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PRIMARY ELECTION:  AUGUST 2ND

Michigan voters will cast ballots in the August 2nd Primary Election, and the League of Women Voters is striving to educate voters on their choices. The League of Women Voters never supports or opposes any candidates or political parties, but we do work to provide information to the public so that voters can make informed and confident decisions at the polls. There are 3 parts to the August 2nd ballot:

  • Partisan Ballot: In the Primary, voters must pick a party - Republican or Democrat. A voter need not be registered in either party, but once a party's ballot is chosen, a voter can only make choices in that party's races. No crossovers!
  • NonPartisan Ballot: Some communities in Michigan have judicial races in the Primary, which are always nonpartisan.
  • Proposals: Some communities in Michigan will have county, local or school proposals on their ballot.

In many Michigan communities where the majority of voters are of one party, the winner(s) of the Primary Election are often the automatic winners of the November election. If a voter sits out the Primary election, that voter loses the opportunity to have a choice since the Primary winners may be the only ones on the November ballot. We urge voters to recognize the importance of the primary election and be part of the process of choosing who represents them in local and state governments by voting on August 2nd.

The League's on-line Voter Guide will be available around the 4th of July for Michigan voters. Visit VOTE411.org to learn about the candidates on your ballot. The League is also scheduling candidate forums all across the state for candidates running in the Primary Election. Visit the website of the local League in your area and check out their calendar of events for the candidate forum schedule in your area (forums are still being scheduled, so check back often!)

THE LEAGUE ADVOCATES FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT
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 GOAL: BECOMING A TOP TEN EDUCATION STATE
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.
DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK IN MICHIGAN

The Michigan Legislature was extremely busy this December passing bills to change campaign finance and voting. None of the legislation improves our democracy. Two of the bill were passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor:


SB571. Besides including provisions that further reduce the transparency of campaign donations, this bill also includes provisions that block access to unbiased, objective communication on ballot proposals to local residents. The League is very concerned about the limits that will be imposed on our mission to educate the public. Read the Detroit Free Press article by clicking here.   The League joined with other state officials asking Governor Snyder to veto this bill on January 4, 2016. Our efforts were not successful.


SB 13 is a bill that eliminates straight-party ticket voting. There are a number of reasons why the elimination of straight party ticket voting is bad for voters:

• it minimizes options available to voters who clearly draw lines down partisan lines – this applies to both parties and across the state in urban, rural and suburban precincts,
• it leads to longer lines at the polls, which disenfranchises voters. According to the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, Michigan ranks 6th in the nation for longest wait in line,
• it leads to incomplete voting that suppresses the vote – the Citizen’s Research Council reports that, “A single voter is asked in an election cycle to vote on between 54 and 150 officials of state government and the judiciary and from 23 to 37 local government officials” and,
• it increases the cost for elections because additional machines need to be purchased and more staff needs to be hired.

The League of Women Voters supports election laws that make voting accessible and convenient for all citizens to participate and transparency in campaign financing.

REDISTRICTING IN MICHIGAN:  SHOULD POLITICIANS CHOOSE THEIR VOTERS?

The League of Women Voters of Michigan hosted over 30 Town Halls across the state of Michigan this fall to educate voters on the importance of redistricting. The events were free and open to the public.

The Town Hall presentation explored how legislative lines are drawn in Michigan, who draws them, and why it is a critically important question for those who care about fair representation.

In Michigan the district lines are drawn by the legislature, effectively allowing politicians to choose their voters, rather than the voters choosing their legislators. This system gives the political party in power at the time a tremendous advantage, but is this the best system for the voters? Our Town Halls will explore central questions, such as: What are the consequences of partisan drawn districts that favor one party over another? Is there a better and fairer way to do this? What are the alternatives?


For more information about redistricting, check out the Issues Page on our website.

SORTING OUT MICHIGAN'S ENERGY BILLS AND THE LEAGUE'S POSITION
Current Michigan energy law is set to expire at the end of 2015. We currently have PA 295, enacted in 2008, which provided that our utility companies diversify energy production to include 10% renewable energy by 2015. They have reached those goals. Renewable energy was defined as energy that is derived from sources such as solar, wind or water power. The House and Senate have been working on energy bills for some time. This would include HB 4297 and SB 437-438. These bills redefine renewable energy and call it “clean energy”. Clean Energy would include the burning of municipal wastes and coal if it does not violate any state or federal air emissions regulations. Read more about Michigan's energy dilemma and the League's position on legislative bills by clicking here.
CURRENT LWVMI NEWSLETTER
Click here to read the June, 2016 LWVMI Voter.