I know. It's been pretty heavy lately on this blog. I have two more, non-partisan posts to make this week about voting, and then I'm moving back to my regularly scheduled program. For those that are sick of my soapbox, you can return on Wednesday for cooking or later in the week for... whatever.
I just can't sleep, am eating the wrong foods (my way of dealing with stress), and am totally wired about this election. I feel that I need to do my part, in whatever way I can, to ensure voter participation. This country simply will not work without an INFORMED and ACTIVE voter base. Democracies can't work without active participation. So here goes, back onto the soapbox:
As citizens of the U.S., we have an inalienable right to vote for our representatives, be they city council members or the President of the United States.
We also, sadly, have a long history of various interests trying to take away those rights by misinformation.
Why would anyone do that? Demographics.
If a party determines that a particular voting demographic won't work for their candidate or cause, they may try to put up road blocks to stop that group from voting.
The group that has suffered the most from these road blocks over the years is the African Americans. This will be true in the upcoming election, and other groups that will be challenged will be students and Latinos.
Each group will be challenged on different bases. For example, in Michigan, voter challengers will be stationed at the polls with foreclosure lists. They plan to challenge any voter whose home has been foreclosed. Why does this target a particular group?
From an article by Eartha Jane Melzer in The Michigan Messenger:
"a full sixty per cent of sub-prime loans in Michigan went to African American families and that thus they bear a far higher rate of foreclosures."
The fact of the matter is that you CAN vote whether or not your home has been foreclosed. You just need your picture ID to match your voter registration address.
Here are some Myths and Facts about voting in Michigan, compiled by
Jason are why (these especially apply to college students, but they also apply to folks who have recently moved from out of state):
Myth: You may have heard that registering to vote at school will affect your health insurance or your car insurance.
Fact: Insurance companies don't care where you're registered to vote.
Myth: You may have heard something about not being able to register at school because it is not your true "home."
Fact: In Michigan, you have the choice of registering at your parents' house or at school.
Myth: You may have heard that you can't register to vote at school if the address on your Michigan driver's license is your parents' address.
Fact: You can register to vote at school, and your Michigan driver's license records will be automatically updated with your new address. The Secretary of State should send you a sticker with your school address. You MUST put that sticker on the back of your license and then it will match your voter registration address and you won't be challenged on Election Day.
Myth: You may have heard you won't be able to vote this fall if you're away from home at school and this is your first time voting.
Fact: There are two ways first-time Michigan voters can vote: you can register to vote at school and vote in person on Election Day, or you can go home sometime this fall and register in person or request an absentee ballot in person and vote absentee.
Registering at school is the easiest way to vote.
Myth: You may have heard something about needing to show a Michigan driver's license with the address where you're voting on Election Day.
Fact: You can show a student ID, a passport, or even an out-of-state license on Election Day, or if you dont' have a photo ID, you can sign a statement saying that and vote anyway.
If you are a convicted felon, you are STILL ALLOWED TO VOTE IF YOU HAVE SERVED YOUR SENTENCE. Here are the specifics:
This information focuses on voting, and assumes that one is registered to vote or able to register, unless otherwise stated.
You are legally allowed to vote if:
· You have been charged with a crime, but not convicted and sentenced. This is true whether or not you are in jail. If you have been convicted but not sentenced, you may still vote.
· You have been released from confinement after serving a sentence.
· You are on probation or parole.
You may not vote if:
· You have been convicted and sentenced for a crime, and are in confinement as a result of that conviction and sentencing. Whether the conviction and confinement are for a state or federal crime makes no difference, nor does it matter if the conviction and sentence are in another state.
· You are under house arrest, on a tether, or in a work release program. These are all considered “confinement” by the Michigan Department of prisons (Department of “Corrections” in current doublespeak) for the purpose of voting., This has recently been questioned among elections officials, and apparently there has been no Attorney General opinion or court ruling on it, which leaves it susceptible to legal challenge.
Note that one’s previous voter registration is not canceled by confinement following from a conviction and sentence.
Homeless people can also vote in Michigan. They can obtain absentee ballots and registration through local homeless shelters.
From an article by Eric T. Campbell in The Michigan Citizen:
"Cheryl P. Johnson of the Coalition On Temporary Shelter told the Michigan Citizen that the 13,000 homeless in Detroit also have the opportunity to vote through absentee ballots.
COTS has four locations in the Detroit area which house homeless citizens in transition and permanent residents who may suffer from physical disabilities.
The city clerk’s office has traditionally had a presence at the shelters during elections to register voters and promote awareness, Johnson told the Michigan Citizen.
'We definitely focus on getting people knowledge about their voting rights,' Johnson says.
Johnson also said that local and national candidates have campaigned at temporary and permanent shelters in an effort to address the problem of homelessness and the people that have been victims of it.
'We’ve always had that kind of open door policy to allow nominees to come and speak.'
COTS is located at 26 Peterboro and can be reached at 313-831-3777."
For full information on your rights in terms of picture identification and making SURE you won't be challenged at the polls, please go to:
this site developed by the Michigan Secretary of State office.
If you print out the pdf file from this site, read it carefully and bring it with you to the polls and a vote challenger tries to challenge you, show the challenger and the voting clerk the document and point out the section that pertains to your particular situation. The vote challengers are relying on scare tactics and they do NOT expect you to be prepared. If you are prepared and have backing from the Secretary of State Office documents, it's unlikely the challenge will continue.
Do you need to register to vote? You can register to vote ANY TIME up to October 5th, 2008. If you need to register, the quickest and easiest way is go to:
This is a site that is paid for by Barack Obama for President, but you can register using that site NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE VOTING FOR. There is NO place on that site where you need to post your political affiliation.
This site can be used by any citizen of the United States who wants to vote.