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8.8.19 Absentee Voting will be BIG for Dems

New voting rules in Michigan are a big, big deal.  

Passed overwhelmingly last November, Promote the Vote (Proposal 3) makes voting easier in Michigan. In fact, the ACLU estimates that the new provisions could increase voter turnout by 400,000 votes! 

While all of the new rules are good news for Dems, the most potentially impactful are…

The Permanent Absentee Ballot List & No-reason Absentee Voting

Before: Absentee voter policies varied by jurisdiction.  

Now: Voters in every jurisdiction in the state can get on the absentee ballot list once and stay on it forever. Each jurisdiction must maintain a permanent list.

Before: IF your jurisdiction maintained a permanent absentee list, you could be on it without giving a reason. BUT before each election, you had to provide a reason to receive your ballot. And there were only five reasons from which to choose. 

Now: You can receive your absentee ballot without giving any reason at all.

And here’s more good news: Oshtemo Township Clerk and KCDP member Dusty Farmer reports that new software updates enable absentee status to move with voters if they relocate within Michigan.  

How it works

About 8 weeks before an election, applications for absentee ballots are delivered via U.S. mail to voters on the permanent absentee list. If voters sign and return the application, they’ll get their actual ballot about 4 weeks before election day. 

“Every voter should request to be on the permanent list, and then for each election they can  choose whether they want to vote in their polling location on election day or vote from home beforehand,” Farmer says.

Dusty Farmer, Oshtemo Township Clerk

“Receiving the application in the mail can be a great reminder of an upcoming election, especially the smaller elections with only one or two questions.” 

Even if you’re not on the permanent list to automatically receive an absentee ballot application, you can still get one for any election. Just download the Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application from the Secretary of State or get one at your local clerk’s office. Find the clerk for your city or township at the Michigan Voter Information Center, https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us.  

Complete the application, then mail or deliver it to your clerk’s office. (If you’ve gone to the clerk’s office to get the application, you can complete the process then and there.) You’ll get your ballot in the mail about 4 weeks later. 

Absentee Voting is not true “Early Voting” 

Early Voting is a term used in states where votes are tabulated before election day. In Michigan, absentee ballots are tabulated between 7am and 8pm on election day. Ballots received after election day are not counted.  

“Voters should hand-deliver ballots in the week leading up to the election, if possible,” Farmer warns. “The US Postal Service attempts to keep all election mail local, but some still gets sent to Grand Rapids by mistake.

“We receive ballots after election day all the time, and they can’t be counted toward the final vote tally.”

Absentee voters often vote in higher numbers…which is good for Democrats

Paul Clements, 6th District Chair for the Michigan Democratic Party, explains why MDP is sponsoring Days of Action—a huge volunteer door-knocking effort to register voters and encourage them to join the permanent absentee voter list: 

Paul Clements, 6th District Chair, Michigan Democratic Party

“Talking with voters now, identifying Dems, and particularly helping people sign up for absentee ballots builds the foundation for next year’s wave,” Clements says. “When more people vote, Democrats win!” 

Clements explains that many people who haven’t voted in past elections have two or three jobs, are single parents, or don’t have secure transportation—and these people tend to vote Democratic.

“Thanks so much to everyone who helped us win with Proposal 3,” he adds. “It’s making voting as easy as it should be.” 

Get involved!

KCDP volunteers are joining upcoming MDP Voter Education Days of Action on August 17 (Mattawan—Van Buren County) and August 24 (Texas Township—Kalamazoo County). We’ll be out knocking doors to register voters and spread the word about permanent, no-reason absentee voting. Join us! See Coming Soon (below) for details.

Ways it’s now easier to vote!

–Registration to vote at any time, including on election day

–Access to an absentee ballot for any reason

–Permanent absentee ballot lists

–The option to choose a straight party ballot

–Assurance that military and overseas voters get their ballots in time for their votes to count

–Automatic registration to vote at the Secretary of State’s office (in the works)

–Online voter registration (also in the works—likely to be available this year) 

–Audits to ensure election accuracy and integrity

–The right to vote a secret ballot

What we’ve been up to

Volunteer phone banking, mailing, and other efforts resulted in 64 renewed and new KCDP memberships in the past month. By focusing on membership, we increased our number of members by 27%!

Importantly, we have rolled out monthly recurring membership “Plus” options that allow people to make a deeper investment in our work. This saves KCDP time and money because these memberships never expire. Since we started that program in April, the number of recurring donors has more than quadrupled! We can count on nearly $500/month in income from these supporters, which is great for budgeting purposes. 

When you join or renew, you’ll get one of these snazzy cards in the mail: 

For information, contact Nora Gimpel, membership@kzoodems.com.

When our Candidate Recruitment Committee met on August 3, “We identified more than 100 open offices in every in every single township, village and city in Kalamazoo County,” says Jake Andrews, KCDP chair. “Our goal is to find motivated, energized Democratic candidates for each of those races, and help them get out in those communities early to build excitement.” 

Could this be you? For more information about open offices in your area, contact Jake at kcdp-chair@kzoodems.com.

Coming soon

Our monthly KCDP “Third Thursday” meeting will be on Thursday, August 15, at Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage, MI. 5:30-6:30pm— speaker: Josh Hilgart, chief public defender for Kalamazoo County’s new Public Defender’s Office; 6:30-7:30pm—business meeting, No reservation necessary; we have the whole back room. You can order dinner, just a beverage, or nothing at all, but do join us! Questions? Email info@kzoodems.com.

KCDP supports MDP Voter Education Days of Action on Saturday, August 17 (Mattawan—Van Buren County) and Saturday, August 24 (Texas Township—Kalamazoo County). We’re looking for canvassing volunteers to register voters and spread the word about permanent, no-reason absentee voting. Bring a friend and come for as long as you can; training provided. August 17: 9am-12:30pm; meet at Lisa’s Corner Café, 24901 Red Arrow Highway, Mattawan, MI 49071. More info: paulclements@charter.net. August 24: 10am-2pm, meet at Hoadley for Congress headquarters, 5320 Holiday Terrace, #8, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. More info: volunteer@kzoodems.com.

KCDP is pleased to be a sponsor for the YWCA Women’s Equality Luncheon on Friday, August 23, 11:30am-1:30pm, WMU Fetzer Center, 2251 Business Court, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. We need volunteers to distribute info at our table. To sign up or get info: volunteer@kzoodems.com.

We’ll have a lively presence at this year’s Bronco Bash on Tuesday, August 27, 3-7pm, Sangren Pedestrian Mall on the campus of WMU. KCDP volunteers will greet students, distribute information and register voters at this fun, annual event. Come for as long as you can. To sign up or get info: volunteer@kzoodems.com.

Order by August 11! 

Don’t miss out! We’re getting ready to place another t-shirt order. 

It’s fun to wear a KCDP shirt when you volunteer or just want to strut Dem spirit around town.

The shirts are heavy-weight, pre-shrunk 100% cotton, American-made, and printed in a union shop. We’re going with royal blue shirts again, with a white imprint of the KCDP name and logo on both front (upper left chest) and back (larger, centered, and with the word VOTE).  

–Sizes available: Small – 3X

–Cost: $20 per shirt

–Orders accepted only via credit card pre-payment donations through ActBlue: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kcdpshirt

–Orders accepted through Sunday, August 11, 2019 

–It will take about a month after the order deadline for delivery (mid-September).

–When your shirt comes in, you’ll be notified to pick it up at the KDCP office during designated evening or weekend hours. 

We are not getting extra shirts to sell later, so order yours now! Questions? Email Jenny Snyder, newsletter@kzoodems.com.

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Why I’m a Democrat – Bionca Stewart

“I’m a Democrat because I think the Democratic Party holds the policies of the future. The future of America—and the entire world—involves sustainable technology, upgrades in our infrastructure, and a completely functioning economy (not an economy that works only for some). The Democratic Party also has morals on their platform as well, and as a person who has faith I believe that having a moral conscience should not be debatable when making or implementing decisions. This is why I am a Democrat because it’s a party of values and policies meant for a greater future.”

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