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My election season travel is truly in full swing. I’ve been on the road for nearly a month, visiting Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, and now Michigan, and after a few quick days back home in Georgia, I’m hitting the road again visiting a few more states before the Election Day.
From Detroit to Grosse Pointe, to Lansing to Grand Rapids to Saugatuck on the shore of Lake Michigan, then on to Kalamazoo, ending up in Bloomfield Hills, my trip to Michigan was productive, scenic and full of opportunities to meet hard working members of the League. Like other states on the tour, certain election officials seem to be more committed to confusing the electoral process, than helping ensure all eligible voters can cast their ballots in November.
The League of Women Voters of Michigan has been successful in keeping voters from having to produce unnecessary photo ID at the polls and in keeping voters from having to re-affirm their citizenship on their ballots, thanks to vetoes from the Governor. Unfortunately, the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, despite the Governor’s veto, is going ahead with plans to ask Michigan voters to check a box affirming their citizenship. The League has called on the Secretary to stop this action which could disenfranchise eligible voters by exacerbating confusion at the polls. The League is also working hard to make sure that voters have the correct information.
To help get the word out, I participated in a rally in Lansing on the steps of the capital, sponsored by the League with speakers from our partner organizations, including AAUW, AARP, the Michigan Center for Election Law, and the Michigan Election Reform Alliance. It was a beautiful autumn day; the leaves were turning and a jazz band played as we rallied to make democracy work by registering new voters, getting voters informed and turned out to the polls. As state legislators strolled in and out of the state house, various speakers reminded them that voting is our most fundamental right.
I also had the opportunity to speak at a meeting of the Neighborhood Association of Michigan. These community organizers wanted and received information on the ballot issues that voters will see in November. For my final event in Michigan, I attended the League of Women Voters of the Oakland Area’s program on the Affordable Care Act which was well attended and wonderfully informative.
I’ve covered a lot of ground both here in Michigan, and across the country, but it is paying off – we’re bringing attention to these important issues and helping to get voters the information they need. I value the opportunity to meet the many League members who are on the ground doing this vital work and I look forward to thanking more of our volunteers in person in the weeks to come. Next up, North Carolina and Florida!