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voting

A person marking a ballot.
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit unveiled new digital voting machines to volunteers this weekend after years of faulty machines that slowed down the voting process.

The machines are a part of a statewide effort to replace all voting systems by 2018. Voting machines in Michigan have not been replaced in over a decade.

Detroit ordered 700 new machines, which will be installed before the August primaries.

Jocelyn Benson stood in line for two hours waiting to vote last November, holding her five-month-old son Aiden all the while. “I had to put him down and change his diaper twice,” she told me, smiling. Benson lives and votes in Detroit, where there are often too few voting places and machines for large turnout elections.

Courtesy of Sandra Stahl

The Next Idea

 

When Sandra Stahl works on civic engagement in Detroit, there’s one question she hears again and again.

“Where are all the young people?”

 

 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Michigan School Reform/Redesign Office recently released its latest list of schools that are under-performing. There are 38 schools on this year's list that could be closed, mostly in Detroit. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Detroit's school district would be able to survive such a large round of closures.

They also discuss what role U.S. Secretary of Education nominee Betsy Devos plays in the state's school closure discussion, concerns over President Donald Trump's order to freeze all grant programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a move to bring new voting machines to Michigan.

people in voting booths
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

State senators are making voting laws an issue this year. A mostly Democratic group of senators has introduced a set of bills they say will make voting easier for everyone.

One of the bills would allow people to preregister to vote when they turn 16 – as long as they have a driver’s license or a state ID card.

Democratic Senator Steve Bieda is a bill sponsor. Calling the legislation innovative, he said the state needs to keep up with modern times when it comes to voting. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than a decade since Michigan last replaced its voting machines, the state is spending up to $82 million on new voting machines over the next two years.

“You know, they’re computers, right?” says Chris Thomas, the Michigan elections director. “And like any kind of hardware and software, they’ve got a shelf life.

“It’s pretty standard across the country that 10 years is when you start reaching that outer limit and start seeing a few more problems on Election Day and whatnot.”

A Minute with Mike
Vic Reyes

Hello, my fellow Michiganeers, it’s your friendly neighbor-radio hood Mike Blank. Just in case you’ve been trapped in an abandoned copper mine in the Upper Peninsula since November and you haven’t heard, we’re about to get a new president.

I try not to focus on political issues during our brief time together. However, the one thing that stood out about this election to me was the staggering number of people who did not vote. Roughly 47% of registered voters stayed away from their local school gymnasium, church, or community center on Election Day. And it wasn’t because of the funky smell.

According to Halderman, pink counties have a paper trail. Blue counties do not.
Image courtesy of J. Alex Halderman

A blog post in New York Magazine has been sweeping around the internet because it calls into question the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Polling station sign
user jaina / Creative Commons


Many Americans were stunned and blindsided by Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.

That’s largely because months and months of polls pointed to a defeat of our new president-elect.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined us today to talk about those polls.

“Polling has a lot of problems. It’s just not able to model the electorate successfully, and that seems to be especially true in Michigan,” Gorchow said. “It just flat out failed to model the African-American turnout correctly, it failed to model the rural turnout correctly."

The late Theodore H. White, the prose poet of our national elections, wrote what remains the most lyrical and magical evocation of the meaning of this day.

“It was invisible, as always. They had begun to vote in the villages of New Hampshire at midnight, as they always do … all of this is invisible, for it is the essence of the act that as it happens, it is a mystery in which millions of people each fit one fragment of a total secret together, without knowing the shape of the whole.

Courtesy Michigan Radio

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that today is Election Day. Voters today will decide on a President, members of Congress, state legislators and various ballot proposals.

With our votes having so much weight, some Michigan residents posted about the day on social media.

Sign directing voters to polling place
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 cropped

After a grueling, seemingly endless campaign season, it looks like we might actually make it to the other side of Election Day 2016. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I round-up some races to watch in Michigan. We also discuss whether there's potential for trouble at the polls and the slew of presidential candidates and surrogates who visited the state this week.


A list of 4 Election Day "Dos"... and 2 "Don'ts"

Nov 4, 2016
Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This year, more than 7 million Michigan residents are registered to vote. That’s a record number for the state.

So, now that you’re registered, what should you expect on Election Day?

Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Election Day is almost here at last, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

There’s been a lot of talk about poll challengers and poll watchers, and that’s an issue for the folks who are doing all the work on polling day.

Chris Thomas, director of elections at Michigan's Secretary of State, sat down with us today to talk through some of the questions we still have as November 8 approaches.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Justice Department will keep a close eye on things in Michigan this election day.

But according to Detroit’s U.S. Attorney, that’s largely business as usual.

Barbara McQuade has appointed Dawn Ison, a “very experienced” prosecutor from her office’s public corruption unit, to be the District Election Officer.

Ison will “be on call” all day to take any complaints of potential federal election violations, from potential fraud to complaints of voter intimidation. She also has a direct line to the Justice Department in Washington if the need arises.

Postcards like this one were mailed out by the Michigan Democratic Party to urge voters to mail in absentee ballots.
Paul Kanan / Michigan Democratic Party

The Michigan Democratic Party wants to make sure all voters who got absentee ballots turn them in on time. But some recipients have been confused.

Several voters have called their county clerk's office to ask about postcards, which were only sent to absentee voters who have yet to mail their ballots in.

Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Paul Kanan says the postcards were never meant to confuse anybody, but instead, to encourage them to vote on time.

“We just want to make sure that everybody who wants to vote does vote and has their vote counted,” Kanan says.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims there will be “large-scale voter fraud” this election. But election officials say they’re confident that will not be the case in Michigan. 

“We want to assure everyone, regardless of their political ideology or their partisan affiliation that their voice will be heard on election day and their voice will be counted,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Woodhams says this isn’t the first election he’s fielded these concerns, and guesses it won’t be the last.

Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

How much voice should people have about a development proposed for their neighborhood?

When a developer gets tax breaks or public funding, should the people living around that project get something?

Those questions are at the heart of a pair of a proposals in Detroit.The two competing community benefit ordinances, or CBOs, are on the November ballot.

Courtesy Vadon / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

At last night's Presidential debate, Donald Trump once again highlighted his concerns about voter fraud. 

a pair of feet and chalk spell the word vote on a sidewalk
User Theresa Thompson / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Updated 10/12/16 at 11:45 am to include redacted complaint and note from attorney.

A Kalamazoo man was wrongly told by the Secretary of State’s office that he was not a legal U.S. citizen and therefore was ineligible to vote, according to the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. 

Managing attorney Susan Reed said the young man, who doesn’t want to be named, was born in Liberia and became a U.S. citizen when his American parents adopted him 10 years ago.

He turned 18 earlier this year, registered to vote, and cast a ballot in the state primary.

But when he and his dad went to their local SOS branch to get him a state ID, a staffer told him that he was not, in fact, a legal U.S. citizen – and therefore shouldn’t have voted.

8 questions and 8 answers about voting in Michigan

Oct 4, 2016
Courtesy H2Woah! / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We're inching closer to the last day that you can register to vote in Michigan. As we near the final day, we want to make sure that everyone has the knowledge about where to vote.

Given that, here are 8 questions you may have about registering to vote and their answers.  

1) When's the last day that I can register to vote?

Campaign signs
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People complain about political ads, robo-calls interrupting dinner, and mailboxes full of campaign literature.

But there’s another sign of election season: political yard signs. Candidates love them. Political consultants say they’re a waste of time and money.

A person marking a ballot.
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The number of registered voters in Michigan this year is lower than in previous presidential elections based on the data collected through August.

According to the Michigan Secretary of State, there are currently 7,394,663 registered voters in the state, which is fewer than the past two election years. There were 7,470,764 in 2008 and 7,454,553 in 2012.  

Auchter's Art
JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

Listen, if you got yourself a big ol’ pot of roiling outrage going right now, I’m not the one to tell you to take it off the heat.

It’s election season and who am I to talk you out of the delicious indulgence of indignation? I’m an editorial cartoonist, for crying out loud!

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Russia has been accused of hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee. 

So, could Russia or some other country or group hack U.S. voting machines in some states in an attempt to change an election?

The answer, according to a group of determined computer scientists featured in a recent article by Ben Wofford of Politico, is yes.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Just 1 in 5 Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s actually close to a record high turnout for this kind of primary.

“There were a number of highly-contested congressional primaries across the state, so that helped drive interest,” says Fred Woodhams, spokesperson from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.

polling place sign
Michael Dorausch / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You can vote a straight ticket ballot in November. Maybe.

A federal judge is blocking the Michigan law that banned straight party voting. 

But, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will appeal the decision, probably early next week.

The U.S. District Judge who's blocking the law, Gershwin Drain, wrote an opinion which indicated this would present a disproportionate burden on African American's right to vote. 

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of new state House bills would remove political party vignettes from the November ballot.

Vignettes are those little pictures that appear next to a party's name on the ballot.

Michigan's voting machines are aging fast

Mar 8, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Information freeze thaws after injunction on election law

Feb 13, 2016
State law specifically says people without photo IDs, can sign an affidavit - and still vote
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An information freeze for local and school officials is thawing after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on a new Michigan election law that critics called a gag order.

The injunction came as a relief to many local and school officials fearful of legal repercussions for distributing information about upcoming ballot proposals. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation into law this year.

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