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LWVMI SPRING, 2016 MEMBER WORKSHOPS

The League of Women Voters of Michigan is hosting two workshops for members this spring.  The first is already completed, but the second one is still open: 

April 30, Saturday Defending Democracy by Making Democracy Work Workshop at St. Pauls’ Church, north of the Capitol in Lansing. This event is open to all League members and will focus on the League's advocacy work on voter rights, voter protection, money in politics and redistricting. Former Michigan Senator Gretche Whitmer will be one of the speakers.

The cost for attending the workshop is $17,  which includes early refreshments, a box lunch and materials. You can register online by clicking here, or you can print and mail in the registration form with your payment.  Reigstration deadline for the April 30th workshop is Monday, April 25th. 

NON-PARTISAN VOTER GUIDES
The League of Women Voters prepared a Voter Guide for the Michigan Ballot for the U.S. Presidential Primary on March 8th. Click here for instructions on accessing candidate information on line through VOTE411.org or for downloading printable voter guides for the Presidential Primary candidates and the three Michigan House races on the March 8th ballot.  Information about candidaes and proposals on the November, 2016 ballot will be available in early October both on VOTE411 and via a print voter guide circulated throughout the state.
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 February, 2016 issue of the LWVMI Voter.