Commentary

The Aug. 2 primary is coming. Here’s what you need to know about voting.

July 19, 2022 6:04 am

Otto Kitsinger for States Newsroom

Every morning I “take a walk” with my mom before work. Since we live in different parts of the state, the walk takes place via cell phone, but it still gives us a chance to stay in touch and it gives me a reason to get a few steps in before the day gets going.

As I passed several candidate and proposal yard signs on a recent walk-and-talk, I reminded my mom to make sure she takes care of her absentee ballot, since I know she’ll be out of town for the primary election on Aug. 2. She thanked me and said they’d already taken care of it. And despite the fact that I don’t always agree with my parents’ political views, I’m glad their vote will be counted. 

You still have time to apply for an absentee ballot. Learn more here

I’d be remiss if I didn’t express gratitude for the 2018 Promote the Vote campaign, which made no-reason absentee voting available to all Michigan voters. Because of Promote the Vote — and the 70% of Michigan voters who supported it — our state constitution now permits no-reason absentee voting, automatic voter registration, and other measures that make voting easier for all. That “all” is important. Mom and I may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics, but we both firmly believe in the power and integrity of the vote.

Voting should be easy. Voting should be secure. Regardless of which candidate you support, which neighborhood you live in, whether you live 12 miles from your polling place (like my parents) or two blocks from your polling place (like me), you should be able to cast your vote in a way that fits with your work schedule, your access to transportation, your mobility concerns, your health, your obligations as a caregiver, or anything else that may keep you from voting on a specific day at a specific time. 

As a proponent of voters being able to, well, vote, I was thrilled to see that on Monday, Promote the Vote 2022 announced that they’d received 669,972 signatures — overwhelming support — for another positive constitutional amendment that would allow for early in-person voting and prohibit harassment while voting

It’s great news for all voters, but especially rural voters, military voters and others who have faced barriers at the ballot box. It would also require post-election audits to be conducted by state and local officials. 

The Michigan League for Public Policy has been an enthusiastic proponent of Promote the Vote since its work began, and our President and CEO Monique Stanton serves on the organization’s board.

The Promote the Vote 2022 coalition announces during a Lansing press conference that it has filed nearly 670,000 signatures, July 11, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

But first, let’s get back to those yard signs I passed this morning. We want to make sure you’re focused on your primary election, when you get to decide on important local funding for schools, libraries, and public safety, and when you get to determine who will be on your ballot in November. So as soon as you can, make sure you take a look at your sample primary ballot here so you can be prepared to vote in the Aug. 2 election. 

Things might look different where you live this year now that the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission has updated the state’s district maps. I knew my previous state representative’s views quite well — she’s served my area for several years and has been a long-time fixture in the community. But I’m one of those folks who woke up living in a new district, and I have to say that I’m not well acquainted with the candidates who may end up representing me in November. Simply put, I have a lot of work to do before Aug. 2. 

But thanks to my brilliant and well-read colleagues at the League, my work just got easier. 

The League’s analysts have developed a set of questions you can ask when you meet candidates on your doorstep, at in-person events, or in email or phone correspondence. These questions are based on the League’s issue areas — things like healthcare, housing, fairness in the economy and workplace, education, immigration, child well-being and more. 

The questions make it easy to learn where your candidates stand on the things you value, and it’s also a great educational tool if you want to learn more (or help your candidates learn more) about the policies that matter to your community. 

And on that note, I have to run. There’s a candidate at my door (no joke). 

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Laura Millard Ross
Laura Millard Ross

Laura Millard Ross is communications director with the Michigan League for Public Policy. She has taught English and journalism in the Lansing area since 2005 and prior to that worked in community development as director of the Old Town Commercial Association.

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