new constitutional amendment ensures that every eligible person can vote and that every vote will be counted. It safeguards our elections with audits and more accurate voting lists, and removes barriers that can make it harder for citizens to fulfill their responsibility to vote. Michigan citizens are now guaranteed these new voting rights:

  • A citizen can register to vote anytime with proof of residency. Click here for detailsClick here to watch a short video about registering to vote in the November, 2020 election. 
  • All registered voters can access to an absentee ballot for any reason.  To apply for an absentee ballot, click here to access the application.
  • The right to vote a secret ballot is protected.
  • Military service members and overseas voters will get their ballots in time for their votes to count.
  • Voters have the option to vote straight party.
  • Citizens will be automatically registered to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines.
  • The accuracy and integrity of elections are ensured by audits of election results


For detailed information about voter registration, click here.  Another great source of voting information for Michigan voters is a Know Your Rights booklet produced by the ACLU and co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

COURTs SUPPORT MICHIGAN CITIZENS' RIGHT TO initiate legislation

The League of Women Voters of Michigan was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the State of Michigan concerning PA 608, which imposed a myriad of new restrictions on ballot initiatives. The League supports and encourages the grassroots efforts to initiate legislation, to amend the constitution or to recall our elected officials through the ballot initiative process. We are very pleased with the Court of Claims judge’s decision on September 27, 2019 which supported the claims that a 15% limit on the percentage of initiative signatures that come under any U.S. House district is unconstitutional. Also cited as unconstitutional is the requirement that petition circulators fill out a check box on the petition indicating whether they are paid or volunteer staff. On January 27, 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court's decision to strike down the changes to Michigan's ballot drive law, declaring the changes unconstitutional. The court's ruling removes unreasonable barriers to circulating petitions in Michigan and vindicates the constitutional right to petition.  Read information about the court's decision here.

UPDATE 8-28-20:  The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives appealed the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.  The Supreme Cout ruled this as moot on August 28, 2020, which vacated the lower court's ruling. Read the decision here.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
The League of Women Voters of Michigan (LWVMI), in both its values and practices, affirms its belief and commitment to diversity and pluralism. LWVMI recognizes that diverse perspectives are important and necessary for responsible and representative decision making, and subscribes to the belief that diversity and pluralism are fundamental to the values it upholds.

Inclusiveness enhances the organization’s ability to respond more effectively to changing conditions and needs, and therefore, LWVMI will in both principles and practices promote the inclusion in participation in any activity of LWVMI all persons whatever their gender, race, socio-economic status, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Read more about the League's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by clicking here.

Michigan environmental council's roadmap 2019-2022
A new Michigan legislature was sworn in on January 1, 2019. A whole slew of public health and environmental issues are threatening Michigan and its residents that legislators need to address. Decision-makers in the Capitol need to deal with these issues thoroughly and swiftly, but they do not have to do it alone. Michigan Environmental Council and Michigan League of Conservation Voters, in conjunction with our many member and partner organizations, including League of Women Voters of Michigan, have put together an Environmental Roadmap for lawmakers and the new administration, a multi-year plan for addressing Michigan’s top environmental and public health challenges. Click her to see the 2019-2022 Environmental Roadmap.
LINE 5 PIPELINES:  AN AVOIDABLE ENVIRONMENTAL RISK

The League of Women Voters of Michigan is one of 21 members of the Oil and Water Don't Mix Coalition that sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("MDEQ") and the US Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") on June 29, 2017 regarding Enbridge Oil Company’s joint application to the MDEQ and the Corps (No. 2RD-DFDK-Y35G) to install 22 anchor supports on the Line 5 pipelines in the Mackinac Straits. The Coalition members are Michigan organizations dedicated to the protection of Michigan’s water, natural resources, public trust in those resources, the environment, communities, and the health, safety and general welfare of citizens.

The Coalition organizations are requesting that MDEQ and the Corps take the following actions with regard to Enbridge’s joint application:
1. Reject as incomplete due to its overly narrow scope of review;
2. Require a comprehensive review of Line 5 in the Straits that includes an assessment of adverse environmental impacts, risks, and feasible and prudent alternatives;
3. Temporarily terminate the transport of crude oil in the Line 5 pipelines during this comprehensive review; and
4. Hold a formal public hearing given that Enbridge Line 5 occupies publicly owned waters and bottomlands and the threat of a catastrophic oil pipeline rupture to the Great Lakes are of tremendous controversy and have generated an extraordinary level of public engagement. Read the entire letter here.

Other resources:
Under-the-Straits tour of Pipeline 5 (3 min. video)
Area businesses expressing concern about Pipeline 5 (3 min video)

COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan for LWVMI Office

Click here to read LWVMI's office plan to comply with the CDC and the Ingham County Health Department's guidelines for operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.