The third, and final, statewide proposal Michiganders will vote on this Election Day seeks to amend the voting policies in the Michigan Constitution.
The proposal consists of seven points, said Todd Cook, campaign director for Promote the Vote Michigan, the campaign that created Proposal 3. If passed the measure will:
- Allow voters to cast an absentee ballot for any reason
- Allow citizens to register to vote any time before and the day of Election Day
- Allow citizens to automatically register to vote when interacting with the Secretary of State in regard to driver’s license or state ID card.
- Protect the right to vote through a secret ballot
- Give voters the option to cast straight-ticket ballots
- Ensure accuracy through a statewide audit of election results
- Ensure military members and voters overseas receive their ballots on time
Cook said the group noticed issues in Michigan’s voting system that inhibited people from voting. Proposal 3 can help fix those issues, he said.
“This proposal has the potential to be a dramatic change in helping us get to a better government that is more accountable to the people,” he said. “This proposal is about reducing barriers for voter registration, making it easier for the people of Michigan to vote.”
According to state law, people must have a verified excuse to vote absentee, and being a college student is not an excuse under Michigan’s ballot rules.
“Michigan is the most restricted state when it comes to absentee ballots,” Cook said. “Students are busy people, they are balancing classes and work, it can be hard for them to vote.
“These common-sense changes would really allow them more participation in voting and make the process much easier for them.”
Many Wayne State students must travel to vote. However, because of class or work schedules, some students are unable to make the trip to their polling location.
Sophomore biology student Cecil Sultani said she will have to drive to her polling location on Election Day and probably miss class.
“My day is jam-packed with classes,” Sultani said. “So I’m just going to skip because I need to vote.”
Elisa Gautam, a junior public health student, said voting is extremely difficult without an absentee ballot because her polling location is a 35-minute drive from campus.
“My polling location is in Wixom, but I live on campus,” Gautam said. “I had to make a reason up for voting absentee because there was no way my class schedule would have allowed me to vote in person.”
Although Proposal 3 is estimated to pass in the majority of regions in the state, according to the Detroit Free Press, some students are concerned about certain aspects of the proposal.
Glen Bourgeois, a freshman pre-nursing student, said he will vote yes on the proposal but is worried about same-day voter registration.
“It definitely raises concerns for the creation of voting fraud,” he said. “I’m still supportive of the proposal because people should be allowed to vote and not be stuck behind a deadline. That is just something our democracy shouldn’t do.”
WSU’s academic union, AAUP-AFT Local 6075, released a statement in support of Proposals 2 and 3.
WSU College Republicans President August Shettler said the organization does not support Proposal 3.
Zoe Pidgeon, president of the WSU College Democrats, said the proposal will improve Michigan’s democracy, and the organization fully supports it.
“Voting increases the health of our democracy, so these proposals are good steps of working toward that,” Pidgeon said. “I think that Proposal 3 does a good job tackling a large issue. There are many things wrong with our systems of voting, but it is a good start. We would like to see voting day as a national holiday though.”
Midterm elections are Nov. 6. Find your nearest polling location here.
Slone Terranella is news editor of The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Taormina is The South End's breaking news and WSUPD beat reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Cover graphic by Danielle Kullmann.