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  • Kalamazoo, MI

1.10.20 Campaign HQ Reopens…2020 is finally here!

The big one—2020—is finally here! 

To get ready for the fall election, KCDP will hire field staff and campaign coordinators. We will keep recruiting strong, committed candidates for local positions. And, we’ll mobilize our dedicated volunteers, who are beyond ready to get Democrats elected up and down the ticket! 

We’ll also dive in deep to engage voters. That means registering new voters, identifying Democrats, helping folks get onto permanent absentee voter rolls, introducing voters to our candidates, and, most importantly, getting people out to vote! 

To learn more, we hope you will stop in for the Grand Re-opening of our campaign headquarters this Wednesday, January 8, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. This open house includes light appetizers, beer and wine, and a short program at 6 pm. 

We know you’re ready to jump in with both feet this year. So we’re celebrating, in advance, the amazing work we will do together. Thank you! 

Office hours

The Kalamazoo County Democratic Party office reopened on January 6 after the holiday break. Stop in and say hello! Current office hours:

Monday: 9-12

Tuesday: 9-3

Wednesday: 9-3

Thursday: 9-6

Friday: 9-6

Saturday: 10-2

I Want *You* to be an Election Inspector!

By Mark E. Miller, Kalamazoo Township Clerk

If you vote in person at the polls, you will see the smiling faces of your precinct election workers. You may take them for granted. I don’t. I call them “Heroes of Democracy.”

It has become harder in recent years to recruit inspectors. Kalamazoo County needs an additional 250 poll workers for the 2020 elections. Some employers are offering days of service for employees to do this civic work. Read on, then ask yourself, “Is this something I could do?”

Officially called “election inspectors,” these people make our elections work. Inspectors are paid, varying by municipality but often around $150, for a long day’s work. That day starts at 6 am, with the precinct team of six or seven arriving at the polling place to set up the equipment, place required signs, start the software, and make sure everything is working properly to receive the first voters at 7 am sharp.

One inspector greets the voters and instructs them in filling out the application to vote, another  checks voters in on the e-pollbook laptop software. Additional inspectors issue ballots to voters, direct them to voting stations, collect the applications to vote and ballot stubs, and direct them to the tabulator to deposit their voted ballots. If the tabulator detects a problem, an inspector will offer further help, including a replacement ballot if necessary.

This work is overseen by a precinct chair (sometimes co-chairs) who must not only know the routine processes, but also how to handle problems such as voters who may be in the wrong precinct or municipality, and what rules apply to challengers and campaigners. They handle technical glitches in the e-pollbook software and know when it’s time to call the clerk’s office for help.

There are busier and slower parts of the day, and chairs make different arrangements for lunch and dinner. The polls close at 8 pm, but the day is not done yet. Reports must be run on the e-pollbook and tabulator, results sent by modem to the County Clerk, and all the equipment put away and materials put into sealed boxes and envelopes to go to the County Clerk, Canvassers, and Local Clerk. Two workers are still not done; they must take everything back to the Receiving Board at the City or Township Hall. 

We have a remarkable election system with literally thousands of regulations designed to protect access for all qualified voters and to protect the integrity of the vote. The election inspectors are the front line in all of that. Make sure to thank them the next time you vote. Democracy does not work without them.

Election inspector requirements

  • You must be registered to vote in Michigan.
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony or election crime.
  • You must attend a 2-hour training class. Sessions are held to accommodate varying schedules. 
  • You should have reliable transportation to arrive at the polls by 6 am and leave after polls close.
  • You should be physically able to help with light setup and teardown duties. 
  • If possible, you should be available to work at elections held on March 10, May 5, August 4, and November 3. However, it’s not a requirement to be available on each of those dates.

You can obtain an election inspector application form online at the Michigan Voter Information Center. Complete it and return it to your city or township clerk.

How to become a voting member of KCDP

We welcome anyone to become a member of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party. And if you’re interested in getting even more involved in the work of the KCDP, you can become a member of the KCDP County Committee. These are the voting members who elect officers, make operational decisions, endorse candidates, etc. We’re pleased to have more than 80 County Committee members, and that number is growing. 

Becoming a voting member requires a few steps. To explain the process, we developed this nifty visual: 

Questions about your KCDP or Michigan Democratic Party membership status? Email info@kzoodems.com.

Update on the Proposal 2 lawsuits

By Lee Kirk

In the 2018 general election, Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment that established an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to draw Congressional and state legislative districts. By taking the power to draw district boundaries away from the legislature, the voters restored the original intent of the drafters of the 1963 Michigan Constitution and ended the partisan gerrymandering that made Michigan one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.

Last summer, two federal district court lawsuits were filed against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, challenging the constitutionality of the constitutional amendments enacted when Proposal 2 was approved. 

The Michigan Attorney General is defending the lawsuit, and Voters Not Politicians, the group that drafted and led the campaign to get Proposal 2 approved, has joined the Attorney General in defending the voters’ approval of Proposal 2. 

Plaintiffs filed motions for preliminary injunctions, asking the court to bar the Secretary of State from implementing the provisions of Proposal 2. These motions were denied, with the court holding that Plaintiffs had not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of the case. Plaintiffs filed an interlocutory appeal in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. An interlocutory appeal is one that is filed before the district court has made a final decision. 

Because the implementation of Proposal 2 has already begun—the soliciting and processing applications from voters interested in serving on the Commission is well underway—there is urgency in getting the cases resolved quickly.  On November 27, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion in the appeals court asking that the appeal be expedited, and that the court issue a final decision no later than April 30, 2020. The defendants agreed with the Plaintiffs’ request, but by year’s end, the court had yet to rule on this request. 

Ken Hosner

He was hooked when…

“I got involved in the 1972 campaign. We were very active against the Vietnam War, so I worked hard for George McGovern.” 

Why volunteer?

“I want to keep involved with local Dem politics and keep the office looking professional both inside and out. The things I have done are endless: setting up the office and making sure it has needed supplies, painting, gardening, running errands, serving as a poll watcher, driving people to the polls. I have supplied the office with campaign pins for every election since 1972. The KCDP gets a percentage of sales.”   

Something you may not know about Ken…

“When I’m not active in politics, I am a huge fan of WMU football and basketball and also the Chicago Cubs. Along with my wife, Cathy, I’ve been active in a national organization, American Political Items Collectors. We have run the Michigan show for 29 of its 52 years. At our last national meeting in 2018 in Springfield, Illinois, we were both inducted into the APIC Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the organization.” 

KCDP’s Wrap-it-Up! gatherings brought many first-time volunteers to the KCDP office on two afternoons in December to raise funds, enjoy each other’s company, and spend time in what was surely the most festively decorated Dem office in the state, thanks to Pam Gilchrist!  

A huge contingent of KCDP Dems joined the Michigan Sixth District Democrats’ “Vote to Impeach Trump” rally in front of Congressman Upton’s office in downtown Kalamazoo on December 17. Afterwards, many protesters carried their “Remove Trump” and “Retire Upton” signs across Portage Street to join a second Trump protest that was part of nationwide demonstrations on the eve of the House impeachment vote.   

Many thanks to Betsy Rice, Barb Hammon and Margy Belchak for organizing KCDP’s annual Holiday Party on December 18. And another huge thank you to the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 357 for donating its building for the event!

See our website calendar for details about KCDP events.

Grand Re-opening of our campaign headquarters, Wednesday, January 8, 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the KCDP office, 3254 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Join us for beer and wine, light appetizers, and a short program at 6 pm. 

Redistricting Commission Application Workshop – Kalamazoo, sponsored by Voters Not Politicians, Thursday, January 9, 5:30 – 7 pm, YWCA, 353 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Get more info here

KCDP’s monthly “Third Thursday” meeting, January 16, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, 5225 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49001. Speaker (TBA) from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, with business meeting and officer election by County Committee members to follow. Free of charge; no reservation necessary. Order dinner, just a beverage, or nothing at all, but do join us! Questions? Email info@kzoodems.com.

2020 Women’s March hosted by YWCA Kalamazoo, Saturday, January 18, 11 am – 1:30 pm. Outdoor “march” beginning at 11 am at Bronson Park (200 S. Rose St., downtown Kalamazoo) followed by speaker presentations inside First Congregational Church, 345 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

Text Bank Training hosted by the Michigan Sixth District Democrats, Saturday, January 25, 10 am – 12pm, Paw Paw District Library, 609 W. Michigan Ave., Paw Paw, MI 49079. Bring your laptop and a friend to the next CD6 meeting to learn TextOut, a new texting platform that MDP now provides to county parties. Get complete info here. RSVP to sleonard@michigandems.com.

Shardae Chambers

“The reason why I am a Democrat is because this party supports my core values and principles. 

I believe everyone should be treated equally no matter your race, nationality, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. I believe everyone should have financial security, not just wealthy businesses. I believe we all should have a clean and  safe environment. I believe in working together as a team and helping support one another. I believe the Democratic party represents this and beyond. Our party fights so that we can all win together. This is why I am a Democrat.” 

Hitting Reply

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