Meanwhile in Michigan…

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PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 294

December 9, 2022

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Recount on Prop 2 and 3 is Starting – Volunteer Observers are Requested

Right-wing groups based in election denial are behind a partial recount of Prop 2 and Prop 3, two constitutional amendments overwhelmingly approved in the midterms. Republican canvasser Tony Daunt said “This is nonsense. I am sick of having to have this discussion with people, but it is your right to petition for a recount.” (MLive) According to a report by WNDU, the Board noted that…”even if all the yes votes in all the recounted precincts turned out to be no votes, both proposals would still pass.”

On Monday the Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved procedures for the recounts. According to a report by WNDUonly a fraction of the state’s precincts are involved in the recounts. According to Lawrence Kestenbaum, Washtenaw County Clerk, the Prop 2 recount doesn’t affect Washtenaw County. The Prop 3 recount will include most precincts in the city of Ann Arbor; this piece of the state recount will be done on Mon through Wed, Dec 12-14 at 4135 Washtenaw Avenue [the same facility which hosted the 2016 presidential recount]. Apparently the rationale for this recount is murky. Prop 3 (reproductive rights) passed with a margin of over half a million votes statewide.

Voters Not Politicians is suggesting it would be “useful to have volunteers in some precincts observing the process and attesting to the integrity of the recount. The Promote the Vote coalition is coordinating the recruitment and placement of volunteers. If you are interested, you may sign up here.” Questions? email info@votersedfund.com.

Sunday, December 11. Listen to the parents of the 16-year-old who inspired them to defeat the threat to the Chelsea public schools

Increasingly, school board and library elections are being contested with candidates funded and recruited by out of state organizations who have a divisive, radical, ideological driven agenda. In the midterm election many of these candidates were elected. Join Chuck Newman and guests Theresa and Kerry Plank on Conversations on Sunday, December 11 at 7:30 pm ET. Theresa and Kerry Plank will describe how they organized to convincingly defeat a slate of misinformation spewing ideological driven candidates.

Anyone who is interested in defending public schools and other local institutions should watch and learn from their success.

Register for the show here

Things to Do, Read, Watch, and Listen to

Voters Not Politicians: Making a Difference, A Big Difference

“We’ve ended gerrymandering forever,” Nancy Wang, Executive Director of the grassroots organization Voters Not Politicians (VNP), told a zoom audience of VNP’s achievement. In just a few years, VNP transformed Michigan from one of the three most gerrymandered states to the national poster child for fair elections. The 2022 election reflected the success of its newly redrawn competitive districts: For the first time in nearly forty years, the elected composition of the state legislature reflects the overall percentage of people who voted for the Democratic party, this despite the fact the revised maps are thought to give a slight advantage to Republicans in the State Senate. “We brought power back to the people,” Wang concluded. Connie Cook, a board member, observes of its achievement, “We have changed the Michigan Constitution and strengthened our democracy.”

Karen Twyman recalls the very first meeting of the group that would form VNP on a freezing Sunday in December 2016 in a café in DeWitt, Michigan. There, fifteen concerned citizens gathered to discuss Katie Fahey’s offhand suggestion on Facebook that “we do something about gerrymandering.” Only a few months later in February, 2017, they sponsored thirty townhalls in thirty days all around the State of Michigan. Before long, they were five thousand strong, all volunteers willing to solicit signatures to put a proposal on the ballot to create the Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission. Though Fahey was always what Twyman terms “an amazing leader,” articulate and charismatic, none of them knew that their efforts would so successfully transform their state politically.

A grassroots organization whose ethos is “power to the people,” VNP was particularly skilled at nurturing its volunteers by encouraging individual initiative and creativity. Recalls Cook, they fostered friendly competitions between volunteers from various districts, and held regular Zoom calls, and periodic social events.

VNP volunteers remember days filled with camaraderie and passion as they spearheaded an organized effort to improve democracy in their state. An Ann Arbor volunteer in the early days of VNP, Lisa Kamil, recalls the energy that swirled around the very mention of Katie Fahey. People rallied to her enthusiasm, forming teams which excelled at training people to train others. Pat Parker, a Saginaw volunteer who became a team leader, rubber stamps Kamil’s experience. “I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything,” she remarks of the intense work which had such “brilliant” results. She prizes the way the team leaders “had each other’s back.”

Twyman ended up serving on the policy committee which wrote the proposal calling for a Bipartisan Commission composed of four Democrats, four Republicans, and five non-affiliated citizens. Although they prioritized obtaining a diversity of race, class, gender, and location on the commission, they required no other qualifications although stipulating that no member could be either a politician or a lobbyist. (For technical expertise in redistricting, they hired consultants from Tufts.)

The design and activities of the Bipartisan Commission reflected their faith that ordinary citizens would do right by their state. While supervising the creation of maps, they listened to voter feedback on the proposed maps, holding town halls, both in-person and virtual around the state. In the end, their faith in voters proved justified, all thirteen commissioners doing their best to bring fair maps to their state.

The most recent success of VNP was the Promote the Vote Initiative, Proposal 2 on the 2022 ballot, which offered numerous ways to protect the vote. In the near future, VNP will focus on  implementation of these voting rights.

With wind in its sails, VNP plans to continue to offer numerous ways to enhance democracy through citizen participation. 

Good News

“Respect for Marriage Act” – Now Heading to the House!

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Senate rejected GOP efforts to block the “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage returns to the House for final vote before going to Biden to sign into law. The final bill passed 61 to 36.

Visit EqualityInGov.org

A special thanks to our newsletter contributors: Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Bette Cotzin, Bernie Banet, Linda Bennett, Kayla Conrad, Fred Clark, Sonya Lewis, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs.  To subscribe to this free weekly newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


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