In 2022, Michigan voters approved Proposition 2, which amended our State Constitution to make voting in Michigan more secure, modern, and accessible.
One of the most important changes of Prop 2 was to create a Permanent Ballot List.
The Permanent Ballot List eliminates the need to submit an application for an absent voter ballot before each election. Instead, voters on the Permanent Ballot List will automatically be mailed a ballot before every election along with a postage pre-paid return envelope.
Getting on the Permanent Ballot List is not, however, automatic.
There are two ways for voters to join this list: (a) check the box on the Application for Absent Voter Ballot that voters just received for the February primary election or (b) if a voter did not receive an Application for Absent Voter Ballot, then they’ll need to submit a written request to their city or township clerk requesting to be added to the Permanent Ballot List. This request only needs to be done once.
Voters on the list can return their absentee ballots by mail (pre-paid postage), return them to a city or township drop box, or insert the ballot in a tabulator at the poll on Election Day. Voters will also be able to trace their ballots online.
Last week Donald Trump won the Iowa Republican caucus with 51% of the vote. While that is an overwhelming majority - a larger margin of victory than any previous Republican candidate in Iowa caucus history - Trump’s win is not the sign of strength for the general election in November that it may at first appear.
First note that Trump lost just under half the Republicans who showed up to vote. In other words, ALMOST HALF of Iowa Republican caucus voters wanted someone other than Donald Trump.
Secondly, in raw numbers Trump’s vote count was relatively small at 56,260 votes. According to the Iowa Secretary of State (as reported by Des Moines TV station KCCI) there are 594,533 active registered Republicans in Iowa. That means less than 10% of active Iowa Republicans bothered to caucus and vote for Trump.
Iowa’s weather was terrible on caucus day, and that certainly played a role in depressing attendance, but this isn’t the first time Iowans have had to brave wintry conditions to caucus.
Yet the turnout this year was the lowest for an Iowa Republican caucus in over a decade. In 2016 during Trump’s first run for President 180,000 Republicans showed up. That compares to only 110,000 this year. 70,000 Iowa Republicans from 2016 didn’t even bother to show up.
Its quite reasonable to see the Iowa vote totals as a lack of enthusiasm not only for Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2024, but also a lack of enthusiasm in general among Republicans. For diehard MAGA Republicans looking for a Magical MAGA Wave to sweep Trump to the general election and then back into the White House, his Iowa performance was not the reassuring start they were looking for.
Wondering why there was no reporting on Democrats caucusing in Iowa last week? Or why President Biden isn’t on the New Hampshire primary ballot today?
You may recall that the vote counting in the Democrat’s Iowa caucus did not go smoothly (at all) in 2020, leaving both Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders claiming victory. It wasn’t until Joe Biden’s resounding victory in South Carolina that the party swiftly coalesced around a single candidate.
The fallout from the vote counting issues in Iowa led to renewed discussion among national Democratic leaders around concerns that Iowa and New Hampshire, the traditional first contests in the US Presidential race, are not representative of the nation. Both states are less racially and economically diverse, and more rural than the nation as a whole. Yet these two contests have held an significant sway in the national press’ “horse race” coverage of the Presidential primaries.
As a result of the discussions the Democratic National Committee decided that South Carolina would be the starting contest for the Democrats in 2024.
The states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and the Republican Party were none too happy with the DNC’s position, and had little incentive to play by the DNC’s rules. So, the state of things is as follows:
In Iowa, the Republicans proceeded as usual. The Democrats held a mail-in only caucus, but the results of the caucus voting will not be publicly announced until Super Tuesday (March 5th).
In New Hampshire the state has proceeded with their early primary date, as they feel they must. Indeed, state law requires New Hampshire to hold the first Presidential primary in the nation. Because of this, the DNC has held that New Hampshire is “non-compliant” with it’s rules, and that no delegates from New Hampshire will be seated at the national convention. Further, the DNC encouraged all candidates NOT to participate in the primary, and thus President Biden’s campaign did not work to place his name on the ballot.
Whether the DNC will hold to their position and actually deny New Hampshire representation at the nominating convention is open to question. (Similar situations in the past have been resolved with delegates of the state involved allowed to vote.)
And a write-in campaign for President Biden has been driven by the state Democratic Party. It is expected that many New Hampshire Democratic voters will write-in the President’s name on their ballots.
Local offices from school boards, to city council seats, to county commissioners will be on the ballot in November. Deadlines to file for many of these offices are in April - only a few months away.
If you have an interest in running for local office and you haven’t heard from our recruiting committee, or you haven’t yet reached out to us then we invite you to connect - drop us an email at [email protected]. We can offer support and advice on how to get your campaign up and running.
We recommend those interested in a run for local office consider two training courses offered through the Great Lakes Political Academy.
The first course is Becoming a Leader. This is a “Campaign 101” style training that will give you the tools you need to run a successful campaign.
The second course is Taking the Lead. This is a more advanced course, after which you may opt to complete a campaign plan and be connected with a campaign staffer or former candidate to provide feedback.
Both courses have virtual and in-person options, and both focus on progressive candidates running at the local level for city council, township trustee, school board, county commission, or county-wide office, or at the state level running for state House or state Senate.
Find more information about the timing and location of these courses here:
There’s a lot of online chatter laying the actions of the Israeli government in Gaza squarely at the feet of President Biden. There have been protests at US college campuses condemning what many see as a serious overreaction by Israel, with death tolls many see as bordering on genocide in Gaza.
It is true that in the wake of one of the worst terrorist attacks on a democratic nation since 9/11 President Biden spoke out strongly in support of our ally Israel and offered assistance, just as many nations spoke out and supported us in the wake of 9/11.
But President Biden does not control the actions of the Israeli government, nor does he agree with every move that government has made. We know that the US State Department has worked hard to try to get humanitarian relief into Gaza, to ensure release of hostages (with some success) and to find a solution to end the fighting in Gaza. Yet we also know that our ally Israel does not see things the way we do. Many of us are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Many, both here and in Israel, are very unhappy with the hard nosed attitude of Benjamin Netanyahu.
At the same time Iran’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon are doing their best to widen the conflict and draw the US into a hot war.
A future President Trump would be looking for an angle that would benefit him, not the American or Israeli people and certainly not innocent Gazans caught up in the fighting and bombing.
We stand a much better chance of helping to find an end to this situation under President Biden’s leadership than we ever would under the leadership of the presumptive Republican nominee.
Which is why this week’s meme comes from the Instagram account of the Leelanau County Democrats. The Gaza situation is just one of the reasons why our vote this year is so important. We may be frustrated and unhappy about that situation. But we know where our best chance at capable leadership lies on this and other important issues.
“Joe Biden is NOT the lesser of two evils. He’s the far better human and it isn’t close.”