The WØRD – “Voting”

From the chair

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes

Choosing our government through free-and-open elections is the foundation of our representative democracy. Throughout our nation’s 234 history the right to vote has evolved multiple times to make that right more inclusive. For the first 131 years of our Constitution, half of us – women – couldn’t vote. Now not only can we vote, but In Michigan three of our top four statewide officials are women … and the fourth is a Black man whose ancestors’ right to vote was denied for the first 79 years of the Constitution. 

A majority of the Democrats in both the state House and Senate are women, including the Senate Majority Leader and the chairs of both Appropriations Committees. The Speaker of the House is Black and the Speaker Pro-Tem is a woman. Five of our seven U.S. Representatives (and one of our two Senators) are women.

As political scientist Larry Sabato has noted, “Every election is determined by the people who show up.” And all too often, people who crave power have worked to prevent those who disagree with them from showing up, or having their vote matter. They do it through gerrymandering, voter purges, manipulating the number and location of voting precincts, excessive voter i.d. requirements, and barriers to voting by mail.

Under Democratic leadership in Michigan, we are doing just the opposite: removing barriers that unfairly make voting a burden. This week, Governor Whitmer signed a package of 23 Democratic bills which further our goal of having every adult being able to readily exercise their right to vote. 

The bills update voter registration with a more complete, streamlined and secure automatic voter registration process in Michigan, and allow 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote. Other bills expand and secure early voting, ban deep fakes and require disclosure if Artificial Intelligence is used to create campaign advertising, protect the safety of election workers, and clarify that only the Governor can transmit Michigan’s presidential to Congress.

At the bill-signing ceremony, House Elections Committee chair Representative Penelope Tsernoglou summed the philosophy behind Democrats’ efforts:
“Today, with the signing of these bills, we affirm Michigan as a place where every voice matters and that our state is dedicated to truly being a government for the people.”

Dr. Farhan Bhatti is on the front lines of affordable healthcare. He details what Trump’s promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act would mean for Michigan.

Another issue of importance to every Michigan family: healthcare.

Once again, Republicans are threatening the availability of healthcare for upwards of 750,000 Michiganders.

Even before taking office in 2017, Donald Trump was promising a new and better healthcare plan. It was always coming in two-to-three weeks. (Click here for video of 19 times he promised a replacement plan!)

What is certain: if he is elected and given a Republican Congress, the Affordable Healthcare Act will be repealed. Their replacement? We could go back to the pre-ACA days with out-of-control insurance premiums, tens-of-millions left with no medical coverage, and profiteering by pharmaceutical companies. 

To find out more about how the ACA has impacted Americans (and what repeal would mean for our state) we’re joined by Dr. Farhan Bhatti. Dr. Bhatti is medical director and CEO at Care Free Medical, a nonprofit clinic in Lansing which serves more than 13,000 uninsured and underinsured people each year. Since clinic founder Barry Saltman designated Bhatti as his successor in 2015, Bhatti is credited with tripling the size of the clinic and broadening its services. He also serves on the board of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

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