Get Out The Vote actions state-by-state—starting with Michigan, and starting with me

Kyra Harris Bolden


Endorsements go a long way, and so can your help!

As a Michigander, I am personally thrilled to see that the Daily Kos Endorsements team is supporting two critically important statewide executives seeking reelection in the Mitten this year: our great attorney general, Dana Nessel, and our superlative secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson. As for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist? She’s doing just fine without Daily Kos’ targeted efforts. 

The DKE team also has come out strongly for two excellent candidates running for our state Supreme Court. Richard Bernstein is an incumbent seeking his second eight-year term, while Kyra Harris Bolden is running to unseat Federalist Society-supporting incumbent Brian Zahra.

RELATED: The most important race in Michigan this year isn’t political

Michigan Democrats are organized and ready to go! But to bring about the big blue wave we need, we have to get voters to the polls. There are many, many portals and resources to promote outstanding candidates, campaigns, and the Democratic Party infrastructure overall, but their ultimate efficacy depends on all of us using them as best we can.

As a Michigan resident and a supporter of democracy, I am deeply invested in securing the results we need in the Great Lakes State. First, I’m lifting up some ways in which our GOTV resources connect with Michigan campaigns.

Next, I’ll list what I have personally committed to doing in these final weeks leading up to Nov. 8. I encourage you to add your own comments and posts about your involvement: Tell us what this year’s GOTV effort looks like for you, whether on-the-ground or remote. Contact by contact, voter by voter: Now is the time. Let’s get it done!

State Supreme Courts matter

MI Supreme Court candidate Kyra Harris Bolden with peregrine kate outside a campaign event sponsored by the Washtenaw Dems.I waylaid Kyra Bolden on her way into a campaign event. She graciously obliged my request for a selfie. 

A talented young attorney and state legislator, Kyra Harris Bolden now seeks to use her skills and qualifications from a seat on the state’s top court.  A more dedicated and engaging candidate is hard to imagine. Check out this extended profile from Daily Kos Community Contributor SemDem to see just how busy Bolden has been. Let’s have her back, and ours, by delivering victory to her and her future colleague, incumbent Justice Bernstein, and protect our seats on Michigan’s highest court. 

The Downballot’s featured guest on Tuesday, Sept. 15, was none other than Justice Bernstein himself. Reading the transcript of the interview confirmed my impression that he is an extraordinarily talented public servant, as well as an astute legal analyst. Check it out, as  you won’t regret spending the time. Then share it as widely as you can!

Check your voter registration & learn about key dates and deadlines

In the spirit of the adage about putting your own oxygen mask on first, it’s worth confirming that your own voter registration is current. Plus, walking through that process helps you understand it so you can explain it to others! You are already known among your local friends and family to be be a reliable source of voting information, aren’t you?

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has implemented many important innovations during her first term in office. Among the most significant: the Michigan SOS portal provides general as well as personalized voter information online.  

  • On the general “upcoming election information” page, expand the header labeled “Important dates for the statewide general election” to display all the deadlines and details. 
  • On the personalized voter information page, the Michigan Voter Information Center (MVIC), there are a TON of details available, from where your polling place is to who and what is on your ballot. The login/search process is easy to navigate. Try it to see how it works!

But, you say, what if I am not fortunate enough to live in Michigan? That’s okay: click here to find out how to check your registration status, request an absentee ballot, learn about voting if you live abroad, and more. There are also lots of voter resources, provided by Vote Forward, on our handy GOTV page.

Become a “Democracy MVP” in Michigan! Help Power the Polls

While you’re there on that personalized MI Voter Information Center page, you might want to check out the resources linked in the left sidebar. One of them is “Become a poll worker,” or as the page itself is named, become a “Democracy MVP.” (Can I take another moment to fangirl over SOS Benson, who is absolutely the best in the U.S.?)

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orange graphic showing a hand inserting a card into a slotNot in Michigan? You’re still in luck! Visit our GOTV page and click on “Power the Polls.”

We really do appreciate first-person accounts from folks who are standing up for democracy. Here’s a great one. I’ve never served myself, but I admire the dedication and patience of the poll workers I have encountered, doing the painstaking work of guaranteeing the vote is fair and secure.

RELATED: A day in the life of a poll worker

In Michigan, there’s another option available for people interested in safeguarding voters’ rights. The Michigan Democratic Party’s Voter Protection Program relies on volunteers to ensure that eligible voters can successfully cast their ballots. This is an excellent supplement to the actual voting system; It’s a partisan and perfectly legitimate role to fill, and one I’ve taken part in from time to time. However, many of these positions require advance training, so check it out sooner than later. 

Reach out to potential voters by phone, text, or by canvassing

Our friends at Mobilize make the process very easy. Given how critical Democratic success in Michigan is in 2022 (for its own sake and also to build for 2024), we at Daily Kos have already created a search portal for Michigan GOTV events on Mobilize. Once you’re there, you can filter for date, location, type of event (including virtual-only and ADA-accessible ones), and event focus.

Not in Michigan? Not to worry. The Mobilize portal on our GOTV page can’t be missed: it’s in the middle of the first row. Check it out, filter by state, date, activity, and event type, and let us know how your chosen activity goes for you. 

Help put the spotlight on Michigan candidates

We in Michigan have had outstanding leaders in our statewide executive offices since 2018. We have also had the good fortune to have a 4-3 Democratic majority on our state Supreme Court since 2020. (Officially, the justices are nonpartisan, yet every candidate on the ballot is supported by one party or another—even if the affiliation is not displayed on the ballot.) 

I don’t think I need to explain how important it is to vote for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist), Dana Nessel as attorney general, Jocelyn Benson as secretary of state; and Richard Bernstein and Kyra Harris Bolden as state Supreme Court justices. We rely on their good judgment and skilled administration all year long, in or out of election season—but we also need to have confidence that our elected officials will defend democracy. 

This year we also have a remarkably good chance of flipping at least one of the legislative chambers from red to blue, thanks to redistricting. There are so many superb candidates—incumbents and challengers alike—who deserve our support. If you have time, talent, or treasure to share, they will put your contributions to good use. 

Again, if you’re out of state, don’t despair. We are also focusing our efforts on boosting Democratic candidates in the key battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Whether you live in those states, have ties to them, or have trouble finding them on a map, there are multiple ways for you to get involved. 

We also have some ballot proposals to pass in Michigan!

Two critically important proposals—which will amend our state constitution—will be on the Michigan ballot. More than 664,000 signatures, a healthy margin over the minimum required, were submitted on behalf of placing Proposal 2, informally labeled “Promote the Vote 2022,” on the November ballot. Prop 2 in 2022 would expand the voting rights protections Michiganders passed in 2018. Some of the new provisions include authorizing nine days of in-person early voting; guaranteeing reasonable and accessible physical placement of ballot drop boxes; protecting voters’ right to cast a regular ballot, even without showing an ID at the polling place; and allowing ballots cast by military personnel to count as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Get involved with Voters Not Politicians to help pass Promote the Vote reforms.

Michigan voters also signed in record numbers in support of putting Proposal 3, called “Reproductive Rights for All.” As billed, the proposal asks Michigan voters to decide whether to codify reproductive rights, including the right to abortion, into our state constitution. The positive response to this proposal has been extraordinary. More than 753,000 signatures were submitted, almost 75% more than the minimum required.  

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About 1,000 people gathered at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan on June 24, 2022 and marched throughout the city in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent that established protection for women's right to abortion access nearly 50 years ago in 1973. (Photo by Adam J. Dewey/NurPhoto via AP)Just a small indication of the groundswell of resistance to prohibiting/criminalizing abortion in Michigan. 

Not surprisingly, anti-democratic forces have tried to block both of these proposals at every step of the process. In case you missed it, proponents of each had to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court to confirm the proposals’ inclusion on the ballot after the two Republican members of the State Board of Canvassers initially refused to certify the determination made by the Board of Elections that both petitions had enough valid signatures. 

RELATED: Michigan Supreme Court orders board to place abortion protections, voting rights on November ballot

The reactionaries seeking to suppress democracy and personal autonomy in the state haven’t stopped organizing, so we must keep going.

x

🚨New Michigan Poll (EPIC-MRA)

Proposal 22-3: Reproductive Freedom amendment
🟢 YES 56%
🔴 NO 23%

among REPUBLICANS:
🟢 YES 36%
🔴 NO 36%

— umichvoter 🏳️‍🌈 (@umichvoter) September 20, 2022

If abortion or voting rights is the cause that fires you up the most, then please click here for a list of events and activities on behalf of enshrining abortion rights in Michigan. 

Grassroots civic organizations in Michigan welcome your treasure, too

Our success in swing states like Michigan depends on the solid local infrastructure built by organizations who work day in and day out with frontline communities. These groups do the heavy lifting to help voters overcome barriers to participation in elections. Your contribution to these organizations means more voters will be registered, informed, engaged, and motivated to cast their ballots for Democratic candidates. 

You know the drill by now. Daily Kos is proud to support to voter empowerment groups in Michigan and several other states. The full list, available via our GOTV portal, also includes several organizations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Every dollar makes a difference.

My own GOTV plans

So what am I doing in my corner of the Wolverine State?

  • We’ve assembled and published a very successful “Voter Guide” in Washtenaw County since 2018, and this year I’ll help distribute them door-to-door again in my precinct and ward. That effort starts next week, and the Washtenaw Dems welcome help. People seem to love having a printed resource to consult—but please note that the online guide is already available. Also note that some of the endorsements are relevant statewide/outside the county. 
  • Speaking of hyperlocal promotion: School board elections are ostensibly nonpartisan, but nowadays it is more crucial than ever to check candidates’ records and positions. This flyer offers a good start for school board elections in Washtenaw.

  • I also plan to canvass in my neighborhood. Apart from enjoying the opportunity for the occasional chat, I appreciate the incentive to get in my 10,000 steps a day.
  • Additionally, I’ll be checking out student voter registration drives since there are two post-secondary institutions right by my house, and a third just a few miles away. Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day; while registration deadlines are much less rigid in Michigan now, in a few other states, restrictions to discourage last-minute participation remain in force. The time to check into those dates is now.
  • On Election Day, I might do a shift as a poll greeter, generally a fun and productive activity. A poll greeter is someone who stands as close as legally possible to the entry to the polling place, ready to hand out a list of the local Democratic Party endorsees. Voters are often happy to receive last-minute recommendations, especially for the nonpartisan ballot. Those who are not interested typically either avoid you altogether or decline politely. 
  • I talk up our candidates at every opportunity. Just days ago, I managed to persuade a few friends to support Supreme Court candidates Bolden and Bernstein, and to put up some yard signs. I’ll also continue to send voting and candidate information to my friends and colleagues—not only for their own use but also to pass along.
  • I’m communicating with all of you!

We have many dedicated grassroots activists all across the country (and some living abroad) who are doing GOTV work right now. I for one would be delighted to read about the GOTV activities that motivate and engage you the most.

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Maybe you want to share the most memorable conversation you had on the phone or at a front door. Maybe your local Democratic group has some great approach to help ensure people get registered and get to the polls. Celebrating these small wins gets us closer to achieving the big wins.

Together, we can make it happen. Let’s. Go. Win.

Can’t volunteer right now? Chip in $3 today to help Daily Kos get out the vote.

Looking for even more opportunities to help get out the vote? Check out 2022 GOTV page!



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