Call To Action – Something You Can Do Now

Supporters

Please join us this Sunday, July 10th at 7pm for the next Statewide Call.

Join VNP leadership to celebrate the outstanding work our volunteers did to collect signatures for Promote the Vote 2022, and to talk about all the important work we have planned for the rest of 2022.

For more information and to RSVP, please click here.

Important note regarding access to the statewide call: We will be meeting via Zoom. In order to participate in our call, you must sign up using this link. Upon completion of the sign-up form, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom access information to join the call.

If you would like to connect to the Zoom meeting by phone call, please make sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email to register for the Zoom. You will receive a second email with the call-in phone number and passcode.

See you there,

Melissa Zinn
Administrative Assistant
Voters Not Politicians

(This call is intended for active volunteers and supporters of Voters Not Politicians. If you are an elected official, a member of the media, or working on behalf of another organization, please reach out to us at info@votersnotpoliticians.com.)


Michigan State Democratic

Party Convention

The election this November will determine Michigan’s leadership and the course our state takes for the next four years.

There’s no turning back the progress we’ve made under the leadership of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

At the State Convention, we will stand with our friends and neighbors to defend democracy and support our strong Democratic candidates from the bottom of the ticket to the top. We will be nominating a strong slate of Democratic candidates who will uphold our progressive values and fight for the hard working families of Michigan.

At this convention, we will formally nominate Democratic candidates to appear on the ballot for the November General Election for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Supreme Court, Board of Education, and University Boards including Michigan State University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Board of Regents, and Wayne State University Board of Governors.

Please mark your calendar for our upcoming MDP State Nominating Convention scheduled for Saturday, August 20, and Sunday, August 21 at the Lansing Center in Lansing. 

You can read the Call to Convention here. 

RSVP for updates regarding the 2022 MDP State Nominating Convention here.

You are all warriors, and I look forward to linking arms with you and heading into the battle this November and doing the hard work necessary to continue Michigan on the path to prosperity that we started in 2018.

Thank you,

Lavora Barnes

HELP ELECT GUN REFORM CANDIDATES-Check Out Gun Sense

https://gunsensevoter.org/

Here are some deserving aid groups working in Ukraine.

Nicholas KristofMar 12

People keep asking me: How can I help people in Ukraine? Lots of aid groups are trying to raise money from the crisis in Ukraine, but here are some that I particularly trust. 

My recommendation is to focus on those active inside Ukraine, rather than those helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Once refugees get to Poland or Moldova or other countries, they’ll get some help, and the most urgent needs are inside Ukraine.

Destruction outside Kyiv. Photo from Kyiv Independent

Note that the war may make it more difficult for these groups to function in Ukraine, and that there are also acute needs elsewhere in the world. The suffering of Tigrayans in Ethiopia, for example, is just as great as that of Ukrainians, and gets much less attention. Yemenis remain in desperate shape, facing hunger as well as disease but rarely making the headlines. And Afghans are going hungry — so while Ukraine is in the news, your donation may actually be more likely to save lives in a place like Ethiopia or Afghanistan.

That said, people keep asking me about Ukraine, and here are some suggestions:

Doctors Without Borders is just a first-rate organization that was already workin in Ukraine and is now figuring out how best to respond to the war there. I’ve seen Doctors Without Borders at work in many war-torn countries and have enormous respect for their courage and commitment. Once when I was fleeing an area in Darfur that I felt was unsafe, they were arriving. They’re the real thing. 

International Medical Corps is similar to Doctors Without Borders and also does great work in Ukraine. It has a reputation for staying after the emergency is over to help build local capacity.

Kyiv Independent is a news source in Ukraine that many of us turn to understand the devastation unfolding there. It is raising money through crowdfunding on GoFundMe.

Save the Children is active in Ukraine and has a fund to support kids caught up in the conflict there. It’s a terrific organization and has a network on the ground.

Plenty of other aid groups do fine work and may be asking for your support. But see if they actually are on the ground in Ukraine or are simply helping people who have left the country.

Help Protect The Right To Vote

There is no shortage of voting-related ballot proposals for 2022 before the state panel authorized to approve them, with two of the newest ballot petition drives submitted to the Board of State Canvassers late last month. 

“We’re trying to establish that the right to vote is number one in our Constitution, and you cannot undermine it with all kinds of excuses,” said Jan BenDor, a spokesperson for the Ypsilanti-based “MI Right to Vote” group and the statewide coordinator for the Michigan Election Reform Alliance.

According to the MI Right to Vote filings, the group submitted  two petitions to the board of canvassers Jan. 20: A constitutional amendment regarding other initiative petitions, and a constitutional amendment to ensure the state Legislature does not enact any voter restriction measures.

Under MI Right to Vote’s first petition, “the Legislature will no longer be able to add appropriations to laws to prevent voters from exercising their right to approve or reject such laws” or accept laws proposed by a small percentage of voters which are shielded from the governor’s veto power.

Instead, all such laws would be placed on the ballot for all Michiganders to vote on.

Currently, Michigan has three types of petitions available for citizens to alter state laws or constitutional amendments. 

The initiative petition, used to propose, enact or reject laws, requires 340,047 signatures of registered voters. The referendum petition, which is used to approve or reject laws enacted by the state Legislature, requires 212,530 signatures. The constitutional amendment requires 425,059 and is used to amend the state Constitution.

There are currently more than a dozen petitions that could appear on the ballot in November, if the state Legislature does not take them on first. Most have not yet been fully approved to gather signatures yet.

Out of 13 petitions, four have not yet been discussed by the board; five have been approved partially but cannot yet collect signatures; and four are in the process of collecting signatures.

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Under MI Right to Vote’s first proposal, the length of time for petition circulation would also be increased.

A common critique of Michigan’s petition system is that only a small percentage of voters need to sign on to enact a measure, which the GOP-led Legislature then has the power to potentially kill, water down, change fundamentally or enact right away without the governor’s signature.

BenDor calls this the “40-day sleepover” in the state Legislature. Upon the Board of State Canvassers determining that a petition contains enough valid signatures, the state Legislature then has 40 session days to act on it.

The MI Right to Vote team includes Michigan attorney Fred Green and Dr. Robert Sedler, a retired law professor and attorney who taught at Wayne State University’s Law School for four decades.

“The Michigan Constitution is very close to the people,” Sedler said in a Jan. 27 statement. “One of the proposed amendments explicitly makes the right to vote fundamental under that Constitution. The other amendment, among other things, would prevent the Legislature from interfering with the people’s right of referendum.

“It is clearly in the public interest for the people to adopt these amendments,” Sedler said.

The second constitutional amendment proposed by the group seeks to block efforts by the state’s Legislature that could hinder the right to vote.

The GOP-led body has brought up a number of bills and initiatives over the past year that Democrats and others have said would do just that, although Republicans claim the measures are meant to better secure the state’s voting systems.

The second MI Right to Vote proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to “explicitly provide that the right to vote is a fundamental right and to prevent the Legislature from enacting any law that imposes an undue burden on the right to vote beyond the qualifications of citizenship, residence, age, and registration.”

It would also require that any law the state Legislature does enact on the basis of guarding against abuses of the electoral process be supported by “specific legislative findings, based on substantial evidence that any abuse it is intended to prevent has occurred or there is a substantial likelihood that it will occur.”

Michigan’s 2020 election was secure and no evidence of widespread fraud was detected, as Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has emphasized many times. More than a hundred audits were also conducted throughout the state and none returned back with any evidence to prove doubts about the election’s integrity.

Both proposals are scheduled to be brought up before the State Board of Canvassers on Feb. 11. If the language and format are deemed valid, the group would then be able to begin collecting signatures.

The deadline to collect enough signatures for constitutional amendment petitions is 5 p.m. on July 11. (Initiative petitions have until 5 p.m. on June 1; referendum petitions have until 90 days after the law in question is enacted).

“In Michigan we are fortunate to be one of the sixteen states that have the full rights of initiative and referendum, to ensure that ‘all political power is inherent in the people,’” BenDor said.

The initiative is separate from the “Promote the Vote 2022” measure filed Monday, which would enshrine a series of voting rights in the state’s constitution and bar partisan interference in future elections.

That measure is backed by the coalition behind Prop 3, the constitutional amendment passed by Michigan voters in 2018 which created no-reason absentee voting and same-day registration. It also has support from progressive groups like the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

BenDor says she and others behind MI Right to Vote reached out to Promote the Vote in an attempt to collaborate with them, but did not receive calls back. She criticized them for “refusing” to work with them and for “copycatting” one of the MI Right to Vote petitions.

Sharon Dolente, an attorney and voting rights strategist who serves as senior advisor for Promote the Vote, said in a phone call Thursday evening that MI Right to Vote is free to make their voice heard but emphasized that their own coalition has widespread progressive and grassroots support.

“As an organization that promotes democracy, Promote the Vote supports citizens using the proper things available to propose things to the Board of Canvassers and you know, seek signatures and seek to put things on the ballot if that’s what they so choose,” Dolente said.

“Promote the Vote doesn’t besmirch MI Right to Vote. They’re citizens and they can go and make their voice heard.”

For months, Voters Not Politicians has been fighting back against anti-voter bills in the state legislature and the “Secure MI Vote” ballot initiative.

We know it is critical we work to protect the freedom to vote, which is why I am excited to share that today, Voters Not Politicians announced its partnership in a coalition to amend our state constitution to ensure safe, modern, accessible elections. 

425,059 valid signatures must be submitted before July 11, 2022 to put a pro-voter initiative on the ballot and protect voters across the state of Michigan. Here’s how you can be part of our preparation for this critical work:

Here are some of the measures included in this 2022 ballot initiative: 

  • Make voting a fundamental right in Michigan’s Constitution to protect voters from harassment, intimidation, and interference
  • Allow voters to request a mailed absentee ballot for every future election
  • Create true early voting for statewide elections
  • Provide clerks access to state-funded postage for absentee applications and ballots, secure drop boxes, and ballot tracking
  • Enshrine the current ID affidavit process in the constitution to protect this option if voters do not have their ID when they cast their ballot
  • Require election audits to be conducted in public by state and county election officials

The pro-voter initiative filed today will protect the freedom to vote in Michigan and will ensure election results in Michigan are determined by the voters and cannot be undermined. 

It’s going to take all of us working together to get this package on the 2022 ballot. Use the buttons below to sign up to volunteer, make a contribution, or both to help put this pro-voter initiative on the 2022 ballot!SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER→MAKE A CONTRIBUTION→

Michigan’s constitution begins with the phrase, “All political power is inherent in the people.”

It’s time to exercise our political power and protect it from special interest groups and politicians who are trying to take it away!

You can learn more about this exciting announcement here.

Thank you for your continued suppor