Last week’s election was an incredibly historic one for Michigan. All three proposals on the ballot were passed.
The first legalizes cannabis and intends to regulate it similar to alcohol.
The second establishes a group of four Democrats, four Republicans and five non-partisans to redraw voting districts, which will prevent gerrymandering.
The final proposal creates many changes to how we vote in Michigan, which will make the process more convenient and less confusing.
I’m really excited that the third proposal passed, because it will make it easier for groups who have generally had a hard time, like young people, the working class and people with disabilities, to vote.
Citizens will automatically be registered through the Secretary of State unless they decline.
Citizens will also be able to register to vote up to 15 days before an election by mail or in person.
Registration up to and on Election Day will also be allowed with proof of residency.
For many young adults, registering to vote can be confusing, especially with all the deadlines.
It can be really easy for a freshly turned 18-year-old voter to forget to register in time or misunderstand what they need to do and find out too late.
The proposal will also allow absentee ballots for any reason. Up until now, Michigan voters have had to explain why they will be unavailable to vote in their county of residence.
I’ve always felt confused getting my absentee ballots, because for 2016 as well
as this election, I’ve been at school, but I’m registered to vote at my permanent address, which is my hometown two hours away.
I’ve always chosen “I will be out of town” for my reason, and I have received my absentee ballot without question.
But there isn’t a good choice for many others who may not fit into the predefined cookie- cutter categories.
For example, someone may work incredibly long shifts at their job, which prevents them from making it to the polls.
Others may have a long commute to work that takes up extra time in their day and keeps them from voting.
Likewise, people who have disabilities may have a hard time arranging transportation to make it out to vote.
By allowing people an absentee ballot for any reason, I believe many more people will have access to voting.
Proposal three will also ensure that military members stationed or deployed in other countries will get their ballots in time for the election.
Additionally, election results will now be audited to make sure they’re correct.
The proposal will also bring back the option of straight-party voting, which was not an option in Michigan for the 2018 primary or general election.
I’m really proud to start seeing some changes for both Michigan and the country. While we are still a long way from where we need to be, we’re getting there.
I’m finally starting to have hope.
With that being said, here’s to the 2020 election and even bigger changes.