Michigan’s voting age could be lowered to 16 if lawmakers pass a bill that was introduced this week. This bill, sponsored by Senator David Knezek and Representative Yousef Rabhi, follows an outpouring of teen advocacy after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida in February. The legislators hope to give teenagers a voice in the political process– after all, they say, the political process impacts 16 year olds. “We allow 16-year-olds to go off and get jobs and pay taxes, but we fail to allow them to exercise their voice come election time,” Knezek told the Detroit Free Press. “Young people are setting aside their differences and identifying issues they think need to change. And they can do everything to get that change except vote.”
Articles about voting issues in Michigan.
The Michigan Supreme Court is about to have a political hot mess dumped on its lap. The court will decide whether voters will vote on an overhaul of how Michigan draws legislative and congressional districts. The group Voters Not Politicians has submitted some 425,000 petition signatures to get the question about amending the state constitution before voters in November. Currently, in Michigan, redistricting is done by the state Legislature. It’s been controlled by Republicans for the last twenty years. The Voters Not Politicians campaign wants the job to go to an independent commission.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said new election equipment and millions of dollars worth of federal election security grants will help to further protect the state’s elections systems this fall. With the statewide primary election being held in August, residents should be aware that for the first time in 12 years, every voter will be using new election equipment designed with added security measures including optical-scan ballot tabulators, accessible features for voters with disabilities as well as upgraded election-management and reporting software. In Oakland County, voters will be using election equipment supplied by Hart Intercivic, a Texas-based company that signed a 10-year contract with the county and 10 other counties around the state in 2017.
As local clerks finalize ballots for the statewide primary, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today detailed how new voting equipment, $11 million in new federal security grants and the extensive preparations her office has made will better protect Michigan’s elections system for the 2018 election cycle. “Most importantly, every voter across Michigan still will use a good, old-fashioned paper ballot to mark their choices,” Johnson said three weeks before the August primary ballots will be sent out. “Then they’ll feed the ballot into a new next-generation voting machine designed with security in mind. But buying all new election equipment isn’t all we’ve done to safeguard our election system.”
A group trying change the way Michigan draws political boundaries rallied Thursday at the Capitol and urged state officials to put the proposal on the November ballot despite a legal challenge. The Michigan Bureau of Elections said Tuesday that Voters Not Politicians turned in an estimated 394,092 signatures, more than the 315,654 required, for a ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission that would redo congressional and legislative maps every ten years instead of lawmakers. The Board of State Canvassers was set to consider certification Thursday but on Wednesday cancelled the meeting, citing ongoing litigation. Organizers and volunteers came to the Capitol anyway.
Michigan lawmakers must disclose communications with outside groups and some internal documents subpoenaed by attorneys in a case alleging Republicans “gerrymandered” political boundaries created in 2012, a federal judge ruled Wednesday. The order from Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood could offer a rare glimpse behind the curtain of the Michigan Legislature, which is not subject to public records requests under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Attorney Mark Brewer, former head of the Michigan Democratic Party, subpoenaed nearly 100 lawmakers, staff and legislative bodies in the case, which alleges the GOP created congressional and legislative maps that intentionally diminished the power of Democratic voters.
Michigan: Judges say gerrymandering lawsuit can proceed with challenges to individual districts | Michigan Radio
A panel of three judges ruled on Wednesday a gerrymandering lawsuit raised by members of Michigan’s League of Women Voters and several other Democrats will proceed. The suit was filed in December against the Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who is the chief election officer of the state. It challenges the congressional and state legislative maps, which the plaintiffs say unfairly benefit Republicans. The Secretary of State’s office moved to have the case dismissed, saying there were no grounds for a statewide case. The judges agreed the challengers don’t have standing for a statewide case. But they say the case can move forward if someone from each of the 162 districts in the state challenges their individual district’s boundaries.
Michigan: Group hoping to end gerrymandering in Michigan faces challenges while waiting for approval | WXYZ
Voters Not Politicians, the group hoping to end gerrymandering in Michigan, is facing more challenges while they also wait on approval from the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. Last week, the group called for the state board to certify their proposal to be on the ballot. The group also said last week they hoped the petition would appear on Tuesday’s agenda. When the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting came down, the only consideration on the agenda was for the petition filed by Protecting Michigan Taxpayers. Led by a group of volunteers collecting signatures, Voters Not Politicians collected over 425,000 signatures and submitted them to the Michigan Bureau of Elections in December. They needed about 316,000, equal to about 10 percent of the state’s population.
A group with ties to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is challenging a 2018 ballot initiative that aims to end political gerrymandering by empowering an independent commission to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts. Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution filed a challenge Thursday with the state elections board, announcing that it had also sued in the state appeals court a day before. It contends ballot committee Voters Not Politicians is seeking to amend so many parts of the state constitution that a constitutional convention is required, and that the proposal does not list all of the sections of the constitution that would be abrogated.
Political candidates who lose big wouldn’t be able to seek a recount under legislation nearing the Michigan governor’s desk. The Republican-led Senate voted 27-8 Wednesday for legislation upping the standards for election recounts to require that aggrieved candidates prove they have a reasonable chance of victory. The House also voted 93-16 to pass legislation to double losing candidates’ fees to recount votes if they lost by more than 5 percentage points. Both bills will soon go to Gov. Rick Snyder. Currently, candidates must allege that they believe they are aggrieved due to fraud or mistake to petition for a recount and are required to pay the state $125 per precinct.