voting rights

The court ruling that put Detroit Congressman John Conyers back on the primary ballot is also a victory for voting rights advocates.

A federal judge recently declared a Michigan law that required petition circulators to be registered voters unconstitutional.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office has now opted not to appeal.

TexasGOPvote.com / Flickr

In its decision announced this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday "effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965," according to the New York Times.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the court said Congress is relying on outdated voting data in subjecting areas to federal oversight. More from the NYTimes:

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will probably still need to affirm their citizenship before they cast ballots.   That's despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling today.

The nation’s highest court struck down an Arizona law that required individuals to prove their citizenship status when they registered to vote.

Michigan requires voters to ‘affirm’ their citizenship status, but not necessarily provide proof.

user eyspahn / Flickr

A couple of recent columns in Bridge Magazine caught our eye and we wanted to bring the writers together to share their thoughts with you.

The subject: exercising our right to vote.

From coast-to-coast, too many Americans sit on the sidelines when it comes to Election Day.

And, looking at the City of Detroit, with its state-appointed emergency manager running things, Detroiter Karen Dumas believes that Detroiters have paid a price for what she calls a "lack of diligence."

She spelled out her thoughts in a recent Bridge column.

And Bridge staff writer Nancy Derringer reports on a group in Detroit trying to "make voting cool," especially among the young people who are starting to move into the city.

Listen to the full interview above.

via wikipedia

The Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are the latest activists to jump behind the fight to Michigan’s emergency manager law.

Sharpton was in Detroit as opponents filed a federal lawsuit today.

Critics maintain that Michigan’s emergency manager law violates both state and federal law by stripping local voting rights in cities and school districts with emergency managers.

And they also argue it’s a racial issue, with black voters disproportionately affected.

Voting booth
suttonhoo.blogspot.com

The presidential election is still a month away, but in many states, early voting is already underway.

Today, Ohio opened the polls to early voters.

It’s one of 34 states that have some kind of early voting system.

Michigan, however, is not one of those states.

Last week, I went to my local city hall. I was feeling good. It was my daughter’s 18th birthday. I helped her register to vote - civic pride for a dad.

After that, my mood darkened.

Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.
MI SOS

We are now 47 days away from the November general election.

Here in Michigan, the political races have some competition in the headlines with "the box": the box that you're supposed to tick off to declare that, yes, you are an American citizen.

As Rick Pluta reported yesterday, a coalition of voters' rights groups has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from including a citizenship question on Michigan's November ballots.

Kary L. Moss, executive director for the ACLU of Michigan, said in a press release that Secretary Johnson was "not above the law."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Clearing up voter confusion

"The ACLU of Michigan is trying to clear up confusion about who can vote in the upcoming November election. ACLU attorney Michael Steinberg says the Secretary of State's office created some of that confusion. Voters in Michigan are given applications that ask them to check a box stating they are U.S. citizens. Steinberg says people do not have to check that box in order to vote, although they do have to be citizens. He says people can also vote if they don't have a driver's license or other state-issued photo identification. The ACLU has a voters' rights card on its website that people can print off and take with them to the polls. The website also helps students figure out how to register and where they should vote," Tracy Samilton reports.

Donation of prescription drugs

"The Michigan Senate plans a hearing on House-backed legislation that would allow collection and redistribution of prescription medication. The Senate Health Policy Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to discuss the measures that would allow medical facilities to donate unused drugs for distribution to needy patients. The bills also would require that drugs donated to pharmacies participating in the redistribution program have never left medical facilities or oversight to ensure safety. The legislation also would require participating pharmacies to become disposal sites for excess drugs. Most other states have enacted similar laws," the AP reports.

Legislation moves forward to require American flags and the pledge in all public school classrooms

The Michigan House has passes legislation to require all public school classrooms to have an American flag displayed and allow students an opportunity to recite the pledge of allegiance. The House Fiscal Agency says 43 other states already require recitation of the pledge.

Some Michigan voters were wrongly turned away from the polls last Tuesday after refusing to affirm their US citizenship.

But some other voters—and an elections watchdog group—say they also encountered problems with misguided enforcement of the state’s voter ID law.

Citizenship question easiest one to answer when I vote

Aug 10, 2012

When I voted on Tuesday, there were several things I needed to know. 

The toughest thing was figuring out who to vote for among all of the candidates for several obscure township boards and lower-level county offices.  These people do important things, but their work is almost entirely below the radar-level of most media.  Their names, and even the offices they hold, are relatively unknown.  It is sometimes hard to even know, without help from the ballot, whether I’m voting for just one candidate, or “two of five” names, or even all four of just four names on the ballot.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some voting rights advocates say Michigan’s emergency manager law represents “the death of democracy” in the state.

So they symbolically laid democracy to rest at mock a funeral service in Detroit Monday.

The “funeral” included music and eulogies of sorts--all delivered from behind an American flag-draped coffin. A real hearse waited outside to take the coffin away.

Some might see this kind of display as a bit much. But organizers insist it’s totally appropriate, given what they see as a relentless assault on voting rights in Michigan.