By Alyson Grigsby
Our Nights and Weekends program is expanding to more cities this year after starting our clerk engagement work in 2019! Building on the success of Promote the Vote 2018 (2018’s Proposal 3), we are working to expand convenient voting services in clerk’s offices across the state.
Even after the passage of Proposal 3 in 2018, which expanded both in-person and absentee voting services, many Michigan residents still experienced difficulty accessing election resources from their local clerk’s offices. Barriers including distant clerk offices, inconvenient business hours, long lines during election day, and a lack of accessible voting information have led to voters feeling confused and discouraged during election seasons.
Launching in 2019, our Nights and Weekends program empowers local Voters Not Politicians volunteers to increase voter turnout in their cities and townships by engaging their own local clerks regarding voter access. Volunteers across the state have met with, written to, and canvassed their local election officials to provide voting resources including expanded clerk hours during the evenings and weekends, additional drop boxes and satellite clerk offices in underserved neighborhoods, and expanded language and accessibility resources at the ballot. Through direct and frequent communication with their clerks’ offices, Nights and Weekends teams successfully expanded voting access in 16 communities from Berkley and Ferndale all the way to Ann Arbor and Muskegon for the 2020 election.
This cycle, we are proud to have worked hand in hand with local advocacy organizations and the Dearborn City Council, which unanimously passed a resolution ensuring that ballots for upcoming elections would also be printed in Arabic, a language spoken by 46% of Dearborn residents!
In 2022, we are expanding our Nights and Weekends program to eight additional cities and townships including Benton Harbor, Flint, Wyoming, and Kentwood, we have recruited over 20 volunteers across the state who are working to meet with their clerks and expand voting access, and we are excited to see how the Nights and Weekends program continues to grow throughout the 2022 election cycle and beyond.
Think your city or township would benefit from expanded voting resources? Want to learn more about Nights and Weekends and how to get involved? Then reach out to Civic Engagement Manager Alyson Grigsby at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about reaching out to your local clerk!