Voters Not Politicians is preparing for a big election year, with six total elections. While there will certainly be a lot of attention paid to presidential candidates, we must remember that every member of the Michigan House of Representatives is up for reelection in 2024. For every election since 2020, Voters Not Politicians has assembled a committee of staff and volunteers to carefully evaluate candidates for state legislative districts and report on which candidates share our pro-democracy values.
Now Voters Not Politicians is preparing to once again evaluate candidates for state offices, starting with the special elections to replace representatives in state house districts 13 and 25. The former representatives of both districts ran for and won the office of mayor. The special elections to fill those seats and ensure that people of both districts have representation in Lansing are scheduled for a January 30th primary and an April 16 general election.
For the 2024 election cycle, VNP seeks to identify candidates who will make strengthening and protecting our democracy a priority. These pro-voter candidates must meet several qualifications.
- They must demonstrate shared VNP values of strengthening and protecting our democracy.
- They must have a viable campaign evidenced by support from donors and their community.
- Incumbent candidates must have a record of introducing and/or voting for pro-voter bills or legislation that aims to increase government transparency and accountability.
Each cycle, our evaluation committee creates a candidate questionnaire that aims to uncover whether candidates share Voters Not Politicians values. This questionnaire, printed in full below, addressed voting access, common-sense ethics and transparency reform, and campaign finance reform.
This questionnaire is an important element of our endorsement process, the results of which will be shared with the media, VNP volunteers and supporters, and the public. The endorsement process also examines votes and public comments made by incumbents, and campaign viability with sufficient reported campaign contributions, among other criteria.
Elected representatives must be accountable to the constituents they serve and act in their interests. Voters Not Politicians continues to be committed to informing voters which Michigan candidates they can trust to stand up for democracy.
- Do you support the passage of a Michigan Voting Rights Act that would:
- Establish a preclearance requirement to prevent local governments from enacting changes that would harm voters of color
- Create a voting and elections database to provide election data to MI voters
- Require translated voting materials
- Establish a voter education fund to educate the public and train election workers
- Should Michigan restrict lawmakers who have a conflict of interest from introducing or voting on legislation that would financially benefit themselves or their immediate family?
- Should Michigan join the 48 states that require their executive and legislative branches to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests?
- Should Michigan restrict companies that receive grants from the state or have a state contract from making political contributions (commonly referred to as “pay-to-play”)?
- Do you support the establishment of an independent ethics commission that has the authority to investigate and enforce legislators’ violations of the state’s ethics and transparency laws?
- Do you support bringing Michigan electioneering and campaign finance laws in line with the federal standard – closing what is commonly referred to as the “Michigan issue ad loophole”?
The federal standard is that these types of ads are considered electioneering 60 days out from a general and 30 days out from a primary — ensuring that donors are disclosed and that undisclosed, uncapped spending cannot be directed by candidates and their teams.
- Should Michigan end prison gerrymandering? Every ten years incarcerated individuals held in state prisons on census day are counted as residents of the prison instead of at their pre-incarceration address. This results in inequitable political districts that give outsized political power to districts that include prisons. Prison gerrymandering disproportionately impacts communities of color by diminishing their political power. Counting prisoners at their pre-incarceration address would not impact the allocation of federal funding to communities, but it would ensure that every Michigander has equal representation in Lansing.