In what some deem “JFK’s last words,” former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, penned these words for a speech he planned to give at a banquet in Austin, Texas on the evening of November 22, 1963 (which was the same day he was assassinated):
Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a Party is not to our Party alone, but to the nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.
So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.
Observations of a Democratic Poll Challenger
This picture was from a September Democratic Ice Cream Social where Governor Gretchen Whitmer was speaking. Governor Whitmer is posed between Ellen K. Halter, PEG Newsletter contributor and Democratic Poll Challenger and husband, Jeffrey Halter.
A personal narrative, by Ellen K. Halter
On November 2, I worked as a Democratic Poll Challenger in Chelsea, Michigan. It recently suffered major political upheaval when the police ticketed many Black Lives Matter protesters. The controversial actions of the police brought out an unusually high turnout for the mayoral and councilmen election contests, nearly 50% of registered voters, an unusually high percentage for an off-year election.
Although this was a nominally nonpartisan election, Jane Pacheco, the candidate for mayor and three people running for city council were endorsed by the Democratic Party (WCDP). Pacheco won over Republican-backed Mayor Pro-Tem Cheri Albertson.
Beginning at 7 am, only my husband I served as Democratic Poll Challengers. We were there to ensure that the election was fair to all voters. Later, another Democrat, Janet Cannon, joined us. We faced two Republican challengers who’d been instructed to get the names of all voters so they could phone fellow Republicans who hadn’t yet voted and beg them to come to the polls. Most of the day they received guidance from a more senior Republican advisor.
All the paid election clerks seemed competent and informed of election laws and procedures. When a woman arrived wearing an item in favor of one of the candidates, the head clerk required her to remove it as campaign materials are not allowed within a poll site. A frequent problem was the voters who’d lost, disregarded, or never received their absentee ballots. However, the clerks knew exactly how to handle this scenario.
The biggest problem occurred early in the day when an Asian voter expressed intense anxiety that he had to vote under the close scrutiny of the Republican Challengers. The head clerk responded to his complaint and ordered the GOP Poll Challengers to back off to six feet behind the clerks. Janet Cannon concluded that a voter should complain if she feels her ballot is being compromised. Later in the day, the head clerk, Marcia White, with our full support and encouragement, repeatedly scolded the GOP Poll Challengers for coming too close to where the clerks were processing voters. This close GOP scrutiny made the other clerks very uneasy and impeded their task by casting shadows on their computer screen. As White put it, the GOP had the right to see the names of the voters but they evidenced “a lack of respect for another person’s space and body.”
At the end of the day, mayoral candidate Jane Pacheco and the team of three WCDP-endorsed city council candidates won 65% of the vote to defeat Cheri Albertson.
The long election day was otherwise blessedly boring to us Democratic Poll Challengers. However, we witnessed the persistence and assertiveness of the Republican Poll Challengers when confronted and scolded by the head clerk. They were well-organized, arriving and leaving in shifts, two to three at a time. Democrats should take lessons from their behavior and begin recruiting Challengers for the midterm election in a year. Our task may be tedious but it is vital to maintaining our democracy.
Veterans Week 2021
Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11. If you would like to interact with veterans and listen to some awesome panel discussions, U-M’s Veteran and Military Services division is offering free events.
Yousef and You virtual coffee hours
Rep. Yousef Rabhi, 53rd House district: firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 373-2577. https://housedems.com/yousef-rabhi/.Typically discussions are 10 am on the 4th Saturday of the month and 6 pm on the 2nd Monday of the month. Click to register:
Visit the PEG website to view the comprehensive listing of Upcoming Events!
Things to do
Proposed rule for DACA – Comments are due November 29
On September 28, 2021, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services published a proposed rule for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to protect the program from future legal challenges. According to United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country, the rule would be helpful but falls short of laying out a pathway to citizenship and ensuring work permits. There is a 60-day comment period on Regulations.gov. (Be sure to read the rules for comments, including, for example, not using scripted sentences.) United We Dream encourages comments which: support and expand eligibility for DACA which provides deportation protection and work permits for nearly 600,000 Dreamers, advocate for a clear pathway to citizenship so Dreamers can live in this country without the stress of biannual renewals and fear of deportation, include work authorization into the DACA protections, to ensure DACA recipients aren’t blocked from obtaining work permits in the future. According to the NY Times, a federal judge in Texas ruled in July that the DACA program was unlawful because the Obama administration “had not taken the proper steps in establishing the program, running afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.” DHS has consequently continued to accept renewals but has not approved any new applications for the program. This new rule would go into effect after the administration considers public input during the 60-day comment period.
ACTION: Submit your comments in support of DACA to Regulations.gov by November 29, 2021!
Things to read, watch, and listen to
Children ages 5 to 11 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
“Being able to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine brings us hope and also an additional opportunity to urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated,” said MDHHS Chief Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian.
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