Ballot proposal garners interest

Christina Schlitt, co-president, League of Women Voters of Michigan

MARQUETTE — As the 2022 midterm elections grow closer, some local groups are getting behind the Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative, that hopes to expand voting opportunities for Michigan citizens.

The Promote the Vote ballot proposal hopes to expand upon the 2018 constitutional amendment known as Prop 3, which 67% of Michigan voters approved during that year’s election. Prop 3 allowed for, among other things, Michigan voters to vote absentee for any reason, a measure which had a great impact during the 2020 election due to COVID-19.

The 2022 ballot proposal, if adopted by voters, would greatly expand access to early and absentee voting by allowing for nine days of early voting.

Other measures in the proposal include state funding for prepaid postage on all absentee ballots, funding for drop boxes, as well as a system, which would track voters ballots and allow them to know where their ballot is at all times until it is counted.

The proposal would also grant military and overseas voters an extended grace period to have their votes counted as long as they were mailed by Election Day.

Voter ID laws around the country have been a source of controversy for years and the proposed amendment would help to secure the current Michigan law, which requires a voter to either present a photo ID or sign an affidavit to confirm their identities and help to protect the current system from challenges by those who hope to make the law more restrictive.

Two of the measures in the proposal address the controversy around the certification of the 2020 election. If adopted, the amendment would prevent interference in the certification process of election results by declaring that once the results are certified by the Board of State Canvassers, they are considered final and clarifies that the state Legislature does not play a role in certification of the vote.

The amendment would also prohibit political parties from becoming involved in post election audits, making sure that election officials would have the final say in any audits.

One local group involved with supporting the initiative is the Michigan Catholics for the Common Good, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that represents over 1,300 Catholics from across the state.

“Guaranteeing the right to vote has long been part of the Catholic Church’s social gospel, to lift up the poor, the vulnerable and those whose voices are seldom heard,” said Theresa McGuire, a spokeswoman for the MCCG, in a press release. “Catholic nuns and priests were present in a big way to march for voting rights of people of color in Selma, (Alabama), in 1965 and we must continue to build a voting system that works for everyone in Michigan.”

In order for the proposal to get on this November’s ballot, 425,000 valid signatures on petitions are required by July 11.

“MCCG will be asking its 1,300 members to circulate petitions beginning in mid-March. Everyone who loves democracy should help with the petitions,” said Robert Anderson, a member of MCCG from the Upper Peninsula.

Promote the Vote is one of multiple initiatives, which are focused on elections hoping to be on the ballot for the 2022 election.

Many of the measures in Promote the Vote counter those proposed by the Secure MI Vote initiative which is attempting to make state voter ID laws much stricter to fight alleged cases of voter fraud.

A months-long Senate Oversight Committee investigation into Michigan’s 2020 election found “no evidence of widespread or systemic fraud,” according to state Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, despite several challenges to election results in Michigan and other battleground states won by President Joe Biden.

“Promote the Vote 2022 provides common-sense voting policies to move Michigan forward,” said Christina Schlitt, co-president of League of Women Voters of Michigan. “Michiganders want secure and accessible elections. We want people to vote without fear of intimidation. This ballot initiative takes a great step towards modernizing our elections and protecting our freedom to vote.”

Randy Crouch can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is rcrouch@miningjournal.net.


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