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It is More Important to Vote This Year as Electoral Districts are Based on New Census Data

It is More Important to Vote This Year as Electoral Districts are Based on New Census Data

  • The League of Women Voters Education Fund has a great website, Vote411.org, which can help navigate what you will find on your ballot.

Election Day is three weeks away but the effort to get out the vote or GOTV started when absentee ballots were sent to all those who applied for them here in Michigan. Each state has different rules: for state-by-state resources to participate in this crucial democratic process, one can look to the federal government’s website Vote.gov or the National Vote at Home Institute’s website voteathome.org.

When I was a newly naturalized citizen, I relished the opportunity to take my young kids with me and get “I voted!” stickers. These days I prefer using the opportunity to vote at home (aka vote by mail) — something that the majority of Michigan voters supported in 2018, passing a constitutional amendment to allow no-reason absentee voting. Each state has its own processes for how elections are run. An upcoming Supreme Court decision could potentially reshape federal elections: hearings began on a case that could radically change 2024 election outcomes, by giving broad, largely unchecked power to state legislators. The New York Times among other news agencies recently reported the critical role state legislatures play and how state legislatures — filled with election deniers and Big Lie proponents — could overturn federal elections. The Michigan legislature, but especially the state Senate, and specifically the seat I am running for, is key to ensuring voters decide elections — not elected officials.

This year, candidates across Michigan and the country are running in new districts, based on new census data. In 2018, Michigan voters decided that we should stop having maps drawn by elected officials who benefit from them and end partisan gerrymandering. We will join a handful of states that limit elected officials’ involvement in determining state and federal districts, with new maps drawn by Michigan’s Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.

However I choose to vote, I always do so: it’s at once a duty and a privilege. And I still get my “I voted!” sticker when I drop off the sealed ballot at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.

In 2022, we have another opportunity to strengthen our democracy, with Prop 2 to Promote the Vote in 2022, to further ensure fair, safe and secure elections, where every voter has a voice. Like these ballot proposals, many of the decisions a voter makes are all the way down the ballot. In Michigan, we can vote on whether to protect access to reproductive healthcare like Kansas voters did in August. Our ballot will also have candidates for nonpartisan offices, ranging from state Supreme Court and district judges to local school boards.

Partisan and non-partisan organizations provide information that can be helpful as you navigate the choices on your ballot. For starters, for every election, our local Democratic club provides recommendations on candidates and issues that are well-researched and given to members before the general election in November. One can join nonprofit organizations that rally around an issue — such as environmental conservation, protecting voting rights, or gun violence prevention. These organizations help a voter navigate the stances of different candidates on specific policy concerns, provide opportunities to volunteer for those candidates’ campaigns and more.

See Also

The League of Women Voters is “working to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy. We empower voters and defend democracy through advocacy, education, and litigation, at the local, state, and national levels.” Their local chapters hold candidate forums — which are sort of like debates. Attending or watching the videos can provide you insight into the candidates’ perspectives. The League of Women Voters Education Fund has a great website, Vote411.org, that lays out who and what you will find on your ballot. All you need to do is plug in your address, and they give you a host of information. The site clearly states that “All above responses come directly from the candidates and are unedited by LWV. The League does not support or oppose any candidates or parties.”

The site also provides links to candidate forums, debates and where to report problems. I have found it is so much easier to do the research, make my selections and fill in the ballot from the comfort of my home with access to the internet and the information. But it is also important to eliminate the misinformation and disinformation that abounds — and ensure that those you elect and the choices you make will serve you and the community well. Just make sure to vote all the way to the end of the ballot (turn it over to make sure you got everything on the back too!). However I choose to vote, I always do so: it’s at once a duty and a privilege. And I still get my “I voted!” sticker when I drop off the sealed ballot at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.


Padma Kuppa, the State Representative for Michigan’s 41st House District serving her second term, is the Democratic candidate for the Michigan State Senate in District 9. A mother, an engineer from NIT Warangal, and an automotive and IT professional for over 2 decades, and a civic and interfaith leader for years, she is the first Indian immigrant and Hindu in the Michigan state legislature. You can reach her at padmakuppa@house.mi.gov. Learn more at ElectPadmaKuppa.com or Kuppa.housedems.com.

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The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
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