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APRIL 25, 2019, DETROIT, MI-Today a panel of federal district judges ruled in favor of the League of Women Voters of Michigan in their First and Fourteenth Amendment challenges to the state and congressional redistricting plans. "Today is a great victory for the voters of Michigan and for our democracy," said Judy Karandjeff, President of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. "The state will now draw new district lines before the next federal election, which now will better reflect the makeup of the voters - not the interests of the politicians."

The League went to court over the current district maps, drawn in 2011 after the last census. With today's ruling, Michigan will be required to implement new maps in time for the 2020 election and before the next redistricting cycle in 2021. Covering both state and congressional district maps, this case is the only one of its kind in the country. "We presented evidence showing a clear intent by the state legislature to dilute the power of voters and draw themselves into safe districts," said Mark Brewer, an Attorney at Goodman Acker. "With today's decision, new maps will move the state closer to ensuring voters are picking their representatives, not the other way around."

The League of Women Voters of Michigan, along with 11 individual plaintiffs, was represented by Faegre Baker Daniels and Goodman Acker law firms.   "This has been a long battle in court, but we are grateful to this panel of judges for hearing out our case until the end and protecting the most vulnerable voters in Michigan," said Jay Yeager, Senior Counsel at Faegre Baker Daniels.

The state will come up with a remedial plan by August 1, 2019, in order to hold special elections in 2020 for seats in the challenged districts.

UPDATE: On May 24, the U.S. Supreme Court issued this order in our redistricting case. "The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is granted, and it is ordered that the order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, case No. 2:17-CV-14148, entered April 25, 2019, is stayed pending the timely filing and disposition of an appeal in this Court or further order of this Court."

The stay decision is not a decision on the merits of our case. The U.S. Supreme Court has simply paused the case. The next step will be the Supreme Court's decisions during June in the pending cases from Maryland and North Carolina. There is still time to draw new districts in Michigan for the 2020 elections.

June 19, 2019. Today, the ACLU of Michigan filed an amicus brief joined by the League of Women Voters of Michigan and the American Association of University Women in support of the brief filed in the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of Michigan One Fair Wage and Michigan Time to Care, the proponents of last year's successful petition drives to raise the minimum wage and provide paid sick time for all Michigan workers. The brief urges the Court to reject the legislature’s attempt to undermine the will of the voters by removing citizen-led proposals from the ballot through an anti-democratic maneuver known as “adopt and amend.” Voters Not Politicians also filed an Amicus Curiae brief, urging the Michigan Supreme Court to rule the Michigan Legislature’s “adopt and amend” practice of passing and then gutting citizen-initiated legislation in the same session unconstitutional.

In 2018, citizens collected enough signatures to place initiatives on the ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour for all Michigan workers and guarantee one hour of sick time for 30 hours worked. But instead of allowing citizens to vote on these important measures at the November 2018 election, the Michigan legislature adopted them into law in order to keep them off the ballot—and then proceeded to gut them as soon as the election was over. This cynical move is unconstitutional and had never been done before. The Michigan Constitution gives citizens the right to propose laws that must either be adopted by the legislature or voted on by the electorate the ACLU’s brief explains. “It therefore violates the Constitution for the Legislature to do what it did here: ‘adopt’ the people’s proposal—with no intention of allowing it to become law—and then snuff out that proposal during the same legislative session.” This case will be argued in the Michigan Supreme Court on July 17,2019.


The League's 2019 Convention in Livonia celebrated the 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters of Michigan and the 100th anniversary of suffrage for Michigan women. The Convention was informative, productive and fun. Attended by over 200 people, the convention delegates voted to support:

  • Budgets for FY 2020 and FY 2021
  • Per-member-payment of $23.00 for FY 2020 and FY 2021
  • A new study on "lame duck" legislative action
  • Bylaw changes that amend the starting date for new board members to July 1, and the number of delegates at the state convention.

A number of League members were honored with awards. The Belle Brotherton Award, which honors an individual whose outstanding leadership and significant accomplishments have benefitted the citizens of Michigan, inspired others and fostered greater public participation in the democratic process was presented to Susan Smith (Ann Arbor Area). Laura Callow (Northwest Wayne) and Chris Sullivan-Rathwell (Dearborn-Dearborn Heights) won the Maryann Mahaffey Community Service Award, and Nancy Schewe (Ann Arbor Area) and Beth Moore (Lansing Area) won the Helen Milliken Leadership in Civic Empowerment Award. Read President Judy Karandjeff's President Report provided at the convention by clicking here.


The League of Women Voters of Michigan supported Proposal 3, "Promote the Vote", which was passed by the voters in the November, 2018 election. This proposal 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. This constitutional amendment will:

  • Protect the right to vote a secret ballot
  • Ensure military service members and overseas voters get their ballots in time for their votes to count
  • Provide voters with the option to vote straight party
  • Automatically register citizens to vote at the Secretary of State’s office unless the citizen declines
  • Allow a citizen to register to vote anytime with proof of residency
  • Provide all registered voters access to an absentee ballot for any reason
  • Ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections by auditing election results

The ACLU of Michigan has published a comprehensive "Know Your Voting Rights Guide" since Proposal 3 was adopted. The Guide provides answers to many questions about how to register and how to vote.

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.

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)


1. Join the LWV
    a. Connect with people who share your democratic values
    b. Share in decision making and work
    c. Know you are a part of bigger coalitions

2. Learn About Issues
    a. Improve your general knowledge of issues – learn from others
    b. Focus on issues important to you – Share your knowledge
    c. View issues from a broader perspective – respect people’s right to different viewpoints

3. Strengthen our Voice & Establish Relationships
    a. Engage
    b. Mentor
    c. Demonstrate
    d. Advocate

4. Be Realistic – build bridges, not walls
    a. Compromise
    b. Non-partisan solutions

5. Stay Positive
    a. Hard work needs positivity – remember to have some fun
    b. Avoid burnout - take time for yourself & your loved ones

The advocacy arm of the League of Women Voters of Michigan is hard at work. We monitor legislation as it is introduced and makes its way through the legislature. We also review proposed regulations which may impact environmental or public policies. Using state or national League positions, the Michigan League takes action when possible. Letters to the governor, legislators and other decision makers are routinely sent by President Judy Karandjeff, and when allowed, the League also delivers testimony at public hearings. This year, the League's advocacy has been focused on legislation concerning voting rights, environmental issues and the Flint water crisis. Check out our coverage of recent advocacy by reviewing a list of letters, press releases and testimony here.
The Education Trust- Midwest, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, has published their 2016 Michigan State of Eduction Report. Titled, "Michigan’s Talent Crisis:The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan's Broken Public Education System."  The report deals with steps to reach the goal of becoming a top ten education state. Today, Michigan's K-12 system is among the weakest in the country and getting worse. In a little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from being a fairly average state in elementary reading and math achievement to the bottom 10 states. This is a devestating fall. Read the annual report here.
Click here to open the April, 2019 newsletter.