Promote the Vote event held in Marquette

Michigan grassroots organization Voters Not Politicians holds a signature-gathering event to collect signatures to help get the Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative in front of Michigan voters during the upcoming November midterm elections. Manpreet Chandi, right, signs the petition. (Journal photos by Randy Crouch)

MARQUETTE — The Michigan grassroots organization Voters Not Politicians held a signature-gathering event Saturday at the Marquette Farmers Market.

Voters Not Politicians sought to collect signatures for its Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative. The initiative seeks to significantly expand voting accessibility throughout the state. Some of the proposed changes in the initiative are:

≤ Creating nine days of early, in-person voting.

≤ Providing secure drop boxes for absentee voters.

≤ Making voting more convenient for elderly, rural, veteran and working voters.

≤ Modernizing how elections are administered.

“It creates nine days of secure, early, in-person voting,” said organizer Robert Anderson. “If you’re working hard on Election Day, if you’re working a long shift and you can’t get off, you’ll be able to vote. We’ve never had that before. States like Georgia, Colorado and many other states have early voting. It will expand turnout even more, giving you more convenience and more options.”

The local chapter of VNP was attempting to do its part in securing the 425,000 signatures needed statewide by July 11 in order to get the measure on the November ballot.

“I firmly believe that making (voting) more accessible to people will increase turnout. From my own experience, I worked nearly 25 years as an emergency room nurse. I worked from 6:45 in the morning, oftentimes I would work 12-16 hours on election days. I can’t leave to go vote,” said organizer Ruth Ziel. “Nobody should have to lose their livelihood to try and vote. It wasn’t until 2018 when we passed the no-reason absentee ballot, that I could have gotten an absentee ballot. Before that, you had to be sick, over 65 or away from home. Working wasn’t considered a good enough excuse.”

A nonpartisan coalition of groups are backing the Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative, including VNP, Michigan League of Women Voters, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union, Michigan Catholics for the Common Good and All Voting is Local.


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