Benzie Dem Headquarters
Saturday March 16th
Mark Brewer, former Michigan
Democratic Party Chairman, gave
the group an update on recently
passed Proposition 2 (Non-political
Gerrymandering), and Proposition 3
(Voting Rights Expansion). Mark has
been involved in the anti-gerrymandering
trial that will be decided soon.
Every Democratic vote in Michigan is just as important as any other. Macomb County votes are not more important than Benzie County votes.
There was a record number of votes cast in 2018, 4.3 million. This is almost as many as in a presidential year. Gretchen Whitmer received more votes than Hillary Clinton did in Macomb county.
Mark thinks Gretchen Whitmer is off to an ambitious start. Will the Republicans actually allow her to succeed? The Budget is a major issue.
He said he has had more conversations with the attorney general’s team in 2 months than he had in the 16 years previous to this year. Dana Nessel is keeping her campaign promises.
He believes that Jocelyn Benson is the perfect person to implement Props 2 and 3. She has already started to make it work.
The State Boards of the universities and the State Department of Education are making changes because of more Democrats having been elected. John Engler is gone because of the new members of the MSU Board.
Update on Proposition 2:
VNP did the impossible by getting a complicated proposition on the ballot with a team of all volunteers.
The commission is to redraw districts for the 2022 election.
There will be a chance to volunteer and some political input to choose the commissioners.
The commission should be ready by the Fall of 2020.
There will be dozens of hearings before and when the districts will be proposed. It will not be behind closed doors. There will be hearings all over the state.
The Commissioners will be paid and have staff for advice.
Some of the requirements for districts are:
Contiguous (touching) by land, not lake.
Protect minority rights
Keep communities of interest together - ethnic, economic for example
No partisan gerrymandering
Respect county and city boundaries.
Mark warned: DEVOS FAMILY AND OTHERS WILL NOT STOP TRYING TO BEND THINGS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. The Republicans are still fighting the Arizona commission by impeaching the commission, not funding them and 2 Supreme Court cases.
Update on Proposition 3:
There was one attempt in the Lame Duck session to mess with the way to register to vote but it was not effective.
These are the biggest changes since the 1950’s. In the 1990’s we were leaders in the proper way to run elections. Now we are way down at the bottom of the list of states.
Straight Party voting is now part of the Michigan Constitution and cannot be messed with by legislators.
Now there is automatic voter registration if you interact with the state by getting a license or registering a car.
You can register up to 15 days before an election and even up to the day of the election with proof of residency. You can register and vote absentee at the same time.
Clerks are required to be open 8 hours on either the Saturday or Sunday before election day. They can be open more. This may cost more but it is worth it.
There is no reason required to vote by absentee ballot, but you do have to request it.
There are now mandatory audits and the absentee ballots must be properly secured.
If you mail your ballot, leave lots of time. It must be received by election day.
Mr. Brewer was extremely excited about the changes that will make voting in Michigan easier and more equitable.